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For generations Fort Myers Beach has been a favorite vacation destination for visitors from the U.S., Canada and around the world. Our visitors return often because they love our beautiful beaches. They also love our lifestyle: laid-back, friendly and fun! Fort Myers Beach is an island destination that offers a Florida vacation experience that is increasingly hard to find. Our beaches are wide, beautiful and inviting; but our visitors also love our wide variety of owner-operated accommodations, shops and restaurants.
All our accommodations on the island are either on the beach or a short walk away. Would you enjoy a Margarita and grouper sandwich from an open-air restaurant on the water, or would you prefer a well-prepared steak or fresh local caught shrimp in an elegant restaurant?
Unwind and chill or be as active as you like. Explore by kayak our pristine back bay, home to the largest population of Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin in the world. Take in one of the many local sightseeing cruises and enjoy our spectacular Gulf of Mexico sunsets. See the beach from a parasail, hike though shaded mangrove trails, or bike along our beautiful beach.
Fishing? We've got that! Cast from our pier or along our back bay, hire a local fishing guide or take a private fishing boat. Explore a Native American civilization thousands of years old at our historical Mound House museum.
Get retail therapy in one of our many boutique shops and galleries. Gather treasures from the sea on our wide, sandy beach. There is something here for everyone.
Fort Myers Beach is fun, family and pet friendly!
Travel News: New TSA Rules Will Affect Carry-Ons, World-Record ‘Human Seashell’ in Florida, and See Grandma Moses in Vermont
From the long security lines at foreign airports to the bucolic mountains of Vermont to the beaches of Florida, we guarantee you’ll have a strong reaction to this week’s quirky, sometimes irritating, sometimes soothing travel news. NEW TSA RULES WILL AFFECT CARRY-ONS Starting June 30, foreign airports will be examining your carry-ons more carefully. Why? Powder. A new TSA regulation will ask that travelers headed to the U.S. from another country remove powdered substances from their bags to be carefully checked, as agents currently do with liquids, and be prepared to either discard the powder or check their bag. The reason, of course, is the fear of improvised explosive devices, which can sometimes involve powdery substances. To avoid extra scrutiny, anyone traveling with more than 12 ounces of powder, which could include makeup, baby-related products, food, and other substances, should put the powder in a checked bag. WORLD-RECORD HUMAN SEASHELL IN FLORIDA Everybody loves a good world record, and the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel got in on the action this past week by breaking the Guinness world record for the largest human image of a seashell. Just how large? More than 1,000 participants gathered on Fort Myers Beach on June 21, which, not coincidentally, was the first day of summer and National Seashell Day, to form what a Guinness adjudicator verified was the world’s largest-ever human seashell. SEE GRANDMA MOSES IN VERMONT The world’s largest collection of paintings by the 20th-century American folk artist Anna Mary Roberton, better known as “Grandma Moses,” is at the Bennington Museum (benningtonmuseum.org), in Bennington, VT. The artist, who started painting in her seventies, depicted colorful scenes of bustling small-town rural life in Vermont and nearby upstate New York, often from an elevated “bird’s-eye” view that plays sly games of perspective with the viewer. Gently rolling mountains can be seen in the background in many of her paintings, and visitors to the beautiful Bennington are recognize them instantly as the Green Mountains just outside of town. The museum’s newly installed Grandma Moses Gallery features a larger selection of the artist’s work than ever before, including such classic pictures as Thunderstorm, Deep Snow, and A Christmas Gift, all on loan from private collections. If you haven’t visited Bennington lately, summer 2018 might be the time.
