In collaboration with The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Thank you for supporting the brands that support A Taste of Koko!
Welcome to the City of Palms – Fort Myers Sanibel, Florida! I spent 5 days eating and exploring my way through Fort Myers beaches to create this ultimate guide to things to do in Fort Myers sorted by neighborhoods below.
Table of Contents
Fort Myers things to do: Matlacha
Stay in a tiny home
I was so excited to stay in a tiny home and we stayed in the Matlacha area of Fort Myers! There are three tiny homes at Matlacha Tiny Village and they all come with a kitchenette, pull-out couch, Wi-Fi, kayaks, and grilling area. Such a unique lodging experience!
Matlacha Tiny Village, 4661 Pine Island Road NW Matlacha, FL, matlachatinyvillage.com
Visit art galleries in Matlacha
Until 20 years ago, Matlacha was an “old Florida” fishing community, and now this tiny island is filled with bright colored house art galleries. Even the telephone poles have murals! I loved walking up and down the street and popping into each of the art galleries.
- Leoma Lovegrove Gallery (pictured above) –
- Bert’s Pine Bay Gallery –
- Island Visions – colorful Floridian paintings and prints
- Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens – wide array of eccentric pieces, from paintings to painted furniture)
- Trader’s Hitching Post – American Indian art and jewelry
- WildChild Art Gallery
- Frills Gallery – bead and other craft jewelry
Ice Cream At Great Licks Ice Cream Shop
Hop over to Great Licks Ice Cream Shop, a local ice cream shop that makes homemade ice cream and sorbets made with the freshest local fruit like mangoes, limes, and coconut.
4643 Pine Island Rd, Matlacha, FL
Sunset dinner at Yucatan Waterfront
For dinner and sunset, head to Yucatan Waterfront on Matlacha for an island-inspired menu. We ordered the grilled red drum fish that’s caught locally and coconut shrimp.
4875 Pine Island Rd, Matlacha, FL, yucatanwaterfront.com
fort myers things to do: CAPE CORAL
EXPLORE BREWERIES AND DISTILLERIES
Cape Coral has several local breweries and distilleries that brew their own craft beers and liquors. Hide from the heat and grab a cold brew!
- Big Blue Brewing – local brewery and gastropub with handcrafted cocktails, brews, and a scratch kitchen. Try their seasonal fruit beer like the strawberry, mango, or watermelon sour (pictured above). Happy hour is every day from 11am to 6pm.
- Big Storm Brewing – one of the fastest growing independent craft breweries in Florida and uses local ingredients like citrus and wildflower honey to brew more than 20 different beers.
- Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery – family owned and operated distillery that uses only locally sourced ingredients. Free tours and tastings
- Eight Foot Brewing – small, independently owned brewery that serves tacos, sandwiches, flatbreads, and cheese plates.
Four Mile Cove Preserve
Four Mile Cove Eco Preserve is a wetland preserve with a forest of mangroves along the Caloosahatchee River. It’s a shaded path but make sure to put on bug spray!
2500 SE 24th St, Cape Coral, FL 33990
Explore the Mangrove Forests
Fort Myers is home to some of the most beautiful mangrove forests in the world. These ecosystems are teeming with life, including manatees, alligators, and a variety of bird species. Take a guided kayak or paddleboarding tour through the mangroves to get up close and personal with nature.
DRINKS AT Cork Soakers
If you’re thirsty, go to Cork Soakers for their B*tchslap Bloody Mary’s (available only on Sunday’s) or their mimosa flight. Try the deviled eggs and the chef’s daily risotto, a slow-cooked Arborio rice, while you’re there.
837 SE 47th Terrace, Cape Coral, FL, corksoakers.net
wearing Shop Koko avocado boobie tee
BUY LOCAL FRUIT AT Tropicaya Fresh Produce
Tropicaya Fresh Produce was this fruit stand that I would pass in and out every day so I had to stop in and check it out. They sell local fruit like oranges, tomatoes, Florida avocados (look how big they are!), coconuts, watermelons and more. You can also buy local honey here.
3220 SW Pine Island Rd, Cape Coral, FL
EAT FUDGE AT Gulf Coast Fudge
Gulf Coast Fudge Co is handmade the old-fashioned way in small batches – slow cooked in a copper kettle using a recipe that dates back to 1837. The fudge is hand-poured and cooled on a marble slab table before being whipped into a loaf and individually sliced. No preservatives, butter, eggs, or waxes. Gulf Coast Fudge has two locations in the Fort Myers area. I did eat some fudge but I also wanted some ice cream!
5971 Silver King Blvd #110, Cape Coral, FL, gulfcoastfudge.com
FORT MYERS THINGS TO DO
COFFEE & DONUTS AT Bennett’s Fresh Roast
This local coffee shop roasts its own beans and makes fresh donuts every day!
