The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel sparkles during holidays in this unspoiled island sanctuary

The holiday season is one of the most beautiful times to visit The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in southwest Florida. This year, visitors have many opportunities to celebrate with traditional events that include the 41st Annual Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers and the 32nd Annual Luminary Trail on Sanibel and Captiva islands.

LEE COUNTY, FL – The holiday season is one of the most beautiful times to visit

The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in southwest Florida. This year, visitors have many opportunities to celebrate with traditional events that include the 41st Annual Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers and the 32nd Annual Luminary Trail on Sanibel and Captiva islands. Two of the area’s historic, turn-of the-century homes will be open for holiday tours. Captiva Holiday Village is packed with activities to get visitors into the spirit of the season. There is much more and many events are free.


41st Annual Holiday Nights at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers
Nov. 25through Jan. 1, 2017 (Event is closed December 24 & 25)
Edison Ford Holiday Nights reflect the many contributions of Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and their families. It was chosen by the editors of USA Today as one of the 10Best Historic Homes for the Holidays, which also included The White House, Mount Vernon, Monticello and the Biltmore in North Carolina. To view the article visit:


A not-to-be-missed holiday tradition, the historic buildings and 20 acres of gardens are decorated with lights and traditional decorations. Visitors can take the Holiday Tradition Tours, see the Children's Tree Trail and Santa visits on select nights. There is nightly entertainment and refreshments are available for purchase. New this year:  the Waltzing Waters holiday display. The Ford Cottage Shoppe, Museum Store and Garden Shoppe are open until 9:00 p.m. for holiday shopping.For admission and details:


Captiva Holiday Village, Captiva Island

Nov. 25-Dec. 23, 2016

Five fun-filled holiday weekends beginning with a tree-lighting and fireworks on Nov. 25, this popular Southwest Florida barrier island transforms into a Holiday Village set against the backdrop of the shimmering Gulf of Mexico and breathtaking sunsets. Visitors to Captiva Island during Captiva Holiday Village weekends enjoy activities that include:

Nov. 25 – ‘Tween Waters Inn Fireworks Show and tree lighting. Kick off the holiday season with the brilliant sights and sounds of the annual tree lighting and fireworks show at ‘Tween Waters Inn. The event begins at sunset and includes music, the lightening of the tree overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and a colorful fireworks display.

Nov. 25 – South Seas Tree Lighting Ceremony, 5:30- 6:30 p.m.

Dec. 3 – Captiva Luminary. For more than two decades island businesses, organizations, residents, and tourists have gathered for one of Captiva’s most treasured annual events, the luminary festival. Captiva sparkles with illuminated candles to mark the launch of the holiday season. 

Dec. 9, 16, 17, 23 – South Seas Island Resort Holiday Stroll Cruise from McCarthy's Marina to South Seas at 7 p.m. nightly.  Families are invited to visit South Seas Island Resort for holiday lights and family activities. Children will enjoy making gingerbread, creating ornaments, eating smores and visiting with Santa. The resort is usually closed to the public, but during Holiday Stroll the gate is open for all to enjoy and share in the Holiday cheer.  Children 12 and under are FREE, Adults $10.  All proceeds will benefit Community Cooperative, a local non-profit agency which cares for the hungry and homeless in our community.

Dec. 17– Captiva Golf Cart Parade, in its 7th year, begins at 3:30 p.m.  This island holiday tradition includes 50 decorated golf carts rolling down Captiva Drive with displays of holiday spirit. Snowflakes, flamingos and gingerbread houses float up Andy Rosse Lane to the delight of spectators. 

Dec. 18 – Chapel by the Sea, Christmas carol sing sat 6 p.m.

Check here for information on schedule and accommodations.


