According to a handbook authored by Francis Asbury Hendry who lived from 1833 – 1917, Fort Myers first appears in about 1841 when it was first manned as Fort Harvey. The military fort was abandoned in 1842 then, re-established in 1850 and named in honor of a U.S. Army officer named Abraham C. Myers, a Colonel. The fort was a center for command and control operations during war against the native Indian tribes that lived in Florida until they were defeated and, relocated out of the state to regions of western United States. However, some of the Seminole Indian tribe never surrendered and remained in the Florida wilderness. Colonel Myers reportedly resigned his commission and joined the Confederate army when the Civil War started. Under Confederate control, African slaves were transported to the area from Virginia to support cultivation of crops.
During the Civil War, the fort changed hands between forces of the North and South once or twice more. An African-American Infantry of Union soldiers was stationed in Fort Myers during the period of 1863 to 1864. Under the authority of Monroe County, the first school for African-Americans in the area was formed near Fort Myers, on the property an emancipated slave by the name of Nelson Tillis in 1885. Although Thomas Edison operated telegraph services for the northern side of the Civil War, in 1886, Edison purchased a winter home in Fort Myers after marrying his second wife earlier that year (National Park Service, 2012). In 1890, the first female African-American school teacher (Annie Moore), was hired to teach in the area (Lee County Black History Society, 2011).
A county entitled Lee County, named so in honor of the southern commanding General, Robert E. Lee was established in 1887. By about 1908, the population of Fort Myers was approximately five to six thousand (Captain F.A. Hendry Reunion Committee, 2002). In 1912 the first local Black population only public school was established in Lee County (Williams Academy). Henry Ford bought the home and land next door to Thomas Edison in 1916. In 1920 the Jones-Walker Hospital was opened for the Black population only. Bunche Beach was dedicated as the first local beach intended for the Black population only, in 1949. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled to end segregation in public schools. However, this decision was not implemented by integrating local Lee County schools until 1969. The Williams Academy was relocated to Clemente Park located in the Dunbar section of Fort Myers in 1995 and, is the primary center for African-American history in Lee County. The museum and administrative offices are established at 1936 Henderson Avenue (Lee County Black History Society, 2011).
The 2010 total census population of the city of Fort Myers was 62,298 (United States Census Bureau, 2010). This population figure does not include seasonal residents or, residents of Lee County outside of the city limits.
The climate of Fort Myers is tropical.
On August 13, 2004, Fort Myers was sideswiped by Hurricane Charley, a category 4 hurricane that made landfall north of the area. In 2005, Hurricane Wilma struck south of Naples, but caused extensive damage nonetheless in Fort Myers and its southern suburbs.
- Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW IATA), 11000 Terminal Access Rd, ☏ . Most major U.S. carriers serve RSW. International carriers include Air Canada (from Toronto and Montreal), and WestJet (from Toronto).
- The tropical climate is perfect for bicycling, and Fort Myers is a very bicycle friendly city. But watch out for those occasional pop up showers, especially during the wet season. When cycling, be sure to bring plenty of water, wear light weight, light colored clothing, and wear sunscreen.
- Lee trans is the local bus service and has numerous bus lines criss-crossing the city.
- The tolls for the Sanibel Causeway are $6 for cars, $2 for motorcycles, and $0 for bicycles, but it is only going onto the island, and well worth it.
- The Midpoint and Cape Coral Pwky/Colonial Bridge is $2 going from Fort Myers to Cape Coral only. Other direction is non toll. The bridge is generally unavoidable unless you go through Downtown Fort Myers and US41 around.
- [dead link] Butterfly Estates, 1815 Fowler Street, ☏ . 9AM - 5PM. This butterfly conservatory, set in the Fort Myers river district, is home to all the species of butterfly native to Florida. The enclosure features a cascading waterfall and many exotic species of plants. Every Friday at 1:30PM new butterflies are released into the exhibit, which makes this the best time to visit. $15.
- 1 Edison and Ford Winter Estates, 2350 McGregor Blvd, ☏ . Every day 9AM-5:30PM (during Dec until 9PM). Guided tours through 15,000 sq. ft. museum with hundreds of Edison and Ford inventions and objects, video theatres, and changing special exhibits. Beautiful and interesting plantings on the grounds.
