Fort Myers / Sanibel in a nutshell
The Florida of days long past, with unspoiled white sand beaches, exotic wildlife and
lush subtropical foliage, still can be found
on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel in southwest Florida.
Fort Myers - the "City of Palms
The "City of Palms," Fort Myers, with its charming downtown historic river district and expanding hub
of urban activity that extends to shopping malls, restaurants and nightclubs.
Inventor Thomas Edison and his friend, automobile manufacturer Henry Ford, decided early on to make
their winter homes in Fort Myers.
Today visitors daily tour their neighboring estates with Edison's botanical gardens, laboratory and museum.
For 15 miles, Fort Myers' McGregor Boulevard is lined on both sides with statuesque royal palm trees,
the first 200 of which were imported from Cuba and planted by Thomas Edison.
Biking or driving down McGregor Boulevard will soon discover how the town came to be known as the 'City of Palms.'
Originally a cattle trail, the scenic boulevard is now lined by nearly 1,800 royal palms, some planted by the city’s famed winter resident Thomas Edison. Edison’s mark can be seen elsewhere in the picturesque city.
Edison came to Fort Myers because he thought the warm weather would improve his health.
He must have been correct, for he lived to the age of 84.
During Edison's 46 winters in Fort Myers, he and his wife Mina hosted well-known house guests
like industrialist Harvey Firestone, naturalist John Burroughs, President-elect Herbert Hoover,
the Philadelphia A's baseball team, and cereal king John Harvey Kellogg.
Each February, residents celebrate the birthday of the city's most famous resident in the Festival of Light,
three weeks of events that culminate in a nighttime parade through the center of town.
Henry Ford's home, "Mangoes," opened to the public in February 1990 after extensive renovation
to replicate the way it looked when Ford and his wife Clara lived there.
Ford bought the quaint house in 1916 to spend the winter months visiting Edison.
The two properties are separated by a fence the two families named "The Friendship Gate."
Other in-town attractions include the Southwest Florida Historical Museum, river cruises from
the downtown yacht basin and the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium.
Visitors also like to drive the short distance to the Shell Factory in North Fort Myers and Eden Vineyards,
the country’s southernmost bonded winery, to the east.
For the sports minded, public golf courses and tennis courts make southwest Florida some of
the best playing turf in the state.
Also east of downtown Fort Myers, the Lehigh Acres residential community surrounds three quality
golf courses, 16 well-stocked freshwater fishing lakes and miles of canals.
To the west, Cape Coral, literally surrounded by water, boasts more miles of canals than Venice, Italy.
Many of the Cape's deepwater canals lead to the Gulf of Mexico.
This fast-growing community boasts many marinas, a first-rate water park, challenging championship golf
courses, tennis courts and freshwater fishing.