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Welcome to Fort Myers, Florida! This port city is known for its natural beauty and historic sites, having been the chosen home of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford during the winter months. It’s also known for its endless sunshine, parks and nature spaces, and its family-friendly vibe.
Beyond just sunbathing at the beach, this list of top things to do in Fort Myers will help you plan the perfect vacation.
Find out where to eat, learn, play, and enjoy the variety of natural beauty spots in the Fort Myers area.
Looking for more? Check out our guide to Fort Myers Beach for another useful list of things you won’t want to miss!
Best Things to Do in Fort Myers, FL
Hang Out in Centennial Park
Right in the center of Fort Myers is Centennial Park (2000 W First St).
The park is on the Caloosahatchie River on both sides of the Caloosahatchie Bridge, the main thoroughfare to get between Fort Myers and North Fort Myers.
Statues, an amphitheater, and a riverfront seating area can be found in the park.
The park also has docks and piers for fishing opportunities downtown.
This is a great spot for the kids to play and burn some extra energy!
Shop at the Fort Myers Farmers Market
The Fort Myers Farmers Market occurs every Thursday morning in Centennial Park.
The market is home to many food trucks and tent vendors, who tend to sell mostly meat and meal products.
The market is the oldest farmers market in Lee County and is also occasionally called the River District Farmers Market.
Grab a Bite at the Oxbow Bar and Grill
Lunch in Fort Myers can be found downtown, but it can also be found right on the waterfront.
The Oxbow Bar and Grill (1300 Hendry St) is located right on the Caloosahatchie River and has large windows overlooking the Fort Myers Yacht Basin.
It’s one of the easiest places to see a variety of luxury boats in the City of Fort Myers.
Take a Walking Tour
Taking a guided walking tour is one of the best things to do in downtown Fort Myers so you can learn more about the area and get your bearings.
This historic walking tour is ideal for first-time visitors wanting to find out more about the area’s history and its prominent residents.
Tours last about 1.5 hours, making this an easy activity for all ages.
Ready to get a little spooky?
This haunted walking tour leans into the paranormal as you walk around the downtown Fort Myers area at night.
If you’re into ghost stories, you’ll love our list of haunted hotels in New England to add to your bucket list.
Eat at Ford’s Garage
Ford’s Garage is home to a wide selection of burgers and American fare.
The restaurant is an especially unique experience for out-of-staters since 18 of their 24 locations are in Florida.
Have Dinner at Capone’s Coal Fired Pizza
Capone’s serves up delicious pizzas, as well as sandwiches, pasta, and wings.
Plenty of outdoor seating can be found along First Street or the more secluded Bayview Court for those looking to enjoy Fort Myers’s cool night air.
Explore the River District
Of all the popular things to see in Fort Myers, the River District is where most visitors spend the majority of their time.
This is the main drag of Fort Myers and is lined with fun things to do!
The River District isn’t confined to a particular set of blocks, but the most lively area is typically First Street between Monroe and Fowler Street.
The street is lined with palm trees and local shops, restaurants, and theaters inhabit First Street with plenty of things to do for a visiting tourist.
Attend the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center
The Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center (2301 First Street) is home to local collections of art as well as seasonal exhibitions.
The art center also has a rooftop bar and hosts Friday Nights at Sidney’s, with live music.
The art center acts as a social gathering place on most Friday nights in Fort Myers and also hosts activities on Wednesday nights in the summer.
Be sure to check out their events calendar while you’re in Fort Myers.
Stop by the Fort Myers Regional Library and Plaza
For those looking to relax outside with a book, the Fort Myers Regional Library (2450 First St) can be found in downtown Fort Myers.
The library also has an open space and plaza to its southwest where one can sit and read their book.
The plaza is home to picnic tables, benches, canopies, and a life-size chess set.
The library is open during the day on all days except Sunday.
Tour the Burroughs Home and Gardens
If you want to do some Fort Myers sightseeing, the Burroughs Home and Gardens (2505 First Street) provides an experience you won’t want to miss right downtown.
The home was built in 1901 and was home to many parties hosted by upper-class individuals in the early twentieth century.
Tours are hosted on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays every week, and require reservations in advance.
This is also a popular wedding venue.
The Laboratory Theater of Florida
The Laboratory Theater of Florida (1634 Woodford Ave) is one of the more unusual Fort Myers activities that you might want to check out if you’re a fan of the arts.
This innovative theater hosts one play per month with around ten to twelve showings, once each on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The theater shows productions during every month except January and May, one of which is an off-season month, and another is the month of the new play contest.
As a teaching theater, the Lab Theater has collaborated with a variety of organizations and educational institutions over the years to create cutting-edge plays.
Be sure to check the list of shows and schedule for the upcoming season to plan your evening out.
