Fort Myers is a Southwest Florida gem abounding with cultural heritage, gorgeous beaches, and exciting attractions for all the family. If you're planning a visit here, you'll be spoiled for excellent places to stay. Each one of Fort Myers' diverse and unique neighborhoods offers something different. There's the historic charm of Fort Myers downtown, the vibrant charisma of Fort Myers Beach and the serene majesty of Sanibel Island. The city offers a wealth of activities and attractions, but venture a little further afield and you'll find overlooked neighborhoods and suburbs all offering their own unique features and character.
This slice of paradise is every bit as captivating as its name suggests. Small enough to be walkable but big in personality and quirky charm, Captiva Island is a serene hideaway you're sure to love. Neighboring Sanibel Island is just a small bridge away, but you will feel like you are in a world of your own. With half of the island a state park, Captiva is a nature lover's dream—as you explore, look out for dolphins, manatees, bald eagles, rare snakes and perhaps even the elusive bobcat.
If you're looking for good vibes only and a lively colorful atmosphere—not to mention dazzling white sand—Fort Myers Beach is the place to be. Fort Myers Beach is the perfect setting to try your hand at water sports, from parasailing to kayaking, and it's just as suited to those looking for a laid back beach stay. You can sail the waves on a dolphin spotting WaveRunner eco-tour or hop on a fishing charter for anglers of any level, and Sanibel and Captiva Islands are just a short trip away. Foodies will love the town's array of gorgeous beach-front restaurants—an unforgettable breakfast from local secret Heavenly Biscuit is the perfect way to start your day of exploration.
Located just 4 miles (6.44 km) from the causeway that takes you to Sanibel Island and 11 miles (17.7 km) southwest of central Fort Myers, Iona is an excellent choice for those who want to explore all the area has to offer. From Iona, it's super easy to pop over to Sanibel Island or spend time island hopping, without sacrificing proximity to the other areas of Fort Myers. In fact, many locals use Iona's great restaurants as a meeting spot to catch up with friends who live on the islands. But with the warm local culture and buzzy bars and cafés, from laid back to upscale, you may just want to stay right where you are!
For those who love to shop till they drop, Bonita Springs and Estero offer a bounty of exciting stores and boutiques. Estero's Coconut Point, a vibrant outdoor mall in picturesque surroundings, is a must-visit that hosts events throughout the year and offers a huge range of stores, from big brands to local gems. If you can tear yourself away from the boutiques and malls, you'll also find beautiful parks like Bonita Springs' Wonder Gardens where you can meet rescued wildlife in stunning botanical surroundings. Or take a step back in time with a visit to the Estero Historical Society One-room Schoolhouse and Cottage Museum to uncover the town's fascinating history.
With its relaxed lifestyle and waterfront elegance, Cape Coral is a great place to stay, and for those who love spending time on the water, it really comes into its own. The community is surrounded by water, with five marinas where you can charter or rent yachts, boats and kayaks and join exciting excursions to the islands or other nearby destinations. You can expect a warm welcome in this charming coastal community, which has a family-friendly feel and offers plenty of land-based activities as well as those on the water. Cape Coral boasts over 1500 acres of parkland and an excellent food and drink scene, so you'll never be stuck for fun things to do.
In downtown Fort Myers rich history meets chic modernity for a truly unique stay. Here you'll find Southwest Florida's highest concentration of historic structures—join a historical walking tour or visit the Southwest Florida History Museum to discover their stories. On these historical brick-lined streets you'll find culture aplenty, with abundant art galleries, antiques collections and independent stores and boutiques. The bustling area is also home to some of Fort Myers' best bars and local breweries offering great beers and immaculate vibes. Top off your evening at The Laboratory Theater of Florida for one-of-a-kind shows and a taste of the local culture.
Matlacha offers a kaleidoscope of personality, eccentricity and whimsical charm. The tiny town was significantly impacted by Hurricane Ian, but the residents are a lesson in resilience, working hard to rebuild their unique artistic community. You're sure to fall under the spell of this special place, where quaint Old Florida fishing community vibes meet an artistic bohemian spirit. It's the perfect place to pick up unique, locally made souvenirs or just take a walk and soak up the inimitable atmosphere. Matlacha's gorgeous waterways offer scenic beauty and glorious sunset views and make it another excellent choice for boaters or kayakers. One things for sure, all your friends will have FOMO when they see your amazing photos.
North Fort Myers blends urban convenience with rural beauty and is home to one of Lee County's most diverse communities. The highly accessible location, with good links to other parts of Fort Myers, makes North Fort Myers an especially good option if you're looking for somewhere quieter to stay, but don't want to completely disappear off-grid. Get lost in the wild majesty of Powell Creek Preserve—a haven for wildlife with hiking trails and opportunities to take stunning photos—then be back in civilization in no time, ready for an evening of great food and local entertainment in a buzzing urban setting.
Sanibel Island is known as the ‘seashell capital of the world', and for good reason. Here visitors adopt the ‘Sanibel Stoop' as they walk the shore collecting its beautiful natural treasures. Join the hunt, or escape the crowds on a private charter shelling cruise—you'll be whisked away to remote locations full of perfect specimens, with dolphins frolicking in your wake along the way. More than half of Sanibel Island is dedicated to protected nature, including J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a 7600-acre reserve that shelters hundreds of animal species. And you can take to the water to soak up magical views as you paddle serenely down the Calusa Blueway.
Though it's the largest of Florida's Gulf Coast islands, Pine Island has a peaceful, hometown atmosphere split between traditional agriculture and life on the water. What the island lacks in beaches, it makes up for in ancient mangrove forests and tidal marsh habitats. Pine Island is home to a rich variety of wildlife, including the gopher tortoise, bald eagle and graceful Florida panther. It's also the perfect place to discover Florida's history—for instance, visit the Calusa Heritage Trail for a peek into the life of the indigenous Calusa people. After a day getting lost in nature or steeped in history, there's no better way to refuel than with a hearty meal of local just-caught seafood at the island's many excellent restaurants.