Coolest Small Towns in America 2015
#1 GRAND MARAIS, MN: Paddler’s paradise on Lake Superior (pop.: 1,351). Get your canoe on! Here on the north shore of Lake Superior, the Boundary Waters Canoe Area is one of the world’s perfect paddling destinations, with miles of waterways to navigate. Whether you’re craving a romantic getaway or a real adventure, Grand Marais has a little something for everyone, including cozy B&Bs, a vibrant arts community, an annual Fisherman’s Picnic, Superior National Forest, and restaurants whose names say it all: Angry Trout Cafe, World’s Best Donuts, and Sven and Ole’s Pizza! #2 CHINCOTEAGUE, VA: A mid-Atlantic island escape (pop.: 2,941). This incredibly beautiful island town offers a mid-Atlantic summer getaway complete with perfect beaches with trails for cycling and walking, fresh seafood (and an annual seafood festival!), and its legendary wild ponies. But it’s also a year-round hot spot, especially during its holiday parades and house tours. The town is also a favorite spot for amazing boat tours and as an ideal locale for watching NASA rocket launches from the nearby Wallops Visitor Center. #3 HILLSBOROUGH, NC: Art and literature come alive in the mountains (pop.: 6,087). Talk about local spirit! Hillsborough amassed the most nominations this year to make our list of semifinalists. The town has serious literary cred, with several bestselling authors not only making their home here but also participating in local events and the annual production of “A Christmas Carol.” Enjoy the newly opened Riverwalk trail, Last Fridays Arts Walks, historical buildings dating back to the 18th century, and Occoneechee Mountain. Top-notch local restaurants offer live music, and you may even spot the mayor on a night out. (You’ll know him by his signature bowler hat!) #4 ALLEGAN, MI: Mayberry on the Kalamazoo River (pop.: 4,998). Locals sometimes refer to Allegan as a “modern-day Mayberry,” and we can understand why. Friendly eateries like The Grill House, Minnie Sophrona’s Restaurant, and Corky’s Drive-In, plus an old-timey movie theater and much more, make visitors feel at home here. And with the lovely Kalamazoo River winding its way through town and Allegan’s proximity to Lake Michigan, inland lakes, and ski resorts, all four seasons can be filled with outdoor fun and natural beauty. Whether you’re craving a thriving food and art scene, a buzzworthy county fair, or you just love fishing (including ice fishing!) or golf, Allegan is a warm and welcoming getaway. #5 WASHINGTON, NC: A Southeast sailing mecca (pop.: 9,744). Locals like to say that Washington has a small-town feel but big-town activities. The waterfront downtown is a major draw, with a renovated theater, wonderful shops, and a wine-tasting scene that surprises some visitors. The Pamlico River is popular with the sailing crowd 10 months of the year, and hunting and fishing are thriving activities in the area. Founded in 1776 and named for General George Washington years before he became our nation’s first president, this town wears its history proudly but lightly, sometimes referring to itself as “Little Washington.” #6 DELHI, NY: Galleries, antique shops, and a film festival in the Catskills (pop.: 3,087). The western Catskills in Upstate New York make for a wonderful setting, with rolling hills and the Delaware River (yes, its western branch reaches all the way up here) flowing through town. A thriving Main Street is ideal for browsing eclectic galleries, antique shops, and an artisan guild that features local talent. If you ever tire of exploring the hiking trails and enjoying water sports on the river, get ready for the Catskill Mountains Film Festival, the Delhi Covered Bridge Run, and the Taste of the Catskills food festival, among other crowd-pleasers in this popular town. #7 FORT MYERS BEACH, FL: This perfect island town is your gateway to the Everglades (pop.: 6,277). On Estero Island, on Florida’s southwestern coast, Fort Myers Beach should not be confused with the nearby city of Fort Myers. Here, everybody knows everybody, and you’re never more than a mile or so from the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Think of this as your entry point for exploring this remarkable stretch of coastline, including gorgeous islands, Everglades National