LEE COUNTY, Fla. – It’s never too early to begin planning for a Christmas vacation and 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 44rd Annual Holiday Nights at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers and the 34th 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. Tree lightings, boat parades and holiday shows all make the area a favorite for holiday gatherings.
44th Annual Holiday Nights at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers
Runs Nov. 29-Dec. 28 (event closed Dec. 24 and 25)
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, which also included The White House, Mount Vernon, Monticello and the Biltmore in North Carolina. To view the article, visit 10best.com/interests/trip-pics/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. Edison Ford Holiday Nights has also been featured in Destinations magazine noting that Edison Ford Holiday Nights offers excellent entertainment value to both tour groups and individual travelers from around the world.
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. edisonfordwinterestates.org/calendar
35th Annual Christmas Luminary Trail and Open House, Sanibel and Captiva islands
Dec. 6 on Sanibel Island and Dec. 7 on Captiva Island, 2019
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.
Annual Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum Lighting, Boca Grande
Dec. 7, 2019
Celebrate the annual lighting of the Gasparilla Lighthouse at 6 p.m. with music and refreshments. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.
Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Fort Myers
Celebrating its 26th season in southwest Florida, Broadway Palm offers an exciting holiday lineup that includes Sounds of Christmas in the main theater Nov. 21-Dec. 25. In addition, Off Broadway Palm presents A Christmas Carol, A Live Radio Play Nov. 14-25 and the Children's Theatre features The Elves and the Shoemaker Nov. 29-Dec. 24.
Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
Treat yourself to A Magical Cirque Christmas on Dec. 7 and Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcrtacker on Dec. 29.
31st Annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade
Dec. 7, 2019
Enjoy some Christmas spirit from 6 to 8 p.m. The parade passes establishments including Bootleggers Waterfront Barbeque, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Matanzas on the Bay, Nervous Nellies, Doc Ford’s and Bonita Bill’s where you can kick back and enjoy the fun presented by the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Annual Bonita Springs Christmas Boat Parade
Dec. 14, 2019
Parade kicks off at 5:30 p.m. from BayWater Boat Club and Rentals.
The Southwest Florida Symphony Holiday Pops Concerts, 2019, Fort Myers and Bonita Springs
Holiday Pops featuring Tony Desare will be presented Dec. 13 at Shell Point Village Church in Fort Myers; Dec. 14 at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall in Fort Myers. Dec. 15 at First Presbyterian Church in Bonita Springs.
Cape Coral Christmas Boat Parade
Dec. 21, 2019
Enjoy food, music and a visit from Santa during this boat parade and festival from 4 to 10 p.m. in Four Freedoms Park. Boat parade begins at 7 p.m.
Gasparilla Inn & Club, Boca Grande, celebrates "Twelve Days of Christmas"
The height of the “Social Season” begins in late December, just in time for the launch of the Twelve Days of Christmas. With a new theme to each day, special activities spark holiday magic for the entire family through the New Year. Festive decorations, cheerful caroling, classic holiday movies and gingerbread house decorating are just a few of the events offered during the Twelve Days of Christmas celebration at The Inn.
2019 Holidays in the Downtown Fort Myers River District
River District Holidays, downtown Fort Myers Dec 1-31, 2019
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 and a New Year’s Eve celebration to welcome 2020 and more.
63rd Annual Holiday House
Decorated Historic Homes, downtown Fort Myers
Dec. 7-22, 2019
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.
Holidays on the Seminole Gulf Railway, Fort Myers
Set sail for a holiday light extravaganza Dec. 9, 10, 16, and 17 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. Holiday-themed murder mystery show takes place on Dec. 24 and New Year’s Eve Gala on Dec. 31, 2019.
Adventures in Paradise Holiday Cruises, Port Sanibel Marina, Fort Myers
Santa Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise on Dec. 24; Christmas Eve Sunset Cruise; New Year’s Eve Sunset Dolphin Cruise.
Fort Myers Beach New Year's Eve and Town Birthday Celebration
Dec. 31, 2019
Come celebrate the birthday of the Town of Fort Myers Beach and New Year's Eve at Times Square. Festivities begin with free cupcakes starting between noon and 1 p.m. Live music will be played throughout the day. Ball drop is at midnight with fireworks immediately afterward.
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, please visit fortmyerssanibel.com/media.