10 of the Best Outdoor Activities Around Fort Myers

by ShermansTravel Editorial Staff
Sponsored by

10 of the Best Outdoor Activities Around Fort Myers

by ShermansTravel Editorial Staff
Sponsored by

It’s impossible not to think of the beach when conjuring up images of the Fort Myers area. But there’s more to this destination than swimming and sunbathing. Fort Myers’ islands, beaches, and neighborhoods are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with plenty of fresh air and space to roam.

It’s impossible not to think of the beach when conjuring up images of the Fort Myers area. But there’s more to this destination than swimming and sunbathing. Fort Myers’ islands, beaches, and neighborhoods are an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, with plenty of fresh air and space to roam.

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Boardwalk / Courtesy of Fort Myers – Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods
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Collecting seashells on Sanibel Island

Shelling (collecting seashells along the beach) brings people from all over the world to Sanibel Island. The island hugs the coastline, which then blankets the shores with beautiful seashells. The hotels here have taken note and often outfit guest rooms with shell stations for washing and prepping a haul. Sanibel even has its own shelling moniker: the doubled-over stance to grab a shell is referred to as the “Sanibel Stoop.” 

Shelling (collecting seashells along the beach) brings people from all over the world to Sanibel Island. The island hugs the coastline, which then blankets the shores with beautiful seashells. The hotels here have taken note and often outfit guest rooms with shell stations for washing and prepping a haul. Sanibel even has its own shelling moniker: the doubled-over stance to grab a shell is referred to as the “Sanibel Stoop.” 

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Hike or bike at Caloosahatchee Regional Park

A piece of nature that could only be found in Alva, Caloosahatchee Regional Park offers 20 miles of biking and hiking trails just 30 minutes northeast of Fort Myers. Here, pine Flatwoods, oak hammocks, and cypress swamps tower over tourists, while tunnels look as if they're carved into trees. It's an exhilarating way to spend a day, on foot or wheels. 

 

 

A piece of nature that could only be found in Alva, Caloosahatchee Regional Park offers 20 miles of biking and hiking trails just 30 minutes northeast of Fort Myers. Here, pine Flatwoods, oak hammocks, and cypress swamps tower over tourists, while tunnels look as if they're carved into trees. It's an exhilarating way to spend a day, on foot or wheels. 

 

 

 

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Rent a kayak at Lovers Key State Park

One of the best ways to soak in Fort Myers Beach is to rent a kayak at Lovers Key State Park. Take in the unspoiled natural setting and sea life without any distractions. Lovers Key State Park is a cluster of barrier islands with 2.5 miles of protected estuaries to spot manatees, dolphins, and osprey. Lovers Key Adventures offers guided full-moon tours for a chance to glide along the moonlit waterways and listen to nocturnal creatures in their native environment.

One of the best ways to soak in Fort Myers Beach is to rent a kayak at Lovers Key State Park. Take in the unspoiled natural setting and sea life without any distractions. Lovers Key State Park is a cluster of barrier islands with 2.5 miles of protected estuaries to spot manatees, dolphins, and osprey. Lovers Key Adventures offers guided full-moon tours for a chance to glide along the moonlit waterways and listen to nocturnal creatures in their native environment.

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Cast your line on shore or on board

Fort Myers’ islands, beaches, and neighborhoods have some of the best fishing in Southwest Florida. Charter a boat to go offshore in search of grouper and mahi. You’ll get plenty of bites inshore from snook, redfish, and mangrove snapper. Tarpon fishing is a favorite sport in the area, and Boca Grande Pass is known as the “Tarpon Capital of the World.”

Fort Myers’ islands, beaches, and neighborhoods have some of the best fishing in Southwest Florida. Charter a boat to go offshore in search of grouper and mahi. You’ll get plenty of bites inshore from snook, redfish, and mangrove snapper. Tarpon fishing is a favorite sport in the area, and Boca Grande Pass is known as the “Tarpon Capital of the World.”

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Stand up on a paddleboard in Bunche Beach Preserve

Located on San Carlos Bay, Bunche Beach Preserve is a hidden gem loved by visitors and locals alike. This park preserves 718 acres of natural ecosystems, beautiful beaches, mangroves, and salt flats. Standing on a paddleboard is one of the best ways to explore the area. Plus, the calm waters make it a breeze for beginners. There are two paddle craft launches that send SUPs to glide past serene, bird-filled mangroves. The sandy beaches and sand flats provide the perfect respite from the board. 

