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Why Go to Fort Myers

Compared to its party neighbors on the eastern side of the state, this gulf-side vacation spot is quieter but no less interesting. The hustle and bustle you'll find in cities like Miami is replaced by family-friendly beaches and historic homes – like the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Both historic figures are credited with transforming Fort Myers into the lush hideaway it is today. Being one with nature is also important to the city with dozens of wildlife and nature preserves scattered throughout the area, such as Manatee Park. Since most of the coastline is preserved land, beachgoers congregate on the narrow Fort Myers Beach. Another big draw to the city: spring training. Two major league baseball teams, along with diehard baseball fans, flock to the warmer weather to get a first glimpse at the upcoming lineup. With such a diverse offering, it's easy to see why the "City of Palms" rivals its larger neighbors in southern Florida. 

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Fort Myers Travel Tips

Best Months to Visit

The best time to visit Fort Myers is between March and May. Although the sun is up and rates are down, visitors wanting a quiet vacation should be on the lookout for spring breakers. The summer months see the most crowds, especially families, so plan to book at least three months in advance if you'll be traveling then. Like other tropical locales, Fort Myers also sees an influx of travelers in the winter season when high temperatures are in the mid to upper 70s. 

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Data sourced from the National Climatic Data Center

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What You Need to Know

  • Where's the huge area with sand? If you're staying in downtown Fort Myers, the nearest beach is about 20 miles south, but with traffic it's about a 30- to 40-minute drive, so plan accordingly when heading to the shoreline. 
  • Am I in LA? Making for a great entrance into the city, 14 miles of McGregor Boulevard are lined with more than 2,000 palm trees, which look incredibly similar to Rodeo Drive (without the stores).
  • Which island? If you venture toward the gulf, you'll find Boca Grande and the outer islands. Some are uninhabited, but others are known as upscale celebrity hideaways. You can rent a boat, take a ferry or join an island-hopping tour to catch a glimpse. 

How to Save Money in Fort Myers

  • Hug a tree Explore a number of stunning nature preserves for little to no cost.
  • Get an early start Travel in spring (March through May) for a more affordable and less crowded experience.
  • Be a happy camper The area is home to numerous campgrounds and RV parks, such as Koreshan State Historic Site, where you can cut accommodation costs while increasing your time in the incredible climate. 

Culture & Customs

Like many other Florida beach destinations, Fort Myers is a relaxed place with friendly residents. But keep in mind that a little politeness goes a long way, and it's important to remember proper etiquette. Downtown Fort Myers is 30 miles from the closest beach, so keep the swimsuits just for the shore. Shorts and T-shirts are widely accepted, although you may want to pack nicer clothes for dining out.

What to Eat

Fringed by both the Gulf of Mexico and the Caloosahatchee River, Fort Myers' menus are dominated by seafood. For the catch of the day, recent visitors recommend Skip One Seafood Market south of downtown, known for catching its own shrimp as well as local favorite Prawnbroker Restaurant and Fish Market. If you're looking for a unique experience, try The Veranda, located in two early 20th-century homes near the historic downtown district, or Roadhouse which provides live jazz music during dinner. Families in town for a beach vacation also have an abundance of more casual establishments to choose from. There are also a bevy of chain and fast-food restaurants around U.S. 41 and College Parkway. You can't go wrong with restaurants like Capone's Coal Fired Pizza or Mel's Diner Fort Myers. 

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Getting Around Fort Myers

The best way to get around Fort Myers is by car. With the closest beach about 20 miles south of downtown, a car will facilitate your fun – plus, the alternatives may give you a headache. The available public transportation has a reputation for being inconvenient and unreliable. Also, aside from the tiny historic downtown, travelers say it's not easy to walk around due to the distance between attractions. To get into town, many visitors fly into Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), located in Fort Myers proper and about a 30-minute drive south of the city center.

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