Fort Myers Beach

One of the world's safest family beaches.

Before bridges connected Estero Island to the mainland, Fort Myers Beach was a 7-mile stretch of coastline known for its shallow water, no undertow and little else. These days, the safe beaches remain, along with family-friendly resorts, charming Gulf-side seafood restaurants and nightlife that gets going just after yet another immaculate sunset. Where this island really shines is in the various recreation possibilities outdoor enthusiasts enjoy like Lovers Key State Park, where back bays and mangrove forests make for great kayaking and wildlife watching.

Fort Myers Beach Community

"Boating, sailing, and fishing make this island a real recreational playground."

It's hard to imagine Fort Myers Beach as a remote stretch of green edged with white, soft sand and accessible only by boat. However, that's just what it was until the first "Little Bridge" was constructed to bring tourists and locals alike to the seven-mile Estero Island through Bunche Beach on the mainland. By the late 1920s, a new bridge (actually a second-hand one from the East coast of Florida) was installed near the current San Carlos Bridge.

Little by little, Estero Island's attractive features, including miles and miles of white, sandy beaches, have captured the imaginations of visitors from near and far. This beach community draws visitors from Canada, Germany, France and the United Kingdom each year.

Boating, sailing, and fishing make this island a real recreational playground.

Add to that a great number of family-friendly resorts, quaint cottages, Old Florida charm, restaurants serving fresh seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and an annual Shrimp Festival, and it's a beach vacation paradise.

Nightlife gleams along the northern tip of the island around shopping-and-dining destination Times Square, and sunset watching is a favored pastime.

Fort Myers Beach Quick Trips

"Rent a powerboat, seek out wildlife at a state park, go shopping at Times Square, or catch the sunset."

Rent a powerboat, seek out wildlife at a state park, go shopping at Times Square, catch the sunset at nearby Lovers Key – or just hit the beach.

Sneak Away: While everybody else is making the scene around Fort Myers Beach’s Times Square beaches and clubs, steal away to Bowditch Point Regional Park (239-765-6794), a north-end haven for bird watching and panoramic views of Estero Bay.

Look for Fins and Snouts: Each day brings new surprises when you set sail on a nature cruise. Some tours cast seine nets to introduce visitors to tiny creatures from the sea. Others go in search of dolphin, manatees and birds where they live.

Follow Ancient Trails: Paddle your way from one end of the county to the other along the Great Calusa Blueway (239-461-7400), a marked and GPS-plotted coastal waterway trail named for a native tribe that covers 190 miles.

Captain Your Own Destiny: Or at least your own salty, exciting day riding the waves: Rent a powerboat from one of the local marinas. Explore secluded beaches, visit uninhabited islands and cast for your fantasy fish.

Learn Seafood Ways: Fort Myers Beach’s reputation for shrimp is anything but shrimpy. On St. Carlos Island in Fort Myers Beach, follow the five-stop Working Waterfront Trail (239-765-8101) to learn about the town’s shrimping heritage and see the industry in action, from boat to box.

Hit the Jackpot: Take a cruise with Lady Luck and enjoy dining, gambling and live entertainment on the high seas aboard Big M Casino (239-765-7529) in Fort Myers Beach.

Keep the Kiddies Cool: With its two-story slide and Tad Pool, Fort Myers Beach Pool (239-463-5759) makes a splash with the water wings crowd.

Do the Pub Hop: Fort Myers Beach has a reputation for fun, and its pubs and clubs around the Times Square pedestrian area stay lively with bands, dancing and general good spirits.

Get in Touch with Sea Creatures: Ostego Bay Marine Science Center (239-765-8101) on Fort Myers Beach lets visitors in on its research in a showroom full of aquariums and touchable exhibits.

Play in the Sun: If you like action with your beach scene, at Lynn Hall Memorial Park (239-765-6794), Fort Myers Beach, you’ll find yourself smack dab in the middle of pastimes for babies to baby-boomers. Shops, restaurants, pubs, a fishing pier, a playground and watersports are all within walking distance.

Soar Like a Pelican: The adventurous ride a parasail up to 1,200 feet to peer down on the Gulf and beach, aloft in a dimension that can’t be described, only experienced. Fort Myers Beach is popular among parasailing operators.

Catch the Big Ones: Fort Myers Beach is known for its big-catch fishing excursions, and you’re invited along. Full-facility boats set sail daily (weather permitting) for half- and full-day excursions into deep waters where monster fish await your hook.

Fish with the Pelicans: Fort Myers Beach Pier, one of the oldest landmarks along the beach, is the place where lovers, strollers, pelicans and – of course – fishermen, gather.

Learn the Mystery of the Mangroves: On Fort Myers Beach, Matanzas Pass Preserve’s (239-765-4222) tucked-away spot gives pause to reflect in the ambiance of mangroves and maritime oak hammocks along a 1.25-mile loop boardwalk trail.

Peel a Shrimp: Ask any shrimp connoisseur – pink shrimp is absolutely the sweetest and tastiest. That’s what the shrimp fleet of Fort Myers Beach pulls from local waters year ’round, serving it up fresh in island restaurants and celebrating it at an annual shrimp festival.

Get in the Pink: Emerge a new person, relaxed and buffed from head to toe, when you visit the spacious Aquagene Spa at Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa (239-463-6181, 888-847-8939), Fort Myers Beach.

A Day on Fort Myers Beach

"In Fort Myers Beach, indulge in fresh seafood on the beach, explore a marine science center and eat dinner with a sunset view."

Begin a tour of Fort Myers Beach at nearby Lovers Key State Park, where you can ride a bike, hike through the woods, see gentle manatees, go fishing or kayak through inner waterways. Bicycle and kayak rentals are available on site.

Have a picnic on the beach or drive up Estero Island and over to San Carlos Island, home of the Shrimp Fleet. Have lunch at the plastic-tablecloth/fish market Beach Seafood Market restaurant. Next, explore marine life at the nearby Ostego Bay Marine Science Center.

Head back over the bridge to Estero Island and settle in at the Outrigger Beach Resort’s Tiki Bar or atop the Beached Whale for front-row seats of the sunset. Have dinner and take in a movie at the Beach Theater, then relax under the stars at Times Square, a pedestrian-friendly shopping and dining area.

  • Another Review
    “Great place!” - Reviewer

  • Review #2
    “Really cool!” - Florida

    “Beyond expectations.” - Florida

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