FLORIDA’S TROPICAL ISLAND VACATION DESTINATION
Fort Myers Beach is a barrier island located off the Southern Gulf Coast of Florida. This location is central to visitor’s top choices of places to go:
Ft Myers Beach: Known as one of the top five locations in the USA for the most perfect weather! Ft Myers Beach actually consists of two islands: At the north end is a very small island, known as San Carlos Island. This island is caught between the bay and the ocean. Restaurants and marinas are the main staples of the island. Estero is the larger of the two islands, where you will find approximately 8 miles of shimmering white sugar sand. The north end of the island is known for its many hotels, ‘the pier’ and ‘Times Square.’ The pier is exactly that; many fish from the pier, and others observe the setting sun from this strategic location.
This northern end has a small shopping district, restaurants, bars and pubs, tattoo studios, body piercing pagodas…generally not an area recommended for unaccompanied young people, especially during Spring Break times. This is “where the action is”….very satisfying for those looking to party, but too hectic for those seeking relaxation.
The remaining area of the island tends to be residential, with two grocery stores, a few marinas, homes and condo buildings. The south end of the island is known for peaceful tranquility. As you cross the bridge off the south end, over Big Carlos Pass, you will discover Lover’s Key. This undeveloped island has miles of sparkling white beaches…with the natural animals of tropical environment. Many boats pull up into the sandy shallows, for swimming, shelling and picnics. The shelling on Ft Myers Beach is usually awesome. Shelling is largely dependent on storms and currents, but the shell availability here rivals Sanibel.
Naples: approx. 30 minutes drive south. Featuring Tin City, Old Naples, an exotic shopping district rivaling Rodeo Drive, and some beautiful marinas. Naples has the 2nd highest per-capita income in the United States, and is home to some of the world’s wealthiest people.
City of Ft Myers: approx. 30 minutes drive north. Visit the summer home of Henry Ford & Thomas Edison, where you will find the country’s largest banyon tree, with a circumference of over 400 feet! See the laboratory in which Edison worked, as well as many of his inventions. Stop by children’s Imaginarium (a hands-on museum/science center) , the Ft Myers Historical Museum, and the Gatorama Exhibit. Catch a Broadway Musical at the beautiful Barbara Mann Performing Arts Hall, or visit the Cultural Park Theatre, hosting local talent in stage productions.
Cape Coral & Pine Island: approx. 20 minutes north, you will find Greenwells Family Fun Park, with go cart tracks, mini golf, batting cages, & bumper boats. For more family entertainment, visit Sun Splash Waterpark! You may enjoy Four Mile Cove Ecological Perserve, and island hopping on the Jug Creek Cruise Boat, or go fishing on a 90 ft. yacht ‘Great Getaway’. For the golfers, there is Royal Tee, a 27 hole Champion Golf Course, to which the public is welcome.
Sanibel Island & Captiva Island: approx. 30 minute drive north, with yet another Golf & Tennis Club. Captiva Cruises offers a ½ day Cruise to Cabbage Key or Useppa Island, where you can enjoy an island lunch. Captiva is also known for the excellent Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. For a unique experience, visit Morgan’s Forest restaurant with reproductions of a South American Forest inside the eatery. On Sanibel, be sure to see the Multi million dollar World Class yachts and cruisers docking at South Sea Resort Marina.
Everglades: 20 minute ride. View the alligators sunning along the canals of Alligator Alley, try the day long eco-tour safari, or fossil expeditions. Babcock Wilderness Adventures takes you on a 1 ½ hour ride on a swamp buggy. Several air-boat ride companies in this area as well.
Ask for a free travel guide. Advance reservations are recommended for recreational and cultural activities during high season.
Approximate driving mileage to major Florida cities from Ft Myers Beach:
Alice’s Restaurant Recommendations:
Note: I receive no compensation to include any recommended restaurant. These are places our family and friends personally frequent and enjoy.
