Family Fun

Never a dull moment.

Almost everything on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel is family friendly. From learning about Calusa culture on Pine Island to attending sailing school on Captiva or a spring training baseball game, sharing memories is what vacation is all about. Of course, then there's the beach, which everyone in the family is sure to love.

Best Bets For Family Fun

Fun with Food
For breakfast, kids love the Belgian waffles at Island Cow on Sanibel Island. Keep the kids entertained watching boat traffic and enjoy fresh seafood at Snug Harbor at Fort Myers Beach or the Waterfront Restaurant on Pine Island.

For a relaxed atmosphere, try the local favorite McGregor Café in Fort Myers or Doc's Beach House in Bonita Springs. Or watch the sunset at Lynn Hall Memorial Park at Fort Myers Beach, play on the playground and enjoy dinner at a sidewalk café in Times Square. At the Loose Caboose in Boca Grande, the whole family will appreciate the famous ice cream.

Museums, Theater and the Library
Learn about the early locals at downtown Fort Myers’ Southwest Florida Museum of History. Also on view are an authentic pioneer “Cracker House" and a 1929 Pullman rail car. Creativity and innovation will be sparked at the Edison & Ford Winter Estate, Fort Myers, where tours explore the lives of the two great inventors.

To learn about an amazing variety of shells, The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum on Sanibel Island is the place. Lee County’s Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium offers a variety of educational programs for young and old. The Broadway Palm Dinner Theater offers children’s shows and professional productions that kids of all ages will enjoy. Or check in at the Sanibel Public Library for kids’ programs, an aquarium, puzzles, games and its own shell collection.

Parks, Beaches and Life-Sized Dinosaurs
Head to Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers and ride the miniature train, then splash in the interactive fountains, climb the wall, rent a paddle boat, bike the paved paths (on-site rentals) and have a picnic. Next door to the park, you can putt around at Castle Golf.

At The Shell Factory & Nature Park in North Fort Myers, ride bumper boats and see life-sized dinosaur models and cool animals. At Lovers Key State Park, watch birds fishing for breakfast. The park offers weekly kid camps on cast-netting, birding, fishing and beach habitat.

After seeing endangered manatees at Manatee Park in Fort Myers, let the kids run off energy at the playground. Rent bikes of all sizes from Sanibel Island’s numerous concessions, then bike the 4-mile or 2-mile loop at the J.N. “Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Hike the Shell Mound Trail and follow its boardwalk into the mangroves, keeping an eye out for sunbathing alligators.

Souvenirs and Surf Shops
Take home an inexpensive treasure from the sea at the various shell shops located around town (try She Sells Sea Shells, Sanibel; The Shell Factory & Nature Park, North Fort Myers. If it’s choices you want, try the Edison Mall in Fort Myers. With lots to look at and a variety of dining options, shopping at Times Square on Fort Myers Beach is a good bet too. Teens especially will enjoy checking out the surf shops.

To learn more about fun-for-all-ages attractions in The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel and the surrounding areas, visit the Southwest Florida Attractions Association website.

Natural Fun for Kids

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Cool wildlife. Watery touch tank encounters. Exciting sea life cruises. The Fort Myers Sanibel area is full of all-natural ways to fascinate kids.

Creature Meet & Greet
Meet creatures from bugs to gators up close in the exhibits and on the trails at Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium in Fort Myers. The Insectarium is crawling with live bugs. Kids can even dress up like an insect. There are also snake feedings, baby gators and live turtles inside the nature center. Outside, the trails take you to a butterfly house, aviary, touch tank and an area with a bobcat and foxes.

Beach Scavenger Hunt
Challenge kids to turn up conch shells, egg cases, crab holes, sea stars, turtle grass, clams and more on the miles of white sand spread throughout The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Programs offered by Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation and Adventures in Paradise help them identify their beach and inshore findings.

I Spy Wildlife
Start with a visit to the new eco-friendly, interactive visitors center at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers before heading out on the boardwalk trails to see how many birds and other creatures they can spot. Volunteers lead 90-minute guided walks daily and often bring along a spotting scope for zeroing in on bald eagles and gators. Also in Fort Myers, Manatee Park’s “Eye on Nature” self-guided activity is a hit with families – kids receive a magnifying glass upon completion.

Family Fun Attractions Venues & Locations

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    Beaches, Parks & Nature

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