Looking for the perfect long weekend getaway from the cold northern winter or just a little bit of sunshine any time of the year? Why not head to Fort Myers, Florida? There are so many things to do in Fort Myers and the surrounding islands, it’s sure to make a great weekend getaway in Florida.
In order to enjoy your time in Fort Myers we highly suggest renting a car, that way you visit several beaches in Fort Myers and attractions. Book in advance on Rentalcars.com for the cheapest rates and free cancelation. Renting a car for under $30 a day is a for sure way to maximize 3 days in Fort Myers. Click here to check rates.
Day 1 – Set sail in Fort Myers
Exploring Pine Island Sound is one of the best ways to see all of the best sights of Fort Myers. Spend the day with Captain Brian of Captiva Cruises visiting the calm bays and sparsely populated islands surrounding Fort Myers and Sanibel.
The first stop of the day is the pristine beaches of Cayo Costa State Park. Known as one of the best places in the area for shelling, which is pretty impressive since Fort Myers & Sanibel are know as some of the best shelling destinations in the entire world. Fort Myers even created National Seashell Day, which falls on the first day of summer. Cayo Costa is a unique place where you’ll be all alone surrounded by nature in the beauty of these islands.
As you are cruising the shallow waters of the bay keep an eye out for wild dolphins. The cute dolphins love the calm shallow waters around the islands near Fort Myers. It’s not uncommon to see them while out on the boat. They love splashing in the waves the boats create so always be on the lookout for dolphins.
After a morning full of natural beauty and hunting for seashells make a stop for lunch at Cabbage Key. This privately owned island has been a must-stop place for around a half of a century. Besides some great food, another reason that makes Cabbage Key a great place to stop are all of the quirky gems on the island.
Starting with the restaurant itself, which is covered floor to ceiling in one-dollar bills. At some point, it became the tradition to decorate a greenback and stick it to the walls at the Cabbage Key Restaurant. The owners now estimate there are over one hundred thousand dollars pinned, tapped, and otherwise stuck to the walls of the restaurant.
If an obscene display of cash isn’t enough reason to pull your boat up here, the food might be. It’s said one of the main inspirations for Jimmy Buffet’s Cheeseburger in Paradise came from the kitchen here. While that status is debated all around the world, what’s not is that the food here is top-notch. Try their famous mahi-mahi served with pico de gallo and seasoned rice and beans.
While on Cabbage Key don’t miss the old school wooden water tower that gives a birds-eye view of the island and surrounding small islands. Speaking of bird’s eye, if you look close you may see an osprey circling the skies around the island, and his home might just be right above you. On top of the old water town, there is a massive nest and sightings are frequent.
- Address: Latitude N 26º 39′ 24.162″ Longitude W 82º 13′ 20.635″
If you have any ambition left at the end of the day make your way to the beach for sunset. The beaches of Fort Myers face almost due west and give a spectacular show of colors at the end of the day. One of the best things to do in Fort Myers is to catch the sunset and make sure to plan it right with a drink in hand.
Day 2 – The Historical Side of Fort Myers & Sanibel, Florida
Start your historical tour of Fort Myers and Sanibel by heading as far back as recorded history goes in this part of the world. Located on Estero Island the Mound House is a chance to look back thousands of years into southwest Florida’s history.
The shells that make up the mound that the Mound House is named after were placed there by the Calusa tribe around 2,00 years ago. The bottom half of the house and museum shows how the mound was built and the time periods when it was built as possibly the piece of land for ancient royalty. There is also a modern building on site that holds more recent history and now houses artifacts found on site.
- Address: 451 Connecticut St, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
Fast forward in time will bring you to the Edison & Ford Winter Estate. This well-preserved home of the great inventor Thomas Edison and automobile builder Henry Ford is a step back into the beginning of the last century. More than a winter getaway, the estate in Fort Myers also housed a massive laboratory and extensive garden. It was here in Florida that Edison had plants from around the world brought here to search for materials for his inventions. He was looking for a filament for his light bulbs and also things like rubber for tires.
As interesting as the antique laboratories are on the complex, the gardens are equally as impressive. The grounds are covered in exotic plants and unique trees brought to the property. Probably the most iconic is the huge clusters of banyan trees that have engulfed much of the property near the entrance of the Edison Ford Winter Estate.
If you haven’t had your fill of Edison and Ford inspired entertainment, then head to Ford’s Garage for lunch or dinner. Here you’ll find a life-sized antique Ford car hung from the ceiling over the bar and everything on the menu has some relationship to Ford or cars.
- Address: 2207 First St, Fort Myers, FL 33901, USA
Day 3 – Unwind in Fort Myers
Start your last day in Fort Myers with an early alarm clock. It would be a sin not to watch the sunrise on the beach at least one morning on your weekend getaway in Florida. The sunrise in Fort Myers Beach comes up across the bay, but on the beach, you get the peaceful pastel colors of the early morning. It’s as peaceful as it is picturesque because there are almost no people on the beach this early.
Spend your final morning walking the Fort Myers Beach. The powder white sand compact nicely making it easy to take long walks on the beach. Toward the center of the action in Fort Myers Beach is a large wooden pier that stretches far out into the sea. One end hangs out into the gulf and the other leads to the main streets of this beach community.
Wind down your weekend getaway by wander the streets of Fort Myers Beach. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to fill an afternoon or an entire day. Pull up a barstool at one of the many casual seafood joints for a great tasting fun atmosphere.
Thanks to Fort Myers & Sanibel for inviting us to visit, as always all opinions are our own.This post may contain affiliate links, see our disclosure