Are you wondering what the best outdoor activities in Fort Myers, FL are? The city is known for a diverse array of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed year-round with great and sunny weather.
Fort Myers boasts beautiful beaches, most of which are perfect for water sports. But that’s not all; Fort Myers is also home to many parks and natural preserves, offering countless hiking trails, kayaking routes, and a chance to explore the unique ecosystems of Florida.
Cultural and historical attractions add an extra layer to Fort Myers’ appeal, even when it comes to the outdoors. This place is truly a paradise for outdoor activities!
This blog will guide you through the top outdoor activities in Fort Myers, FL. Ready to explore?
On the sandy shores of the northern tip of Fort Myers Beach, Bowditch Point Park is a 17-acre preserve and recreation area with panoramic bay views, great hiking trails through lush, butterfly gardens, and access to an uncrowded swimming beach.
The park offers all the amenities you might want for a day of outdoor fun in Fort Myers Beach, such as picnic tables, grills, restrooms, outside rinse showers, changing rooms, and a free public boat dock. Taking the walking trail is a great opportunity to enjoy some bird watching and soak in the impressive panoramic views of Estero Bay.
On the whole, there’s nothing comparable to lounging on the beach or meandering through, absorbing the splendor of the untamed landscapes in Florida.
Located near the Sanibel Causeway, Bunche Beach Preserve boasts a mangrove forest and a beautiful sandy beach framed with native vegetation. The beach is stunning, with shallow, calm waters, making it great for kids. It feels like a small slice of paradise away from the hustle and bustle of the city, and it’s excellent for shelling.
The preserve offers a variety of outdoor activities, including bird-watching, canoeing, kayaking, fishing, and strolling through the boardwalk. The mangrove forest forms picturesque tunnels for exploration via kayak or canoe. There’s a kayak launch site and a friendly service, Kayak Excursions, where you can rent kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. The crew is great at explaining the kayak trails, making it a seamless immersion into exploration for you.
You’ll discover a thriving ecosystem teeming with life, from crabs and fish to sea snails and the occasional small stingray. Winter months provide exceptional bird-watching opportunities, with beautiful pelicans often making an appearance.
Sitting along the beautiful Caloosahatchee River, the historical estates of inventor-entrepreneurs Thomas Edison and Henry Ford are a must-see. They are also one of the best outdoor activities in Fort Myers, FL because they include a 21-acre botanical garden atop a historical museum.
The famous Banyan Tree, brought from India in a butter tub, is a remarkable natural attraction and a prominent landmark, having been planted by Thomas Edison himself. Moreover, towering ficus trees, planted by both Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, stand majestically near the former “research gardens.” Speaking of which, the gardens include nearly two thousand plants and flowers from six continents.
Another highlight is the so-called Moonlight Garden, which belonged to Edison’s wife, Mina, and has been restored to its early original state.
With large verandas encircling the houses, the architecture is impressive and picturesque, evoking the opulence of the ’20s. Of course, the museum itself is a great activity; it features several galleries that showcase some of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford’s most prominent inventions.
This is your chance to step back in time and have some fun for an educational experience with the entire family.
Manatee Park is another unique waterfront park with great outdoor activities in Fort Myers. It offers excellent trails, kayak rentals, scenic viewing areas, picnic shelters, wonderful gardens that include native plants and a butterfly garden, and a launch to the Orange River.
Still, the main attraction is definitely the chance to get up close with endangered manatees, aka “the sea cows.” There’s a great viewing area for spotting them in their natural environment. Sightings are most likely to occur from November through March, and it’s a great idea to rent kayaks to see manatees from different angles.
Manatees are more difficult to see during the warmer months, but even so, the park is still worth visiting for its diverse habitats. You can take a stroll around or simply enjoy the playground and picnic areas. The park also organizes several fun activities for kids, such as bingo and a nature treasure hunt.
Overall, Manatee Park is clean and peaceful, but heads up: it can get a bit crowded, so try to visit early in the day.
Another public park along the scenic banks of the Caloosahatchee River, near historic downtown, Centennial Park is a beautiful 10-acre park with footpaths that wind through public art sculptures. It also has a playground with swings and slides, a lovely pier, and covered pavilions.
This is the perfect place to relax during your day in downtown Fort Myers, take a family stroll, have a picnic, or do anything that makes for a slow and enjoyable day soaking in the lovely atmosphere all around.
The centerpiece of the park is the sculpture that pays tribute to Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone, or rather to their unique friendship and their contribution to the history of Fort Myers. This is a great photo spot and meeting point.
When you visit, chances are you’ll find a community event taking place on the grounds, like the Thursday Farmers Market, for instance. These are great chances to meet and mingle with locals. Also, Centennial Park regularly plays host to various concerts, and local artists gather for jam sessions on weekends.
The scene often involves people playing spontaneous games of volleyball, throwing a Frisbee on the greenery, or jogging along the river. Sunsets are a hit, and taking a walk through the fishing pier is a must. Overall, a perfect Florida park.
Spanning nearly 300 acres of beautiful nature trails, lakes, and gardens, Lakes Regional Park is a place that offers something for everyone, including two playgrounds, water parks, a miniature train ride, and a railroad museum.
Classic ways to enjoy the area include biking trails, hiking, picnicking areas, canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, and guided wildlife tours. Whether you want to relax, exercise, or explore, you’ll find it there.
Some of the highlights are the theme gardens, like the Fragrance Garden, a sweet butterfly garden, a rose garden, a cool water garden, and even a bromeliad garden.
Recently, they added a Children’s Garden, and it was a total game-changer. It has different spots that are perfect for families to check out, explore, learn, and just have a good time playing together.
Here too, there are a lot of events taking place all year round, such as the Lakes Park Farmers Market, the Fall Festival featuring scarecrows In the park, StoryTime in the Garden, and more.
This guide to the best outdoor activities in Fort Myers should help you know where to head when that desire to hit the outdoors appears.
Still, there’s a lot more to enjoy in the region, both in nature and indoors. Keep an eye here for more tips that will make your trip to Fort Myers, FL just unforgettable.
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