LEE COUNTY, Fla. (U.S.A.) – In addition to great, year-round weather, shell-drenched beaches and the sparkling Gulf of Mexico, The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in Southwest Florida continues to provide new experiences for visitors to Florida’s unspoiled island destination. For the latest vacation information, visit FortMyers-Sanibel.com
Save the dates for the 7th Annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest. Returning Sept. 18-27, 2020, the award-winning, 10-day event will include star-studded performances by some of country music’s greatest singer-songwriters from Nashville and nationwide. It kicks off on Captiva Island Sept. 18-20 2020; moves to downtown Fort Myers Sept. 21-24; and ends at Fort Myers Beach Sept. 25-27.
Enjoy more than 80 artists and 100 shows. Most are free in small, intimate venues. Stay tuned for details at islandhopperfest.com or download the free Island Hopper Songwriter Fest app on iOS, Android and Google Play.
ArtFest Fort Myers, downtown historic district
Jan. 31-Feb 2, 2020
On the waterfront in downtown Fort Myers, visitors enjoy made-in-USA original art by more than 200 artists. Enjoy food, music and fun for the whole family and opening night activities Jan. 31, 2020.
Friends of Lovers Key Annual Vow Renewal, Lovers Key State Park
Feb. 14, 2020
10 a.m., 1 p.m. or 4 p.m.
Love is always in the air at Lovers Key State Park, but even more so on Valentine's Day. Couples are invited to renew their vows by the gazebo on the beach and enjoy a champagne toast, meal by Truly Scrumptious, dancing, photos and a vow renewal certificate. Tickets: $125 per couple. This memorable event always sells out so book now.
82nd Annual Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade, Fort Myers
Feb. 15, 2020
During February, Fort Myers celebrates the birthday of its most illustrious historical resident, Thomas Alva Edison, in befitting fashion. Edison, who built a home on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and spent 46 winters there, invented the light bulb and held more than 1,200 patents. It’s appropriate that the month of activities culminates with a lighted night parade. Invention competitions, parties, craft shows and a 5K run are all part of the festival.
The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel is the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Get up close and see your favorite baseball players. What could be better than beautiful spring days and great baseball? For a complete listing of packages, special rates and information on a spring training vacation, visit FortMyersSanibel.com.
Boston Red Sox spring training
Feb. 21-March 24, 2020 JetBlue Park, Fort Myers redsox.com
Minnesota Twins spring training
Feb. 21-March 23, 2020
CenturyLink Sports Complex, Fort Myers twinsbaseball.com
83rd Annual Sanibel Shell Fair & Show, Sanibel Island
March 5-7, 2020
Sanibel Community House
Sanibel Island, named the best shelling beach in the U.S. and one of the best in the world, hosts shelling enthusiasts who gather each year for the shell fair that draws visitors from around the globe. One of the most unique events in the country, it began on a porch with just a few islanders and has evolved into today's fair.
21st Annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival
Fort Myers Regional Library Campus
March 7, 2020
Celebrate the power of reading at the 21st annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival at the Fort Myers Regional Library campus at 2450 First St., Fort Myers. The free, family-oriented festival is a chance to meet well-known authors and to focus on the importance of reading. There will also be books and authors for kids and teens. readfest.org
62nd Annual Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival and Parade, Fort Myers Beach
March 14-15, 2020
The 62nd Annual Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival and Parade takes place at Lynn Hall Memorial Park on Fort Myers Beach. Both days are filled with fun, food and crafts as well as the world-famous Lions Club shrimp dinners. Shrimp are from our local fleets and are as fresh as you can get. Enjoy a 5K run, the Shrimp Festival Parade, crowning of the Shrimp Queen and a shrimp eating competition.
Echo Global Food & Farm Festival, North Fort Myers
March 13-14, 2020
For 29 years, ECHO (Educational Concern for Hunger Organization) has been host to Southwest Florida’s premier festival focusing on sustainable living, agriculture and food. Partnering with local organizations and businesses, ECHO’s Global Food and Farm Festival has provided thousands of attendees with the opportunity to taste exotic foods, experience life in a foreign country and explore the Global Farm, learning about food and culture in a new way.
Visitors will tour a tropical rainforest demonstration, a 300+ variety seed bank, take an educational tour of the fruit tree arboretum or learn about alternative energies. Kids of all ages can taste, touch and experience their way around the world as they learn about world hunger and ways they can make an impact.
14th annual Fort Myers Beach International Film Festival, Fort Myers Beach
April 22-26, 2020
The Fort Myers Beach Film Festival invites independent film fans, filmmakers and distributors to spend four days to exchange ideas, make new contacts and enjoy some great films for all ages. Area accommodations offer special rates and packages to support this international celebration of independent filmmaking.
Smoke on the Water Barbecue Competition & Music Festival, downtown Fort Myers
April 26-27, 2020
The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center will host barbecue cook teams from across the South to compete in the 7th Annual Smoke on the Water Barbecue Competition & Music Festival 2020. This community event brings an authentic experience of craft barbecue, beer and bands.
10th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival
May 6-10, 2020
Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center
The Fort Myers Film Festival is an intelligent independent filmmaker’s preferred event to create, unite and showcase the finest artistic cinematic works. Known for its support of local filmmakers, the event is a must-attend for cineastes who love indie film and film festivals.
“Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tourney, Sanibel Island
May 22, 2020
To celebrate the history of the first documented tarpon caught on a rod-and-reel in “Ding” Darling’s Tarpon Bay in 1885, Doc Ford’s and the “Ding” Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge have partnered to host this 9th annual “catch, care and release” tournament.
Proceeds support the wildlife and conservation efforts at the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
25th Annual MangoMania Tropical Fruit Festival, Cape Coral
July 11-12, 2020
German-American Social Club
The mango is the star attraction for two days each summer on Pine Island. Go wild for fruit as you sample locally grown delicacies at this annual affair, an unusual celebration of all the tropical fruit grown on the island. Fruit, exotic fruit trees and fruit-related products are available for purchase. This fun, family event celebrates Pine Island’s mangoes and other tropical fruits. In addition to mango food and beverages, the event features live music, art and craft vendors, food and recipe contests, activities area for kids and a chance to meet the Mango Queen.
Roar Offshore, Fort Myers Beach
Oct. 8-10, 2020
Get ready to celebrate the return of Offshore Powerboat Racing to Fort Myers Beach with this National Championship Race. The entire race will be visible anywhere on the beach from the pier to mid-island and on the water in the spectator anchoring area.
34th Annual Oktoberfest, Cape Coral
Oct. 16-18 and 23-25, 2020
German-American Social Club
Hosted by the German-American Social Club, this huge celebration brings organizes Munich to Cape Coral. The Cape Coral Oktoberfest is the largest party of the year in the community and is the event for fun, good food, freshly poured domestic and German beer, live music on several stages, laughter, dancing.
32nd Annual “Ding” Darling Day, Sanibel Island
Check website for a list of free events throughout the day.
Cape Coral CoCoNut Festival, Cape Coral
Nov. 12-15, 2020
Sun Splash Family Water Park
Cape Coral CoCoNut Festival celebrates Cape Coral’s reputation for coconuts, multi- cultural food, boating, fishing and wildlife. The festival will feature a national musical act, gymnastic entertainment, carnival rides, water-ski shows, tropical food, contests, coconut crafts and fireworks.
34th Annual American Sand Sculpting Championships, Fort Myers Beach
In front of Wyndham Garden Hotel
Join the fun on Fort Myers Beach for the Annual American Sand Sculpting Championship. Sponsored by the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, USA Today and CNN Travel have named a “must-see” and one of the 10 best sand-sculpting competitions in the world.
45th Annual Holiday Nights at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers
A not-to-be-missed holiday tradition, the historic buildings and more than 20 acres of gardens are decorated with lights and traditional decorations. The event offers a special holiday tour, Children’s Tree Trail, Santa visits on select nights, refreshments and shopping in the Ford Cottage Shoppe, museum store and garden shoppe. This year's theme is “River Reflection” and will incorporate nautical elements. New this year: the Mysore Fig, one of the largest historic trees on the property, will sparkle with thousands of animated lights choreographed to holiday music. edisonfordwinterestates.org/calendar
Edison Ford Holiday Nights reflect the many contributions of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and their families to the local community. It was chosen by the editors of USA Today as one of the 10 Best Historic Homes for the Holidays. In addition, The American Bus Association (ABA) designated the event as one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2016.
14th Annual Festival of Trees presented by Goodwill Industries, downtown Fort Myers
Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center
Get into the holiday spirit with a stroll through a showcase of festive trees in the historic Fort Myers River District.
36th Annual Christmas Luminary Trail and Open House, Sanibel and Captiva islands
Dec.4 on Sanibel Island and Dec. 5 on Captiva Island, 2020
This event draws visitors from all over the world as they join local residents to celebrate the season with 3 miles of luminary candles and events.
8th Annual Holiday Stroll on South Seas Island Resort
South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island hosts its 7th annual Holiday Stroll every Friday and Saturday night. In conjunction with the 2019 Captiva Holiday Village, the 330-acre resort transforms its picturesque marina and north end into a winter wonderland with thousands of twinkling lights. During the first weekend, Jimmy Buffet Band’s Peter Mayer will perform two festive concerts from 8-9:30 p.m. on the Marina Walk in the Yacht Harbour Marina. The Holiday Stroll is free and concert is $10.
River District Holidays, downtown Fort Myers
Dec. 1, 2020-Jan. 2, 2021
The calendar is packed with holiday events to get you in the spirit of the season. Festival of Trees, Holiday Stroll and Tree Lighting, Burroughs’s Home & Gardens Holiday House, Music Walk, holiday concert and a New Year’s Eve celebration to welcome 2021.
Annual Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum Lighting, Boca Grande
Dec. 12, 2020
Celebrate the annual lighting of the Gasparilla Lighthouse at 6 p.m. with music and refreshments. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
Third annual Fort Myers Seafood & Music Festival, Fort Myers River District
Jan. 8-10, 2021
Enjoy great food, live music and a marketplace.
36th Annual Cape Coral Arts & Music Festival
January 2021, 2020
This annual event draws hundreds of artists and more than 100,000 visitors.
Editor’s note: The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in Southwest Florida includes: Sanibel
Island, Captiva Island, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Cape Coral, Pine Island, Boca Grande & Outer Islands, North Fort Myers and Lehigh Acres. For media assistance, visit fortmyers-sanibel.com/media-central/