Whether you’re journeying down to the white sand beaches of Fort Myers for Spring Break, a family holiday, or just for a much-needed breath of fresh air, this blissful southwest Florida city can dish up an adventure sure to delight any and every kind of traveler — with its buzzing nightlife, relaxing beaches, and everything in between.
From the deep-sea fishing charters to the pristine golf courses, charming Gulf Coast islands, and top-level shopping and dining opportunities, as you’re about to see, you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to unique and fun things to do in Fort Myers, Florida.
Naturally, it’s an oasis of outdoor activities from dolphin spotting to hiking coastal parks, jet skiing and exploring bayous where gators roam the waters… On the opposite spectrum, get cultured and catch a Broadway production on tour at one of the theaters; enjoy an evening of stand-up comedy or mosey through art exhibitions and galleries.
Test out the local craft beer scene, stop by a flea market and pick up treasures, or marvel at hundreds of butterflies at the Butterfly Estates.
1 – Head out on a dolphin cruise
Departing from the northern side of Fort Myers Beach to places like the Big Carlos Pass — a well-known spot for these intelligent creatures to pop their noses up — a dedicated dolphin-watching adventure promises to be an unforgettable day out for the entire family.
Besides the friendly mammals, the cruises also float under mangrove trees that play host to hundreds of bird species, making this easily one of the essential things to do in Fort Myers!
With both VIP and budget experiences available, there’s something for every kind of traveler.
2 – Scour the beaches for priceless shells
A common favorite among locals and travelers alike, Big Hickory Island is a delightful slice of mother nature just waiting to be explored.
Known for its peculiarly colorful shells, visitors can take a stroll on the beach in search of Sand dollars and Lightning Whelks; or snorkel in search of Florida fighting conchs, among others.
Since Big Hickory Island is only accessible by boat, going with a pre-organized tour is your best bet.
3 – Go sailing at twilight
With beautiful orange-tinted sunsets 365 days a year (or pretty close to it) and the ever-warm Gulf Coast breeze, a cruise down the Caloosahatchee River is never a bad option.
A range of vessels set sail from the eight-decade-old Fort Myers Yacht Basin, making the journey out to the open waters of San Carlos Bay and back.
To all the couples out there, this is your chance to embrace your inner Jack and Rose and strike that magnificent Titanic pose!
4 – Go kayaking through the mangroves
Thanks to its abundance of wildlife, birds, and vegetation (and with a special mention to the adorable manatees and dolphins), discovering the thick mangroves on an expert-led tour is one of Fort Myers’ most popular tourist activities.
With a quick stop dedicated to searching for shells and crustaceans, it’s a perfect way to get a taste of the area’s shell obsession without committing to a full tour.
As the guide points out all the unique flora and fauna along the way, you’ll be snapping photos until the cows come home.
5 – Take a romantic hike at Lovers Key State Park
Hop in a kayak or relax under an umbrella on the shore as these beaches and mangroves forests are for public use.
While the two-mile stretch of sand is the undisputed highlight, the Lovers Key State Park also boasts secluded barrier islands, picnicking spots, and a range of canals and lagoons perfect for paddling.
For avid hikers, the 2.5-mile Black Island Trail is a must for the bucket list.
6 – Try parasailing!
Adrenaline junkies, take note!
As arguably one of the Gulf Coast’s prime parasailing destinations, thrillseekers are blessed with unobstructed views of bright blue sky, endless oceans, lush mangroves, and the juxtaposing city skyline.
The tour companies boast over 30 years of experience in this profession, so even if you’ve never taken a leap of faith like this before, there’s no need to fret — they’ve got you covered.
7 – Jetski along the coast
Ask anyone who’s visited Southwest Florida before and they’ll shout it from the rooftops: freeriding through the coastal waterways on a jetski is an experience of a lifetime.
Whether you’re renting your own jetski or exploring as part of an expert-led tour, the 100-foot-tall Sanibel Island Lighthouse is a must-see, likewise the shores of Fort Myers Beach, where there’s never a dull moment.
8 – Join a ghost walking tour (if you dare)
While Fort Myers has a rich history, told passionately by local tour guides on walking tours, it also has a darker side… a haunted side.