Park, and creatively prepared local seafood at restaurants such as The Beached Whale and Matanzas on the Bay. #8 HURON, OH: Beaches, craft beer, and live music on Lake Erie (pop.: 7,149). Where the Huron River meets Lake Erie, one of the Midwest’s hidden gems is waiting for you. Go hiking at Sheldon Marsh State Nature Preserve, visit the Huron Pier for some great fishing, relax on Nickel Plate Beach, or hit the local golf course. You can enjoy this town just by taking a leisurely stroll along downtown’s waterfront streets and visiting the scenic boat basin for photo ops or one of the town’s many festivals. Craft beer and live music are both on tap downtown as well, and you can take your pick of lodgings, from a resort experience to a comfy B&B. #9 SNOHOMISH, WA: Quirky festivals in the Pumpkin Capital of the Pacific Northwest (pop.: 9,098). With idyllic rolling farmland, Puget Sound, and the Cascade Mountains as a backdrop, this town is a Pacific Northwest paradise just a short drive from Seattle. Activities here are as big as all outdoors, with hot-air ballooning, sky-diving, and unique local festivals such as “GroundFrog” Day and the Easter Parade, with its Sauerkraut Band. You can bike or walk the Centennial Trail, be one of the first to see the brand-new aquatic center, and enjoy downtown Snohomish’s excellent restaurants and justly famous antique shops. In fall, this is the Pumpkin Capital of the Northwest! #10 OLD ORCHARD BEACH, ME: An iconic boardwalk and perfect stretch of New England beach (pop.: 8,624). There’s more to this town than its namesake beach, though truth be told the seven-mile stretch of sand is awesome in its own right, with its legendary amusement park and nightlife that includes live bands and great seafood. But Old Orchard Beach is also a prime base for kayakers who want to explore area rivers, fishermen or day-trippers who crave a cruise out on the Atlantic, and those of us who are content to contemplate beautiful lighthouses (like nearby Cape Elizabeth) and watch the tide roll in and out.
5 Reader Tips to Help Beat the Heat
If you happen to live in or be visiting one of the dozens of states experiencing record–breaking heat this month, you might be asking yourself a few questions right about now. Will I ever stop sweating? Did I really just get a sunburn in under five minutes? How many Slurpees is too many? And, most importantly, what can I do to stay cool!? Our readers always have the best travel advice. Here are five of their favorite tips for beating the summer heat: •Now that airlines serve either snack boxes or no food at all, we often pack sandwiches. I also like to freeze a bunch of grapes and place them in a freezer bag. They’ll keep your lunch or dinner cold, and you’ll have a cool snack when they defrost. —Patricia Spillane, Warwick, R.I. •I always take a tube of natural–beeswax–based lip balm (SPF 15+) with me when I travel. It's almost like carrying a mini first–aid kit. It serves as a lip balm, of course, but also as an emergency sunscreen for my nose, a moisturizer around my eyes, and a blister preventer for my hands and feet. —Jay Hammond, Gilbert, Ariz. •As a diabetic who loves to travel, I've learned how to keep my insulin cool: Carry a reusable ice pack, which also chills sandwiches, snacks, and beverages while sightseeing. Refreeze the pack in the hotel's mini fridge overnight to use the next day. —Henry Heitmann, Fort Myers Beach, Fla. •If you're planning a vacation and want to bring cold drinks to the beach with you, use a six–pack cooler as a toiletry bag. When you get to your destination and unload your toiletries in the bathroom, the bag can be used as a cooler for the rest of the trip. —Kelly Sortino, San Francisco, Calif. •The last time we went to Disney World, we had two 24–count cases of bottled water delivered to the hotel's front desk before we arrived. Instead of shelling out $2 or $3 per bottle in the parks, we paid a total of $12 for both cases. You can order them from chain stores such as Staples. —Patricia Spillane, Warwick, R.I. Now it’s your turn! Do you have any cool new ways to beat the heat this summer vacation? MORE FROM BUDGET TRAVEL 10 Beach Products You Never Knew You Needed 16 Best Summer Attractions for Families 8 Perfect Summer Lake Towns
Meet America's Coolest Small Town 2015!
