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Considered the gateway to Southwest Florida, Fort Myers is more than just a resort town on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River. In 1885, Thomas Edison selected this former military stronghold as the perfect place to build a sprawling winter estate. In 1916, his close friend Henry Ford joined him. Today, in addition to the must-see Edison and Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers beckons with a host of tropical-weather activities. From fishing for redfish and tarpon to the chance to spectate a spring training baseball game—it's all here in the City of Palms.
The city of Fort Myers is home to charming historic districts and a bustling downtown that features some of the best shopping in the Sunshine State.
Stroll along First Street in Downtown Fort Myers and you'll find yourself in the heart of the Fort Myers River District—a scenic stretch of independent art galleries, retail boutiques, and esteemed local eateries. Grab a to-go lunch and head to Centennial Park to picnic with waterfront views.
A collection of craftsman bungalows and English Tudor homes line the drive in this district within walking distance of Downtown Fort Myers. Recognized on the National Register of Historic Places, the Dean Park Historic District appeals to history buffs as well as those who want to stretch their legs after a filling meal at one of Fort Myers' top-notch restaurants.
At Bunche Beach, extensive tidal wetlands and incredible wildlife can be found. In addition to sunbathing and swimming in San Carlos Bay, a birding trail appeals to nature enthusiasts and a kayak outfitter allows you to experience the region from the water.
Of all the things to see in Fort Myers, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates belong at the top of every traveler’s sightseeing bucket list. In addition to admiring the vacation complexes of the American inventors, stroll the botanical gardens and tour the rubber laboratory, built to develop a domestic rubber supply for the booming auto industry. Looking to take in a play during your travels? The Arcade Theater, which was used to show Edison's first films, now houses the Florida Repertory Theatre. Young travelers also delight in the Imaginarium—Fort Myers' kid-friendly interactive science center.
Whether you're looking for a bit of retail therapy or an idyllic riverboat cruise, Fort Myers delivers. For a shopping experience plus a chance to interact with Florida's native butterflies, head to the Shops at Butterfly Estates. If it's designer clothing you're after, check out Edison Mall. Nature lovers rave about the river cruises that get you up close to manatee and osprey. Sports fans who visit in spring won't want to pass up the chance to watch the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox preparing for baseball season at the nearby sports complexes. Finally, there’s no need to limit your adventures to the Fort Myers city limits—consider a memorable getaway to the Everglades for the ultimate Florida outdoor experience.