Journey Across the Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel: A 4-Day Itinerary
Fort Myers and Sanibel Island stand as exotic Southwest Florida places to traverse. White sand beaches with subtropical wildlife and lush foliage can be found here, along with the heritage and homes of famed Americans named Edison and Ford.
Stop in at Edison & Ford Winter Estates, the Fort Myers winter homes for inventor Thomas Edison and automobile industrialist Henry Ford.
Take a 90-minute guided tour of Edison’s 14-acre riverfront estate, laboratory and experimental gardens. The three- acre winter home of Ford, nicknamed "The Mangoes", features a display of Ford vehicles dating to 1914. Consider the possibility of a river cruise that will take you down the Calusa, past the Estate, in a boat for an eco-friendly tour.
After lunch, Babcock Wilderness Adventures can take your group on a 90-minute swamp buggy eco-tour with a trained naturalist through Telegraph Cypress Swamp. Look for cougars, alligators, snakes and birds along with natural fauna.
Before dinner, stop in at the 50,000-square-foot Shell Factory and Nature Park, one of the largest collections of shells, fossils, corals, jewelry, pearls and resort wear anywhere. Both attractions are located just north of Fort Myers.
Florida is known for its citrus fruit, so squeeze in a little time south of Fort Myers to visit Sun Harvest Citrus, whose roots date to 1940 in Vero Beach along the Indian River. The Fort Myers retail store and packing house opened in 1990, when founder Robert Edsall, Sr.’s granddaughter, Sandy McKenzie, decided to offer the Edsall Groves’ Indian River citrus to the public.
Visit Art of the Olympians Museum and Gallery on the waterfront in historic Fort Myers’ River District. The Art of the Olympians Al Oerter Center for Excellence is a popular destination for art lovers, sports enthusiasts and people of all ages.
Oerter, a four-time Olympic gold medalist discus thrower, envisioned an arena that would be home to physical, educational and artistic excellence. The museum and gallery feature the art of celebrated U.S. Olympians, such as ice skater Peggy Fleming, javelin thrower Ronald Bradstock and sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner.
Next, check out the diverse wildlife along the Caloosahatchee River, including waterfowl, manatees and dolphins, along with various lush plants. J.C. Cruises offers a daytime cruise with narration aboard its triple-decker paddle-wheeler.
After breakfast, head to Sanibel Island for a 90-minute tram tour of J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, located on the subtropical barrier island of Sanibel in the Gulf of Mexico.
The refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States. It is world famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations and offers kayaking.
Next on your visit to Sanibel, head to Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum and its display of shells from around the world with a focus on southwest Florida.
In the afternoon, stroll the shell-laden beaches of Sanibel Island at Lighthouse Beach. The lighthouse, built in 1884, makes a nice backdrop for group photos.
Have dinner at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Celebrating its 18th season in Fort Myers, its facility includes a 448-seat dinner theatre; a 98-seat black-box theatre, the Off Broadway Palm Theatre; the 120-seat dining room, Café Cabaret, and The Art Café, a 30-seat space off the main lobby.
Get away to Key West for the day aboard Key West Express, departing from Fort Myers Beach. Climb aboard the high- speed ferry before spending the day touring the Florida Keys and returning to Fort Myers Beach.
Attractions & Activities - History, Arts & Entertainment
>Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Museum and Lab
>Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum
>Art of the Olympians
>Historical Museum of Southwest Florida
>Koreshan State Historical Site
>Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
>Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre
>Sanibel Historical Village & Museum
>Calusa Heritage Trail
>Matlacha Art Galleries
Eco Tours & Parks
>J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
>Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
>Babcock Wilderness Adventures
>Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium
>ECHO Global Village
>Lovers Key State Park
>Sun Harvest Citrus Market
>Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife
>Fort Myers Princess
>Adventures in Paradise
>Island Water Tours
>Jug Creek Marina Cruises
>Everglades Airboat & Cruise Tours
>Estero Bay Boat Tour
>Key West Express
For custom itineraries that are "group friendly" and include "being-the-scenes" tours, contact Candice Cocco by calling 239-338-3500 or 800-237-6444 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org