Dining & Nightlife

We hope you're hungry.

If they weren't already, foodies are beginning to take note of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. For each beach-casual seafood joint overlooking the water (and there are many), excellent alternative choices are cropping up representing all types of cuisine and price points. Your best bet for the later is Downtown Fort Myers, but if you're so inclined, ask a local for a recommendation. They'll point you in the right direction.

Cruisin' to Dinner

"Set the mood by enjoying a meal aboard a sailboat or yacht. Or sailing to your dinner might be just the pre-dinner entertainment you're craving. "

Why just go out to dinner when you can hop on a boat and cruise to dinner? What could be more romantic in a rakish, look-how-out-of-the-mold-we-are sense than lunch or dinner island-style at the end of a boat hop? The best part? You can sit, relax and sip as much as you want and let your captain do the driving.

Easy and Affordable
Excursions and charters make it totally painless to be whisked off in style to dine in an exotic island or waterfront setting. Captiva Cruises does daily luncheon excursions to Cabbage Key and Useppa Island aboard the classic yacht Lady Chadwick. Historic inns on both islands boast restaurants not-to-be-missed: Cabbage Key Inn has a funky sailor’s vibe, while the Collier Inn beckons back to the 1920s with an air of island elegance.

From Pine Island, board a Tropic Star excursion for lunch and a narrated boat trip to learn the history of Cabbage Key and Cayo Costa.

On some excursions, dining aboard is the adventure. Sanibel Harbour Princess departs from Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa for daily dinner buffet cruises in the Intracoastal Waterway aboard a sleek modern yacht. From Fort Myers Yacht Basin, J.C. Cruises’ triple-deck paddlewheeler excursions ply the Caloosahatchee River while serving lunch or dinner.

Something Special for Two
When it’s time to pull out all the impress-your-date stops, plan ahead for an over-the-top occasion. For example, how does a romantic sunset sail on a classic 40-foot sloop to Captiva Pass sound? New Moon Sailing on Captiva Island will let you follow your fantasy, no matter where it takes you.

If sailing appeals to your sense of romance (or, more importantly, your date’s), book a cruise with Magic Wind out of Fort Myers Beach. Go a step further for maximum impression value and plan an overnight cruise with meals at sea.

Gala by Sea
So, you’ve already won your partner’s love. Now it’s time to plan the big event – be it a wedding, an anniversary celebration or a renewal of vows. Think out-of-the-church, and plan your affair aboard the Fort Myers Princess. The 75-foot boat, which can fit up to 149 passengers, features a climate-controlled lower level and open-air upper deck. Plan everything from a formal dinner to a casual buffet to a playful cocktail party. There's a full catering menu, a full bar and room for entertainment (think DJ or island musicians). Plus, there's a sunset view that can't be beat.

Looking for something more over-the-top? Captiva Cruises will transport your party of up to 148 to Cayo Costa’s sweep of deserted island and set up a beach feast no one will ever forget. Least of all you and your dearly beloved."

Best Bets for Dining

"Dine out in the Fort Myers Sanibel area, where the choices are diverse enough to satisfy every palate."

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WATER

Waterfront Fine Dining
Welcoming, top-notch service and fine food come with great waterside views at Thistle Lodge at Casa Ybel Resort, Sanibel, and Tarpon Lodge, Pineland. Try Thistle Lodge’s Crab Cake and its cousin, Pine Island Sound Crab Cakes, at Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island.

Waterfront Casual
The pleasures of dining waterside and the chance to see dolphins and manatees at play can be enjoyed at Flippers on Lovers Key, RumRunners in Cape Coral and The Waterfront Restaurant & Marina in St. James City, where artists of all ages can paper the walls with their colorful creations.


ETHNIC VARIETY

Thai One On
Budget travelers will enjoy the lunch prices (under $7) at Siam Hut Thai in Cape Coral. Thai Gardens in Fort Myers features more than 90 Thai specialties, including a splendid duck.

