Fort Myers Beach is the primary town center on southwest Florida's beautiful Estero Island, known as a vibrant seasonal tourism destination along the state's Gulf of Mexico coastline. Gorgeous beachfront stretches offer sugar-fine sands and a plethora of watersporting opportunities, while the popular Times Square shopping and dining district is home to art galleries, surf shops, and acclaimed seafood restaurants with waterfront dining. Family-friendly attractions include the Ostego Bay Marine Science Center and the Mound House, which preserves an ancient Calusa indigenous shell mound.
1.Fort Myers Beach Public Library
© Fort Myers Beach Public Library
Fort Myers Beach Public Library is the official public library of the Fort Myers Beach region, originally established by Ruth Healy of the Beach Women's Club and opened in 1955 within an historic cottage. The library, which was Lee County's first free public library at its opening, moved into its current building in 1994, which was fully renovated in the 2010s. Internet workstations are offered throughout the library, providing free wireless internet access to library patrons. While at the library, visitors can view decorative art pieces by regional artist J.D. Burdge or go geocaching throughout the library as part of the Hiding in the Stacks initiative. Library catalog courses are offered periodically, along with preschool storytime events and children's summer reading programs.
2755 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-765-8162
2.Lovers Key State Park
Lovers Key State Park stretches 712 acres throughout the Fort Myers Beach region, extending across its namesake key and the Black Island, Long Key, and Inner Key regions. The park, which is accessible near Bonita Beach, preserves significant natural habitats that were once mangrove swamp land prior to development in the 1960s. Park visitors can enjoy a wide range of outdoor recreational opportunities, including hiking and cycling opportunities and chances for swimming, boating, sunbathing, and shelling. More than 40 native bird species call the park home, while native marine life such as bottlenose dolphins and West Indian manatees can be viewed off the park's shores. A two-mile beach is offered for public use, along with picnic areas, a boat ramp, and children's playgrounds.
8700 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-463-4588
3.Bowditch Point Regional Park
Bowditch Point Regional Park is a 17.5-acre public park at the northern end of Estero Island, divided into 10 acres of preserve area and seven acres of passive recreational use for visitors. The park, which is named in honor of celestial navigator Nathaniel Bowditch, was purchased by the City of Fort Myers Beach in 1987 and opened to the public in 1994. Today, the park is home to butterfly gardens, a bathhouse, and a boardwalk, along with day-use picnic tables and grills available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors can stroll through the preserve area via walking trails and watch for native bird species flying across the backdrop of gorgeous Estero Bay. An amphitheater-style viewing area also offers stunning vista overlooks of nearby San Carlos Bay, Sanibel Island, and Punta Rassa.
50 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-765-6794
© Mound House
Mound House preserves an ancient Calusa indigenous shell mound in Fort Myers Beach, which was formed more than 2,000 years ago from the scavenged shell remains of a tribe colloquially known as the "Shell Indians." Today, visitors can explore the rich history of Estero Island and its oldest remaining structure, constructed in 1898 and used as an estate home, post office, and World War II-era military rest stop. The home, which is constructed atop the site of the Calusa mound, was preserved in 1995 by citizen activism efforts and converted into a living history museum and archaeological site showcasing the region's natural and cultural history. Exhibits include the underground Stories Beneath Our Feet in situ site, which features video narration and LED light elements to tell the story of the Calusa village that once stood at the house's site. Museum visitors can also fish at the site's observation pier or enjoy guided kayak eco-tours exploring Estero Island's vast biodiversity.
451 Connecticut St, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-765-0865
5.Fort Myers Beach
© Ryhor Zasinets/stock.adobe.com
Fort Myers Beach is known throughout the United States for its gorgeous seven-mile beachfront, which showcases sugar-white sands and gradually sloping waterfront terrain. The Estero Island beachfront is located within the town of the same name and serves as a popular outdoor recreation site year-round. Beachgoers can enjoy prime conditions for watersports such as kayaking and parasailing or explore the region's rich marine life as part of waverunner dolphin eco-tours or fishing charters. Young ones can splash safely in the beach's waters, which remain shallow and calm year-round. Nearby attractions in the city of Fort Myers Beach include the Ostego Bay Marine Science Center, the Mound House, and popular shopping district Times Square. A plethora of special events are held at or near the beach each year, including an annual Shrimp Festival in March and one of the nation's top Pirate Festivals, held in October.
