When one of the first forts was first built along the Caloosahatchee River to guard against attacks from the Indians, early residents would never have guessed that the lonely outpost will become a modern city that is both the seat and most important commercial centre for the Lee County. Fort Myers Florida, or The City of Palms, as it is also known, is now also a major tourist attraction.
When in this city, a visit to the National Wildlife Refuge is simply a must. The park was named after the famous J. N. Ding Darling, a respected cartoonist and conservationist. The 6000 acre park contains some of the wildest wetlands in the state. Among the many species of wildlife living there, it also boast more than 250 bird species. The park is world famous for its enormous migratory bird population.
The City of Palms does not neglect visitors interested in history, art and the theatre. Since 1908 the Florida Repertory Theatre has been delighting audiences. Originally a Vaudeville house, this theatre boasts Thomas Edison and Henry Ford as regular early patrons. It now offers its patrons modern productions ranging from the comedic to the dramatic. It has a well earned reputation as one of then top repertory theatres in the United States.
The Edison and Ford Winter Estate is arguably the most popular tourist attraction in the City of Palms. This large estate contained the winter homes of Henri Ford and Thomas Edison. Today, visitors can marvel at the many artefacts and inventions displayed in the Estate Museum. A visit to the Edison Botanical Research Laboratory will reveal that Edison had many interests other than electricity.
Those who simply want to relax and enjoy the spectacular natural surroundings must make a point of visiting Sanibel Island. The beaches are truly magnificent and is famous for being one of the very best places in the world to hunt for shells. The water is refreshing and clear and the weather is magnificent all year round. Several tour operators offer trips to this beautiful barrier island.
Anglers simply love the City of Palms. Many operators allow fishermen to hire smaller boats but there are also charter companies that offer deep sea expeditions to hunt for Sea Trout, Blue Fish and Spanish Mackerel. Local fishermen land excellent catches from the pier at the Sanibel Lighthouse. Fishing gear is not a problem. It is for hire at many charter companies.
While the City of Palms offer visitors a staggering array of activities, sights and tours, it also caters for those that want to shop and dine. There are numerous highly rated restaurants. Accommodation options range from the ultimate five star luxury hotels to simple rustic cabins. There is something to suit every budget. The night life of the city is particularly lively and varied, ranging from top class jazz clubs to state of the art discos.
When planning a visit to this city it is strongly recommended to do some homework first. There is so much to do and to see that first time visitors often find it difficult to decide on how to spend their time. There are several excellent websites that contain information, reviews and recommendations from fellow travellers. Many sites also offer the opportunity to make advance online bookings.