Congratulations to Grand Marais, MN, the winner of Budget Travel's 10th annual America's Coolest Small Town contest! The beautiful town on the north shore of Lake Superior amassed a whopping 30 percent of the vote in our contest, surpassing strong second-place finisher Chincoteague, VA, and 13 other semifinalists to attain the title of "Coolest" of 2015. We're psyched that this year's contest had a total of more than 100,000 votes, with loyal Budget Travel readers and fans of our nominated towns coming to the site each day since the contest opened on January 21 to click or tap for their favorite town. Since 2006, Budget Travel has celebrated the culture, history, natural beauty, and old fashioned charm of America's small towns like no other publication, with enthusiastic support from hundreds of thousands of readers around the world. Each fall, we open up the contest by soliciting online nominations for cool American towns with a population under 10,000 from our readers. Budget Travel defines "cool" as an energetic vibe that often combines community spirit with a vibrant arts scene, great food, natural beauty, and unique history. Grand Marais (population 1,351) fits the bill. It's the gateway to the Boundary Water Canoeing Area, one of the world's perfect paddling destinations, with miles of waterways to navigate. It's a perfect vacation town for a romantic getaway or an outdoors adventure, with a little something for everyone, including cozy B&Bs, a vibrant arts community, an annual Fisherman's Picnic, Lake Superior National Forest, and restaurants whose names I personally love and feel say a lot about the town's upbeat spirit: Angry Trout Café, Crooked Spoon, and Sven and Ole's pizza! Here, the top 10 towns in Budget Travel's America's Coolest Small Town 2015 contest. We'll celebrate them all in an upcoming feature and in the July/August issue of our bi-monthly tablet edition. See final contest standings here! Grand Marais, MN (Population: 1,351)Chincoteague, VA (Population: 2,941)Hillsborough, NC (Population: 6,087)Allegan, MI (Population: 4,998)Washington, NC Population: 9,744)Delhi, NY (Population: 3,087)Fort Myers Beach, FLHuron, OH (Population: 7,149)Snohomish, WA (Population: 9,098)Old Orchard Beach, ME (Population: 8,624)
More Places to go
Fort Myers, or Ft. Myers, is the county seat and commercial center of Lee County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was 62,298 and in 2019 was estimated at 87,103. Together with the larger and more residential Cape Coral, it anchors a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) which comprises Lee County and has a population of 770,577 in 2019. Fort Myers is a gateway to the Southwest Florida region and a major tourist destination within Florida. The winter estates of Thomas Edison ("Seminole Lodge") and Henry Ford ("The Mangoes") are major attractions. The city is named after Colonel Abraham Myers, the quartermaster general of the Confederate States Army.
Naples is a city and the county seat of Collier County, Florida, United States. As of the 2010 Census, the city's population was 19,539. Naples is a principal city of the Naples-Marco Island, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of about 322,000 as of 2015.
Port Charlotte is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Charlotte County, Florida, United States. The population was 54,392 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Punta Gorda, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area. Port Charlotte was named to Forbes' list of "25 Best Towns to Retire", listed among the ten best places in the United States to avoid for the year 2012 by U.S. News & World Report, and was ranked at #1 in CNNMoney.com's 2009 list of 25 Best Places to Retire.
Sarasota () is a city in Sarasota County on the southwestern coast of the U.S. state of Florida. The area is renowned for its cultural and environmental amenities, beaches, resorts, and the Sarasota School of Architecture. The city is located south of Tampa Bay area, north of Fort Myers and Punta Gorda. Its official limits include Sarasota Bay and several barrier islands between the bay and the Gulf of Mexico. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2019 Sarasota had a population of 58,285. In 1986 it became designated as a certified local government. Sarasota is a principal city of the Sarasota metropolitan area, and is the seat of Sarasota County. Long the winter headquarters of the Ringling Brothers Circus, many landmarks in Sarasota are named for the Ringlings. The Sarasota city limits contain several keys, including Lido Key, St. Armands Key, Otter Key, Casey Key, Coon Key, Bird Key, and portions of Siesta Key. Longboat Key is the largest key separating the bay from the gulf, but it was evenly divided by the new county line of 1921. The portion of the key that parallels the Sarasota city boundary that extends to that new county line along the bayfront of the mainland was removed from the city boundaries at the request of John Ringling in the mid-1920s, who sought to avoid city taxation of his planned developments at the southern tip of the key. Although they never were completed in the quickly faltering economy, those development concessions granted by the city never were reversed and the county has retained regulation of those lands. The city limits had expanded significantly with the real estate rush of the early twentieth century, reaching almost 70 square miles (180 km2). The wild speculation boom began to crash in 1926 and following that, the city limits began to contract, shrinking to less than a quarter of that area.