Next to a river along southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast, this vacation destination of two historic figures contains superb beaches, waterfront gardens and wildlife.
With beaches, shopping, wildlife and history, Fort Myers has an abundance of diverse attractions. Here you can watch manatees at play, unwind on sandy beaches and tour the vacation homes of two famous innovators.
Visit Edison Park, one the oldest neighborhoods in Fort Myers. It encompasses the adjacent vacation homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. The inventor of the light bulb and the founder of the Ford Motor Company were great friends and often wintered here.
Take a tour of the Edison and Ford Winter Estates set amid a 17-acre (6.9-hectare) botanical garden. See period furniture from the turn of the 20th century, explore Edison’s laboratory and peruse photographs of Edison and Ford with their families. Enjoy the garden’s colorful plant life. See more than 1,000 species from around the world, including palms, orchids, cycads and an African sausage tree.
Find more plant life and history in the antique-rich rooms and subtropical garden of Burroughs Home & Gardens. This is a beautiful three-story Georgian Revival Mansion and grounds on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River.
While you are close to the river enjoy the sublime setting with a picnic in Centennial Park. This 10-acre (4.4-hectare) expanse by the water has picnic shelters and children’s playgrounds.
Between November and March large numbers of manatees swim up the Orange River to the warm water discharge canal of a power plant. Observe these large marine mammals from the viewing platforms of Manatee Park. If you want to see more wildlife, visit the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, a wetland ecosystem that covers more than 3,400 acres (1,375 hectares). Walk on the elevated boardwalks and look for turtles, otters, alligators and wading birds.
Fort Myers is served by Southwest Florida International Airport. Once you land, you can get around by public transportation, taxis and rental cars. Located inland along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River, the city is about a 30-minute drive to the nearest beach.