For all you horror fans, zombie lovers, and scare-seekers out there, a ghost tour through Fort Myers’ paranormal buildings and alleyways promises to be frightfully fantastic.
Keep in mind that a tip of a few dollars is expected on free walking tours (haunted or otherwise).
9 – Learn about great inventors at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates
For the history buffs out there, listen up.
The fully restored botanical laboratory at Edison and Ford is the actual place where Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone worked together!
Besides the incredible historical significance, the estates also offer a beautiful botanical garden and a 15,000-square-foot museum dedicated to the works of two of America’s most iconic inventors.
10 – Get sunkissed at Fort Myers Beach
A non-negotiable when visiting the area, a day lounging on the warm white sands is always a treat. After working on the tan, why not try your hand at one of the area’s popular water sports (like windsurfing or flyboarding) or grab a bite to eat at one of the nearby beachside restaurants?
This beloved beach is located on Barrier island and is about 7 miles long, so you’ll never be short of space.
11 – Take a day trip to Everglades National Park
There are no two ways about it: no trip to Fort Myers – or anywhere in Florida, for that matter — is complete with at least a day in the Everglades.
On locally-led day trips, visitors travel by airboat into the secluded Western Everglades, exploring the Big Cypress National Preserve by van or foot (depending on your tour of choice).
Camera at the ready; rarely does a tour fail to spot manatees, dolphins, gators, and birds along the way. An adventure through the springs, mangroves and bayous is a full-day trip, and Everglades airboat tours last around nine to 10 hours.
Alternatively, swap boats for buggies and take an exciting action-packed 4×4 tour instead. Cruising on land over water; whizz through the muddy swamps and look out for the native wildlife and flora from a different angle.
Buggy tours are four hours and accompanied by a guide, learn tons of useful local info en route relating to your surroundings.
12 – Spend the afternoon at the IMAG History & Science Center
Boasting more than 60 different hands-on exhibits, there’s plenty to be learned at the ever-popular IMAG History and Science Center for youngsters and adults alike.
As you wander through its rooms, get up close at personal with animals (fish, turtles, snakes and frogs, to name a few), and try your hand at becoming a TV weather forecaster.
Be sure to check out the 3D movie theater and the Southwest Florida Hall of History while you’re there!
13 – Hop on the Key West Express ferry for a day trip!
If you’re looking to explore a little more of Southern Florida, then Key West is an absolute non-negotiable.
The Key West Express catamarans transport travelers to the Southernmost tip of the United States — the be vacation spot of the four Ps (poets, pirates, presidents, and partygoers).
While you’re there, check out the famous artsy and entertainment district of Duval street, stroll through Mallory Square’s, and grab a table at a beachside bar for a beautiful sunset cocktail.
14 – Let your hair down on a cycling party boat!
Mark our words, this isn’t your typical boat tour! Combining exploring with pedaling and a whole lot of drinking, the Cycling party boat is a wonderful way to get out of your comfort zone and meet fellow party-minded travelers.
With ice, cups, coolers, and a beautiful view provided, all you have to do is choose your preferred route, sit back, and enjoy!
Besides the BYOB approach, each tour also includes a bar stop.
15 – Grab a snack at the Trico Seafood Market
Foodies, listen up!
The Trico Shrimp Co. at the Trico Seafood Market is a small, family-run business nestled amongst the hustle of Fort Myers Beach. As its name suggests, it’s known for its seafood — the shrimp, in particular, is touted to be some of the most delicious seafood in the area.
While it’s not the cheapest seafood market going around, its freshness and quality are unmatched, making it a major tourist attraction.
16 – Walk the plank on a pirate cruise!
A comical adventure full of treasure chests, face painting, dancing, cannon firing, and much more, a pirate cruise is a great choice for anyone traveling with kids.
With a plethora of souvenirs like eye patches and hats to take home and cherish, it’s no wonder this themed cruise is considered one of the most popular things to do in Fort Myers for families!
17 – Get a hole-in-one at Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf
Far from your average mini-golf course, Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf offers 18 unique holes, enabling you to venture through a pirate ship, under waterfalls, through caves, and even past live alligators!
