This Fort Myers travel guide shares things to do in Fort Myers and the surrounding area. The Fort Myers & Sanibel area is so beautiful with endless options for enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. Fort Myers is great for couples, friends and families so this list includes things to do that are for adults only as well as things to do with children.
Here are over 20 things to do in Fort Myers:
Since you’re in Southwest Florida, the first thing I’m going to talk about is beaches! Any list of things to do in Fort Myers has to include some beaches and these are my faves:
Fort Myers Beach
One of the more popular beaches in the area and for good reason! If you’re looking for things to do in Fort Myers with kids this is the spot. This is a family friendly beach. You’ll find seven miles of beach with a shoreline that very gradually eases into the Gulf. So there are no steep drop-offs and the undertow is gentle. It’s been named the “Worlds Safest Beach.” Parking can be a bit of a challenge here – you might have to make a few loops to find a spot, but even then we always found it easy to find our own space once on the beach. There is a boardwalk, picnic tables, restaurants and shops all nearby with plenty to do.
A gorgeous beach on Sanibel Island. Make a day out of it and explore the rest of Sanibel Island after an early visit to Bowman’s Beach. Bowman’s Beach was named one of the Top 10 Best Beaches in the World by U.S. News Travel and one of the Top 25 Beaches in the United States by Travelocity. This beach gives off a secluded vibe with the long (about 10 min) walk from the parking lot to the beach.
There are tons of shells here to gather and waves to enjoy. You’ll wan to bring some snacks and water since there aren’t any concession stands.
Alison Hagerup Beach Park
Alison Hagerup Beach Park is known as one of the most romantic beaches due to its beautiful sunsets. The beach faces west so you get to see gorgeous colors as the sun sets on the Gulf. It’s a bit smaller and doesn’t have great parking options, so best bet is to arrive early. Stores and restaurants are nearby and the beach itself offers restroom facilities and a volleyball net.
Lovers Key State Park
This one is my favorite! It is a bit of a drive to get here from where we stayed, but so worth it for the clear water and beautiful white sandy beaches. Lover’s Key was once only reachable by boat so its secluded nature led to the name “Lovers Key.” Now it’s a gorgeous, easily accessible beach with loads of parking.
The concession shop near the entrance offers all sorts of rentals and activities including kayak tours, bicycle, canoe, kayak, paddleboard, beach chair and umbrella rentals. Plus, you can find souvenirs, sun hats, sunscreen and some refreshments.
On the beach you’ll have access to Hurricane Charlies which offers a limited menu, think snacks like soft pretzels, pizza slices, and more. We enjoyed our snacks after a few hours of playing in the sun!
In addition to the beach, you’ll find 5 miles of trails for biking and hiking. I’m excited to return here and do some more exploring!
Visit Downtown Fort Myers AKA the River District
This neighborhood stretches along the Caloosahatchee River and offers an eclectic assortment of activities. You can hunt for antiques, go shopping, enjoy the local restaurants, take in some nature at Centennial Park and even hop along some bars or breweries. My favorite spot for a drink is the 86 Room – I love any place that has speakeasy vibes. They make great craft cocktails. And while you’re downtown…
Take a Haunted History Tour
True Tours offers a twice weekly walking haunted history tour of Fort Myers. It runs about 90 minutes long and you’ll learn about the unseen and paranormal activities of the darker side of Fort Myers.
If getting spooked isn’t your thing, you can also take a regular historical walking tour with True Tours River District History Tour. This tour also runs 90 minutes but since it’s during the daytime, you’ll want to be extra mindful of sun protection & staying hydrated.
Things to Do in Fort Myers: Explore Edison and Ford Winter Estates
Just south of downtown you’ll find the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. This is for the historians, the older kids and honestly anyone who has a curious mind. The Edison and Ford Winter Estates date back to 1885, when Thomas Edison first visited the area and purchased the property to build a vacation home. You can explore the multiple homes on the property, as well as the laboratory, gardens and museum.
They also offer an annual holiday celebration with thousands of lights on the property making for a festive visit just before and after Christmas.
Shop ‘Til You Drop at the Miromar Outlets
Miromar Outlets was voted the Best Shopping Experience & Best Factory Outlet Mall. With over 140 outlets to shop at there’s something for everyone.
