Fort Myers in 48 Hours

Photo by Chelle Koster Walton

Downtown to down-time in Fort Myers, Florida

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In two days, you can get a good sampling of the flavor of the Fort Myers area’s scene, from its historic downtown cultural arena to its beachfront treasures and other opportunities to be in the great outdoors.

Day 1 in Fort Myers

Start out your first morning at the beach – you know it is where you want to be, so get it out of your system with a walk along Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island and a dip into warm, calm Gulf of Mexico waters. Station your beach morning at Lynn Hall Memorial Park, where you will be close to shopping, restaurants, beach bars, a playground, and water sports concessions.

Rotate bouts of tanning and snoozing in the sun with a parasail ride, fishing on the Fort Myers Beach Fishing Pier, shopping in the beach marts and one-of-a-kind boutiques, and ducking into an open air café for a cold one and lunch. I recommend Zushi Zushi for good sushi or righteous beach fare, whichever you decide.

In the afternoon, get out of the sun and do a driving tour of the area, heading south through Lovers Key State Park and Bonita Beach, then back up north via Bonita Beach Road and Highway 41. In Estero, stop at Koreshan State Historic Site to learn about one of the area’s quirkiest chapters of history.

After a hotel cleanse, get dressed in your party duds to head for downtown Fort Myers. Dine elegantly at the Veranda Restaurant or casually at Ford’s Garage, the original of a small chain throughout the area. Afterward hit the bars along Main Street and its offshoots for drinks, music, cigars, art tattoos, you name it.

Day 2 in Fort Myers

On day two, plan an excursion on the water, depending upon your preferences. Choose from a leisurely kayak or paddleboard paddle, a half-day fishing trip, a relaxing sail, or a boat trip to an unbridged island for lunch.

In the afternoon, take it easy shopping at one of the area’s two factory outlet malls – Sanibel Outlets in South Fort Myers or Miromar Outlets in Estero. The latter has a number of dining options if you so desire. Or from Sanibel Outlets, head across the causeway for lunch on Sanibel Island. Trader’s and Sweet Melissa’s Café are local favorites. Afterward, walk off lunch at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge with a short hike along Indigo Trail to the Wildlife Education Boardwalk.

If you’re looking for nightlife, head back to Fort Myers Beach – a totally different, flip-flop experience from the downtown Fort Myers scene. Bar hop around Times Square – in the same vicinity as Lynn Hall Memorial Park. Hit the Beached Whale, The Cottage, and Smokin Oyster Brewery. Before you end the evening, take a moonlit stroll on the beach – a grand finale to your quick escape to Fort Myers.

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