The course also has an American Alligator Exhibit, home to nearly 30 alligators — and yes, you can feed them!
18 – Reel one in on a fishing trip
For a great day out of the open oceans, choose between fishing on the back bays or fishing offshore — either way, with local fisherman showing you the ropes, you’ll be reeling in bucketfuls of fish in no time.
With trips lasting 4-6 hours, there’s plenty of time to catch a combination of snooks, redfish, trout, snapper, groupers, and even little sharks.
19 – Grab a table at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille
A favorite among the Ft. Myers faithful, this bar is located on the back of the beautiful Estero Bay on San Carlos Island — home to the most acclaimed waterfront dining experience in the area!
After grabbing a table with an ocean view make sure to treat yourself to an Island Mojito – Doc’s refreshing Caribbean twist on a minty classic.
20 – Enjoy music, art and vistas from the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center
From art exhibitions to dance classes to music series, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center opened in 2008 and has been spoiling the crowds with all sorts of cultural endeavors and events ever since.
Constructed in 1933 as a U.S. post office (then converted into a public courthouse in 1965), the original building was built in the neoclassical style and much of the architecture has been preserved — although there have been countless renovations and upgrades throughout the decades.
There are art expos on display, rotating monthly, or peep the calendar to see which band is playing or what dance lessons are available, changing genres every so often.
A standout feature (and one that alone draws in the crowds) is the amazing rooftop sculpture garden, reception area and restaurant. Even some of the events are held up here — hello insane city views — including rooftop karaoke.
21 – Complete challenges all over the city on a scavenger game!
For the chance to experience your very own Amazing Race, players of the Fort Myers scavenger hunt use digital apps to find clues scattered around the city, overcoming challenges, solving riddles, and exploring areas off the beaten track.
If those leisurely walking tours are a little too slow-paced, this is the perfect solution.
22 – Wander through Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
Spanning over 3,500 acres of diverse wetland ecosystem, the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve boasts a leisurely Boardwalk trail and an educational interpretive center, both certainly worth checking out.
The breathtaking beauty of nature and different life forms found here are pictured for annual competitions as well, so take your camera along!
23 – Wet your whistle at the Fort Myers Brewing Company
Among the other things to do in Fort Myers, visiting this brewing company is a must.
Their online schedule showcases various fun activities planned for people like trivia night, run club, and kudzu stompers!
Go and enjoy a beer at this popular place near commerce lakes.
24 – Grab a bargain at Fleamasters Fleamarket
With about 900 unique stores to test out your bargaining skills, this sprawling market offers a range of art, jewelry, and souvenirs.
Considering its 400,000 square feet of shops, as well as the fresh-picked fruits and vegetables for sale, it’s no wonder that Fleamasters Fleamarket has become a celebrated stop for every tourist.
25 – Embrace the magic of the Butterfly Estates
Located in the Downtown Fort Myers River District, this education-focused attraction houses nearly a dozen species of butterflies within its 3,600-square-foot glass conservatory.
It’s enchanting, it offers daily educational tours, and it makes for a remarkable photo opportunity.
Best of all, Butterfly Estates is a non-profit organization, so the price of tickets goes toward aiding the protection and preservation of Florida’s native butterflies.
26 – Take a seat at the Florida Repertory Theatre
Dubbed “One of America’s Top Repertory Companies!” by none other than the Wall Street Journal, this award-winning theatre produces various comedies, dramas, and musicals, with a constantly updated selection of performances on offer.
From musicals like West Side Story to cabaret events like Let’s Fall In Love, there’s something to suit every taste.
Check the website before visiting and be sure to lock in your tickets in advance!
27 – Catch a baseball game at Jetblue Park
If you’re a baseball fan, or simply a sports fan in general, this place is for you!
As the spring training ballpark for the Boston Red Sox, this lesser-known stadium — appropriately dubbed Fenway Park South — has been fitted to replicate the look and feel of the infamous Fenway Park in Boston.
People flock to this stadium to see their favorite Red Sox players practice for the season, with cheaper tickets on offer compared to the regular-season games.
