The administrative headquarters of Fort Myers, which was built in 1850 as a military fort, had the task of driving out the Seminole Indians, who wanted to make life difficult for the first settlers in this area. The name of the city dates from this time, as the fort was named after Colonel Abraham Myers. It was abandoned by its soldiers in 1858, but was re-occupied by the Federation troops in 1863 during the Civil War. In 1866, the first settlers came back after the area was disposed of by the Indians. In 1885 Fort Myers was officially registered as a city. The city became a nationally known holiday home with the construction of the "Royal Palm Hotel" in 1898. However, the real economic recovery did not happen until 1924, when the construction of the "Tamiami Trail Bridge" over the river Caloosahatchee was completed. With this economic upswing, the region also experienced a noticeably rising real estate market.
Fort Myers, located on the Caloosahatchee River, is just a few miles from the Gulf of Mexico. With the beautiful, 11 km long sandy beach on Fort Myers Beach, the city is a popular holiday destination, which invites you to swim and enjoy. Fort Myers is the hub of the RSW Regional South West International Airport. There are countless excursion, shopping and sports facilities that attract tourists and visitors from all over the world.
The city of Fort Myers has the nickname "City of Palms" and owes this to the winter guest Thomas A. Edison, who beautified the old main street McGregor Boulevard, where he lived in his time in 1880, with huge royal palms. The Home of the Famed Inventor, which the brilliant inventor Edison shared with automobile magnate Henry Ford (Edison & Ford Winter Estate), is now a museum and one of Fort Myers most popular attractions.
The two friends spent together with their families the cold winter months in Southwest Florida and were able to get creative in a relaxed environment. The property, with over 80,000 square meters, comprises nine historic buildings as well as botanical gardens. Already in the entrance area is a majestic Banyan tree. Edison loved gardens and used them for plant research, among other things, to get latex for rubber production. His friend Harvey Firestone, the well-known tire manufacturer, gave him this tree in 1925, which at that time was a 5 ft tall plant - which today has the size of a four-story building.
Along First Street, in the lovingly restored inner city called Downtown or River District, you will find a variety of culinary and cultural offerings. The streets of the restored historic old town are lined with cozy restaurants, bars, cafes and small shops and invite you to take a stroll.
Here also a lot of events take place. This downtown area, which is so attractive today, was not only technically modernized in 2004 as part of a $ 70 million project, but also cosmetically embellished. Thus, the facades of the old buildings were redesigned and repainted and the street scene changed for the better. The old cobblestone pavement from the 1920s was freed from the tar cover and processed, which today makes up part of the flair in the downtown area.
If you want to enjoy a beautiful view of the Caloosahatchee River, you can either do so in Centennial Park or in the Rooftop Bar. The Caloosahatchee separates the cities of Fort Myers and Cape Coral, whose connection can only be achieved through four bridges. Since the old part of the city has been completely overhauled, some cozy clubs, bars and restaurants have also settled down. Firestone Grille & Bar, Ford's Garage, Martini Sky Bar, Texas Roadhouse, The Verandah, Al Capone's or City Tavern. During the year, there are also some events that take place in the Old Town area, such as the Bike Night and many more.
The temperatures in Fort Myers are pleasantly warm year round and comparable to those of Cape Coral. Fort Myers offers more than 100 golf courses inside and outside the city limits, making it one of the largest densities in the United States. Many interesting sights and shopping opportunities are available:
- Bell Tower Shops with more than 50 stores
- Edison Mall with 160 retail shops in air-conditioned space
- Sanibel Outlets with 60 brand providers
- Gulf Coast Town Center with more than 130 shops and restaurants
- Flea Master Fleamarket with more than 900 booths
Outdoor shopping is very popular in our region - despite the heat. Only the Edison Mall is air conditioned and closed. While all shops are naturally well tempered, in other malls and outlets you can travel from shop to shop outdoors. Particularly popular are the beaches in the area, which are also easy to reach by boat. Fishing trips are also possible, either on your own or as a guided tour with an experienced captain. You can also explore the coast and the neighboring islands. There is also a Manatee Park, which is located near the Fort Myers power plant. The cooling water, which is channeled into a tributary of the canals, is very warm and attracts large mammals between December and April. Park rangers are happy to answer tourists' questions. Furthermore, kayaks can be hired there, with which one can explore the side arms of the Caloosahatchee.
Fort Myers Beach
Fort Myers Beach, officially founded in 1995, is geographically located on the Estero Peninsula and is Lee County's smallest town, with less than 7,000 inhabitants. The Calusa Indians, who have lived there ever since, successfully resisted Spanish colonial attempts in 1513 and 1521. However, 150 years later, other enemies, diseases and political upheaval led to the downfall of the tribe. In the mid to late 17th century, Cuban fishermen began to settle in the small village. In 1862, the first American settlers arrived at what was then called "Crescent Beach" and in 1914 had set up the first commercial leasing of log cabins. When Crescent Beach received national attention as a popular holiday home in 1920, the right development began. In 1921, the bridge at San Carlos Blvd, was constructed, connecting the beach with the mainland for the first time. The hurricanes of 1921 and 1926 stopped this upswing dramatically, and it was not until 1950 that today's Fort Myers Beach really began to revive.
Today you can relax on the white sand beaches of the offshore island with the view of the Gulf of Mexico and enjoy the sun. Besides relaxing in the sun and water, you can also be active and book parasailing or jet skiing. With the Wave Runners you can drive along the beach or view it from above while Parasailing.
From the late afternoon, the restaurants and bars fill up, as many want to experience "Sunset" with a cool drink or a dinner by the water. The pier and small boutiques and restaurants give you the classic island life. Even a walk on the pier has something for you.
Located between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach is the offshore peninsula Lovers Key. Here the beaches are usually not so full and offer the individualist a little more peace. Also by boat Lovers Key offers a popular destination and is very suitable for a day trip.
Especially the sunsets in Fort Myers Beach and Lovers Key are breathtaking and worth seeing. The views of the setting sun will give you unforgettable memories. Good restaurants are The Cottage Beach Bar & Gulf Shore Grill, The Beached Whale, Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille, Nervous Nelly's, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill or Salty Crab Bar & Grill just to name a few.
Another way to experience something special on vacation is to take the Key West Express. While the drive to Key West can take up to 6 hours, the majestic catamaran nearly halves the journey time (about 3 ½ hours). The ferry leaves at around 08:30 and the first lunch cocktail in Key West is secured. With the trolley bus you can get on and off at various stops and explore the city itself (this trolley bus is also available in Fort Myers Beach). The ship leaves for the return journey at 6 p.m. If this is too strenuous for you as a day tour, you simply stay overnight and use the return trip the next evening.
The Spring Break period is quite crowded in Fort Myers Beach. The students come for their week-long Spring Break (semester break) and occupy the peninsula completely to the last available accommodation.
Times Square in Fort Myers Beach is the focal point for vacationers. From here you are quickly at the pier and beach, with bars and restaurants in the immediate area. There is always live music and especially on public holidays.
Hotels and apartments line the beach and bay area of Fort Myers Beach, with the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina probably being one of the most well-known accommodations.
Events are also offered again and again, such as Street festivals or the Sand Sculpture Festival. This festival, which takes place at the beginning of November, is even one of the championships of the American Sand Sculpting Association. Once a year, the best artists of the USA meet on the sandy beach to identify the winner.
During this time, dozens of artistically crafted sculptures line the beach area, making the walk in the sand a true experience. Mythical creatures, cartoon characters, buildings and other objects can be visited.