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Days Out Around Fort Myers (Days Out in Florida) (Volume 4) Paperback – April 28, 2013
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From the Inside Flap
Welcome to The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel
Located on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River, Fort Myers is the historic seat of Lee County, an area known for its white sand beaches, barrier islands, golf courses, diverse fishing, shell collecting, subtropical gardens, historic attractions and year-round sunshine. No wonder it was included by Trip Advisor on its Top 10 List of Travelers' Choice® Destinations on the Rise 2012 and continues to be one of Florida's top tourist destinations.
Developing around the three Cs of cattle, citrus and cane, downtown Fort Myers was built in the early 1900s. Much of the architecture is in fine Beaux-Arts, Neo-Classical and Art Deco style, thanks to two local business rivals who tried to outdo each other in a well-documented struggle for power in the developing city. The restored architecture, public artworks, haunted happenings and entertaining history of the founding families of Fort Myers can be enjoyed by visitors and residents alike on historian-led True Tours of the city. Many of the properties in downtown Fort Myers are National Historic Landmarks, yet they continue to operate as independent businesses, shops, bars and restaurants.
Early visitors to Fort Myers included inventor Thomas Edison, who was attracted by the mild winters and natural beauty of the area. The subtropical climate proved perfect for growing a banyan tree (presented to Edison by Harvey Firestone), goldenrod and other exotic plants in Edison's quest to produce cheap commercial rubber. His longtime friend and neighbor, Henry Ford, also wintered in the Fort Myers area along with the Firestones and the Burroughs families.
Nowhere captures the essence of early 20th century life for these well-heeled families better than the beautiful Burroughs Home and Gardenswhich is open daily for guided tours. The better known Edison and Ford Winter Estates includes a museum, botanical gardens and two historic homes, all best toured in the company of a knowledgeable guide. The newly restored research laboratory appears as it would have in Edison's time, along with a collection of early Ford motor cars. These wealthy families left a wonderful legacy that visitors to the Fort Myers area can still enjoy today. In fact, it was Thomas and Mina Edison who gifted the first avenue of royal palms along McGregor Boulevard, a tradition that has been maintained by the city ever since, leading to Fort Myers being nicknamed "City of Palms".
The city of Fort Myers takes its name from the historic fort that was built to protect 19th century settlers from the native Seminole Indians. It saw some action during the Civil War but was later abandoned. However, you can find a model of the fort and many more fascinating exhibits, displays and old photographs at the excellent Southwest Florida Museum of History in the old railroad depot.
Early visitors to Lee County included followers of Dr. Cyrus Teed, who established a religious community at Estero in 1893. The tranquilKoreshan State Historic Site has many original turn-of-the-century buildings and exotic trees gracing the banks of the Estero River.
The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel boast a beautiful coastline with barrier islands and inland waterways that are a joy for boating and fishing. Fort Myers Beach has miles of firm sand that is perfect for building sandcastles, and that's official. The beach hosts the American Sand Sculpting Championships each year, along with other annual events. The shallow Gulf waters are perfect for swimming, parasailing, jet skiing or walking along the water's edge and the barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva have their own appeal. Sanibel is frequently listed as one of the Top 10 Beaches in the USA. Shells wash up ankle-deep along the shoreline, but to see some really spectacular specimens you should visit the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum for a truly breathtaking display.
Nearly two-thirds of Sanibel Island is a designated wildlife habitat, including the J.N."Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Visitors can explore the mangroves and waterways along Wildlife Drive by tram, car, bicycle, kayak or on foot. Other places to discover Florida's unique wildlife include the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve with its 1.2 mile boardwalk and viewing platforms; the excellent Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and the family-friendly Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium. Alligators, otters, turtles, bobcats, wild boar, pelicans, ospreys, egrets and herons are just some of the local inhabitants that you will see on typical days out around Fort Myers.
Lakes Regional Park is the ideal place to cool off on a hot summer's day with two free splash parks, boats and kayaks for hire, and 2 ½ miles of winding paths which can be explored on foot or bicycle. Another popular attraction for families is the Imaginarium which mixes scientific hands-on activities with educational wildlife exhibits. You will find you're never too old to stroke a stingray, don special glasses in the 3D theater, try out the Hurricane Experience or apply your mind to over 60 mind-boggling challenges! From dolphin watching and sport fishing to shelling and wildlife spotting, Lee County is packed with affordable activities for all ages.
We hope you enjoy your visit to the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, but be warned. Like many of the 2½ million visitors who flock to this beautiful corner of Florida every year, you might just decide you never want to leave!
NANCY HAMILTON, APR
Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau
From the Back Cover
From beautiful beaches to historic attractions Days Out Around Fort Myers offers a medley of things to do for both visitors and residents of Fort Myers to enjoy. Packed with informative descriptions, photographs, directions and useful tips, this book will enhance any visit to this corner of southwest Florida.
This handy guide book is the essential companion for walkers, cyclists, kayakers and nature lovers, covering in detail a variety of local attractions. History lovers will find museums. historic homes and an unrivalled collection of early 20th century architecture, each with its own fascinating story to tell. Families will discover that learning can be fun at the Imaginarium and the Planetarium, and those on a budget will find plenty of free fun days out in the area. Beach lovers can spend happy days enjoying watersports, splash parks, fishing charters and one of the best shell museums in the USA.
Finally, don't miss out on the state parks, boardwalks, airboat safaris and nature reserves where otters, alligators, turtles and over 220 species of birds will make your days out around Fort Myers a memorable treat.
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Top Customer Reviews
This book is divided into chapters, one on each site. It begins with the Burroughs Home and Gardens on the Caloosahatchee River, and ends with the Billie Swamp Safari. For each site, you are given the location, directions on how to get there, what to expect when you visit, and if there are any activities geared toward children and young people. So you can plan your day accordingly, you are also told the admission fees, the tour times if any are offered, nearby places to eat, and other attractions that are close by.