Asian Fusion
Fort Myers delivers when it comes to Asian cuisine. An under-$13 bento box special forecasts the unassuming style of Ichiban in downtown Fort Myers. Excellent haute sushi mixes with haute couture at see-and-be-seen BluSushi in Fort Myers.

Mama Mia!
Italian restaurants are ubiquitous in Southwest Florida, but two Fort Myers establishments to try are Delicious Things, which offers gourmet foods in addition to artfully arranged plates, and Bella Rosa, owned by a longtime area restaurateur.

Mexican Fiesta
Great value for your money and a fiesta of a time can be had at Jalapeños Restaurant in Fort Myers. Maria’s Restaurant in Bonita Springs offers up some of the most sublime accompaniments to chips (fresh-made salsa and guacamole), and La Casita in Fort Myers puts a new spin on the phrase “mi casa es su casa."


BREAKFAST & BEYOND

The Breakfast Club
The hearty breakfast fare at the Split Rail Family Restaurant, near Fort Myers Beach, won’t break the bank. At Amy’s Over Easy Café on Sanibel, break your fast with the Reuben Benedict. On the go? Pick up a fresh-baked croissant from The French Connection in downtown Fort Myers.

The Lunch Bunch
Drinks served in Grandma’s canning jars and a relaxed atmosphere make the McGregor Café on the boulevard of the same name in Fort Myers a locals’ favorite. Gramma Dot’s on Sanibel offers up a great grouper sandwich, garnished with a sassy orchid, no less, as well as snappy commentary by the wait staff.

Just Desserts
Indulge your sweet tooth at the jewel box Norman Love Chocolate Salon, near the international airport in Fort Myers, or at the Loose Caboose (famous for ice cream) in Boca Grande. Find locally made Queenie’s Ice Cream in scoop shops and restaurants.


MORE GOOD BETS FOR GREAT FOOD


Local Flavor
Bert’s Bar & Grill in Matlacha serves up a mean grouper sandwich along with to-die-for homemade potato chips. The Farmer’s Market Restaurant in Fort Myers dishes up smoked pork all day Thursday and serves the delicious, tender morsels until they’re gone. And Captiva’s Key Lime Bistro keeps the locals coming back for more with live nightly entertainment.

Creative Concepts
Chefs pull out all the stops at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar on Sanibel, Sweet Melissa's Cafe (formerly RedFish BluFish) on Sanibel, Traders on Sanibel and South Beach Grille on Fort Myers Beach. Be assured of memorable, eclectic and inspired dining.

Steak Your Claim
If it’s the bounty of the land you seek, try the Kobe beef at the Sanibel Steakhouse or any of the Certified Angus Beef specialties at Courtside Steakhouse at Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa.

Some Romantic Evening
Southern regional cuisine reigns at The Veranda in downtown Fort Myers. For total seclusion, try the Collier Inn on Useppa Island.

Dining Primer: Local Cuisine & Restaurants

"Seafood, comfort food, Italian, Peruvian and more -- from Florida favorites to international flair, it's all on the menu."

You could eat at a different restaurant every night for a year on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and still not try them all. Here, we’ve pegged a few stand-outs that will satisfy some of your strongest cravings.

 

Seafood
The number one craving when visitors drop in? Fresh, flavorful seafood. Don’t miss Blue Water Bistro at Coconut Point in Estero, where you can have your fresh catch simply grilled or creatively designed into specialties such as crab-lobster cakes. Dine indoors or al fresco. Other top seafood houses: Red’s Fresh Seafood House & Tavern (Pine Island), Sunshine Café (Captiva Island and Fort Myers) and The Oyster Shell (Fort Myers). For supreme sushi, try Ichiban (Fort Myers and North Fort Myers) and Blu Sushi, with two locations in Fort Myers, both with patio seating.

Florida Fusion
Floribbean has gone Caribbean-Atlantic Rim. It’s all about melding fresh fish, tropical fruits, local vegetables, interesting spices and big flavor. Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, named for local mystery writer Randy Wayne White’s famous sleuth, takes a “novel” approach to the genre with tropical American dishes such as banana leaf snapper at its Sanibel Island restaurant and Fort Myers Beach waterfront branch.

