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Fort Myers Beach

October 21, 2016
FL Guide

Known as the playground of Lee County, many families, retirees and day-trippers like to venture to Fort Myers Beach to visit, become seasonal residents or live out the rest of their years.

The seven-mile island has beachfront all along its western side that features parks (Bowditch Point, Lynn Hall, Crescent Beach Family, Newton), water sports, chair rentals, refreshments, food and a lot of other amenities one can expect from a day at the beach.

The sugar sand is a foot massage with every step and is known for its quality when it comes to sand sculpting, as many master sculptors can attest each November during the American Sand Sculpting Championships held on the south end.

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Fort Myers Beach

The crescent-shape island is also known for its breath-taking sunsets -a good reason to stick around after a long day of sun bathing and recreating.

Stop by the Pelican Pier along the north end for a glorious view of the sun setting, or stroll through the sand heading north for a peaceful end to a peaceful day.

Once the ever-present sun goes down, the day doesn't end on the Beach. The nightlife is vibrant, with places to dance, sing karaoke, or listen to live bands seven nights (and days) a week in Key West-style establishments that do not charge admission.

Live music reigns from stages across the island, from as far north as the Bay Walk district along the north end of Old San Carlos Boulevard, to as far south as establishments within the Santini Marina Shopping Plaza.

Enjoy a variety of music styles; blues, jazz, classic rock, techno and electronica it's all there.

There are also bistro-style restaurants to enjoy a quieter evening while feasting on fine, delicious entrees.

The island is dotted with eateries offering savory treats for any budget or tastebud. A gulfside location, be sure to order a plate or two of the island's fresh seafood. Pink gulf shrimp, grouper, tilapia and stonecrab claws are just a few mouth-watering delicacies of the shoreline.

Make a toast to enjoying the good times and island life with a specialty cocktail from the island's talented bartenders. The drinks are cold, the entertainment is hot.

For a trip back in time

Estero Island has a long and fascinating history. If you'd like to do something else for an afternoon besides the beach, visit the Mound House. Located at 451 Connecticut Street, the historical site is the location of a 2,000-year-old shell mound of the Calusa Indians, a base for Cuban fishermen to prepare their catches to ship back to Cuba, and home to the oldest home on Fort Myers Beach. The Mound House includes a museum and beautiful grounds. Admission onto the grounds is free; the museum costs $10 for adults, $8 to college students with a school ID, and $5 for children ages 6 to 12 years. Volunteers and staff also offer a variety of activities, such as museum tours, kayak tours and craft classes. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9 a.m. To 4 p.m. January 1 through April 30; and Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday from 9 a.m. To 4 p.m. From May 1 to December 31. Go to moundhouse.org for more information.

For more history, check out the Estero Island Historical Society, located at 161 Bay Road. The society is located within a 1921 cottage, and houses a wealth of historical photos, books and interesting tidbits about the island. The society also sells homemade sea grape jelly, a family recipe of one of its members. The society is open Wednesdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. Until noon.

For some time in nature

After you're finished at the Estero Island Historical Society, you can walk outside onto the trailhead of the Matanzas Pass Preserve at 199 Bay Road. There are no admission costs. The nature preserve is open from dawn until dusk every day and is ADA compatible; many of its pathways are on boardwalks, although some sections are more primitive. Explore nearly 60 acres of oak hammock and mangrove canopies through 1.25 miles of trails. Make sure to take a moment to rest under a pavilion that overlooks Estero Bay at the end of Smith Trail and David Simpson Trail. The preserve is a designated Great Florida Birding Trail, so look out for many of Florida's native birds.

Just across the Big Carlos Pass Bridge is Lovers Key State Park, 8700 Estero Boulevard.

The park is a hot spot for wildlife, which can be seen both on land and on water. In addition to having a beach, you can walk its more than 7 miles of trails or rent kayaks, canoes and paddleboards to float along the mangroves. The park is open from 8 a.m. Until sundown; admission is $8 for vehicles, and $4 for motorcycles and $2 for pedestrians and bicyclists.

For the rainy afternoons

In Florida, when it rains, it pours. If you're looking for something to do when the weather stops your beach plans, check out the Fort Myers Beach Theater at 6425 Estero Boulevard. The locally-owned theater offers newly-released movies for all ages. While you're there, you can even have a snack or dinner: the theater offers items like tacos, sandwiches and ice cream. For schedules, menus and showtimes, visit fmbtheater.com or call (239) 765-9000.

Can't sit still? Visitors can buy a day pass to Bay Oaks Recreation Center and shoot some hoops or work out while the clouds rumble. Located at 2731 Oak Street, the rec center costs $4 for an adult day pass, $2 for a child under 12, or $8 for a family.

If the sun comes back out, you can also go to the Bay Oaks pool for $3.50 per adult and $1.50 per child per day.

The rec center is open from 7:30 a.m.to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m.to 9 p.m. Saturday. The pool's hours vary by season, visit fortmyersbeachfl.gov for more information.

 
 

 

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