The Butterfly Estates
The Butterfly Estates (1815 Fowler St) is a butterfly garden and location of a non-profit organization focused on protecting butterflies in Southwest Florida.
The garden is open every day of the week except for Monday.
For those looking to relax among the palm trees, Bennett-Hart Park (2330 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd) provides an open space for doing so just south of downtown.
Located just in front of the Collaboratory Community Center, the park has paved walking paths and benches for sitting and reading or just for viewing the palm trees.
Breakfast at First Watch Restaurant
First Watch (2059 Altamont Ave) serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch west of downtown Fort Myers.
The restaurant puts a gourmet twist on breakfast and has lots of options to choose from.
The South Florida influence can be seen in the amount of Latin American food options on the menu as well.
The restaurant is open every day for breakfast and lunch.
Pinchers Seafood Restaurant
Pinchers Seafood Restaurant (2360 W First St) is a classic restaurant found in Southwest Florida.
The restaurant has many Florida-style seafood dishes on the menu.
Pinchers has outdoor seating that overlooks the river and the Marina at Edison Ford.
Berne Davis Botanical Garden
Fort Myers is a town filled with beautiful historic homes and gardens.
The Berne Davis Botanical Garden (2166 Virginia Ave) is a small set of gardens located in a residential area in Fort Myers.
The Fort Myers-Lee Garden Council owns the gardens and focuses on educating the community about gardening practices.
The Gardens are only open to the public for three hours per week on Tuesday, but the council hosts occasional public events as well.
The Banyan Cafe is located inside the Edison and Ford Estates property (see below) and provides light dining opportunities for visitors there.
They sell baked goods, as well as coffee and other drinks.
The location is great for sitting among the banyan trees and having a bite to eat.
Edison and Ford Estates
The most popular Fort Myers attraction, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates (2350 McGregor Blvd) are home to a museum, garden, greenhouse, and yard filled with banyan trees.
Both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford enjoyed spending the winter months in pretty Fort Myers along the water.
Admission to enter for a tour can be bought at the front desk, tours go during the day all seven days of the week.
Otherwise, visitors can explore the yard and greenhouse for free.
The enormous banyan trees also tend to draw visitors from many of the surrounding cities.
Whether you enjoy visiting historic estates, you’re a curious thinker eager for a peek into the lives of two of the most innovative entrepreneurs in US history, or you’re just here for the pretty pictures, you can’t skip visiting the Edison and Ford Winter Estates!
See a Show at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater
The Broadway Palm (1380 Colonial Blvd) is for people looking for a more upscale place for food and entertainment.
Broadway Palm is home to three theaters: the main theater, the Off-Broadway Palm Theater, and the children’s theater.
All three theaters show one show at a time, with a typical showing period lasting about 35 days.
Check their upcoming show schedule; dinner menus can be found by selecting an individual show.
At the north end of Fort Myers, Riverside Park (3061 East Riverside Dr) is a small riverfront park secluded from most vacation traffic.
The park has two piers and docks for viewing the Caloosahatchie River or fishing if one has the supplies.
Beach volleyball courts and picnic shelters are also located within the park.
Explore the Many Piers, Docks, and Small Parks on the Caloosahatchie River
There are plenty of places to go in Fort Myers to enjoy being on the water; Riverside Park is not the only place with a pier on the Caloosahatchie!
Centennial Park has multiple piers that stretch into the river; and don’t forget to check out the Tarpon Street Pier, the longest in the city.
In addition to the piers, Snell Family Park is located on Valencia Way and a public bench on the Caloosahatchie can be found at the end of Braman Avenue.
These two parks in southwestern Fort Myers are sure to be quiet and secluded and are spectacular places to watch sunsets.
Shop at Fleamasters Flea Market
Fleamasters (4135 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Blvd) is a truly unique flea market experience that can be found in Fort Myers.
The market is split into colored aisles and lettered rows, with stalls lining each.
Locals can sell anything from swimwear to cards and games to jewelry.
Locals can book space at the market at a daily, weekly, or monthly rate to sell their items.
Visitors park outside the fence and walk into the complex to wander around and see if they find something that interests them.
The market is open from Friday to Sunday.
Walk Around the Billy Creek Preserve
The Billy Creek Preserve and Filter Marsh (4320 Woodside Ave) provides the opportunity to experience nature right in downtown Fort Myers.
With two parking areas, one in Billy Bowlegs Park and one on Woodside Avenue, the park has over a mile of paved trails for walking.
The trails are surrounded by marshes and wetlands which not only provide habitat for wildlife passing through Fort Myers, but the marsh also filters outgoing water so it doesn’t pollute the Caloosahatchie River.
Have you checked off all these fun things to do in Fort Myers already? If not, we hope this inspired you to get out and see more of this coastal city!
Share your favorite local spots in the comments below.