Comfort Food
There’s even a restaurant called Crave in Fort Myers, serving up home-cooked specialties prepared with extra oomph, such as meatloaf with mushroom gravy and red wine-braised short ribs. For Southern Regional cuisine in the heart of downtown Fort Myers, relish dishes such as filet medallions in smoky sour-mash whiskey sauce at cozy, intimate The Veranda. Philly fans and their families feel right at home at Old 41 Restaurant (Bonita Springs) and Philly Junction (Fort Myers).

Italian
Enjoy America’s favorite international cuisine at a litany of hearty Italian restaurants. Cibo in Fort Myers is a long-time favorite. The meatballs are bigger than tennis balls, and the seafood dishes highly inventive. The chef at romantic newcomer Il Tesoro on Sanibel Island serves up “new classic” Italian cuisine such as gnocchi with sausage, shrimp and truffle cream sauce made right before your eyes. Another sure bet: Il Pomodoro in Fort Myers.

Thai
Cape Coral’s Siam Hut was the first and remains among the best. Have a seat at a traditional floor table if you wish. Thai Gardens in Fort Myers also scores high with Thai connoisseurs.

Peruvian
One of the hottest new culinary trends, Peruvian cuisine at El Patio in Fort Myers gets served up hardy, traditional-style. Try the multidimensional, folksy tacu tacu.

Beach Eats
Family favorite Doc’s Beach House on Bonita Beach serves traditional at-the-beach fare – “Sand Dollar burgers,” pizza, tacos, seafood – just steps from the sand. On Captiva Island, the Mucky Duck adds a British pub twist.

Bistro-Style
Modern café style prevails at Bistro 41 in Fort Myers, where rotisserie chicken is signature and the setting romantic. Bistro-hop to these other favorites: waterfront Rumrunners (Cape Coral) and Bayfront Bistro (Fort Myers Beach), and romantic, hip H2 Downtown Bistro (Fort Myers).

Ultra-Elegance
Once exclusively for hotel guests, the Dining Room at Gasparilla Inn & Club in Boca Grande now shares its new brand of creativity and historic romance with the public. Savor another helping of history and intimate ambiance at Old Captiva Inn at ‘Tween Waters Inn on Captiva Island.

Don’t Forget Dessert
Award-winning Norman Love Chocolate Salon in Fort Myers satisfies the most discriminating sweet tooth with its handmade, uniquely flavored truffles. Indulge in decadent cakes at Captiva Island’s Bubble Room and homemade ice cream at Boca Grande’s Loose Caboose.

Best Bets for Nightlife

After a day spent exploring, relax with a tropical drink to the lilting sounds of a reggae band or local songwriters' riffs on their island paradise.

Cold Beer, Cool Bars

A Room with a View
Two resorts feature lofty bars perched perfectly for a view of the western sky: JoJo’s on the Beach at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa on Fort Myers Beach and Charley’s Cabana Bar at Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa.

On the Waterfront
Looking for a casual, laid-back place to have a beer? Try Gramma Dot’s on Sanibel, Cabbage Key Inn (don’t forget to stick your dollar to the wall), Flippers on Lovers Key, RumRunners in Cape Coral or Doc’s Beach House on Bonita Beach.

Local Favorites
Where do the locals go to unwind? Find them the first Wednesday of each month at Yacht Club Community Park’s “Sunset Celebration on the Pier," with food, fun and live performances. Funky Bert’s Bar & Grill on Matlacha melds low-key lifestyles with a view of enchanting Matlacha Pass.

Sunset View
Watch the sun set with your toes in the sand at the Outrigger Tiki Bar on Fort Myers Beach or The Mucky Duck on Captiva. Uninterrupted views abound from the Beached Whale near Times Square on Fort Myers Beach.


The Sound of Music


Piano & Jazz Bars
Southern gentility and old standards are on the menu Tuesday through Saturday at The Veranda’s piano bar, where diners can sing along with the pianist. On Sanibel, Ellington’s Jazz Bar and Restaurant features live jazz seven nights a week.