Times Square is the heart of Estero Island's retail and dining district, located adjacent to the Fort Myers Beach Pier. The vibrant pedestrian plaza district, which was developed in the 1980s and is named in honor of the famed New York City intersection, offers some of the best shopping, dining, and entertainment options in Fort Myers Beach, providing endless opportunities for summer fun. Delicious seafood-focused restaurants such as Pete's Time Out and the Pierside Grill and Famous Blowfish Bar offer drink specials and open-air seating, showcasing live music performances throughout the week. Eclectic surf shops, art galleries, and boutiques line the district, which is frequented by street performers throughout tourist seasons. Each Friday and Saturday evening, the district comes alive with the massive Sunset Celebration beach party, which showcases family-friendly activities and live performances.
7.Key West Express
© Key West Express
Key West Express offers a unique vantage point of the United States' southernmost point, embarking year-round from Fort Myers Beach and traveling via catamaran to beautiful Key West. The company offers daily departures from Estero Island throughout the year and additional departures from nearby Marco Island in season, providing an alternative to more expensive flight transportation options. Jet-powered catamarans offer air-conditioned interiors with reclining seats, a full-service bar and galley, and beautiful outdoor sundecks for observing the spectacular waterfront scenery. All passengers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by adult guardians. Guests should note that daily boarding and departure times are subject to change based on water and weather conditions.
100 Grinnell St, Key West, FL 33040, Phone: 239-463-5733
8.Matanzas Pass Preserve
Matanzas Pass Preserve is a beautiful 60-acre nature preserve on Estero Island, located a mile from the Matanzas Pass Bridge near the city of Fort Myers Beach. The preserve, which protects one of the region's final remaining maritime oak hammock habitats, was established in 1979 by the Nature Conservancy and donated to Lee County for public use in 1994. A wide variety of native Florida wildlife species call the preserve home, including significant native bird populations, which have earned the preserve a designation as part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. A paddle craft launch site also provides access to the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. 1.25 miles of hiking trails showcase mangrove canopies and provide access to a pavilion overlooking Estero Bay.
199 Bay Rd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-229-1610
9.Ostego Bay Foundation Marine Science Center
© Ostego Bay Foundation Marine Science Center
Ostego Bay Foundation Marine Science Center is Fort Myers Beach's premiere family-friendly museum and wildlife center, open to the public Mondays through Saturdays during the morning and afternoon hours. The center is dedicated to showcasing the unique ecology and ecosystems of Florida's barrier islands and estuary habitats, highlighting a wide variety of natural history displays and interactive marine life exhibits. Children can view daily feedings at the center's marine aquarium or touch stingrays at its interactive touch tank. Guided and self-guided tours are offered for individuals and groups, including excursions to visit the San Carlos Island shrimping fleet and learn about the region's commercial fishing industry. Birthday party packages are also available for young ones wishing to celebrate their special days at the center.
718 Fisherman's Wharf, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-765-8101
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10.Captain Butch's Water Taxi
Captain Butch's Water Taxi is Estero Island's premiere seasonal boat transportation service, offering an alternative to heavy vehicle traffic coming to the island during peak seasonal vacation times. The on-demand water taxi service is available mid-morning through sunset seven days a week between December and May, with advance reservations strongly recommended to ensure availability. For a nominal fee per passenger, guests can travel from mainland Florida to destinations such as Fort Myers Beach and Punta Rassa. Taxi service is available to any dock access point north of Fort Myers Beach's business district, extending up to Bowditch Point. Six passengers maximum are allowed aboard all taxi trips. Complimentary service is offered for overnight guests of the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort and Spa.
17264 San Carlos Blvd, Suite 302-104, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931-5304, Phone: 239-314-9994
11.Lynn Hall Memorial Park
Lynn Hall Memorial Park is a lively beachfront park located near top Fort Myers Beach attractions such as Times Square and the Matanzas Pass Bridge. The park is located at the site of the historic Fort Myers Beach Pier, which was originally constructed in the 1930s and newly renovated in 1992 following significant storm damage. Since 1981, the park has been known under its current name in memory of Lee County Sheriff's Department Deputy Lynn Hall, who was killed two years prior in a traffic stop conflict. Park visitors with valid saltwater fishing licenses can enjoy fee-free fishing at the pier year-round. Other amenities include day-use picnic shelters, outdoor showers and beachfront restrooms, and a bait and gift shop.
