Fort Myers - Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods

Fort Myers Tourism 

Fort Myers - Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods has long been considered a treasure on the sandy Southwest Florida coastline. Warm tropical breezes, sunshine, abundant wildlife, and a bounty of land and sea activities are enjoyed here year-round. Innovative icons the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford owned homes here to offer themselves a respite from frigid northern temperatures and some sand between their toes inspiration. Many centuries prior, the Calusa Indians made this area their home, utilizing the favorable climate and abundant natural resources to thrive and prosper. Fort Myers' colorful past and eco-conscious sensibilities are always on full display, so come discover their way of life.

This is no secret treasure, mind you. Limited beach development and conservation has preserved the beauty of these beaches that draw nearly 5 million visitors annually. One in five jobs in the county is supported by tourism, with 26 percent of tourist tax collected (approx. $10 million annually) used to maintain these world class beaches. And, the local residents and businesses help make Fort Myers kind and clean - in fact, Lee County was just named the top recycling county in Forida by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. "The amount of material Lee County residents recycled in 2021 would be enough to fill 168 football fields with material 70 feet high. The County credits the strong participation to both residents and businesses who have allowed the County to meet and exceed the state’s 75% recycling goal every year since 2017" according to Douglass Whitehead, Lee County Solid Waste Director.





With two-thirds of visitors opting to stay in hotels, it is imperative that Kind Traveler participating properties have all achieved Florida Green Lodging designations. This program’s environmental guidelines enable the hospitality industry to evaluate operations, set goals and take specific actions to continuously improve environmental performance. It’s not just seasonal sun-seekers that drive the need for sustainability, 95 percent of locals have agreed the Lee County Sustainability Plan is necessary for the future growth of the community. Recently, Conservation 20/20, along with other government agencies, has worked to conserve 120,000 acres of natural habitat for, not only beach dwellers, but protected species in the area including Burrowing owls (largest pop. in Florida), manatee, Loggerhead sea turtles and the Gopher tortoise. 




Land lovers will have plenty of terrain to explore with Fort Myers and the surrounding area's 100+ miles of hiking and biking trails. With two communities designated as Bicycle Friendly by the League of American Bicyclists: Sanibel Island has 25 miles of easily accessible bike paths that meander through subtropical hammocks that lead to the J.N. “DING” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Nearby Cape Coral boasts almost 100 miles of shared use bike lanes that connect to neighboring Matlacha and Pine Island, fishing villages that are adorned with historic cottages transformed into art galleries, waterfront eateries and shops.

 

At the J.N. "DING" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, explore 7,600-acres home to 51 types of reptiles and amphibians, 32 mammal species, and more than 245 species of birds. In North Fort Myers, Prairie Pine Preserve offers 20+ miles of friendly trails, including an ADA accessible loop, and an on-leash dog path. A must do is the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, 190 miles of paddling and kayaking trails and tributaries weaving through mangrove-lined estuaries and across open Gulf waters. This kayak and canoe excursion puts paddlers face-to-face with indigenous wildlife, foliage and shell mounds, offering a peek inside Old Florida, the way the indigenous Calusa experienced it. 

No discussion of the Fort Myers area would be complete without mentioning the beaches, numerous islands and coves, and endless opportunities for shelling - known to be some of the best in the world. Finding a stretch of unspoiled and unoccupied beach shouldn’t be hard to do. Just don’t forget your (biodegradable and eco-friendly) sunscreen! 

Captiva Beach is also well known for dolphin sightings; they thrive here year round due to an abundant feast of fish in local waterways. Family-friendly Fort Myers Beach offers seven miles of powdery white coastline with unique dining and shopping. Use the boardwalks to step over tidal lagoons on your way to Lovers Key State Park, an isolated strip of white-sand beach skirted with sea oats, and yes, it is quite romantic.

Further south you’ll find Bonita Beach, and an off-leash dog beach park, so your furry friends can stretch their legs and take a dip. Be sure to reserve time to paddle or kayak Pine Island Sound or Cayo Costa State Park, keeping an eye out for manatee and other unforgettable marine life. Set out by boat, watching as dolphins jump in your wake, and explore some of Southwest Florida’s most secluded scenery, available only to those with their sea legs. End each day by kicking back and drinking in a pastel sunset like no other.

Fort Myers is located 16 miles from Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), Fort Myers Beach, 20, and Sanibel Island is approximately 30. 

 

KIND FACTORS:

  • 150 Miles of designated bike paths and trails 
  • 1 in 5 jobs supported by tourism
  • 26% of tourism tax is used to maintain beaches
  • Eat Local Lee connects local families with locally produced food 
  • 120K acres of land conserved 
  • Dozens of nature preserves
  • Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail offers 190+ miles of non-motorized watercraft areas for paddling in backbay estuaries and mangrove tunnels
  • One of the country’s most sustainable recycling and solid waste management systems
  • Abundant wildlife and several protected species
  • 95% of residents indicated sustainability was important for the future of Lee County