Dance the Night Away
Junkanoo on the Beach on Fort Myers Beach is a casual, open-air family restaurant with a tropical feel. Get in the groove to the reggae beat.

Musical Musings
Gotta love a bar called The Cottage. Tucked away off Estero Boulevard on Fort Myers Beach, this local hangout has a deck overlooking the beach and features live music by local musicians.


For the Chic Crowd


Downtown Cool
World Famous Cigar Bar, in downtown Fort Myers, is a trendy spot for the hipper than hip. Long, sweeping, dynamically decorated bars take center stage at South Beach Grille on Fort Myers Beach and Cru and Blu Sushi in Fort Myers. Patrons are as sleekly dressed, martinis in hand, as these soigné lounges are designed.

Nightlife Primer: Beach Bars, Lounges & Clubs

"See where to find the most happenin' bars, lounges, clubs and other nightlife hotspots."

The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel is famous for sunshine, but when the sun goes down, the area sizzles with a rich and diverse nightlife scene. Whether near the beaches, the downtown River District or somewhere in between, it’s never hard to find fun after dark.


Sanibel Area


Charley’s Cabana Bar at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa is all about the spectacular sunset views over San Carlos Bay and a variety of tasty mojitos. An extra perk: Charley’s guests enjoy free valet parking. Open seven nights a week, 3 p.m. to 2 a.m.


Fort Myers Beach

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar and Grille, located directly on the water just before the Sky Bridge to Fort Myers Beach, is famous for hosting a wide array of local bands, from rock n’ roll to reggae. Open 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. seven days a week.

The Cottage Bar on Fort Myers Beach is a tradition for anyone visiting the island. Situated right on the Gulf, the action on the outdoor deck is fun, festive, affordable and rocks with live music until 2 a.m. every night (with Karaoke on Sundays). Open seven days a week starting at 11 a.m.


Fort Myers

The Edison, on palm-lined McGregor Boulevard just one mile south of The Edison-Ford Winter Estates, is the place to see and be seen any night of the week, but especially on Wednesday Ladies Nights when ladies drink free. It’s the hip hotspot for locals in know. Open 11 a.m. to midnight.

Bistro 41, nestled in the courtyard of the Bell Tower Shops, is ideal for cocktails and people-watching. The bar has a European feel, while the inviting outdoor tables charm guests with umbrellas and white linen tablecloths. Open 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; Sundays noon to 8 p.m.


Downtown Fort Myers / The River District

The Veranda in historic downtown Fort Myers boasts a popular piano bar and a reputation for the best martinis in the River District. A local favorite, the converted mansion has been going strong for over 30 years. Open Monday through Saturday until 10 p.m.

Spirits of Bacchus is famous for its bustling happy hour and friendly bartenders. During downtown’s Art Walk, held the first Friday evening of each month, art lovers gather for good conversation and cold drinks before or after strolling the neighborhood galleries. Open 4 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Saturday.


Gulf Coast Town Center

Blu Sushi in Gulf Coast Town Center near Florida Gulf Coast University attracts the young and the young at heart as deejays get the dance floor grooving with ‘80s music on Wednesdays and bartenders mix signature “outrageous cocktails” seven nights a week. Open from 11 a.m. to midnight.

Miller’s Ale House, just a short walk from Blu Sushi, is where a casual collegiate crowd gathers for 36 different kinds of beer on tap and a variety of sports on wide-screen TVs both indoors and out. Open seven nights a week, 5 to 11 p.m.


Cape Coral

Pearl Lounge in the heart of downtown Cape Coral has fans from all over Southwest Florida crossing the bridge to the Cape for theme nights like Fashion Fridays, Girls Night Out and Paparazzi Parties. Every month, the venue features national live bands. Open 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

The Leapin’ Lizard on Cape Coral Parkway presents local bands and drink specials nightly, but Tail Twistin’ Tuesdays are for country music fans and line-dancers, as well as folks who love a bargain like dollar draft beers. Open from noon to 2 a.m., seven days a week.