2011 Bayside Pkwy, Fort Myers, FL
Visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estates
No trip to Fort Myers is complete without visiting the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Here, you can tour the homes and gardens of two of America’s greatest inventors, Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The estates are open daily for tours, and visitors can see original inventions, historical artifacts, and beautiful botanical gardens.
Hide from the heat and visit the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates that has a historical museum and a 21-acre botanical garden. In 1886, inventor Thomas Edison purchased land along the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers and built his winter home. Best friend, Henry Ford and his wife Clare purchased the adjacent property in 1915 and built a bungalow-style house.
Today, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates features over 20 acres of lush botanical gardens boasting over 1,700 plants and one of the largest Banyan trees in the U.S.
2350 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL, edisonfordwinterestates.org
BRUNCH AT McGregor Cafe
This cute little cafe with a sunny patio is known for their famous quiche, scratch-made biscuits, scrambled eggs, and fresh salads. I had to order the Old Bay fries with malt vinegar aioli for brunch!
4305 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL, mcgregorcafe.com
LUNCH AT THE VERANDA
The Veranda restaurant is located in the historic district of downtown Fort Myers and I was blown away by how stunning this restaurant was. There’s a botanical garden in the backyard so be sure to ask for a seat outside. We had the salmon salad for lunch and it was delicious.
2122 Second St, Fort Myers, FL, verandarestaurant.com
CLOUD ICE CREAM AT BEST ICE CREAM
One of my readers actually recommended me to check on this Instagrammable ice cream shop and I was not disappointed! Ask for the cloud ice cream that comes with a giant cotton candy wrapped around ice cream that’s made right in front of you with liquid nitrogen!
2215 Winkler Ave K, Fort Myers, FL
Look for manatees at the Manatee Park
Located just outside of Fort Myers in Estero, Manatee Park is a great place to see Florida’s gentle giants up close. This wetland area provides a natural habitat for manatees, and visitors can observe them from the park’s boardwalks.
Fun fact: manatees like to hang out by the energy plant in Fort Myers because the waters are warm so it’s a warm refugee for them during the winter (mid to late December to February). Unfortunately, Florida was pretty warm during my visit in April so we didn’t spot any manatees.
10901 Palm Beach Blvd, Fort Myers, FL, leegov.com/parks/parks/manateepark
Relax at the Beach
Fort Myers Beach is a popular destination for its soft white sand and crystal-clear waters. Spend a day lounging on the beach, parasailing, or jet skiing.
Stroll Through Downtown Fort Myers
Downtown Fort Myers is a bustling area full of shops, restaurants, and historic buildings. Take a leisurely walk down First Street, where you’ll find art galleries, boutiques, and a variety of dining options.
Attend a Spring Training Game
JetBlue Park is the spring training home of the Boston Red Sox, located in Fort Myers, Florida. The park is a state-of-the-art facility that offers fans an up-close and personal experience with their favorite players.
Visitors can watch the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins play during their spring training games. The park is designed to look like Fenway Park, the Red Sox’s home stadium in Boston. It has a replica Green Monster and a manually operated scoreboard, just like the real Fenway. Visitors can also enjoy food and drinks at the park’s concessions and grille.
Breakfast at Buckingham Farm
Our last meal in Fort Myers was at the farm-to-table restaurant Buckingham Farms since it’s on the way to the airport. You can see the hydroponics farm as you walk onto the property and I was in awe of all the produce being grown. We had two of the fresh salads for lunch and it was so good! There’s also a market inside if you want to purchase fresh produce, local honey, and more.
12931 Orange River Blvd, Fort Myers, FL, buckinghamfarmsonline.com
Visit Lakes Regional Park
Lakes Regional Park is a great place to spend a day outdoors. This 279-acre park features walking trails, a playground, and even a miniature train ride. Rent a bike or bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather.
Explore the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium
The Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium is a hands-on museum that’s perfect for families. Here, you can learn about Florida’s wildlife and ecosystems, and even see a live otter show. The planetarium offers shows on astronomy and space exploration.
Tour the Butterfly Estates
The Butterfly Estates is a unique attraction that’s perfect for nature lovers. Here, you can tour the butterfly conservatory, which is home to hundreds of exotic butterflies. There’s also a gift shop where you can purchase butterfly-themed souvenirs.
Take a Day Trip to Sanibel Island
Sanibel Island, located just off the coast of Fort Myers, is a beautiful and serene destination. This island is known for its seashell-covered beaches and pristine natural habitats. Take a stroll through the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge or visit the island’s many art galleries and boutiques.
Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge
The Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is located on Sanibel Island and is home to over 245 species of birds, as well as alligators, otters, and other wildlife. Visitors can take a tram tour or explore the refuge on foot or by bike.
Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium
The Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium is a hands-on nature center that features live animal exhibits, nature trails, and a planetarium. Visitors can also enjoy a butterfly garden and a gift shop.
Visit the Imaginarium Science Center
The Imaginarium Science Center is a hands-on science center that is fun for all ages. Visitors can explore interactive exhibits, watch live science demonstrations, and play
Kayaking and Paddleboarding
Fort Myers is surrounded by water, making it a prime destination for water sports enthusiasts. Rent a kayak or paddleboard and explore the mangrove forests along the Caloosahatchee River or the Gulf of Mexico. You might even spot some manatees or alligators along the way! If you’re new to kayaking or paddleboarding, consider taking a guided tour with one of the many rental companies in the area.
Lovers Key State Park
Located just south of Fort Myers Beach, Lovers Key State Park is a 712-acre park that offers plenty of outdoor activities. Rent a bike and explore the park’s trails, go for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico, or rent a kayak and paddle through the mangrove estuaries. You can also go fishing, birdwatching, or simply relax on the beach and enjoy the view.
Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
If you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the city, head to the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. This wetland ecosystem is home to a variety of plants and animals, including otters, alligators, and wading birds. You can explore the preserve on foot or by bike, or take a guided tour to learn more about the local flora and fauna.
Edison and Ford Winter Estates
One of the most popular attractions in Fort Myers is the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. These neighboring estates were once home to inventors Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, who spent their winters in Fort Myers to escape the cold northern weather. Today, you can tour their homes and gardens, as well as a museum that showcases their inventions and innovations.
Sanibel Island Lighthouse
Located on the eastern end of Sanibel Island, the Sanibel Island Lighthouse has been guiding ships through the Gulf of Mexico since 1884. While the lighthouse is no longer operational, you can still climb to the top for a stunning view of the island and its surroundings.
Imag History and Science Center
Located in downtown Fort Myers, the Imag History and Science Center is a hands-on museum that offers fun and educational exhibits for all ages. Learn about the history of Southwest Florida, explore the world of science, and enjoy interactive exhibits that encourage learning and exploration.
Fort Myers Beach
No trip to Fort Myers is complete without a visit to Fort Myers Beach. This seven-mile stretch of white sand offers plenty of opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. You can also take a stroll along the boardwalk or explore the nearby boutiques and gift shops.
Located just north of Sanibel Island, Captiva Island is known for its natural beauty and laid-back atmosphere. The island offers plenty of opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and shelling, as well as outdoor activities like parasailing and paddleboarding. You can also explore the island’s many art galleries and boutiques.
Lovers Key State Park
As mentioned earlier, Lovers Key State Park is not only a great spot for outdoor activities, but also
Fort Myers is surrounded by water, and that means water sports are a must-do activity when visiting the area. With options ranging from parasailing to paddleboarding, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Some of the top water sports in Fort Myers include:
- Parasailing: Get a bird’s eye view of Fort Myers Beach while soaring high above the Gulf of Mexico.
- Paddleboarding: Explore the mangrove forests and wetlands while standing on a paddleboard.
- Kayak rentals: Rent a kayak and explore the Estero Bay and the Caloosahatchee River.
- Jet Ski rentals: Rent a Jet Ski and zip around the Gulf of Mexico.
Fort Myers things to do: Pine Island
Visit palm tree nurseries in Bokeelia
On the way to Capt’n Con’s Fish House, we saw all these stunning palm tree nurseries along the way in Bokeelia so we had to pull over and take a picture.
Dessert at Capt’n Con’s Fish House
Watch the sun go down with a big slice of homemade pie at Capt’n Con’s Fish House. We ended up staying for dinner and had the fried flounder with fried clam strips.
8421 Main St, Bokeelia, FL, captnconsfishhouse.com
FAQs on Fort Myers, Florida
Q: What are some of the best outdoor activities to do in Fort Myers?
A: There are plenty of great outdoor activities in Fort Myers, including kayaking through the mangroves, visiting Manatee Park, exploring Lovers Key State Park, and paddleboarding on the Caloosahatchee River.
Q: What are some must-visit attractions in Fort Myers?
A: Some of the top attractions in Fort Myers include the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, the Imaginarium Science Center, the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium, and the historic River District.
Q: When is the best time to visit Fort Myers?
A: The best time to visit Fort Myers is during the winter months, from December to March, when the weather is mild and comfortable. However, this is also the peak tourist season, so expect crowds and higher prices.
Q: Is the city of Fort Myers a family-friendly destination?
A: Yes, Fort Myers is a great destination for families, with plenty of activities and attractions that kids will love, including water parks, wildlife refuges, and outdoor adventures.
Q: Can I find affordable accommodations in Fort Myers?
A: Yes, there are plenty of affordable accommodations in Fort Myers, including budget hotels, vacation rentals, and campsites. However, prices may be higher during peak tourist season.