28 – Witness a play or musical at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre
Calling all ye theater-goers; the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is a special treat, guaranteeing visitors an evening of traditional entertainment.
Keeping things in the family, the venue is family-owned and has been run by the Prather family for over 30 years.
It’s another one of Fort Myers’ locales where you can find iconic Broadway productions showcasing here, like Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Jersey Boys. As a dedicated supper theater, enjoy the show with a buffet dinner.
Apart from the main space, an intimate 85-seater venue (the Off Broadway Palm Theatre) hosts localized musicals and plays, and there is also the Children’s Theatre with shows for the younger minds.
29 – Stargaze at the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium
Home to displays focusing on everything from astronomy to ecology, the highly-esteemed Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium provides an experience that’s as enjoyable as it is educational.
The Nature Center houses a collection of rescued animals, butterflies, and birds; a planetarium theatre, and a museum.
After ticking off the exhibits, guests can also stroll along the two on-site nature trails.
30 – Catch a show at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
If there’s a certain Broadway production you’ve been dying to see but haven’t had the chance to make it to NYC yet, chances are you might just see it transferred to the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.
Apart from plays and musicals arriving fresh off the official theater district, there is a spew of off-Broadway shows to enjoy, as well as stand-up comedy acts and tribute concerts.
A pioneer in the performance arts and culture in Southwest Florida, the site is named after Barbara B.Mann, president of the Community Concerts Association and the Alliance for the Arts for more than 40 years.
As part of the Florida SouthWestern State College, the hall is located at the Lee County Campus (renamed the Thomas Edison Campus).
31 – Cool off at Sun Splash Waterpark
With 15 noteworthy attractions like Main Stream River Tube Ride, Cape Fear, Fun-L-Tunnel, Zoom Flame, and the 457-foot Electric Slide & Power, among others, there’s something for every level of adrenaline.
While the youngsters are running amok, the Calypso Café is the perfect spot for adults to chill out and grab a drink.
32 – Explore the islands of Sanibel and Captiva
As popular destinations for the rich and famous for decades, the Sanibel and Captiva island duo boasts hotels, resorts, restaurants, shops, and activities, perfect for families and couples alike.
For outdoor enthusiasts, the 15 miles of clear beach and 25 miles of bike paths are sure to delight, not to mention the fishing, shelling, bird watching, and golf options.
While we’d recommend checking out both islands, if you can only choose one, Captiva is renowned for its serenity, while Sanibel offers a little more lively entertainment.
33 – Spend the day at Manatee Park
A warm-water refuge for the Florida Manatee, the unique Manatee Park is best visited during the cooler months, from late December through to February.
With educational programs, fishing spots, relaxing picnic areas, and an extensive butterfly garden — plus the manatees, of course — a day here is always well spent.
For something a little more hands-on, why not rent a kayak?
34 – All aboard the Railroad Museum of South Florida!
While The Railroad Museum has an Interpretive Center, and a wonderfully restored version of the 1953 Seaboard Airline Railroad Caboose, its undisputed focal point is its train ride.
The one-mile journey takes visitors on a 15-minute tour, winding through miniature villages that depict Southwest Florida communities circa 1950 — making it a surefire hit for both kids and adults alike.
Keep an eye out for local wildlife along the way too!
35 – Shop and dine in the Fort Myers River District
A beacon of the city’s nightlife and tourists, the electric Fort Myers River District is full of trendy restaurants, bars, and boutiques.
Grab a quick breakfast from the Green Cup Café; enjoy the tea and sandwiches from Wisteria Tea Room, or delve into the huge beer selection at 10 Twenty Five.
After you’ve eaten or drunk yourself to full capacity, a souvenir-hunting stroll through the local antique shops is a great way to end the day.
36 – Explore the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
This popular wildlife refuge boasts a Visitor and Education Center, which provides plenty of tidbits about the local ecosystems, and a range of interactive exhibits diving into the world of the local wildlife.
The best part, however, is the Ding wildlife excursion. Whether you go hiking or biking along the 4-miles route, expect to see water birds, shorebirds, raccoons, alligators, marsh rabbits, occasional otters, and (if you’re really lucky) bobcats.
