Fort Myers Beach - on Estero Island is a friendly, lively little beach town
that’s a favorite with families, young folks, and with the young-at-heart. It
greets people coming over the “sky bridge” at the north end of the island with a
spectacular view. The Gulf of Mexico shimmers beyond the islands, the horizon
splashed with the reds and yellows of parasails. Traffic, however, can be
daunting along Estero Boulevard, the one main route that runs the length of the
island, so many choose to travel by bicycle, foot, or public trolleys.
Fort Myers Beach “Central” is Time Square, just to the right over the sky
bridge, where shops and restaurants surround a village square at the base of the
Fort Myers Beach Pier. The pier, which reaches about 600 feet into the gulf, is
always abuzz with fishermen, loungers, and spectators.
The land’s end of the pier is one of the most popular spots on the island. Known
as the “world’s safest beach” for its shallow water and lack of undertow, Fort
Myers Beach’s shores and waters are usually bustling. At the pier,
sun-worshippers young and old, toddlers playing in the surf or the nearby Lynn
Hall Memorial Park playground, and young people strutting, sunbathing and eyeing
each other create a constant flow on the sand.
At the north end of Estero Island is Bowditch Point, a peaceful, natural park
where families and couples gather for quiet picnics and walks. Beach accesses
can be found all along the gulf side of Estero Boulevard, although parking
spaces are limited.
Several miles south of the sky bridge, off of Estero Boulevard, are several
facilities that stand as testament to Fort Myers Beach’s tight-knit community.
The impressive Fort Myers Beach Library is founded and supported by the
community, unlike many in the county. And in the same couple of blocks are the
Fort Myers Beach Elementary School and Bay Oaks Recreation Center, which often
hosts community activities as well as regular programs for island children. A
community swimming pool, with facilities for all ages, we recently added, thanks
to the community’s efforts.
At the end of the road past the library is Estero Island’s Historic Cottage, a
little museum-in a cottage that once served as the first schoolhouse on the
island-that houses pictures and tales of the island’s history. Its exhibits and
information include the days before World War II, when Fort Myers Beach was an
isolated fishing community.
A glimpse at what the island looked like before development took hold lies just
beyond the cottage in Matanza Pass Preserve, a nature preserve of mangrove
forest with a path that runs out to the Back Bay.
The Fort Myers Beach Cultural and Environmental Learning Center offers another
look at the island’s history. The house itself stands on an ancient Colusa
Indian shell mound and is one of the first homes built on the island. The center
now houses a museum, where visitors can participate in programs and learn about
the site’s archaeological significance.
Fort Myers Beach is known for several renowned annual events, including its
springtime Shrimp Festival celebrating the island’s historical “pink gold”
industry, high-powered Offshore Powerboat Races, and sand-sculpting contests
that draw in artists nationally, which create amazing sculptures on the beach.
The Beach also has a fledgling film festival, which takes place in the winter
Southwest Florida Info
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Links of Interest (3rd party links will open in a new window):
Greater Fort Myers Beach Area Chamber of
State Park - one of four barrier islands that make up this state park, a
haven for wildlife, the islands and their waters are home to West Indian
manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, marsh rabbits, and bald
eagles. The two mile long beach is popular for shelling, swimming, picnicking,
The Mound House - A Cultural & Environmental Learning Center
of Fort Myers Beach - Official Website