Southwest Florida’s pristine beaches and easy accessibility make the area a highly sought-after locale for destination weddings. When it’s time to cut loose before the big day, our bustling nightlife, diverse cuisine and seemingly endless opportunities for entertainment create the perfect environment for a girl’s night out – or three. Grab your bridesmaids and get ready for the celebration of a lifetime.
Drop off your bags and head to Downtown Fort Myers for a bite to eat before your first night out. The Lodge may seem out of place with its winter-themed decorations in the heart of Florida, but at this restaurant, you’ll enjoy local craft beers and get a taste of slow-smoked barbecue.
After dinner, take some time to explore the River District. Preserved turn-of-the-century buildings, antique neon signs and redbrick streets lined with palms create a distinct Old Florida atmosphere. An abundance of boutique shops, galleries, restaurants and bars make the district a great after-dinner stop.
You’ve only got a few days to celebrate this once-in-a-lifetime occasion, so go all out and book a private cottage right on the shore. When you’re back from a night on the town, keep the party going with Butlers in the Buff. They’ll send you a bowtie-clad bartender to mix cocktails and host bachelorette party games.
Start the day with visit to one of the area’s most secluded beaches. Captiva Cruises offers daily shelling excursions to Cayo Costa, a barrier island just north of Captiva with some of the best shelling around. On your journey to the island, you’ll likely see dolphins playing in the surf and shorebirds flying overhead.
These tours are great for getting a feel for the area while picnicking, exploring the shore and relaxing in the sand.
Once you’re back on the mainland, head back to the River District for food and drinks at Firestone. This unique eatery pays homage to Fort Myers’ early role in the automotive industry, complete with working conveyer belt carrying tires overhead. Then, take the elevator up to Skybar, a posh rooftop lounge boasting trendy décor, delicious craft cocktails and stunning views of the Caloosahatchee River.
Before cabbing back to your beachside cottage, a Fort Myers Beach pub crawl is a must. Be sure to stop for cocktails at hot spots like The Beached Whale and The Cottage.
There’s only one way to kick off your last day by the beach: bottomless mimosas with a side of brunch. The Standard, in downtown Fort Myers, serves sea-inspired brunch specials in a sleek, modern setting.
Finish out the afternoon by exploring the mangrove alcoves of Sanibel Island. Tarpon Bay Explorers takes you on a two-hour paddling tour, pointing out dolphins, shorebirds and other wildlife along the way. The naturalists at Tarpon Bay have a thorough knowledge and deep admiration for the flora and fauna that make Sanibel a beautiful and vibrant place, and their passion shines through during informative and fun excursions.
Finally, wrap up your weekend with an upscale, authentic Floridian dinner. Nestled among the swaying palms of Casa Ybel Resort, you’ll find a converted plantation-style mansion called Thistle Lodge. The experienced chefs serve dry-aged beef, organic produce and locally sourced seafood. All set to the soundtrack of waves softly crashing on the beach and piano tunes drifting on the sea breeze.
Whether you’re looking for a wild weekend of dancing and drinks or a quiet seaside escape with the girls, there’s plenty of pre-nuptial fun to be had on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.
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