Waterfront Restaurants

"Culinary adventures at waterfront seafood restaurants in the Fort Myers Sanibel area prove a delight for the taste buds and a treat for the soul. "

"After a day spent out on the water or lounging on the beach, there’s no need to venture far from the water’s edge when it comes time for lunch or dinner. With 590 miles of coastline, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel offers up a number of restaurants where dining in sight of tropical waters pleasantly punctuates a day spent out of doors.


Sanibel Island
Thistle Lodge at Casa Ybel Resort is one of the most romantic spots on the planet. This restaurant features small dining rooms on various levels. For the best view, request a table in the conservatory area, or in the elegant turreted room. Dishes of note include the Ahi Tuna Tatake appetizer and Mojito Glazed Black Grouper dinner.

Gramma Dot's offers up an altogether different experience. This restaurant is on the grounds of Sanibel Marina, and its wooden frame holds only screening as a buffer from the elements. A white-painted interior sets the stage for ship's wheels and brass nauticalia. Try a mesquite-grilled grouper sandwich with homemade potato chips and other casual fare served in elegant baskets.

 

Fort Myers Beach
JoJo's at the Beach puts you in mind of a sunset sail with its seashore-themed interior, tucked under the large canopy of the Pink Shell Beach Resort. Fare here tends to the light and casual. Shrimp accompanied by feta cheese, juicy watermelon and avocado makes for a refreshing lunch. Get here early for a view of the sunset.

 

Matlacha/Pine Island
Bert's Bar and Grill in Matlacha is one of the last vestiges of a dying breed – the Florida seafood joint on the water. Go for the food and the view. And the friendly faces. All sorts of folk stop in for the excellent grouper sandwich and other delectable seafood delights, served in paper-lined baskets. The owners get their catch from local fishermen just in at the docks.

At the southern tip of Pine Island in St. James City sits another venerable salty dog in the form of The Waterfront Restaurant, a century-old former schoolhouse. The appeal here is the rustic, wooden interior plastered with customers' drawings (some of them quite artistic) and the fresh-from-the-gulf fare, including local grouper and mahi-mahi.


Fort Myers
OK, so it's not really waterfront – more like in the water – but the Sanibel Harbour Princess yacht offers a surf-side experience like no other in the Fort Myers-Sanibel area. Cruising from the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa, the Princess makes you feel like one as it makes its way along the mangrove coast. Brunch and dinner cruises feature an extensive buffet.


Boca Grande & Outer Islands
The most famous culinary interpretation at the Cabbage Key Inn is none other than the Cheeseburger in Paradise, named for the Jimmy Buffett tune it is rumored to have inspired. The peel 'n’ eat shrimp give the ample burger a run for its money. A star sweet attraction is the frozen Key lime pie – it tastes like a frozen limeade, and “refreshing” doesn't even come close."

Kid-Friendly Restaurants

"These family-friendly spots satisfy parents and kids alike -- color on tablecloths, read menus in 3-D and feed even the pickiest eaters. "

We believe that family dining should be good for everyone. And although The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel has its share of family-welcoming chains, we seek out places that reflect the region’s unique flavors.

Sanibel Island

Matzaluna– When our son was in elementary school, we’d go here for pizza (him) and pasta (us). He would take along toy cars and draw racetracks on the butcher paper table covering until his pizza arrived.

Lazy Flamingo(Sanibel Island and Pine Island) – Now that our son is a teen, he loves the spicy chicken wings at the Flamingo. The original on Sanibel keeps kids busy with a hanging ring-on-a-string game.

Hungry Heron– This eatery, with its cartoon-airing TVs and more than 30 kid selections on the menu, definitely rates among kids.

Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille– Doc Ford’s is just down the road from the school and ball fields, so families inevitably end up here after the game. Kids keep busy with fun games on the kids’ menu, and parents are happy in the company of other families.

