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Discover Paradise: 30 Enjoyable Things to Do in Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, Florida

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, situated along the stunning Gulf Coast of Florida, offer a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and recreational opportunities. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply seeking relaxation under the Florida sun, this region has something for everyone. In this article, we'll explore the 30 most enjoyable things you can do in Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, creating an unforgettable experience in this tropical paradise.


Manatee
Manatee

Nature and Outdoor Activities:

  1. J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge: Explore the pristine ecosystems of Sanibel Island at this wildlife refuge, home to a diverse array of bird species, manatees, and other native wildlife.

  2. Lovers Key State Park: Relax on the white sandy beaches or embark on a kayaking adventure through the mangroves, spotting dolphins and manatees along the way.

  3. Edison and Ford Winter Estates: Step back in time and stroll through the historic homes and lush gardens of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, two American innovators who wintered in Fort Myers.

  4. Sanibel Island Shelling: Known as the "Shell Capital of the World," Sanibel's beaches offer an abundance of seashells, making it a paradise for shell collectors.

  5. Manatee Park: Witness the gentle giants of the sea in their natural habitat as manatees congregate in the warm waters of the Orange River.

 

Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

 

Cultural and Historical Exploration


Fort Myers
Fort Myers
  1. Edison Festival of Light: If you're visiting in February, don't miss the annual Edison Festival of Light, a month-long celebration honoring Fort Myers' most famous winter resident.

  2. Fort Myers River District: Immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and cultural scene of downtown Fort Myers, featuring galleries, theaters, and lively street events.

  3. Historic Downtown Fort Myers: Take a leisurely walk through the charming streets lined with historic buildings, boutiques, and cafes, capturing the essence of the city's rich history.

  4. Southwest Florida Museum of History: Delve into the region's past at this engaging museum, showcasing exhibits on the Calusa Indians, early settlers, and the area's agricultural development.

  5. Sanibel Historical Village: Step into the past with a visit to this living history museum, where costumed guides lead you through preserved buildings showcasing Sanibel's history.

 

Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

 

Recreational Delights


Boating, Sanibel Island
Boating, Sanibel Island
  1. Golfing at Fort Myers Country Club: Tee off amidst lush landscapes and towering palms at the Fort Myers Country Club, providing an enjoyable golfing experience for players of all levels.

  2. Fishing Charters: Embark on a fishing excursion in the Gulf of Mexico, where experienced guides will help you reel in snook, redfish, and other prized catches.

  3. Biking on Sanibel Island: Explore the island's scenic beauty on two wheels, traversing the extensive network of bike paths that wind through mangroves, beaches, and wildlife sanctuaries.

  4. Sunset Cruise: Indulge in a romantic evening by taking a sunset cruise, witnessing the breathtaking hues as the sun dips below the Gulf horizon.

  5. Kayaking in Estero Bay: Paddle through the serene waters of Estero Bay, discovering hidden coves, mangrove tunnels, and encountering diverse marine life.

Culinary Adventures


Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille
Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille

  1. Seafood Feast at Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille: Savor the flavors of the Gulf with a seafood feast at this popular restaurant, known for its delectable dishes and laid-back atmosphere.

  2. Sanibel Farmers Market: Immerse yourself in the local culinary scene at this vibrant market, featuring fresh produce, artisanal goods, and delicious treats every Sunday.

  3. Craft Breweries: Sample local brews at Fort Myers' craft breweries, each offering a unique selection of beers to suit every palate.

  4. Island Cow: Indulge in a diverse menu featuring seafood, sandwiches, and tropical drinks at this iconic Sanibel eatery with a laid-back, family-friendly vibe.

  5. Edison Restaurant: Experience upscale dining in a historic setting at the Edison Restaurant, where culinary excellence meets old-world charm.

 

Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

 

Relaxation and Wellness


Bowman's Beach, Sanibel Island
Bowman's Beach, Sanibel Island
  1. Sanibel Spa: Treat yourself to a day of pampering at one of the island's luxurious spas, offering a range of rejuvenating treatments.

  2. Bowman's Beach: Escape to the tranquility of Bowman's Beach, known for its pristine sands and uncrowded shores, providing a perfect spot for relaxation.

  3. Yoga on the Beach: Join a beachside yoga session and let the sound of the waves enhance your sense of peace and well-being.

  4. Tarpon Street Pier: Unwind with a leisurely stroll along the Tarpon Street Pier, offering panoramic views of the Caloosahatchee River and a serene atmosphere.

  5. Manatee World: Connect with nature through eco-friendly experiences, such as guided wildlife tours and manatee encounters, fostering a sense of harmony with the environment.

Events and Festivals


Sanibel, FL, USA
Sanibel, FL, USA

  1. Sanibel Shell Festival: Celebrate the beauty of seashells at the annual Sanibel Shell Festival, featuring stunning shell art, crafts, and educational exhibits.

  2. Fort Myers Film Festival: Dive into the world of cinema at the Fort Myers Film Festival, showcasing independent films and fostering a vibrant film community.

  3. ArtFest Fort Myers: Explore the diverse artistic talents of the region at ArtFest Fort Myers, an annual event that transforms the downtown area into a lively art gallery.

  4. Sanibel Luminary Festival: Experience the magic of the holiday season with the Sanibel Luminary Festival, where the island comes alive with festive lights, music, and activities.

  5. Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival: Join the festivities at the annual Shrimp Festival on Fort Myers Beach, celebrating the region's maritime heritage with a parade, live music, and, of course, delicious shrimp dishes.

Bonus:

  1. Mound House Museum on Fort Myers Beach: Restored house museum atop an ancient Calusa Indian shell mound, with artifacts & cultural programs.

 

Are you spending some time in and around Florida? Here are some other places to visit nearby:

 

Fort Myers and Sanibel Island offer a myriad of enjoyable activities, blending natural wonders, cultural experiences, and recreational pursuits. Whether you're an outdoor adventurer, a history enthusiast, a foodie, or someone seeking relaxation, this tropical paradise on Florida's Gulf Coast has something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the charm and beauty of Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, and create lasting memories in this captivating destination.

 

Photo Credits:

By Sanibel-Island - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39979344

By Noel Benadom - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=35781368

By Murray Foubister - https://www.flickr.com/photos/mfoubister/15881786242/, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=51853013

By Frank Kovalchek from Anchorage, Alaska, USA - Starfish at low tide on Sanibel Island, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=24473664

By Self-created photograph by Jonathunder - Own work, GFDL, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60073461

By Fredlyfish4 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46430148


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