Fort Myers Hotels
South West Gulf Coast Area
The Gulf Coast region of Florida features some of the best beaches in the United States, and coupled with the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, offers the ideal beach holiday destination.
With several distinct and diverse regions there is something for everyone. Eco tourism, wonderful museums, theme parks, gourmet food, great shopping, this region has it all. Sports enthusiasts will enjoy fantastic golf courses, exciting fishing and numerous water sport activities. The Gulf Coast region is the perfect partner for Orlando or Miami to create a magnificent twin centre holiday.
Naples, Marco Island and The Everglades
Welcome to the one destination that offers the idyllic Florida experience, along with excitement and adventure found nowhere else on earth, Naples, Marco Island and The Everglades - The Paradise Coast. Swaying coconut palms and some of the most beautiful sweeping white-sand beaches with stunning golden sunsets only begin to tell the story.
Here you'll discover a gentle pace and a tropical ambience amid excitement, exploration and discovery. Thrill to the outdoor adventure of the Everglades. Discover one-of-a-kind culinary delights infused with local traditions. Immerse within a whirl of shopping excitement. Plunge into a water-filled world that offers dolphin watching, boating & wave runners, or find inspiration in its breathtaking array of art and culture.
"The Paradise Coast" is famous for its sugar white sand beaches that stretch from Barefoot Beach Preserve throughout the city of Naples, along four miles of Marco Island's crescent shoreline, and into the deserted Ten Thousand Island region of the Everglades. Beachfront resorts in Naples and on Marco Island provide easy access to the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to the allure of beautiful beaches, you'll find numerous public parks that showcase the unspoiled natural environment that surrounds Florida's last Paradise.
Fort Myers, Sanibel and Captiva
The Florida of days long past, with unspoiled white sand beaches, exotic wildlife and lush subtropical foliage, can still be found on The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel in southwest Florida. Known as Florida's unspoiled island sanctuary, this subtropical paradise is a favourite vacation spot for Floridians as well as visitors from across the United States and abroad. Here, Floridians living in more congested areas of the state can visit for a feel of old Florida that no longer exists in many areas. In addition to the beautiful natural environment, active travellers are pleased to find an abundance of golf, tennis and water sports as well as some unusual attractions.
The Lee County area embraces nine distinct areas, each with its own unique character. Best known are Sanibel and Captiva islands, connected to the mainland by an alluring three-mile-long causeway and, to each other, by a blink-and-you'll-miss-it bridge at Blind Pass.
Sanibel is known worldwide for its shelling and the associated posture referred to as the "Sanibel Stoop." Some fanatics attach flashlights to their heads, in an effort to be first in the daily search for top picks of the more than 400 varieties of shells found littering the beaches, particularly after an especially high or low tide. For most visitors, however, shelling is merely a delightful excuse to enjoy hours of sun worshipping along some of the finest shoreline in North America.
Sanibel's main thoroughfare, Periwinkle Way, is Sunday-drive picturesque, lush with foliage. Interesting shops and restaurants dot the road from Sanibel Lighthouse to Tarpon Bay Road, making it difficult to complete the distance without a half dozen sight-seeking stops at the boutiques and art galleries.
On the way to Captiva Island, located toward Sanibel's northern tip, the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is home to many exotic species of birds and plants. A 4-mile drive with access to walking and canoe/kayak trails offers abundant opportunities for naturalists to witness a raccoon washing up before breakfast, an alligator snatching a quick bite or long-legged wading birds stalking their prey. In all, the refuge occupies more than two-thirds of the island. The main attraction on Captiva is that there are none. Many people wile away the hours in one outdoor endeavour or another.
Travelling off the coast of Sanibel and Captiva islands, the boater will discover more than 100 outer coastal islands. Many are uninhabited mangrove clusters while others take visitors' breath away with their beautiful beaches. While desert islands conjure up romantic fantasies, modern seafarers may prefer a sociable watering hole at times. Cabbage Key offers that shipwreck survivor's dream of salvation. Situated at Milemarker 60 on the Intracoastal Waterway, this island was built atop an ancient Calusa Indian shell mound. Mystery writer Mary Roberts Rinehart helped her son build his home here in 1938. The house has been converted into a cozy inn with six guest rooms and a picturesque dining room papered in thousands of autographed dollar bills. The tradition, which has generated at least $30,000 worth of George Washington wallpaper, began when a thirsty fisherman left his bill taped to the wall, ensuring a cold drink the next time he stopped by. Now almost all visitors leave their mark, if they can find a space.