 

Boca Grande & Outer Islands

Loose Caboose – Set in a historic train depot, it carries a sweet cargo of homemade ice cream for bribery purposes. The from-scratch menu is designed for family appetites and budgets. Offers pet-friendly outside dining.

Cabbage Key Inn– It’s more than lunch. It’s an adventure. It requires a boat trip to get there. Relax on the patio, where the kids can race around the lawn and feed the ducks.

 

Captiva Island

Bubble Room– Servers wearing funny hats, nostalgic toys everywhere, an electric train running under the ceiling – this place is equal parts fun house and restaurant.

RC Otter’s– You feel like you’ve stepped into a Sunday comic strip here, there’s so much color and animation. The Gator Bites stand among 20 small-fry entrees priced at $4.99. Pet-friendly outdoor dining area.

 

Bonita Beach

Big Hickory Seafood Grille– Egrets, pelicans and one little blue heron fish for their lunch while kids eat grouper ""fingers"" on the back porch of a bait shop-fishing charter shack.

Doc’s Beach House – Doc’s is right on the beach, and you can eat your burgers and pizza at an outdoor table, in the downstairs casual dining room or upstairs in the air-conditioning.

 

Fort Myers Beach

Times Square Sidewalk Eateries– Sit down at a sidewalk café for seafood or Greek, or buy slices of pizza and ice cream cones and plop down on the sand for an easy sunset repast.

 

Pine Island

Waterfront Restaurant – Here’s another place where you can take it outside, with a view of boats chugging into Henley Canal. Kids love the ""Waterdoggie"" foot-long hot dog, so be sure to ask for it.


Fort Myers

Tarpon House Restaurant at Sanibel Harbour– Read the menu from pictures on a 3D Viewmaster™. They even cut the crusts from the PBJs. Parents will like that the burgers come with carrot sticks instead of fries.

Shrimp Shack(Fort Myers, Cape Coral and Bonita Springs) – These restaurants are all about Florida style with casual attitudes, colorful and cartoonish wall murals and, best of all, seafood.

Broadway Palm Dinner Theater– Buffet line favorites such as pizza and mac‘n’cheese, plus family-tailored stage entertainment, such as “The Emperor's New Clothes” and “Cinderella.”

Joe’s Crab Shack– Order a round of Buccaneer Brews (kids’ punch) at this all-about-fun riverfront spot. Kids can build their own ice cream sundaes.

Iguana Mia(Cape Coral, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs) – The bright colors and faux murals are fun, plus they give the kids a taste of tacos, quesadillas and more common fare."

Healthy Glow: Organic and Vegetarian Dining

"Whether you're a vegan or a vegetarian or you just love a great veggie wrap, there are many places where you can sate your appetite for healthy fare. "

Often referred to as the Garden Spot of the U.S., The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel has two growing seasons, which means lots of fresh, sun-ripened vegetables, fruits, herbs and even edible flowers. Which in turn means vegans, vegetarians and your garden-variety vegetable lovers are in luck year ’round.
For Goodness Sake in Bonita Springs serves a menu of salads, sandwiches and fruit or protein smoothies in addition to selling local honey and a wide variety of fresh, locally grown, frozen and canned organic products.

Other restaurants in the area, particularly ethnic ones, devote a section of their menu to vegetarian appetites. At Siam Hut in Cape Coral, for instance, all of its Thai noodle, curry and stir-fried dishes are available meat-free. In Fort Myers, India Palace’s menu lists more than a dozen vegetable dishes, with or without cheese, such as alu chole (curried potatoes and chick peas) and panirmasala (cubes of homemade cheese in fresh tomato sauce and Indian spices).

For vegetarian take-out and products, check out The Sandy Butler Gourmet Market on Fort Myers Beach. This inviting market, shiny as a new penny, touts itself as gourmet and downplays its organic products but does sell a good selection of produce and meat free of pesticides and hormones. The owners grow their own citrus in a pesticide-free grove in Alva.