- 2 Minnesota Twins Spring Training, 14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway, ☏ . Hammond Stadium. If you are in Fort Myers during the spring, you may be able to see the Major Baseball League's Minnesota Twins' during their preseason training period. (2007 prices) Dugout Box, $35; Box Seats, $21; Reserved Seats, $19; Deck Rail, $15; Lawn Seating, $10; Standing Room, $10.
- Boston Red Sox Spring Training, Fenway South Dr (JetBlue Park at Fenway South), ☏ . The Boston Red Sox also have their spring training in Fort Myers.
- Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (Hammond Stadium). Professional baseball in Fort Myers doesn't stop with spring training—the Minnesota Twins have a minor-league affiliate based in their spring training complex. The Mighty Mussels, newly renamed from the Miracle, play in the Florida State League, an "Advanced A" league (three levels below Major League Baseball) mainly featuring younger players a year or two out of high school or college baseball.
- 3 Florida Gulf Coast Eagles (FGCU Eagles). Sports teams of Florida Gulf Coast University, competing in 15 NCAA Division I sports (6 men's, 9 women's) mainly in the ASUN Conference, featuring a mix of mostly regional universities in the southeastern quadrant of the country (as well as one outlier in New Jersey). With no football team, the most popular sports are men's and women's basketball. The mapped location is Alico Arena, home to both basketball teams, women's volleyball, and the main athletic ticket office.
- Florida Everblades. Local hockey.
- FGCU Eagles Hockey. A club-level ice hockey team that competes outside the NCAA structure (and thus is not part of the overall FGCU athletic program), but nonetheless a popular winter diversion.
- 4 Sanibel Lighthouse.
- 5 Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, 3450 Ortiz Ave (at Colonial Blvd), ☏ .
- 6 Koreshan State Historic Site, 3800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, ☏ . 8AM to sunset. Cyrus Teed, creator of the religion of 'Koreshanity' founded his 'New Jerusalem' community here. Various structures, many over a century old, are still preserved.
- Mound Key Archaeological State Park, The park is accessible only by boat and is managed by Koreshan State Historic Site, Estero, ☏ . 8AM to sunset.
- Paint a coconut at one of the many art galleries on colourful pine island
- Head to Matanzas Pass Preserve on the 7-mile long island of Estero and into the 60-acre mangrove where crabs, lizards and birds live in abundance.
- Visit the Edison & Ford Winter Estates featuring 20 acres of tropical gardens and the largest banyan tree in the US.
- Make the most of Fort Myers' Music Walk every third Friday of the month and hear the streets filled with live music.
- 1 Sky Zone Fort Myers. - located in Fort Myers.
- 2 Good Time Charters and Tours, 4765 Estero Blvd Ft Myers Beach (behind the Publix by the Bayfront Bistro), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. A dolphin cruise with them is excellent. They have biologists on board and are laid back and fun. Free parking on site.
- 3 Paradise Charters LLC, 4765 Estero Blvd Fort Myers Beach (behind Publix by the Bayfront Bistro), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Friendly fishing charters.
- 4 Everglades Adventure, 4765 Estero Blvd Ft Myers Beach (behind Publix by the Bayfront Bistro), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Day trips to the Everglades. Biologist and certified naturalist guides. You can ride an airboat and see alligators and other animals.
- Lagerhead Cycleboats, 2500 Main Street, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com.
- 5 Estero Bay Preserve State Park, The park is managed by Koreshan State Historic Site located at 3800 Corkscrew Road in Estero, ☏ . 8AM to sunset.
- 6 Lovers Key State Park, 8700 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, ☏ . 8AM to sunset.
- The Shell Factory. 2787 North Tamiami Trail. The complex features jewelry, and collectibles made from sea shells, carved coconut souvenirs, T-shirts, tropical ladies wear, a pirate exhibit, wild animal display of over 66 different animals, a small live animal Nature park, restaurants, entertainment for children, the largest year-round Christmas holiday shop, and other attractions. One reason The Shell Factory is a popular source of collectible conch shells is that, under Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) regulations, there is a restriction in Lee County for the collection of any sea shells along its beaches if there is a living organism inhabiting the shell, with the exception of oysters, hard clams, Sunray Venus clams and Coquinas.
One of its most recent and significant activity developments at the Shell Factory is its schedule of Flea-Market days. Every Tuesday, Thursday and, Saturday from sunrise until the heat of the day drives them away, you will find local people as well as, residents from all across the state, setting up tables and tents on reserved parts of the parking lots. They offer their personal goods, many interesting pieces and often, rare collectible items for sale to the public.
