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As the weather starts to cool down and the days grow shorter, a little Florida sunshine might be just what you need. While the party set heads to Miami and families pack their mouse ears for Orlando, why not make your way down to the beaches of Fort Myers for a perfect long weekend getaway? Besides the sand and sunshine, this beach town and the surrounding area has a lot to offer. Here’s how to plan the perfect three-day vacation in Fort Myers. 

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Day 1: Set sail in Fort Myers

Hit the gulf and the Pine Island Sound for a great day on the water. The best way to see all of the beauty of this part of Florida is by boat. While the water doesn’t get too much deeper than just 10 feet, there is an abundance of wildlife above and below the surface. Sign up for a boat tour or hire a private captain for the day for a memorable adventure. 

A great place to start your day exploring the islands around Fort Myers is Cayo Costa State Park. Accessible only by boat, this pristine uninhabited island is one of the best places in the country to go shelling. The best times to find seashells is during low tide and the winds of the winter months tend to bring more shells to shore. If you don’t have any room in your bags for shells, there are plenty of hiking trails and long stretches of beach to walk and relax on. 

For lunch pull up to the docks of Cabbage Key. On this island is a one-of-a-kind restaurant (of the same name) known for three things. First, as soon as you walk in the door you’ll notice that this place is covered floor to ceiling in dollar bills left by customers estimated around $100,000 in “wallpaper.” Second, according to legend, Cabbage Key was the inspiration for the Jimmy Buffet classic “Cheese Burger in Paradise.” Lastly, the food is top notch and the surrounds are hard to top. Don’t miss their famous mahi-mahi with fresh pico de gallo.
Address: Latitude N 26º 39′ 24.162″ Longitude W 82º 13′ 20.635″

In the afternoon, keep an eye out for wild dolphins who call the shallow waters around Fort Myers home. These cute and playful mammals love to ride the wake that the boats create and if you’re lucky they’ll swim along with your vessel for a while. With the remainder of your afternoon, plot a course to one of the many islands in the area or just take in the beauty from the deck of the boat. 

Fort Myers has a wide range of accommodation options and neighborhoods, but most people opt for the beaches. Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel make for two great places to rest your head while visiting. On Fort Myers Beach, check out the Pink Shell Resort or The South Seas Island Resort on Sanibel. 

Day 2: Check out the historical side of Fort Myers

Flickr CC: Jeff Muceus

Start your day with a visit to the Edison Ford Estate, as in Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The duo used Fort Myers as their winter home and had a large laboratory and expansive gardens here in Florida. You can tour the lavish homes and acres of gardens filled with plants and trees from around the world. They brought plants from all corners of the globe here looking for materials for Edison’s light bulb and rubber for car tires. The estate is a unique stop for a Ft. Myers itinerary. 

For lunch, stay with the car theme and grab a burger at Ford’s Garage in downtown Fort Myers. Inspired by the automobile maker and his connection to the city, it’s a unique place with some tasty burgers. You can’t miss the full-size Model-T hanging over the bar that periodically honks while you’re enjoying your meal.
Address: 2207 First St, Fort Myers, FL 33901

In the afternoon, go further back in time with a trip to the Mound House. A visit here will take you back thousands of years to the time of the Calusa Native American tribes. These tribes literally built some of the islands around Fort Myers. To protect against storms and tides the Calusa built huge mounds of shells to live on. The Mound House is an example of this. The foundation of the house sits on a shell mound dating back over a thousand years which you can see first hand in the archaeological site.
Address: 451 Connecticut St, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

Day 3: Toes in the sand

Wind down your long weekend in Ft. Myers with a beach day. However, winding down doesn’t mean you have to sleep in. If you’re up for it, set your alarm clock for sunrise and head to the beach early for the soft pastel morning colors and the best chance to find seashells. 

There’s no shortage of beach options. Choose one to suit your style or make a tour and visit a few of them. An easy choice is none other than Fort Myers Beach. This stretch of sand is a nice, deep and white beach with very fine compacted sand great for long walks. Behind the beach are a few clusters of shops and low key restaurants offering local seafood and a fun atmosphere. Nightlife here is fun yet casual consisting of relaxed beach bars and live music. 

For a quieter day, make your way to the beaches on Sanibel Island. This island stays less developed and more in touch with nature with the help of a law that forbids any building being taller than a palm tree. Sanibel is a great option for families or those looking to escape from the crowds. Another popular place to lay your beach towel is Captiva Beach on adjacent Captiva Island. A perennial contender for the top beach in the country, it makes for a great spot to spend your last day in Fort Myers.  


Tagged: Florida

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Hannah & Adam | Getting Stamped Bloggers
Hannah & Adam are travel writers & photographers who have called the road home since 2013. Their passion for adventurous travel has brought them to 60 countries and counting. They blog about their adventures on their travel blog

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