950 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33931, Phone: 239-229-1610
12.Fort Myers Beach Art Association and Gallery
© Fort Myers Beach Art Association and Gallery
Fort Myers Beach Art Association and Gallery has operated as a working artist's gallery for more than 65 years, originally founded in 1951 as a nonprofit art association showcasing art shows and fundraising events out of rotating venues. The gallery, which has been housed in a permanent space on Donora Street since 1968, is home to two working art gallery spaces, open to the public during the morning and afternoon hours Mondays through Saturdays. More than 150 members display their multimedia works throughout the years, including nationally-recognized contemporary artists. Artist workshops and classes are held at the gallery throughout the year, along with special events such as an annual student scholarship fundraiser and ceremony. A wide range of fine art is sold at the gallery, including miniature matted master works.
3030 Shell Mound Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-463-3909
Newton Park preserves the former beachfront estate of Estero Island socialites Jim and Ellie Newton, best known for Jim's notable autobiographical work Uncommon Friends, which detailed the couple's close relationships with famed 20th-century figures such as Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, and Thomas Edison. The park is located on the site of the couple's home, constructed in 1953 and known as Seven Seas. Today, guests can relax at the quaint park and enjoy gorgeous stretches of Gulf of Mexico beachfront, which offer amenities such as day-use tiki huts and picnic tables, outdoor showers, and public restrooms. Seven Seas is open to the public for private special event rentals, featuring amenities such as an outdoor bocce court. Park visitors can ride the Fort Myers Beach trolley to the site or use metered parking spots on site.
4650 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-765-0865
14.Island Time Dolphin and Shelling Cruises
© Island Time Dolphin and Shelling Cruises
Island Time Dolphin and Shelling Cruises are helmed by Captain Jessica DeGraw, a Maryland native who grew up spending summers on Sanibel Island and received her United States Coast Guard Master Captains License while studying at Florida Gulf Coast University. Cruise participants can kick back and relax on the company's lovely bimini-top boat, which offers full restroom facilities and sun and shade deck areas. A wide variety of eco-tours and cruises are offered by the company, including three-hour scenic dolphin cruises exploring the Estero Island region's mangrove ecosystems. Six-hour shelling chargers feature all-inclusive lunches, while 10-hour Boca Grande Island cruises offer day excursion opportunities to Gasparilla Island's historic community. Other tour opportunities include tiki bar hopping and art walk excursions, sunset cruises, and tours focusing on the region's Calusa indigenous history.
18400 San Carlos Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-898-6155
15.Good Time Charters
© Good Time Charters
Good Time Charters is one of Fort Myers Beach's premiere charter and eco-touring companies, originally established in 1999. The company offers a wide variety of touring experiences led by marine biologists and naturalist guides, departing from the city's Snook Bight Yacht Club and Marina. Coastal dolphin and shelling cruises explore scenic islands accessible only by boat, offering opportunities for manatee and nesting bird sightings. Sunset cruises are also available, along with scenic 90-minute wildlife cruises and chartered marine life safaris. All tours take place aboard the company' 38-foot beachcat Phoenix, which offers handicap access and an onboard restroom. Private charter and watersports experiences available include fishing charters, kayak eco-tours, and stand-up paddleboarding experiences.
4765 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-218-8014
16.Holiday Water Sports
© Eric Simard/stock.adobe.com
Holiday Water Sports offers a plethora of family-friendly watersporting experiences for Estero Island visitors of all ages, opened in 1991 by Florida natives Sharon and Kevin Faircloth. The year-round watersports company is led by knowledgeable, licensed staff and offers opportunities for once-in-a-lifetime activities such as dolphin adventure tours showcasing the region's diverse marine wildlife. WaveRunner rentals let island visitors experience the thrill of racing through the Gulf of Mexico's waters, with life jackets and instruction provided for all riders for safety. Sailboat, parasail, kayak, and stand-up paddle board rentals are also available, along with beach chair and umbrella rentals for relaxing in the sun on the city's beautiful shoreline. Three locations are offered throughout Estero Island, including a location at the Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort and Spa.
200 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-765-4386
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17.Heidi's Island Bistro
© Heidi's Island Bistro
Heidi's Island Bistro has been family-owned and operated since 2012, serving up delicious German and American cuisine options in a lovely laid-back dining room in Fort Myers Beach's downtown district. The delicious bistro is home to an in-house bakery, which serves up to-go selections of German-style rolls, breads, and sweets, including the restaurant's famed black forest cake. German and European classics are served up daily, including jaegerschnitzel, sauerbraten, Nürnberger-style bratwurst, and spaetzle. Traditional American-style fare is also available, ranging from pasta entrees to fine New York strip steaks. At brunch, diners can choose from full farmer's plates, three-egg omelettes, or eggs Benedict dishes or build their own breakfast sandwiches on croissants, bagels, or housemade rye bread.
