WE FINALLY MADE IT!
After 4 days in the car, Liv and I arrived in Fort Myers. It was hot, sunny, and I was ready to relax! But with an empty condo — and the rest of the family flying in the next day — we had shopping to do.
Off we went to Target. We emerged, exhausted and with 2 carts full of supplies. Sadly, that was just the beginning. A stop at the grocery store and Walmart followed. Back at the condo, I spent the afternoon powering through Liv’s naps to unpack and get organized. It was day one and I was drained!
If possible, do an online order before you go. Having key supplies (i.e. diapers, toilet paper, pantry items) delivered directly to our unit would have been a huge time saver and much less hassle.
Later that night, I was set to pick up Brodie and Sienna from the airport. Bad weather in Toronto made for a long delay on their end, and an unexpected bedtime with nowhere for S to sleep (since someone forgot the stroller)! Poor girl.
They toughed it out and after a good night’s sleep, we were all ready for some family fun and vacation sun!
Here’s my breakdown of where to stay, what to do and where to eat from our Fort Myers getaway:
Where to Stay?
If you’re looking for beachfront, Fort Myers Beach is the place to be, full of great hotels with easy access to the warm Gulf waters and white sand. For our lengthy stay, a hotel would have put us over budget, so a condo was our best bet.
Most condos in Florida book up over a year in advance and charge a premium during peak season (Jan – Mar). And since we decided to book last-minute, finding a decent condo, for a reasonable price, was nearly impossible. And of course, we didn’t want just any place. With my dad and sister also joining later in our stay, we wanted open-concept, 2+ bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a full kitchen, room separation so the adults could make noise after 7 p.m., access to a pool and the beach close by. Totally reasonable, right?
With a lot of effort and some pure luck, we came across a 3 bedroom condo in a golf course complex, about a 10 minute drive to Fort Myers Beach. It had just been purchased and was not yet rented; so, I immediately scooped it up.
Many gated and golf-course communities only list rentals directly on their own website. This makes them much harder to find, but with a bit more searching, you may score a gem.
What to Do?
Not knowing much about Fort Myers, I was impressed with the number of activities for kids of all ages. Between the beaches, bike rentals, mini-golf, shopping, museums, boat cruises, arcades, water sports and multiple cities within driving distance, older kids will have a tough time finding reasons to complain.
With young kids, as long as there’s water to play in, they are happy! We could have spent all day, every day at the pool and Sienna would have had the best vacation ever.
If your kids aren’t little fish like mine (or if you want a change of scenery), here’s our top to-dos during your stay:
Build a Sandcastle
With so many beaches to choose from, you could visit a different one every day. (I’ve got a separate post on the top beaches in the works, so stay tuned for that!)
Fort Myers Beach was by far our favourite and the place to go with young kids. With soft sand for miles, shallow water, family friendly washrooms at Lynn Hall Memorial Park, regular dolphin sightings by the pier and restaurants and gift shops galore at Times Square, you won’t be bored here.
Parking can be a challenge, so arrive early (before 9:30 a.m.) This should guarantee you a spot and help avoid the bridge traffic on your way in.
Explore the Wetlands at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
With free admission and only 1.2 miles long, this a great morning walk with young kids. The boardwalk is stroller-friendly and mainly shaded for staying cool on hot days. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a gator, otter or wild hog along your trek. Plan to arrive early as the lot is full by 10 a.m.
Wander the River District
Downtown Fort Myers is a fun spot to visit for lunch, dinner or afternoon stroll. Walk down First Street for a bite to eat and ice cream stop at Scoops on First. Nicknamed the City of Palms, a drive along McGregor Boulevard will show you why.
Naples is a must-see in my books. Only 50 minutes away, this high-end beach town offers great shopping, quality restaurants and tons of activities to fill your day. And the downtown waterfront is the perfect drive during baby’s nap time for a look at some extravagant homes. Stay tuned for my ‘Naples with Young Kids’ post for everything there is to see and do.
Find Inspiration at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates
Travel back to the early 1900’s and explore the historic homes, lab and museum of these two incredible inventors. Stroller-friendly access makes this a great spot for babies, with only a few spots requiring you to quickly step up and peak inside the buildings. From the electric light bulb to the phonograph and motion picture camera, I had no idea Edison had so many inventions!
Save Big at Miromar Outlets
If shopping is on your to-do list than you’re in luck. Home to over 140 designer and brand name stores, they even have a Playland for entertaining the little ones.
Remember, you’re on vacation! With so much to do, we couldn’t possibly get to it all. Relax and make time for activities you know your kids will love. We visited Wa-Ke Hatchee Park as Sienna could play on swings all day long. We also heard great things about the Imaginarium and Sun Splash Waterpark, so be sure to comment below if you’ve visited.
Where to Eat?
Yucatan Beach Stand
A perfect spot for a family lunch or date night out. Beautiful courtyard patio feels like a tropical oasis. And the fresh, island-inspired cuisine had us coming back for multiple visits.
Classic deep-fried seafood in a family-friendly setting. Skip the calamari but order extra of the kid’s popcorn shrimp. And be warned that the 2 for 1 drinks means 2 drinks with each order!
Best. Burger. Ever. That’s all there is to say! Oh and don’t miss the car-themed décor throughout the restaurant — especially the gasoline pump sinks in the bathroom.
Il Pomodoro Italian Restaurant
Hot spot for pizza, pasta and crowds. Be sure to book a reservation as they fill up quickly.
Handcrafted and modern Mexican food, with big portions to feed the whole family. Enjoy the patio or venture inside for a taste of Mexico. Don’t miss the fajitas and beef quesadillas!
Mucky Duck (Captiva)
Skip your main and head straight for the coleslaw! Yes, you read that right. With chunks of pineapple this was honestly the most delicious coleslaw I’ve had. Best for a casual lunch stop on the beach.
With wonderful weather, happy memories and so much more to see, I can guarantee this won’t be our last visit to Fort Myers.
See more images from our trip below and don’t forget to follow Practical Adventures on Instagram to catch related posts.
Have you been to Fort Myers? Leave a comment and tell me about your travels!
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