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Fort Myers Vacationsimage

142 miles south of Tampa, 42 miles north of Naples

Fort Myers so attracted the inventor Thomas Edison, that in 1885 he established a winter home in the town. His friend Henry Ford visited the area in 1914 and he too was so impressed that he bought the adjoining land and they became neighbors.

The two properties are separated by a fence and gate which both families named "The Friendship Gate". Edison was a keen amateur botanist and started establishing tropical gardens around the two homes. He also started planting royal palms along the road in front of the properties.

Those were the first of the palms that now line McGregor Boulevard for 14 miles, giving Fort Myers the title of The City of Palms. The homes of Edison and Henry Ford on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River are now the town's major attraction and much of Edison's work is on display.

Fort Myers Beach occupies all of the elongated Estero Island and attracts visitors seeking the sun, sea and sand.  Located on the Gulf Of Mexico coast, the town has some of the best sunsets on the Florida west coast. The trendy Sanibel and Captiva Islands to the north and up-market Naples to the south tend to overshadow the more staid Fort Myers Beach, yet it offers a great  beach location at value prices. 

Estero Island provides much of the Fort Myers Beach accommodation in the form of beach cottages, condominiums, resorts, inns and vacation rentals. Estero Bay separates Estero island from the mainland and is an official state marine reserve. It is home to a host of marine birds as well as dolphins, manatees and other sea life. Popular cruises operate on this island-dotted protected bay.

imageGetting There & Getting Around

The entire region is served by Southwest Florida International Airport at Fort Myers with carriers such as Air Canada, AirTran, America West, American, American Trans Air, Continental, Delta, United and US Airways. The nearest Amtrak station is in Tampa with bus connections to the Greyhound/Trailways station in Fort Myers. 

LeeTran operates a public bus system throughout the Fort Myers area with connections to and from area beaches via a replica trolley service. Taxi cab services operate throughout the area.

imageFort Myers Vacation Highlights

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates is the most popular attraction in Fort Meyers.  The famous inventor wintered here from 1886 until his death in 1931. It's exactly as it was during Edison's time. Light bulbs dating from the 1920s still burn in the laboratory and a museum displays some of Edison's inventions. The gardens include the largest banyan tree in Florida.

South of downtown Fort Myers is the Koreshan State Historic Site. These 300 acres on Estero River were home to the Koreshan Unity Movement who settled here in 1894. Canoeing and kayaking are excellent activities on the slow-moving rivers and around the numerous coastal islands, with opportunities to spot a shy retiring family of Florida manatees.

The  waterways around Pine Island and the Estero River are popular locations, with the Estero River route being an official Florida canoe trail. Near the mouth of the river lies Mound Key State Archaeological Park, one of the largest Calusa shell middens. Visitors can board a stern-wheeler for lunch and dinner voyages on the Caloosahatchee River and its tributaries, or take sunset dinner cruises from the nearby Sanibel Island.

There is always the option of a trip inland to observe wildlife in their river and swamp habitats or a trip to the Babcock Ranch, the largest of the surviving cattle ranches and now a game preserve. Fort Myers has long been a favorite destination for serious anglers who visit for the sports fishing to be found in the Boca Grande Pass, located between Gasparilla and Cayo Costa islands offshore from Fort Myers.

imageOther Regional Vacation Centers

Naples vacations  ::  Marco Island vacations

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