37 – Go down to the ballpark at Hammond Stadium
Home to the Fort Myers Mighty Mussels — the minor league baseball affiliate of the MLB’s Minnesota Twins — Hammond Stadium offers visitors the chance to see high-quality baseball without enormous crowds or exorbitant ticket prices.
The Lee County Sports Complex, which houses the Hammond Stadium, also boasts five playing fields and the Twins Player Development Academy, so there’s always something happening.
Keep in mind that the baseball season typically only runs from April to September.
38 – Make your way down to Bonita Springs
With Naples to the south and Fort Myers to the north, Bonita Springs is a lovely, and relatively quiet getaway with sun-kissed beaches that stretch for as far as the eye can see (Lovers Key Beach and Bonita Beach are the top choices), fantastic restaurants (seafood, anyone?), outdoor malls like Coconut Point, and top-notch golf courses (the Bay Island course at the Bonita Bay Club is hard to beat).
And while the vibes are always good, the appeal for nature lovers is just that little bit stronger; the numerous parks, trails, and nature preserves present hiking, biking, and kayaking opportunities galore. Or, for something a little different, why not go paddleboarding on the calm waters of Estero Bay? The transparent boards even allow you to take a peek at the exotic sea life below.
Still looking for things to do? Try your hand at fishing in the Gulf of Mexico; go kayaking, jet skiing, or paddleboarding in Bonita Springs, or even take a guided eco-tour through the mangroves; or discover the local art scene (there’s always something happening at the Center for the Arts).
Just a casual 30-minute drive from the main haunts of Fort Myers, Bonita Springs is an easy half-day trip if you’re looking for a change of pace.
39 – Figure out whodunit on a murder mystery dinner train!
All aboard for what promises to be the theatrical culinary experience of a lifetime!
Passengers enjoy a five-course meal (including appetizers, soups, salad, poached salmon, baked chicken, dessert, and coffee or tea), however, it’s the live murder mystery that really steals the show.
Played in the dining cars and spanning three and a half hours of intrigue and suspense, the interactive performance is a surefire hit for any budding Sherlock Holmes or Hercule Poirot.
40 – Bounce as high as the ceiling at DEFY Fort Myers
If you’re on the hunt for a fun-filled day that’s sure to tire out the kids (and the adults, for that matter), the trampoline park at DEFY Fort Myers ought to do the trick.
The beloved indoor amusement park boasts trampolines, battle beams, aerial silks, slacklines, foam pits, ninja obstacle courses, warped walls, and plenty more!
On those rare rainy days, there’s no better place to be.
41 – Dance and drink at The Ranch (Concert Hall & Saloon)
Whether you’re in the mood to rave or revel in an evening of live music, the old-school Western-themed The Ranch is favored by locals for its setting. Utilized as both a concert hall and nightclub, there is always something happening — only closing at 2 AM.
Adding extra authenticity is the saloon where the bar and main stage are located. Or, put on your dancing shoes, or rather, them cowboy boots, and hit the large dance floor.
The venue even holds dance lessons every Wednesday and the classes run for two hours, (suitable for all ages).
Each week, there is something new happening, from your favorite country singer to the hottest DJs on the decks.
42 – Rev that engine at the Muscle Car City Museum
Listen up, petrolheads: if you appreciate cars, this place is for you.
Filled with different vintage cars spanning the entire 20th and 21st century, the locally-adored Muscle Car City Museum showcases a range of cars as impressive and as diverse as any.
The collection spans from the 1902 Oldsmobile to the Hugger Orange 1969 COPO Camaro, 2020 Chevrolet Corvette coupe, and 1970 Oldsmobile 442, with plenty of memorabilia and souvenirs on offer too.
43 – Wander around Times Square (no, not the one in Manhattan)
The small but vibrant area by the sea offers a little something for everyone: from an array of restaurants and shops to more thrilling activities like parasailing and jet ski rentals.
Grab some ice cream at the Fat Royal scoop, take a stroll down Fort Myers Beach Pier and stop to appreciate the street performers, or grab a table at one of the area’s revered restaurants and enjoy the near-permanent live music.