A short boat ride north from Captiva or Pine Island, an hour-and-a-half drive by car,Boca Grande is a charming turn-of-the-century harbour town on Gasparilla Island and another safe port for the rich and famous. Founded by the wealthy DuPont family in the late 1800s, this sleepy little southern town comes replete with small shops, cozy restaurants, and waterside accommodations and beautiful beaches. Members of the Boca Grande Tarpon Guides Association, largely composed of local third and fourth generation fishing captains, provide anglers all that are necessary for a successful day on the water.
Step back in time on Pine Island to reminisce a period when fishing reigned as the area's largest industry. Accessible by land via "the fishingest bridge in the USA" at Matlacha [Mat-la-chay], Pine Island's northernmost settlement of Bokeelia, provides the maritime stepping off point to the more remote out-islands.
Further south, Estero Island, home of Fort Myers Beach, long has been recognized as one of the "world's safest beaches" because of its gently sloping shoreline. The sand is particularly soft and white, akin to powdered sugar. During the winter, Estero Bay is home to an extensive shrimp and fishing fleet. Life on Estero is especially suited for family vacations. Here one finds every imaginable water toy, from windsurfer to catamaran and parasailing. Numerous marinas operate boating and fishing charters. Local restaurants benefit from the catch, which generally includes red snapper and grouper.For an afternoon picnic, there is no better spot than Lovers Key on Black Island, just south of Estero. Visitors proceed by open tram across a scenic vista of mangrove islands, arriving at a secluded beach less than 10 minutes later. Ample driftwood and seashells decorate the shore, while pesky raccoons compete for scraps with flocks of sea gulls and other shore birds.
Continuing south, and still on the peninsula, Bonita Beach occupies the southern boundary of the Lee County area. Here traces of old and new Florida peacefully coexist along gently winding beaches deemed among the best in the region. Further inland in Bonita Springs and Estero, history buffs can take a walk through remnants of the Koreshan Unity movement, an extinct religious sect that practiced equal rights for women long before the concept became popular. Anyone suffering from island fever can find instant relief by paying a call to the "City of Palms," Fort Myers, with its charming downtown historic river district and expanding hub of urban activity that extends to shopping malls, restaurants and nightclubs.
Inventor Thomas Edison and his friend, automobile manufacturer Henry Ford, decided early on to make their winter homes in Fort Myers. Today visitors daily tour their neighbouring estates with Edison's botanical gardens, laboratory and museum.Edison came to Fort Myers because he thought the warm weather would improve his health. He must have been correct, for he lived to the age of 84. During Edison's 46 winters in Fort Myers, he and his wife Mina hosted well-known house guests like industrialist Harvey Firestone, naturalist John Burroughs, President-elect Herbert Hoover, the Philadelphia A's baseball team, and cereal king John Harvey Kellogg. Each February, residents celebrate the birthday of the city's most famous resident in the Festival of Light, three weeks of events that culminate in a nighttime parade through the centre of town.Henry Ford's home, "Mangoes" opened to the public in February 1990 after extensive renovation to replicate the way it looked when Ford and his wife Clara lived there. Ford bought the quaint house in 1916 to spend the winter months visiting Edison. The two properties are separated by a fence the two families named "The Friendship Gate."
Other in-town attractions include the Southwest Florida Historical Museum, river cruises from the downtown yacht basin and the Calusa Nature Centre and Planetarium. Visitors also like to drive the short distance to the Shell Factory in North Fort Myers and Eden Vineyards, the country's southernmost bonded winery, to the east. For the sports minded, public golf courses and tennis courts make southwest Florida some of the best playing turf in the state.Also east of downtown Fort Myers, the Lehigh Acres residential community surrounds three quality golf courses, 16 well-stocked freshwater fishing lakes and miles of canals.To the west, Cape Coral, literally surrounded by water, boasts more miles of canals than Venice, Italy. Many of the Cape's deepwater canals lead to the Gulf of Mexico. This fast-growing community boasts many marinas, a first-rate water park, challenging championship golf courses, tennis courts and freshwater fishing.>
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