For our last blog post on the Fort Myers, Captiva & Sanibel region we wanted to focus this one solely on Fort Myers. We know it’s a popular vacation destination for many! Fort Myers is an area I personally have never gone to before this trip but it’s one I definitely want to continue vacationing to! If you’re not from the area or even the country, Fort Myers is also a great area to vacation but also easily access other parts of Florida! It’s only a 2 hour drive over to Miami and less than a 2 hour drive up north to Tampa. It’s also just under 3 hours to Orlando and if you head south you can reach the Keys in 3 hours as well. But we think staying in the Fort Myers/Captiva/Sanibel region your entire vacation will offer plentyyy to do, see and eat!
To begin our trip we flew into Southwest Florida International Airport and from there rented a car, which was a seamless and stress free process! We drove the 1 hour ride through Fort Myers, Sanibel and eventually got to Captiva. It’s a beautiful drive and actually went quite quickly! Even though we were staying in Captiva we loved how close Fort Myers was in location and found ourselves traveling up to it quite a bit! We definitely wish we had more time as there’s a lot to do in the area. So I guess that means I’m hoping Nick reads this and we plan a trip back 🙂
Lovers Key Beach
Lovers Key Beach is a long stretch of beach filled with soft white sand located inside Lovers Key State Park (which we’ll talk more about later!). The beach is beautiful and it’s definitely one you can spend the entire day at. We packed a lunch and some snacks, grabbed some beach towels from our hotel (‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa in Captiva) and headed to Lovers Key Beach for the day. We say ‘the day’ because it’s actually a great beach to hang at the whole day and then watch the sunset on! Located right on the Gulf of Mexico, you have a perfect view of the sun setting on the calm water. If you’re lucky you’ll see a few dolphins like we did (but of course weren’t quick enough to capture!).
I love long stretches of beach like Lovers Key because you never get bored. I need to get up every now and then and walk and explore or else I get too antsy! Lovers Key is a great beach for that! We walked down the beach to the right and found families playing games on the beach, couples lounging and many friends playing card games. Eventually we stumbled upon these gorgeous dried out trees that still stood in the sand. It was such an awesome sight to see! I love how beach goers decorate the trees and large pieces of drift wood with shells and sea glass. Did I mention Lovers Key is a great beach if you’re a fellow sea glass lover like myself! The water is clear, warm but still refreshing and we definitely wish we had more than just one day to hang out there!
Lovers Key State Park
I’m going to backtrack for a minute because the walk into Lovers Key Beach is not one to miss either. Like I said before, it’s located inside Lovers Key State Park. Which is why we wish we had another day to just explore the park itself! On our walk through the park we saw, manatees, an alligator and some turtles! It was definitely an eventful walk over! We paid about $8 to park our car because it’s a state park. I noticed that there is a tram available which is so wonderful for those that are disabled or have young kids. We saw a few people on kayaks and paddle boards in the 2.5 mile mangrove protected estuary. Basically there is SO much to explore in this park on land but also on the water too! There are plenty of trails to explore on and activities to take part in. Here you’ll find in more detail all the park has to offer…
Fort Myers Down Town (River District)
We fell in love with this area of Fort Myers. Located directly on the Caloosahatchee River it’s the perfect place to come if you’re a boat enthusiast. The harbor is filled with ships and boats of all sizes! The area is filled with shops and restaurants designed with an art deco inspiration. You kind of feel like you’re transported back in time! From the historic arcade theater (built in 1915), to the brightly colored shops, to the friendly (and free!) trolley that takes you on a tour of the area, the River District is not a place to miss, or rush!!!
There are plenty of great places to eat in this are so come hungry! We had lunch at the United Ale House located on First Street. (order a bloody mary from there! So good!) And I was pleasantly surprised to find some really healthy options as well, such as the Green Cup Café. It had lots of vegan options, smoothies and fun desserts to try! I loved their vegan cupcakes!
The River District as a whole has great food and shop options throughout so you really can’t go wrong anywhere you end up going!
Things we didn’t get to do…
I’ve said this a few times in this post but we will definitely be back to this area! We were limited on time and so unfortunately, we weren’t able to hit it all! Here are some other places we plan to visit the next time we come to Fort Myers…
Fort Myers Beach- after seeing pictures of this beach we are SO sad we didn’t have time to head here. We’re putting it at the top of our list when we go back!
Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve- located on Estero Island and right next to Fort Myers Beach, Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve is Florida’s first aquatic preserve! There is a ton to do here such as, hiking, kayaking and watching wildlife.
JN “DING” Darling National Wildlife Refuge – As an animal lover I’m so sad we didn’t have time to experience this and see the 245 different species of birds living there! This is located in specifically in Sanibel but it’s so close to Fort Myers we wanted to include it!
Sanibel Lighthouse- Also located in Sanibel but worth the short drive!
Overall we LOVED our stay in the Fort Myers/Sanibel/Captiva area. We hope that the 3 blogs we wrote help you plan your trip there. Trust us, its worth it! If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us!
Thanks for reading along!