44 – Enjoy the serenity in Lakes Park
Among all of the things to do in Fort Myers, Lakes Park is by far one of the most underrated.
With no shortage of activities on offer, the park offers multiple recreation centers, beaches, dog parks, boat ramps (if you’re bringing your own), and swimming pools; as well as ever-pleasant beach parks like Bonita and Bowditch.
If you’d rather explore on two wheels, bicycle rentals are also available.
45 – Get a little wild on a pub crawl!
Sure, you could join a regular pub crawl and have a wild night out, but isn’t that a little mainstream? For something totally wacky and unique, why not join a one-of-a-kind haunted pub crawl?
The swashbuckling bar crawl, unlike others, uses magic to enhance the experience: Tourists must walk (or should we say stumble) from bar to bar to learn about the paranormal history of Fort Myers Beach as the guides perform magic at each location.
With stops at famous watering holes like City Tavern and Cigar Bar Live, the tap will never run dry.
How to get to Fort Myers?
The closest airport to Fort Myers is Southwest Florida International Airport and upon landing, you will need to drive from the airport to the city.
One of the most convenient ways to reach Fort Myers is by booking airport transfers for the moment you arrive. Once you’ve collected your luggage, finished up your admin and are ready to leave, exit the gates where your private driver awaits you.
Holding up a sign with your name — fancy, right? — be chauffeured off to your air-conditioned vehicle, sit back in style and relax after a long flight. You will be transported directly to your stay in Fort Myers, hassle-free.
Transfers are available back to the airport if required.
Where to stay in Fort Myers?
After long salty days, outdoor adventuring and city exploring, nothing beats arriving back to a comfortable stay. Here are some of the best options in Fort Myers. Overlooking the waterfront is the timelessly elegant and luxurious Luminary Hotel (by Autograph Collection). Fall in love with the views from your bedroom’s massive windows.
Surrounded by all of the greenery, The Hibiscus House (one of the city’s historic inns) is a charming bed and breakfast, with all of the extra comforts you dream of, like a four-poster bed.
Right on the beach and a great one for all types of travelers (from families to couples to business folk), relax and unwind at the Marriott Sanibel Harbour Resort & Spa. From the extra comfy beds to the plush interiors, Hilton Garden Inn Fort Myers Airport is well equipped and conveniently located near the airport (free shuttle service included).
Travelers that prefer a smaller setup over a massive resort, check into the Homewood Suites by Hilton Fort Myers. For those that appreciate great service, the Best Western Fort Myers Inn & Suites never fails to impress guests with their hospitality and the rooms are extra spacious.
Where to go next?
If you’ve fallen head over heels in love with the Floridian sunshine, why not explore some of the other nearby cities? Save them for a day trip, or choose one as your next destination after your Fort Myers holiday draws to a close.
Heading south of the city, there are many other things to do in Cape Coral, Naples and Marco Island.
Driving just over 20 minutes, Cape Coral is right around the corner. Founded less than 100 years ago on the Gulf of Mexico, the city is famous for its canal system, comprising 640 kilometers. With more canals than Venice in Italy, it’s nicknamed the “Waterfront Wonderland”.
Naples is just short of an hour from Fort Myers and is a small beachy city favored by families and retirees. Grab a gelato and head down to the ocean with the softest white sands and crystal clear waters.
Marco Island is an hour’s drive and is a bit more touristy than Naples. The beach scene here is amazing and there are some fabulous golf courses in the area.
Swap the south for the north and venture off to Sarasota instead (1.5 hours from Fort Myers). The arts scene thrives in this city, with plenty of museums and galleries to explore. Boasting a pristine coastline, there is something for all types of travelers to enjoy from fine dining options to fun outdoor activities.
An idyllic location for couples searching for a relaxing beach holiday or families hunting down a range of activities for all ages, the things to do in Fort Myers have a way of putting a smile on everyone’s face — perhaps it’s because the sun never stops shining in The City of Palms.
If you’ve traveled here before, what are some of your fondest memories? Share with us in the comments.
As always, happy travels!