Fort Myers may not be as popular as Florida’s larger cities like Miami, Orlando, or Tampa, but it still boasts a reputation for being a major tourist destination. In fact, according to the official Fort Myers city website, this city welcomes about 5 million visitors annually, which is no mean feat. And, there’s a reason why 5 million people troop to Fort Myers each year: the weather, the beaches, the serenity, the nightlife, the perks go on and on. It’s also one of the cheapest places to visit in Florida.
This ultimate travel guide to Fort Myers has all a traveler needs to know about visiting this Southwest Florida destination, from the best time to visit to the top things to do. So, keep reading to find out what this sunny city has in store for visitors.
Best Time to Visit Fort Myers
A view from a roadway of Fort Myers, FL and the Gulf of Mexico in the distance
Fort Myers’ winters aren’t harsh and temperatures hardly ever dip below 59 degrees F (15 degrees C). However, this is a hurricane-prone city, with hurricane season running from June to November. August, September, and October have the highest risk of hurricanes. As a result, hotel rates are the lowest during this time.
Those who keep an eye out for hurricane warnings should be able to plan a low-cost trip during this time.
If the hurricanes are scary (understandably) then consider visiting between March and May. These months have low visitor numbers, so costs should be low. Plus, visitors enjoy warm weather during this time without worrying about nature’s wrath.
Those who love the summer heat should visit Fort Myers between June and August. However, temperatures at this time can go as high as 90 degrees F (32 degrees C). This is also a busy season in the city, so prices are usually higher than in other months.
December to February also experiences an influx of visitors as winter bites in northern US cities. At this time, temperatures peak at a luxurious 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) which is perfect for outdoor fun.
The period from March to May is the best time to visit Fort Myers because of lower prices due to low visitor numbers, and good weather.
Best Ways to Get Around Fort Myers
A view of the water at Fort Myers Beach in Florida
The best way for visitors to get around Fort Myers is by driving themselves around. Public transport doesn’t cover the entire city, and it’s unreliable. Plus, destinations within the city are far apart, making it difficult to explore on foot.
Tourists can rent a car from services like Avis, National, or Hertz and enjoy the convenience of hassle-free travel within Fort Myers.
Lee County Transit, better known as LeeTran, provides public transport services in Fort Myers. Under their purview are the city’s bus and trolley services, covering 22 routes in total. However, the buses pass each route about once each hour, so if a traveler misses a bus, they may have to wait for at least an hour for the next one.
However, this is the best option for those on a tight budget – fares cost just $1.50 per ride. The best option is to get a multi-day pass for a more cost-effective trip.
Visitors can opt to use one of the several rideshares available in Fort Myers. Services like Uber, Lyft, and Carmel are available from the airport.
For shorter distances, the rideshares are a good option. However, if a traveler will be doing long journeys within Fort Myers then the costs can pile up.
For those planning to explore a lot of Fort Myers (as they should) then the best option is renting a car.
Where to Eat in Fort Myers
Turkey sandwich like the one served at McGregor Cafe
Breakfast: McGregor Café
This restaurant is found on McGregor Boulevard and is open every day from 8 am to 3 pm, except for Tuesdays.
McGregor Cafe is famed for its sandwiches, which include the sumptuous Turkey Club, a sandwich with turkey breast, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise.
The breakfast menu is, perhaps, the cafe’s most popular, with options like corn beef hash, egg sandwiches, and quiches.
Lunch: Farmers Market Restaurant
Found along Edison Avenue, the Farmers Market Restaurant is an unassuming spot with affordable meal prices. With just $10, patrons can enjoy an entire dinner. Their specialty is southern fare – southern fried chicken sits at the top of the list. Visitors can also enjoy mouthwatering pulled pork or meatloaf with gravy.
The ambiance is quaint, reminiscent of grandma’s place. Its 50-year age is clearly visible, but that’s a good thing for someone who wants a hearty meal in a cheerful environment.
Dinner: Osteria Celli
Italian for dinner? Head to Osteria Celli, which straddles Summerlin and Winkler Roads. Unlike the options above, Osteria Celli exudes class, which is evident in the presentation of their dishes.
This restaurant is entirely a dinner spot and is open from 5 pm to 9.30 pm from Wednesdays to Sundays. They have an elaborate list of seafood options, like grilled salmon, sea bass, Octopus, and grilled squid. Osteria Celli has options for vegetarians as well.
