20 Cool & Unusual Things to Do in Fort Myers, Florida


8 min read
A boardwalk with 2 huts over water against a sunset with a partly cloudy purple sky
Fort Myers is full of history, art, and entertainment for you to enjoy

Fort Myers, Florida, finds itself at an interesting crossroads of culture and nature. It's surrounded by the Everglades, the Gulf of Mexico, mangrove forests, and barrier islands.

Smack in the middle of this unique geography is Fort Myers, a thriving city full of history, art, and entertainment. Its relative isolation makes it distinct from other South Florida locations like Miami, and it's closer to Cuba than to its neighboring state of Georgia.

All of this combines to make it a fascinating place to visit, so read on to find 20 cool and unusual things to do in Fort Myers, Florida!

  • 20 Fort Myers things to do

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20 Unique Things to Do in Fort Myers, Florida

Fort Myers Things to Do Map

A map of Fort Myers. Use the map to explore all the things to do.

A white-sand beach with a lighthouse standing tall surrounded by vegetation and trees
Sanibel Island offers fun activities like kayaking, jet skiing, biking, and more

Get weird with hermit crabs on Sanibel Island

Visitors to Sanibel Island have access to its coastline of white, sandy beaches, and many choose to spend the day simply basking in the sun. If you're looking to be more active, you can rent jet skis, kayaks, or bikes to explore this tropical paradise.

If you're looking instead for weird things to do in Fort Myers, head just north to Captiva Island where patrons of Crow's Nest Bar & Grille enjoy racing hermit crabs.

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Looking at a Tricolored heron bird standing on tall green swampy grass
J.N. “Ding” Darling has acted as a safe haven for endangered bird species since 1945

Go birding in the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge was created in 1945 as a safe place for the feeding, nesting, and roosting of threatened and endangered bird species. Resultingly, birding is one of the most popular activities that bring people to the refuge today.

Visitors are also welcome to drive, bike, or hike along the four-mile Wildlife Drive that runs through the refuge.

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One of the unusual things to do in Fort Myers, Florida is Koreshan State Park
Koreshan State Park is one of the unusual things to do in Fort Myers, Florida

Visit an abandoned cult in Koreshan State Park

Nearby Koreshan State Park provides the odd mixture of nature trails and the ruins of a failed utopia.

Dr. Cyrus Teed, a New York physician, convinced many followers that they lived inside a hollow Earth curving inwards rather than the outside of a tiny sphere in the yawning infinity of space.

With this interestingly wrong idea, he moved his followers to the Florida swamp and preached that celibacy was the path to literal immortality until he, of course, died. The religion soon followed, its members being effectively sterilized by their beliefs.

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Looking towards a white sand beach with two beach chaise lounges against a sea
There are a lot of unique things to do at Fort Myers Beach, including parasailing

Go parasailing in Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island offers many unique things to do in Fort Myers, FL, and parasailing is one of the most thrilling.

If you sign up for a parasailing adventure on Fort Myers Beach, you'll find yourself gazing down at the coastline and the Gulf of Mexico from an exhilarating 400 feet in the sky.

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A white sand beach with mangroves & bushes against a sunset under an evening sky
Lovers Key State Park is a common destination for weddings and romantic adventures

Take your special someone to Lovers Key State Park

The collection of barrier islands that form Lovers Key State Park was once only reachable by boat, and now it is a common destination for weddings and romantic excursions, as the name implies.

Rather than being built up with luxury condos and vacation homes, this land was donated to the state park service to protect its mangrove forests for generations to come.

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Catch an Off-Broadway show at Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall

This impressive performing arts hall is a very cool way to spend your time in Southwest Florida. From one of its nearly 2,000 seats, you can see touring Broadway shows like The Lion King, The Book of Mormon, and Hamilton that have all passed through.

Other performances use this theater as well, from Blue Man Group to The Price is Right. Check their schedule to see what's on stage when you're in town.

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Sample beer at Fort Myers Brewing Company

Fort Myers Brewing Company is a must-visit for lovers of craft beer. It is one of the hidden gems in Fort Myers.

Once a small basement operation, this brewery now has a diverse, rotating tap list. Whether you're looking for a hoppy IPA to sip on or a refreshing light lager after a day in the sun, this brewpub has you covered!

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Connect with nature at the Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium

The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium was created in 1970 to inspire people to connect with both nature and their place in the wider universe.

More than fifty years later, this is still a great place to visit on your trip to Fort Myers. With over one hundred acres, the facilities include the Butterfly House, the Natural History Living Museum, the Raptor Aviary, and the Planetarium.

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Illuminated fairy lights wrapped around palm trees in front of lit-up outdoor dining
Times Square is the most vibrant and colorful center of Fort Myers

Enjoy the performances in Times Square

Times Square in Fort Myers Beach is the colorful and vibrant center of the beach town, with almost every restaurant and bar doubling as a live music venue. It is one of the best things to do in Fort Myers at night.

