My family and I have been visiting Ft Myers Beach, FL for the last 20 years. My grandparents retired there and we love spending our Christmases and Spring Breaks in the beautiful Florida weather. I took a two-week trip to FMB, and had a great time. If you’re looking for things to do or places to go, let me be your guide.
Ft Myers Beach is a beautiful little beach town on the gulf coast of Florida, about three and a half hours south of Orlando. The city itself is two islands, San Carlos Island, and the much larger barrier island, Estero Island. Downtown and everything I’ll mention in this article are on Estero Island. However, San Carlos Island has some lovely restaurants like Doc Ford’s and Parrot Key.
Once you beat the traffic over Matanzas Pass Bridge, you won’t want to leave (so you don’t have to deal with the traffic again). You’ll find a lovely town full of brightly colored shops and inviting establishments where you can enjoy yourself. The star of the show is the beach. The entire gulf side of the island is a continuous white sand beach. While crowds can get dense near the pier, it’s a short walk down the coast to find enough space to stretch out and catch some rays. With parking and beach access available all up and down the island, finding a spot to yourself is never a problem. However, the single lane of traffic means it might take a while to get there. Personally, laying in the sun all day and enjoying the sound of the ocean sounds great, but maybe you want to do something a little more engaging with your time. That’s valid too, and Fort Myers Beach does not disappoint.
I made this list in chronological order. Meaning, I started with things that are better in the early part of the day and finished with the nightlife. From coffee to cocktails, Fort Myers will keep you satisfied all day long.
Starting the list off with maybe my favorite place on the entire island. This beautiful little cafe is on the gulf side of the island only a few blocks down from downtown. It’s full of shady, naturesque spots to wake up and prepare for another hard day’s work sitting in the sun.
MoJoe’s is also the de facto home to a couple of beautiful local cats who love to nap under the large rubber tree that is the focal point of the cafe’s natural beauty.
Tuckaway is another classic breakfast spot on the island. They have by far the best coffee around. The location might not be as picturesque as MoJoe’s, but the menu and the service more than make up for it.
If you’re feeling like getting out and exercising, a bike ride down the island is the perfect thing. Wide sidewalks and bike lanes make riding around on the island the best way to travel, and, depending on the time of day, it’ll probably be faster than driving too. The island is flat, which makes it an easy ride. The main road, Estero Boulevard, goes from one end of the island to the other and is 7 miles long. I like to ride all the way down and back for a 14 mile loop. That’s not too bad for vacation. Take the crew and turn it into a little brew cruise for added enjoyment!
Maybe the beach and it’s crowds of people is not really your thing and you’re more interested in unplugging and connecting with nature. Fort Myers Beach has that too. Just hop in a kayak and explore the many mangrove islands between the mainland and Estero. Right to the south of Estero Island is Lover’s Key and state park full of wildlife and places to explore.
Hurricane bay also has tons of lovely mangrove islands and the Great Calusa Blueway, which lets you travel all up and down the region by paddle.
Now let’s get some drinks! The Lani Kai is a parallel universe. At the Lani Kai, spring break never ends. There is always fun (and drinks) to be had. My favorite spot is outside on the rooftop bar. You and your friends can get a booth with a magnificent view out over the ocean. They swing too! Downstairs you’ll find live music that goes all night and a lovely beach bar where you can catch some rays while you play tailgating games. If you’re looking for a party, the Lani Kai is as good as it gets on Fort Myers Beach.
If you want something a little cleaner, The Salty Crab might be your place. This is a relatively recent addition to the beachfront offerings in FMB, but it’s an instant classic. With a great menu and tables in the sand, they’re the perfect spot to grab a late bite and have a drink in the salty sea air. It’s open late too, so hang out all night!
Time Square is as close as Fort Myers Beach comes to a downtown. It’s a lovely little area for pedestrian traffic only, walk up off the beach and do some shopping and some eating during the day, and at night the area is full of music and good times. Grab a scoop of ice cream at Kilwin’s or grab a table at one of the bars and listen to the local music. It has a bit of a reputation for being a hot sticky mess, but that’s what Florida vacations are all about. So wipe off the plastic patio furniture and grab a seat.
I love Fort Myers Beach. I grew up going there, and it’s accompanied me throughout my entire life. As a kid, there’s nothing more fun than swimming in the ocean, building sand castles and getting ice cream after dark. In college, there was always some fun to be had down at time square or the Lani Kai after all the parents had gone home. Even now, as an adult, it has its quiet spots in the sun where I can unwind and relax. I’m sure there are a million other places along the Florida coast just like Fort Myers Beach, but for me, this is the best of them.