The 32nd Annual Christmas Luminary Trail and Open House, on Dec. 2 on Sanibel Island and Dec. 3, 2016 on Captiva Island. This event draws visitors from all over the world as they join local residents to celebrate the season with three miles of luminary candles and events. For more information visit


Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Fort Myers

Dates in Nov. and Dec. 2016


Celebrating its 23rd season in southwest Florida, Broadway Palm offers an exciting holiday lineup that includes Irving Berlin’s White Christmas in the main theater. In addition, Off Broadway Palm presents Another Night Before Christmas and theChildren's Theatre features The Most Famous Reindeer of All. Call or visit website for detailed schedule and prices.  


28th Annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Dec. 3, 2016


Enjoy some Christmas spirit at the 28th Annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade from 6-8 p.m.  The parade passes establishments including Bootleggers Waterfront Barbeque, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Matanzas on the Bay, Nervous Nellies, Doc Fords and Bonita Bills where you can kick back and enjoy the fun. This event is presented by the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce.


Annual Bonita Springs Christmas Boat Parade

Dec. 10, 2016


Parade kicks off at 6 p.m. from the Fish House Restaurant. Visit website for a route map.


The Southwest Florida Symphony Holiday Pops Concerts, 2016, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs


Holidays in Paradise concerts will be presented Dec. 12 at Shell Point Village Church in Fort Myers; Dec. 13 at First Presbyterian Church in Bonita Springs; Dec. 17 at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers. Call for ticket information.


Cape Coral Christmas Boat Parade

Dec. 17, 2016

Enjoy food, music and a visit from Santa during this boat parade and festival from 4-10 p.m. in Four Freedoms Park. Boat parade begins at 7 p.m.


Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande, celebrates "Twelve Days of Christmas"

Dec. 20 - Jan. 1, 2017


The height of the "Social Season" at The Gasparilla Inn & Club begins in December — just in time for the launch of the Twelve Days of Christmas program. Festive decorations, music and food are just some of the treats awaiting guests this holiday season. Special activities are sure to spark holiday magic for the entire family, right through the New Year. Cookie decorating, caroling, classic holiday movies, gingerbread house decorating and teddy bear tea parties are just a few of the many activities offered. Check here for details.


2016 Holidays in the Downtown Fort Myers River District

A fun-filled series of holiday events are scheduled to welcome the season.  For details of each day’s events, visit  Events will kick off from 6-9 p.m. on Dec. 2 with the annual holiday stroll, tree lighting, shopping and will include:


            Decorated Historic Homes, downtown Fort Myers

            Dec. 9-23, 2016

Thousands of lights decorate the historic Burroughs Home and Langford Kingston Home in historic downtown Fort Myers. 

           Check here for details.          

            5-9 p.m. nightly





2016 Holidays on the Seminole Gulf Railway, Fort Myers


Set sail for a holiday light extravaganza Dec. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19, 20, 24 on the Seminole Gulf Railway. Enjoy soup and salad going north to Punta Gorda for a boat tour through Punta Gorda Isles and entree and dessert on the journey back to Fort Myers. New Year’s Eve Gala on Dec. 31, 2016. Call for details and reservations.


Santa's Dolphin & Wildlife Cruise, Port Sanibel Marina, Fort Myers

Dec. 24, 2016



Cruise out to a deserted island where Santa is waiting with presents for the kids before he makes his journey later that evening! Have photos taken. Cruise leaves at 10 a.m. and returns at 11:45 a.m. Reservations required. Call for details.


Fort Myers Beach Birthday Party & New Year's Eve Celebration

Dec. 31, 2016 or

Come celebrate the birthday of the Town of Fort Myers Beach and New Year's Eve at Times

Square. Festivities for the town's birthday run from 1-3:30 p.m. with live music and free cupcakes starting at 1 p.m. New Year's Eve festivities kick off at 7 p.m. with more music. Ball drop at midnight followed by fireworks off the pier. Don't miss the fun!      

 For more information on special holiday events and packages or for planning a holiday vacation to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, visit


 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, Lehigh Acres. For media assistance please visit


Francesca Donlan