Fort Myers

Stay in the center of it all.

Some call it Downtown Fort Myers. Others know it as the historic River District or the City of Palms (drive down McGregor Boulevard and you'll know why). Whatever its name, since Thomas Edison and Henry Ford established their winter estates here, this Southern influenced town has grown into a city with attractions and atmosphere worthy of a bigger city's envy.


Downtown Fort Myers, also known as the River District, forms the core of a city that stretches for miles south along the Caloosahatchee River and east to the rural interior. Named for a Civil War-era army colonel, Fort Myers' history parallels that of Florida itself.

Indigenous peoples, the Calusa Indians, inhabited the islands nearby. Later, pioneers settled the pine flatwoods, and cattle drivers escorted their charges down what is now McGregor Boulevard to ships docked at Punta Rassa. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford put the town on the proverbial map when they chose the City of Palms as their winter getaway.

Today, Fort Myers is a bustling metropolis with ecological, historical and cultural attractions, as well as shopping across the spectrum – high-end outlets, antiques, boutiques and outdoor malls. Dining and nightlife entertain when the sun goes down – watch a spectacular “show" as it sinks over the Caloosahatchee.

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Fort Myers’ movers and shakers will be seated all around as you breakfast at the Oasis downtown. No one’s a stranger here, and the homespun atmosphere is heartwarming. Try one of the sumptuous skillets.

Next, take a historic downtown walking tour (offered at 10 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays from December through April – reservation required) with the Southwest Florida Museum of History or take advantage of ample opportunities for antiques hunting. Eat lunch at April’s Eatery (cash only) inside the historic Arcade Theatre building.

Little kids in tow? Head to the Imaginarium Hands-On Museum & Aquarium for an afternoon of hands-on learning and exploration. Budding historians, scientists and inventors will want to take a narrated tour of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, just south of downtown. While children of all ages will enjoy the indoor/outdoor celebration of the prolific inventors’ and industrialists’ lives, staffers say kids ages 9 and older get the most out of the experience.

Dinner options abound, but try kid-friendly Joe’s Crab Shack, right on the water. For a more sophisticated evening out (sans kids), head to The Veranda.

Beach Venues & Locations

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    • BUTTERFLY RAINFOREST
      “Beyond expectations.” - Florida

    • Review #2
      “Really cool!” - Florida

    • Another Review
      “Great place!” - Reviewer

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