Nervous Nellies Restaurant, located on the north end of the island offers outdoor bayfront dining, as well as covered outdoor and indoor dining. Famous for the HUGE TURKEY SIZE PLATTER of BBQ ribs. Literally finger lickin’ good. You will need a take home box because you won’t be able to finish them. We have enjoyed everything here, and come quite often. Don’t miss this place!
Charley’s Boat House, 6225 Estero Blvd., just north of the condo. Known for excellent steak, gigantic salad bar. Moderately priced. Early Bird Specials!
South Beach, in Santini Plaza on the southern end of the island. Savory dishes, nice atmosphere. Convenient location. Expensive but delicious.
The Pewter Mug Steak House, 12300 Tamiami Trail, North Naples. From the corner of Bonita Beach Rd and Route 41, head south toward Naples approx 5 miles. Located on the left side of the street. Huge salad bar, casual ambiance. Good food, well priced.
Flippers on the Bay. Cross over the south bridge leaving the island, and take the first left turn. Proceed the short distance to the end of this road, and you will find this marvelous outdoor, covered dining! View the back bay dolphins from your table! Enjoy the waterfall into the pool. The lunches are light fare, and dinners are delightful! And best of all, very reasonably priced! This is one of our favorite stops!
Mexican anyone? Try Iguana Mia, on the corner of Bonita Beach Road, and Rt 41. LOTS of good food for little cost.
Kilwin’s Ice Cream. Take a chance, and drive to the north end of the island, to the ‘Times Square’ area. This is a fun, tourist-type gathering of shops with pedestrian only streets. Walk toward Pier, and on your left side, you will see this jewel! This is without any doubt the BEST ice cream known to mankind. All home-made, along with fudge, specialty popcorn, candied apples. Bring your wallet, this is not cheap, but it keeps us coming back for more! Don’t confuse this with the other ice cream store that is more visible… You will need to go around the corner to find Kilwins.
Golfer’s paradise on the gulf coast
****50 golf courses in the immediate South Gulf Coast area!****
Here are just several well worth considering:
Fort Myers Country Club (The fort), designed by renowned golf course architect Donald Ross, with only 35 bunkers. (239) 936-2457
Eastwood Golf Course, designed by Robert VonHagge. Ranked by Golf Digest as one of the best public facilities in the USA. (239) 275-4848
Gateway Golf & Country Club (239) 561-1010
Gulf Harbour Yacht & Country Club, on Caloosahatchee River. Features 83 bunkers. (239) 433-4211
Pelican Sound, designed in conjunction with PGA player Mike Hill. Very challenging course. (239) 498-9979
Bonita Springs Golf Club, (239) 992-2800
Bonita Fairways An Executive course (239) 947-9100
Country Creek Club An Executive course (239) 947-3820
Stoneybrook Country Club, nearby on Corkscrew Road, designed by Gordon Lewis, this course has 7 sets of tees, ranging from junior players to champions. (239) 948-3933
Gateway Golf and Country Club, just minutes from the airport. Designed by Tom Fazio, and recipient of a 4-star ranking with Golf Digest. (239) 561-1010
Lochmoor Country Club, beautiful scenery, and site of two previous LPGA events. (239) 995-0501
Beachview Golf Club, Sanibel Island Championship Course (239) 472-2626
The Dunes, Sanibel Island Championship Course (239) 472-2535
Cypress Lake Country Club, where Patty Berg could often be found playing. Patty was a founding member of the LPGA Tour, and won 57 tournaments.
BASEBALL TRAINING CAMPS
Florida Sea Dragons, games played at TECO Arena. This sports facility is located just off Rt 75 at Corkscrew Road, next to the Miromar Mall. www.floridaseadragons.com For tickets, call (239) 948-7825.
Ft Myers Skatium, 2250 Broadway, Ft Myers. 72,000 square foot family entertainment center. Ice skating , in line skating. Also offers LASER TAG and a Video Arcade. Rentals are available. www.fortmyersskatium.com Phone (239) 461-3145.