With brilliant white sands and calm waters in varying shades of blue, Fort Myers and Sanibel Island radiate beauty, so it’s no surprise they’re popular beach destinations in southwest Florida. If the time comes when you’ve had enough soaking in the sun and are ready for a bit more activity, there’s plenty more to see and do in the area.
Must-See Attractions in the Fort Myers Area
Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers
While vacationing, revisit a bit of history at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers. Take a peek into the private lives of inventors Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, who were friends as well as neighbors – they bought adjoining properties, where they built their winter homes. You and your family may freely roam the 20 combined acres. Walk through the tropical gardens before browsing hundreds of inventions, artifacts and special exhibits on display in the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory and the newly restored houses of Ford and Edison. Who knows? You may even become inspired to invent something new and extraordinary.
J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island
After driving about 45 minutes from Southwest Florida International Airport, you’ll see we aren’t the only species attracted to the beauty of southwest Florida. The area hosts more than 220 species of migratory birds, which travelers may spot within the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. A $5 fee is assessed for cars traveling Wildlife Drive. The refuge is also part of the largest undeveloped mangrove system in the United States, making it ripe for kayaking, canoeing or stand-up paddling on your own or with a guide. If you’d rather stay on solid ground, check out the wildlife from trails such as the 4-mile, round-trip Indigo Trail. Along the way, look out for raccoons, alligators, marsh rabbits and, if you’re lucky, otters and bobcats.