Things to do in Fort Myers for Adults: Take a Rum Distillery Tour
I highly recommend taking a rum distillery or brewery tour during your visit. The region has many to offer, but my favorite tour would have to be Wicked Dolphin.
For starters, it’s a free (!!) tour. Plus, the staff is hilarious and friendly. And the rum is delicious! I’m not a big drinker, but I am a picky drinker. And this rum sets a high standard.
Things to Do in Fort Myers: Manatee Park
Yes, you can see manatees! Manatee Park is a non-captive warm water refuge for Florida manatees and it is one of the most fun things to do in Fort Myers. Since it’s non-captive (which is great) you are not guaranteed to see manatees during a visit and they come and go as they please.
However, your chances of seeing manatees during a visit increases greatly during the winter months (late December, January and February) as the manatees want to get away from the colder Gulf water.
The park provides specific guidelines for manatee watching, though I think this sums it up best:
If a manatee responds to your presence, you are too close. Move away to a distance that does not change the animal’s natural behavior.
Visit the Manatee Park overview here for information on location, parking, kayak rental and more.
Renting bicycles is one of the most fun things to do in Fort Myers and the Sanibel area. I highly recommend spending an afternoon bicycling around Sanibel Island. Road traffic can be slow, but you can avoid that headache with a bike rental and enjoy the fresh air. You’ll find over 25 miles of paved, multi-use paths for biking or hiking throughout Sanibel that take you all over the island. You’ll find bike racks regularly throughout the island so you can stop as needed and lock up.
Bike Rental Details
For your bike rental, I recommend Billys Rentals as the most comprehensive, full-service option with a variety of bikes for everyone (even wheelchair friendly options!
Take a Drive Down to Naples
Take a day trip down to another popular southwest Florida city – Naples! You can explore the Naples Botanical Garden, Crayton Cove, multiple museums, Naples beach, Downtown Naples and more.
Explore JN Ding National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island
You can even take your rental bike through the JN Ding National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel too! JN Ding is a massive refuge of 7,600 acres where you can spot wildlife, go boating, fishing, birding, paddleboarding, biking, hiking and more. You can also take wildlife drive which is a 4-mile trail showcasing a large variety of birds, but other wildlife too, especially during the winter months. Keep in mind that the wildlife drive is closed every Friday.
Sun Harvest Citrus
Visit Sun Harvest Citrus to enjoy local, fresh as heck Florida citrus fruit. You’ll be able to enjoy and sample fresh squeezed orange juice, fruit smoothies and soft serve ice cream.
If you love fresh, tropical fruit, let me also recommend…
Visit Pine Island for Fresh Tropical Fruits in Fort Myers
There are multiple orchards, nurseries and markets to pickup fresh fruit, explore & pick your own or even purchase your own trees. A few spots to explore include: Pine Island Tropicals, The Mango Factory, FruitScapes and Pine Island Tropical Fruit Market.
In June you can experience MangoMania, an entire festival for the beloved mango fruit.
Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
There is really so much to do outdoors in Fort Myers, including the Slough Preserve. The boardwalk takes you through the slough where you can see otters, turtles, wading birds and even alligators. Expect to take about an hour to walk through. Bring a camera to capture wildlife photography.
Four Mile Cove Preserve
Similar to Cypress Slough, the Cove Preserve lets you spend time in relaxing, peaceful nature. The Cove Preserve offers canoe and kayak waterways, along with 6,000 ft boardwalk and walking trails through the space. This Preserve is located in Cape Coral.
One of the Most Unique Things to Do in Fort Myers: Visit Cayo Costa
If you’re looking for a really unique experience, let me recommend Cayo Costa. Cayo Costa is a large barrier island that is only accessible by boat. There are nine miles of beautiful secluded beach and more than six miles of biking and hiking trails. You can take a public ferry, charter boat or private boat to the island. Or take a helicopter if you’re super bougie!
You can visit for a half-day or even stay overnight on the campgrounds. They do have some very primitive cabins for rent, though there is no electricity. The island has restrooms, potable water and cold showers. You’ll want to pack in and out all the food, drink sand supplies you need whether you’re visiting for a few hours or overnight.
I hope you enjoyed this list of things to do in Fort Myers and the surrounding area. Happy travels!