At the deli, ready-made dishes include an assortment of veggie temptations, such as arugula and mushroom-stuffed portobello, wild rice salad, eggplant rollatini, vegetable pasta salads and broccoli rabe with whole cloves of garlic. Cheese connoisseurs will be enthralled by the store’s selection, which comes from every corner of the world. The range of gourmet products also blows the mind (not to mention the diet).

Another good source for organic produce and products is Fresh Market in Fort Myers, but like Sandy Butler, it does not sequester organic in a special section. You have to sift through the shelves to find what you’re looking for. Sweetbay stores throughout the area do keep organic products separate. Three other good sources for good-for-you groceries is Healthy Habits in Fort Myers, Healthy Gourmet in Lehigh Acres and Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel Island.
So rest assured, when you visit The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, you can return home with a healthy glow – outside and in."

Just Desserts

"Treat your sweet to dessert at these favorite eateries, colorful cafes, ice cream parlors, Euro-style bakeries and specialty shops. "

For every mood and stage of your relationship, there should be sweetness. The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel has your shared sweet tooth covered with delights of every sort.

Let Yourselves Eat Cake
When you’re falling in love, it’s time to eat cake. You’ll find the best selection, in oversized portions that are perfect for sharing, at the Bubble Room on Captiva Island. (The Red Velvet is legendary, but the Orange Crunch is my favorite.)

Live on Bread (Pudding) Alone
If bread pudding is your passion (as it is my husband’s and mine), take our recommendations for the best in the area: In Cape Coral, RumRunners serves a warm chocolate bread pudding (did I detect a splash of rum in there?) to swoon over. In Bonita Springs, Wylds Café’s sinful cinnamon bread pudding comes with a pecan praline crust, warm caramel sauce and crème anglaise. And in downtown’s historic River District, The Bar Association’s Louisiana bread pudding is studded with raisins and pineapple and topped with a creamy bourbon sauce. Oooeee!

Ice Cream Indulgence
Why scream? Eat ice cream instead. Nothing melts discord and hearts like a double-dip ice cream cone, and purveyors of homemade goodness spread throughout this land.

In Cape Coral, hit the old-fashioned ice cream stand with a Holstein paint job called The Working Cow to try the Cow Tracks flavor (chocolate swirl with chocolate-peanut butter cups). And what could be more romantic than slurping side-by-side at Love Boat Homemade Ice Cream in Fort Myers Beach? Royal Scoop reigns imperial in Bonita Springs.

On Captiva, you’ll find Queenie’s Real Homemade Ice Cream, produced locally, at Latté Da. On Sanibel Island, Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream sells Italian ice cream (the Dirty Sandollar flavor is a good choice, swirled with caramel and studded with chocolate chips and malt balls). Or for a milkshake in any of more than 50 flavors, stop at the original Cheeburger Cheeburger, also on SanibelIsland.

To the Bakery
To put a little ooh-la-la in your relationship, hit European-American Bakery, which whips up everything from strudel and éclairs to scones and pineapple upside down cake.

Romanced by Chocolate
Finally, to get your day’s chocolate buzz and pheromone recharge, visit Norman Love Confections in Fort Myers for nibbles of divine homemade truffles. I recommend the passionfruit flavor for lovers everywhere. Norman Love (that’s really the chocolate chef’s name!) has been top-listed by Consumer Reports, USA Today, The New York Times and others.

If you prefer to sip your love potion, try the Coco Vino (a perfect accompaniment to Love's truffles) at Time to Make Wine in Cape Coral."

Go
  • BUTTERFLY RAINFOREST
    “Beyond expectations.” - Florida

  • Review #2
    “Really cool!” - Florida

  • Another Review
    “Great place!” - Reviewer

Find more reviews and tips on TripAdvisor
Close

Enter our weekly giveaway. You could win a print of Chicago artist Judy Ledgerwood’s artwork inspired by The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. One entry per day.

Thank you for entering today.
Good luck!

    Register for Favorites







  • Sign Up

    Recover Your Password

    Enter your email address below and an email will be sent to you with your password.


  • Submitloader
  • login
Hidden Clicker