Drinks: Space 39 Art Bar & Martini Lounge
Space 39 is a boisterous spot for those who love to have fun when the sun goes down. If for nothing else, visit this lounge for their drinks. Visitors can enjoy margaritas, house wines, and beer, but come here for their martinis.
The martini menu includes banana nut bread martini, Appletini Gre Goose, Sunburn Martini, and chocolate salted caramel martini. One thing’s for sure, all their martinis have a refreshing kick!
Space39 Art Bar & Martini Lounge is open Wednesdays to Saturdays from 5:30 pm to 2 am.
Top Things To Do in Fort Myers
There are tons of things to do in Fort Myers; here are a few highlights.
Visit Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
A Great White Egret at the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
This attraction is 3,500 acres of wetland with a 1.2-mile (1.9-kilometer) boardwalk that cuts through the cypress swamp. This serene spot is home to alligators, turtles, and otters as well as different bird species. There’s also a nature center on site, the perfect place to learn about Florida’s flora and fauna population.
Explore Manatee Park
Manatee in water
Southwest Florida is known for its manatee population and the best place to learn about these fascinating creatures in Manatee Park. There’s a trail that cuts through the park, showcasing Florida’s native plants.
However, the main attraction is the manatees and they can be viewed from lookout points found along a concrete walking path. And if a visitor wants to get closer, there are kayaks available for rent, allowing them to go on the river.
The best time to visit Manatee Park is during the colder months from November to March.
Go on a Kayak Excursion
Fort Myers is not short of spots where tourists can enjoy Kayaking. Bunche Beach is one such place, offering the opportunity to admire the area’s biodiversity on a guided kayak tour. Travelers can also head to Estero Bay or sign up for a guided kayak tour in Pelican Bay.
For thrill-seekers, parasailing is the perfect activity in Fort Myers! There are dozens of companies that offer the parasailing experience. At the top of the list is Paradise Parasail. Adventurers get a chance to admire Fort Myers from up to 500 feet before a thrilling free-fall dip.
Tour Fort Myers River District
Downtown Fort Myers’s River District, Florida
There’s so much to experience at Fort Myers’ River District, a historic part of the downtown area. Lovers of history are enthralled by the district’s century-old buildings with Neo-Classical architecture. As travelers stroll along the street, they’ll notice lots of public artwork that give the district a charming vibe.
Dozens of dining spots dot the River District, the most popular of which is Silver King Ocean Brasserie. And, shopaholics will be excited to know that there are over 55 stores in the River District.
Popular Neighborhoods in Fort Myers
Paseo Drive, Fort Myers, Florida
Paseo is a tranquil gated community located on the southern side of Fort Myers. This neighborhood is made up of luxury homes, villas, townhomes, and single-family units.
Residents who live here need not leave the community since amenities like a movie theater, sports facilities, and eateries are all located within the gates of Paseo.
Those who choose to venture outside love its convenient location near beaches and shopping outlets in South Fort Myers.
With an area of about 10 square kilometers (4 square miles) and a population of about 14,000, Cypress Lake is a much larger neighborhood than Paseo above. In fact, it’s a census-designated place.
This suburban area is known for its serenity, mainly made up of retired seniors. Cypress Lake is famous for its golf courses; the most popular ones are Cypress Lake Golf Club and Golfview Golf & Racquet Club.
The neighborhood also boasts proximity to attractions like Manatee Park, which is about 18 miles (28 kilometers) away.
Buckingham’s population is about 4000, which seems like a lot but with an area more than four times the size of Cypress Lake, the big city’s crowds are non-existent. This neighborhood is also just 20 minutes from downtown Fort Myers, so it’s not too far from the nerve center of the city.
Buckingham is known for its abundance of green spaces like parks and nature preserves. Some of the most notable spots are Hickory Swamp Preserve and Buckingham Trails Preserve.
Pelican Preserve was designed for seniors, with ample amenities to keep retirees busy. For instance, there’s a golf course a movie theater, and a fitness center.
This gated community also has a 38-acre preserve, with a boardwalk that cuts through. Everything here screams tranquility, ideal for older folks to live away from the cacophony of the city.
The residential units are made up of condos, villas, and single-family homes.