2943 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-765-8844
18.Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grille Ft. Myers Beach
© Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grille Ft. Myers Beach
Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grille Ft. Myers Beach is one of San Carlos Island's favorite waterfront dining spots, offering seating directly on the back of gorgeous Estero Bay. Live music performances are showcased throughout the week, complementing high-quality Caribbean-style cuisine with an emphasis on local seafood dishes. Lunch and dinner options include delectable entrees such as panko-fried shrimp or grouper, seafood paella, deep-water mahi mahi, and banana leaf snapper with ancho chile puree and Pine Island lime juice. Raw bar options range from Yucatan-style shrimp and ceviche cocktail to classic Gulf oysters on the half shell. At lunch, diners can choose from lighter fare options such as campeche fish tacos, Maine lobster rolls, or lime panko-crusted fish sandwiches, complemented by land fare such as Cuban and pulled pork sandwiches.
708 Fishermans Wharf, Ft Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-765-9660
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19.Fresh Catch Bistro
© Fresh Catch Bistro
Fresh Catch Bistro offers one of the Gulf of Mexico's best seafood dining experiences, owned and operated by Amalfi Coast immigrant Alfredo Russo. The restaurant offers fresh daily-caught fish and seafood entrees prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, including entree specialties such as day boat scallops, shrimp Mediterranean, grouper caprese, and seafood pasta jambalaya. Fresh daily seafood catches are offered in a variety of preparations, served up with side dishes such as baked potatoes, steak frites, and Thai-style rice. A full raw bar is also available, along with high-quality land fare such as filet mignon, New York strip steaks, and braised beef short ribs. An extensive wine list pairs West Coast selections with European and international red and white wines.
3040 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-463-2600
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20.Flippers on the Bay
© Flippers on the Bay
Flippers on the Bay has been named as Estero Island's best waterfront restaurant, known for its gorgeous open-air seating and high-quality early morning menus. The restaurant, which is helmed by El Salvador native Juan Cruz, offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner service seven days a week in a casual, laid-back atmosphere. Gourmet entree selections include a wide variety of delectable seafood entrees, including Asian-style Atlantic salmon, bohemian grouper with citrus mango relish, and the restaurant's famous seafood Oscar, which pairs a selection of fresh fish catches with lump crab meat, herbed scalloped potatoes, bearnaise, and roasted vegetables. At breakfast, diners can choose from classic pancake stacks, build-your-own omelettes, or signature entrees such as Spanish-style Benedicts and breakfast burritos. An impressive bar offers macrobrew selections, fine wines, and a variety of delicious tropical-style cocktails.
8771 Estero Boulevard, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, Phone: 239-765-1025
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20 Best Things to Do in Fort Myers Beach, Florida
- Fort Myers Beach Public Library, Photo: Fort Myers Beach Public Library
- Lovers Key State Park, Photo: Eric/stock.adobe.com
- Bowditch Point Regional Park, Photo: ArnoldPhotog/stock.adobe.com
- Mound House, Photo: Mound House
- Fort Myers Beach, Photo: Ryhor Zasinets/stock.adobe.com
- Times Square, Photo: jccain/stock.adobe.com
- Key West Express, Photo: Key West Express
- Matanzas Pass Preserve, Photo: jccain/stock.adobe.com
- Ostego Bay Foundation Marine Science Center, Photo: Ostego Bay Foundation Marine Science Center
- Captain Butch's Water Taxi, Photo: misumaru51shingo/stock.adobe.com
- Lynn Hall Memorial Park, Photo: Tee11/stock.adobe.com
- Fort Myers Beach Art Association and Gallery, Photo: Fort Myers Beach Art Association and Gallery
- Newton Park, Photo: tortoon/stock.adobe.com
- Island Time Dolphin and Shelling Cruises, Photo: Island Time Dolphin and Shelling Cruises
- Good Time Charters, Photo: Good Time Charters
- Holiday Water Sports, Photo: Eric Simard/stock.adobe.com
- Heidi's Island Bistro, Photo: Heidi's Island Bistro
- Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grille Ft. Myers Beach, Photo: Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grille Ft. Myers Beach
- Fresh Catch Bistro, Photo: Fresh Catch Bistro
- Flippers on the Bay, Photo: Flippers on the Bay
- Cover Photo: Celso Diniz/stock.adobe.com