Fort Myers for Families

Photo by Chelle Koster Walton

4 days of beaches, nature, and a taste of culture

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Fort Myers and its family of communities — Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel Island, Bonita Springs, and Cape Coral — give families the warm welcome of near-constant sunshine and a year-round playground. Four days will allow you to experience most of what the area has to offer kids.

Day One — Fort Myers Beach Area

To counteract the stress and weariness of travel, plan your first morning for the beach. Fort Myers Beach is most family friendly in terms of affordability and opportunities. Lynn Hall Memorial Park is centrally located to the beach, the Fort Myers Beach Fishing Pier, and the ice cream shops, pizza parlors, and outdoor cafes of pedestrian-only Times Square plaza. It also has a playground and a number of water sports tours rentals and tours concessions.

After breakfast at Tuckaway Bagel and Wafel Cafe, play on the beach, cast off the pier, go parasailing, and take advantage of all the fun there is to have. Have lunch on the bay at Matanzas Inn. Don’t forget to try the local shrimp brought to port right here in Fort Myers Beach.

You can learn more about that after lunch with a visit to Ostego Bay Foundation Nature Center, home to myriad local marine creatures and exhibits about sea turtles, fishing, and other sea-related subjects.

After checking into Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa, have a dip in the cool pool and plan on dinner and a movie at Beach Theater, which serves food and drinks while you watch the show.

Day Two — Fort Myers Historic River District

Start the day out with breakfast at Heavenly Biscuit, then a morning fishing or boating excursion from one of the marinas on Fort Myers Beach. Then it’s time to head downtown Fort Myers a.k.a. the Historic River District. Have lunch at The Lodge, then tour the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

Explore IMAG History & Science Center, a hands-on museum with live animals and a 3-D theater. Keeping in theme with the day, eat craft burgers at Ford’s Garage. Spend the night at Hotel Indigo.

Day Three — Fort Myers Culture and Water Fun

Head to Bennett’s Fresh Roast for yummy donuts, then take a colorful tour of the Butterfly Estates .

Afterwards, cross the river to Cape Coral for lunch at Iguana Mia. Then cool down at Sun Splash Family Waterpark. Check into the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village. Eat dinner al fresco at the resort’s Nauti Mermaid Dockside Bar & Grill.

Day Four — Fort Myers Science and Nature

After breakfast at the resort, visit the nearby Rotary Park Environmental Center and look for butterflies and the adorable burrowing owls that live there. Make it a nature day and go to Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium or Six Mile Slough Preserve for nature hikes and exhibits.

In the afternoon, go to J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island to drive or take a tram through Wildlife Drive. Don’t miss the free Visitor & Education Center.

Check into Sundial Beach Resort and have a quick dip in the pool before heading to Tarpon Bay Explorers for a sunset paddle or cruise to watch the birds come in to roost on the rookery islands. Have dinner at the Lazy Flamingo.

At A Glance

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