Located on San Carlos Bay, Bunche Beach Preserve is a hidden gem loved by visitors and locals alike. This park preserves 718 acres of natural ecosystems, beautiful beaches, mangroves, and salt flats. Standing on a paddleboard is one of the best ways to explore the area. Plus, the calm waters make it a breeze for beginners. There are two paddle craft launches that send SUPs to glide past serene, bird-filled mangroves. The sandy beaches and sand flats provide the perfect respite from the board. 

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Tee off at Fort Myers Country Club

Fort Myers boasts over 50 golf courses that can be played year-round in the area’s sunny and warm climate. Fort Myers Country Club, named “The Fort” by locals, is one of the oldest courses in Florida and sits just a mile from the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, where the two men played throughout the 1920s. The course was designed by Donald Ross and perfectly marries a historic past with modern and sophisticated amenities. 

Fort Myers boasts over 50 golf courses that can be played year-round in the area’s sunny and warm climate. Fort Myers Country Club, named “The Fort” by locals, is one of the oldest courses in Florida and sits just a mile from the Edison and Ford Winter Estates, where the two men played throughout the 1920s. The course was designed by Donald Ross and perfectly marries a historic past with modern and sophisticated amenities. 

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Camp in paradise

Could there be anything more exhilarating than falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves? The only thing better is waking up to a warm Gulf breeze. This is what it’s like to camp in paradise. Build a tent, rent a rustic cabin, or even request a hammock under the stars at Cayo Costa State Park. Koreshan State Park allows you to pitch a tent on a nationally registered historic site, or you can sleep in style at one of the area’s many RV parks. San Carlos RV Resort & Marina looks out onto Hurricane Bay.

Could there be anything more exhilarating than falling asleep to the sound of crashing waves? The only thing better is waking up to a warm Gulf breeze. This is what it’s like to camp in paradise. Build a tent, rent a rustic cabin, or even request a hammock under the stars at Cayo Costa State Park. Koreshan State Park allows you to pitch a tent on a nationally registered historic site, or you can sleep in style at one of the area’s many RV parks. San Carlos RV Resort & Marina looks out onto Hurricane Bay.

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Go birding at J.N "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

It’s hard to miss the J.N."Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where there’s a good chance that a bright pink bird will be a greeter. Taking up one-third of Sanibel Island, this national wildlife refuge is home to over 245 species of birds. Visitors can snag a checklist and mark each one off, like a roseate spoonbill, the green heron, or the “Big Five” that are unique to Southwest Florida. A peaceful stroll along the pathway includes a handful of overlooks, an observation tower, and signage that identify birds and trees. Pro tip: Bring a pair of binoculars.  

It’s hard to miss the J.N."Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where there’s a good chance that a bright pink bird will be a greeter. Taking up one-third of Sanibel Island, this national wildlife refuge is home to over 245 species of birds. Visitors can snag a checklist and mark each one off, like a roseate spoonbill, the green heron, or the “Big Five” that are unique to Southwest Florida. A peaceful stroll along the pathway includes a handful of overlooks, an observation tower, and signage that identify birds and trees. Pro tip: Bring a pair of binoculars.  

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Paddle the Great Calusa Blueway

One of the best ways to experience Fort Myers is on the water. Bring your kayak or SUP to explore the Great Calusa Blueway, a nearly 200-mile marked paddling trail that winds through the Pine Island Sound to Estero Bay and up the Caloosahatchee River. 

 

One of the best ways to experience Fort Myers is on the water. Bring your kayak or SUP to explore the Great Calusa Blueway, a nearly 200-mile marked paddling trail that winds through the Pine Island Sound to Estero Bay and up the Caloosahatchee River. 

 

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Picnic while watching manatees

Take a break from the boat for a visit to Manatee Park in Fort Myers. It’s a non-captive, warm-water refuge for these threatened animals, where the largest numbers are spotted in cool-weather months. Visitors can make a day of it by packing a picnic lunch and enjoying the lovely views. After your picnic, rent a kayak and paddle alongside these gentle giants.

Take a break from the boat for a visit to Manatee Park in Fort Myers. It’s a non-captive, warm-water refuge for these threatened animals, where the largest numbers are spotted in cool-weather months. Visitors can make a day of it by packing a picnic lunch and enjoying the lovely views. After your picnic, rent a kayak and paddle alongside these gentle giants.

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