- Miromar Factory Outlet Mall.
- Gulf Coast Town Center.
- Bell Tower.
- Coconut Pointe Town Center.
- Edison Mall.
- Fleamasters Flea Market.
- Plakka Greek Restaurant, Fort Myers.
- Iguana Mia Mexican Restaurant. Fort Myers.
- Hooters of Fort Myers, Fort Myers.
- Siam Hut, Cape Coral Pkwy and Del Prado. Thai.
- Bert's Bar, Matlacha.
- Matanzas's Inn, Fort Myers Beach.
- Parrot Key, Fort Myers Beach.
- Blu Sushi, Fort Myers and Gulf Coast Town Center.
- Capt'n Fishbones, North Fort Myers, across the main parking lot at The Shell Factory.
- Ford's Garage, 2207 First St. 11:00 - 11:00.
- Spirits of Bacchus, Downtown Fort Myers
- The Cigar Bar, Downtown Fort Myers and Gulf Coast Town Mall
- Rivals Sports Kitchen, Miromar Factory Outlet Mall, Estero
- Blu Sushi, Fort Myers and Gulf Coast Town Center (Estero)
- [dead link] Anthonys Junkanoo, 3040 Estero Blvd. Nice beachclub with full bar.
- Best Western Waterfront, 13021 N. Cleveland Avenue, ☏ , toll-free: . Right on the river. Private pier, high-speed internet and heated outdoor pool.
- Cypress Trail RV Resort, 5468 Tice Street, Fort Myers, FL 33905, ☏ . Luxury RV resort with aquatic center and recreation that includes two private lakes and paddleboats.
- DiamondHead Beach Resort, 2000 Estero Boulevard, toll-free: . Fort Myers Beach. All suite luxury resort with conference facilities. Right on the beach.
- GullWing Beach Resort, 6620 Estero Boulevard, ☏ , toll-free: . Suites and condos on Fort Myers beach as well as meeting and banquet space.
- Howard Johnson Inn, 4811 s Cleveland Avenue. Old motel located in the center.
- Hyatt Regency Coconut Point, 5001 Coconut Road (Bonita Springs), ☏ , fax: .
- Lover's Key Resort, 8771 Estero Boulevard, ☏ , toll-free: . All-suite resort adjacent to the Lover's Key State Park with views of Estero Bay, lagoon-style pool, and on-site dining
- Pink Shell Beach Resort & Spa, 275 Estero Boulevard. On Estero Island.
- Pointe Estero Beach Resort, 6640 Estero Boulevard, toll-free: . A beachfront suite hotel located on the peaceful southern end of Estero Island.
- [dead link] Santa Maria Harbour Resort, 7317 Estero Boulevard, toll-free: . A resort on Estero Bay, a fishing harbour on Estero Island.
- Suburban Extended Stay Hotel of Fort Myers, 10150 Metro Parkway, ☏ . Rooms have refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, utensils, irons, ironing boards, computer hook-ups, voice mail and satellite television. King suites are also available.
- 1 Sanibel Harbour Marriott Resort & Spa (Sanibel Harbour Marriott), 17260 Harbour Pointe Drive. Fort Myers, Florida 33908, ☏ , toll-free: . Check-in: 4:00 PM, check-out: 11:00 AM. Oceanfront resort on private 85 acres of land and offers free WiFi, full service spa, and guest rooms with water views.
- Hampton Inn & Suites Fort Myers-Estero/FGCU, 10611 Chevrolet Way (Estero), ☏ .
While Fort Myers is mostly safe, there are a few scattered neighborhoods, especially east and southeast of downtown, where it is wise to use a bit of caution, especially at night. The most reliable method of identifying what portions of the area are least safe is to consult the Lee County Sheriff Department. They provide Web services that graphically depict all of the high crime areas. Visitors will find that opinions not supported by statistics from the Lee County Chamber of Commerce or, Lee County Sheriff Department may not be based in fact. The Lee County Sheriff Department web-site address is: http://www.sheriffleefl.org/main/index.php?r=crimeActivity/index [formerly dead link].
|Routes through Fort Myers|
|Tampa ← Punta Gorda ←||N S||→ Naples → Miami|
|Tampa ← Punta Gorda ←||N S||→ Naples → Miami|
|END ←||W E||→ LaBelle → West Palm Beach|