Ft. Myers Visitors Guide

Welcome to Downtown Fort Myers, FL.

A great community to live or vacation in. Over 200 years ago, pirates sailed in and out of the islands along the southwestern gulf shores of Florida: Ft. Myers Beach (Estero and San Carlos Islands), Sanibel and Captiva, and Bonita Beach leaving treasures under the water. There are still many treasures here for you to enjoy and I hope my island tour will help you discover them.

Visitors Guide to Fort Myers Beach

The Ft. Myers Beach area consists of Estero and San Carlos islands. Estero is seven miles of white sandy beaches on the glistening blue-green Gulf of Mexico. The island’s original name was Crescent Beach because of the shape of the perimeter of the island.

In the early 1900s, the Koreshan Unity Society, a religious group, built the first structure on the south end of the island. By the early 1920s, the church fathers sold off all the land keeping one cottage for their use. The Koreshan Historical Society still owns the cottage.

At the turn of the century, the only way to get to Crescent Beach was by boat. eventually, some beautiful stone arches were built on San Carlos Island that led to a single lane wooden bridge. As time passed and residents increased, the arches were replaced with a swing bridge that would open to incoming and outgoing boat traffic. As the boats increased, the swing bridge was replaced with our Sky Bridge giving breathtaking views of the “World’s Safest Beach.”

About Fort Myers, FL

This beautiful Florida town has been one of the most popular vacation spots in the nation for nearly a century. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford often stayed here during the winter season and is the current spring training camp home of the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Originally built in 1850 as a military fort, this city has come a long way to become the county seat of Lee County and be a thriving source of vacation rentals. Take a look at our Ft. Myers attractions list.


The real lure and romance of the island dates back to the early 1700s when Calico Jack, a dashing pirate whose real name was Capt. Racham and whose nickname came from the colorful clothes he wore, visited the island.

Calico Jack lived in Charlestown, S.C. where most of the single maidens were captivated by his charm. None, however, caught his eye until he met Anne Bonny. Bonny, an Irish lass, moved here with her father a disgraced attorney in Ireland to seek a new life and fortune. Mr. Bonny succeeded in amassing great wealth and wanted only the best for his daughter including potential suitors. Anne, being strong-willed, rejected any of her father’s choices marrying a poor sailor instead.

Anne’s actions caused her father great pain and he refused to give her any of his wealth. When the poor sailor found out, he left her. That is when Calico Jack caught her eye. The two fell hopelessly in love, meeting secretly aboard his ship. Anne cut off her curly locks to stow away on his ship.

They considered their first cruise their honeymoon cruise; only to be attacked by Spanish pirates and then to have their ship damaged by a storm front between Key West and Cuba. They drifted up the Gulf of Mexico into the Estero River and the Bay. The honeymooners came ashore on Estero Island where they lived in a cottage of palm and sticks while the ship’s carpenter restored the vessel. they have been among the first honeymooners to visit our island, but thousands since have come to this tropical paradise.

Fort Myers Tour Begins

The first island you visit approaching Ft. Myers Beach is San Carlos Island. This island is bordered on all sides by Estero Bay abundant in lush tropical vegetation, birds, and sea life. It is home to the area’s Shrimp boat fleet.

San Carlos Island

Many commercial and fun fishing charters leave from this island. The seafood is among the freshest in the world and “pink gold” as the locals call shrimp is abundant as well as other seafood in the local and colorful markets on the island. The Coast Guard calls this island home as well as Ostego Bay Foundation an educational facility that encourages the study and preservation of the local environs. The island has all the prices of housing from elaborate bay and deep water canal homes to canal front mobile homes to low-rise condominiums on the bay and canals. This is a boaters’ paradise.

Good article. Read You Need a Florida Vacation Planner to Guide You

Sanibel island shells

Leaving San Carlos Island, we now approach the Sky Bridge. From the top, you can see the Shrimp boat fleet to the right, while pleasure boats may be stopping for gas or to visit one of the waterfront restaurants. From the top of the bridge, you have a panorama of paradise with perhaps a tall ship sailing into the sunlight. You can see the silhouettes of bayfront and beachfront homes and condos against the glistening water. A palette of pastel buildings catches your eye that house local merchants. A good friend from England told me that when he drove over the bridge for the first time and saw the beauty of the island, he knew he wanted to own a piece of paradise.

Estero Island

Turning right at the foot of the bridge takes you to the north end of the island. The north end is the narrowest part making both the bay and beach visible from the main road. The north end is home to beachfront condos and resorts as well as bayfront homes with deep dockage and easy Gulf access. Sanibel is two miles by sea from this side and can be seen from the tip of Estero Island.

We will now circle back heading south on Estero Blvd., the main road. We pass a public beach and park and a commercial area called “Times Square” which is home to T-shirt vendors, beach bars and restaurants.

We pass through a quieter commercial area. Streets jut out to the left with canal front homes and to the right with beach access and beachfront homes. There are some multi-family houses in this area. Pirate Pete’s, named for the island’s founding fathers, is in this part of the island. It’s a very unusual video store where tourists and local color enjoy each others’ company.

Wide stretches of white sandy beaches with colorful condos highlight the center of the island. There are homes on canals and the bay. There are fewer resorts in this area making it a quieter and more residential neighborhood.

Bonita Beach

The south end is our last stop. It is the quietest area having clusters of condominiums and newer homes in a more traditional beach sub-division type of environment. There are quiet canals and even a lagoon home to a myriad of birds and manatees. All have direct access to the Gulf. There is a small shopping center and an executive golf course. The gulf front homes are new, large and airy, and at the island’s end, there are condos on the bay and gulf.

The small bridge that leaves that end of the island takes you to a state park and beach and will lead you to Bonita Beach. Small uninhabited islands in that area of the bay hold ancient Indian mounds and history.

Of course, not everyone has to be on the water. A golf course is always nice. Maybe a home or condo near shopping, near golf and not far from Ft. Myers Beach or Sanibel is what you want. South Ft. Myers will fill the bill.

I hope this short tour has given you a glimpse of where I live and work. Your inquiries about vacation homes, retirement homes, investing, or moving here are all welcome. My staff and I pledge to give you the most professional and courteous service. We want to help make your move here memorable and happy.

Thank you to Orlando City Guide for all their help and expertise.

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