The third stop on our road trip was Fort Myers. Fort Myers is a great destination for families featuring a compact and super walkable downtown area with tons of restaurants, a seaside promenade, museums and of course the beach.
Where We Stayed in Fort Myers
In Fort Myers, we stayed at the Luminary Hotel right downtown. The hotel was the perfect location to walk to the local restaurants and shops and was right across from the Caloosahatchee River.
We stayed in a King Studio Suite which is perfect for a family. We had a king bed, a wraparound couch with a sofa bed and a chaise lounge. There was plenty of room for everyone to spread out in the room and not feel like we were on top of one another.
From our room, we had a partial river view. One of the cool features of the room was that the shades are controlled by a control panel on the wall, which my 8-year-old found fascinating; sometimes it’s the little things that make the kids happy.
The hotel has 3 restaurants including a casual diner called Ella Mae’s, where we ate breakfast both mornings; a sports bar, which features a TopGolf Swing Suite; and a more traditional restaurant, as well as a coffee shop.
There is also a rooftop bar with a great view of the Caloosahatchee River. You will definitely want to stop in one evening to grab a drink and some snacks and watch the sunset.
Things to do in Fort Myers with Kids
There are many fun activities to do in Fort Myers with the kids.
Visit the Beach
Fort Myers has numerous family-friendly beaches where you can have a great day playing in the water and soaking up the sun. Sanibel and Fort Myers Beach are the two most popular beaches in the area. Sanibel Beach is known for its gorgeous shelling opportunities, while Fort Myers Beach is more lively and has plenty of water sports options for the whole family.
Go to the IMAG History and Science Center
The IMAG History and Science Center is the perfect place to take kids who love science and love hands-on activities. This attraction is perfect for kids of all ages and offers exhibits like a hurricane simulator and a live animal area where you can interact with exotic animals. In the hands-on labs, kids can try engineering and building a rollercoaster.
Visit the Edison and Ford Winter Estates
For families interested in history and science, the Edison and Ford Winter Estates is a must-visit attraction. Here, you can learn about the lives of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, and explore their homes, which include the laboratory where the inventor created some of his inventions.
Explore Nature at Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium
At the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium kids can learn about the native flora and fauna of Southwest Florida. In addition to educational exhibits and live animal encounters, there is a planetarium that has shows on a variety of topics including the universe, the planets, the moon and more.
Play Games at Dave and Buster’s
If you are looking for a fun, air-conditioned activity, then check out Dave and Buster’s. Kids, and adults, can have fun playing all the arcade games and more importantly winning prizes. Dave and Buster’s also serve food and their $20 Eat & Play deal which includes food and a $10 game card is a pretty sweet deal.
See the Sculptures
Fort Myers has numerous metal and wire sculptures spread throughout the downtown area. Kids will love looking at all the statues in different poses and doing different activities. You could even create a scavenger hunt beforehand and have the kids go throughout downtown to find all the sculptures (with you walking with them of course, just having them lead the way).
Sarasota is only about 1.5 hours away from Fort Myers and makes for a great day trip or stopover to or from Orlando. Here is a list of fun activities to do in Sarasota.
Where to eat in Fort Myers
We ate some great food in Fort Myers. Some of the restaurants we tried, and recommend, are listed below.
Ella Mae’s Diner at the Luminary Hotel serves up a great Southern breakfast. Options include catfish and eggs, biscuits and gravy and corned beef hash.
Oxbow Bar and Grill is located downtown and has great views of the Caloosahatchee River. The menu serves up everyday favorites such as Caesar salad, chicken wings, burgers and bbq chicken. They also serve up classic twists on old dishes such as swordfish pastrami and Gulf Coast Cioppino, the latter of which I tried and highly recommend.
While Mason’s Famous Lobster Rolls may be a chain, you would never know. They serve up great lobster rolls, both Connecticut and New England style. We highly recommend adding on the meat from the lobster tail to get some more of that lobstery goodness on your sandwich. They also have items beyond lobster, including lobster mac and cheese, a shrimp roll, lobster bisque and New England clam chowder.
Go or No Go to Fort Myers
Fort Myers is a great destination for a family getaway or as a stop on a longer Florida road trip. The Luminary Hotel is a great place to stay giving you easy access to downtown.
We were provided with a complimentary stay at Luminary Hotel and a complimentary lunch at Oxbow Bar and Grill to facilitate this article. However, all opinions are our own.