There are plenty of open-air performances to complement the indoor stages, too. Some are planned, but many buskers, jugglers, and other performers line the square and ensure there's never a dull moment.

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Explore the culture of the Fort Myers River District

The brick-and-palm-lined streets of the River District are some of the cool places in Fort Myers you should visit while you're here. They're full of historic buildings, art galleries, quirky boutiques, and restaurants for whatever you're craving.

The nightlife hums here as well, with live music and celebrity DJs found at the nightclubs or just a booth for you and your friends at a local dive or sports bar.

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© romrodinka via Depositphotos
Looking at a vernacular white house with white fences surrounded by green grass
Edison and Ford Winter Estates showcase the life work of Thomas Edison & Henry Ford

Stand on the shoulders of giants at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates

Two of America's most celebrated innovators were also some of the first snowbirds to make their winter homes in Fort Myers.

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford developed a close friendship during their time as neighbors here, and their historic houses are open to the public. A 15,000-square-foot museum on the property chronicles the life work of each American icon.

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Take a stroll through Burroughs Home and Gardens

Another historic house in Fort Myers is Burroughs Home and Gardens. Built in 1901, this mansion in the River District is open to the public and is the only home from its time still preserved in its original location.

Public tours through the extravagant house and gardens are available, showing visitors how high-society Floridians lived at the turn of the 20th century.

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Go hiking (safely) in Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

Established in the United States under the Endangered Species Act of 1989, the mission of the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge is to protect the Florida Panther and its vanishing ecosystem.

To keep both people and panthers safe, most of the park is closed to the public, with daytime hiking permitted in some areas. In other words, if things go right, expect stunning scenery but no large-cat encounters on your trip here.

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Solve a whodunnit on the Murder Mystery Dinner Train

Over forty miles and almost four hours long, the Murder Mystery Dinner Train will both perplex and delight you. This is one of the most unusual things to do in Fort Myers, FL, and it combines a five-course meal, drinks, and an untimely death.

Make sure you stay sharp while delighting your taste buds, and be on the lookout for clues that will help you find the killer in time.

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See a performance to remember at the Florida Repertory Theatre

Since 1998, the historic Arcade Theatre in Downtown Fort Myers has been restored and run by the artists and directors of the Florida Repertory Theatre.

Catching a show by this seasoned acting troupe in a century-old theater is a fun and unique experience in Fort Myers, so check their lineup to see what's on stage when you're here.

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Get blown away at IMAG History & Science Center

The IMAG History and Science Center is an especially cool place in Fort Myers to visit with your family, and you can sign up for a tour to skip the line.

They have hands-on exhibits that allow kids to feed a stingray in their SEA-to-SEE tank and even hop in a hurricane simulator to experience the fury of one of nature's most incredible storms.

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A white Great egret bird with a snail in its beak, on grass & in front of a trunk
Lakes Regional Park offers guided walks with views of wading birds

Have family fun at Lakes Regional Park

This 279-acre park in the heart of Fort Myers is built for family fun. They have playgrounds, a splash park, and a miniature railroad that will keep the little ones entertained for hours.

Lakes Regional Park also has paddleboats, a rock climbing wall, concessions, and guided walks through the botanical gardens that older kids and parents will appreciate as well.

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A fenced boardwalk surrounded by green bushes and palm trees
Along with kayaking with manatees, Manatee Park offers paved trails to walk along

Kayak with mermaids in Manatee Park

Manatee Park is a non-captive, warm-water sanctuary for Florida Manatees found in Fort Myers. They spend their winter months here, typically December through February, when the temperature in the Gulf of Mexico dips below about sixty-eight degrees Fahrenheit.

During these months, you can slip into the water on a kayak to get a closer look at these peaceful "sea cows" that early mariners took to be mermaids.

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Walk through Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

The Six Mile Cypress Slough (pronounced "slew") Preserve is an important wetland found just outside of town.

Depending on the season, the Preserve might resemble a stream or a swamp, but it's one of the most unique things to do in Fort Myers, FL, any time of year.

A boardwalk takes visitors through the boggy forest, where they can keep an eye out for alligators, otters, and turtles as they stop at interpretive markers to learn about the importance of wetland areas.

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Check out some Spring Training

Fort Myers' CenturyLink Sports Complex and JetBlue Park are the homes away from home for the Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox, respectively.

Both of these northern teams prefer to take the season's early practices and preliminary games of spring training to the more hospitable Sunshine State.

Check out their schedules for February and March to see if you can catch a bit of America's favorite pastime in the only city with two teams.

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Conclusion

Fort Myers, Florida, is the rare city with something for everyone.

These 20 cool and unusual things demonstrate its range, though not enough can be said for its national sport of simply saddling up at a beach bar and hiding from the infamous "Florida Man."

Or, perhaps, you may wish to seek him out. Anything is possible in this mysterious but beautiful place, so get going...and good luck.

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.

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Written by Andrew Sayles

atsayles WRITER Traveler, teacher, and blogger. I have lived in 5 countries, traveled to 60, and crisscrossed the continental US an unhealthy number of times.


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