Where To Stay In Fort Myers
A view of Centennial Park in Fort Myers FL
Florida’s cities offer visitors a wide variety of accommodation options, from all-inclusive resorts to Airbnb vacation rentals. Fort Myers is no different. Here are some of the places you can stay in Fort Myers.
The Hibiscus House Bed & Breakfast
This boutique establishment has a homely mom-and-pop appeal that makes it an ideal choice for travelers on a budget. There are four room types, with the largest one able to sleep four adults and two kids. All the other rooms can sleep two adults and one child.
Hibiscus House is a short stroll to Centennial Park and the Edison Ford Winter Estates among other attractions.
- Cost: From 324 USD
- Address: 2135 McGregor Boulevard, Fort Myers, FL 33901, United States
- Amenities: Free parking, free Wi-Fi, non-smoking rooms
Luminary Hotel & Co., Autograph Collection
Luminary Hotel offers luxury to visitors who have the budget for it, with rooms costing at least about $400 per night. Still, at this price, guests get to enjoy comforts like a swimming pool and an onsite fitness center. Some rooms also get breathtaking river views.
Centennial Park is a short walk away, while the Imaginarium Hands-On Museum and Edison Ford Winter Estates are both less than a mile from the hotel.
- Cost: From 400 USD
- Address: 2200 Edwards Drive, Fort Myers, 33901, United States
- Amenities: Swimming pool, fitness center, free Wi-Fi, non-smoking rooms
An aerial view of Cape Coral in Fort Myers, Florida
Yacht Clubhouse (Cabana Room)
For about $125 a night, guests can stay at this Airbnb rental, a private room in a waterfront home. A kitchen is available for those who wish to cook for themselves. However, this rental is just a short distance from several eateries.
Right outside the home, there’s a canal on which guests can kayak. The host also offers bikes for those who wish to explore on two wheels.
- Cost: From 125 USD
- Address: Cape Coral, Florida, United States
- Amenities: Full kitchen, workspace, pool, Wi-Fi
For about $385 a night, visitors can rent this entire three-bedroom villa. It can host up to 6 guests, making it perfect for group vacations. Features like the covered pool area and the lush garden make this a serene place for homebodies. However, guests who want to enjoy the area might want to go boating on the Caloosahatchee River – There’s a canal right behind the villa.
- Cost: From 385 USD
- Address: Cape Coral, Florida, United States
- Amenities: Full kitchen, pool, Wi-Fi, hot tub
Fort Myers Travel Tips
- Although hurricane season is from June to November, August to October are the most hurricane-prone months. Because of this, the city is likely to flood, so avoid visiting at this time.
- The nature preserves are affordable attractions so visit more of these in order to save money.
- Consider camping at Fort Myers’ several campgrounds for an inexpensive outdoor experience.
- For those who don’t like crowds, the best time to visit is from March to May when there are fewer visitors.
- Summer months can get quite hot so remember to carry sunscreen.
How To Spend A Perfect Day In Fort Myers
A Welcome to Fort Myers Beach sign
Let’s face it, it might get hot in this city. So, before the sun is completely up, start the day at the beach. Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel Island are excellent options.
After breakfast, explore one of the many parks or nature preserves in Fort Myers. Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve and J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge are popular options.
In the afternoon Delve into the history of Fort Myers by visiting the former homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. The kids would love a trip to the Imaginarium Science Center.
And, in the evening, enjoy a seafood dinner at one of the numerous beach-side restaurants then take a relaxing evening stroll along the beach to walk off the meal.
Finally, end the day with some drinks and dancing, or catch a performance at the Florida Repertory Theater.
Q: What are the most popular things to do in Fort Myers with kids?
Some of the most popular things to do in Fort Myers with kids are visiting the IMAG History & Science Center, spending a day at Gator Mike’s Family Fun Park, exploring the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium, and signing up for Salty Sam’s Pirate Cruise.
Q: What is Fort Myers best known for?
Fort Myers is best known for its warm weather and tranquil beaches—like the rest of Florida—which are a haven for shelling enthusiasts.
Q: Is Fort Myers a good place to travel?
Yes, Fort Myers is a good place to visit because of its good weather, beaches, and nature attractions. It also has a laid-back vibe that a lot of visitors enjoy. If you avoid the hurricane-prone months of August to October, you’ll love visiting this Southwest Florida city, especially during manatee season.