Fort Myers Beach Review – A great spot to relax, listen to the waves, and put your toes in the water
Written by : Alex Richwagen July 2014
Fort Myers Beach is located on the west coast of Florida, about two hours south of Tampa, FL towards the bottom corner of the state. Ft. Myers Beach is made for a relaxing place for everyone by providing a “kick back and take your shoes off” environment. The water itself is very, very blue to the point you can just about see your toes below the water surface. The sand is right there to match as the soft, clean, and white sand is right alongside it to match to help drift away any issues lingering from work or life. Fort Myers Beach is one of the most comforting beaches you will ever find. Regardless if you are there to just chill or play some water games at the beach, it's got it all. Just go ahead and put your toes in water, grab a beach chair, and take an afternoon snooze.
Beyond just the beach, Fort Myers is known nationally for its contribution to Major League Baseball’s Spring Training. One of the best parts about Spring Training Baseball is most of the games start at 1 p.m. and no one generally cares who wins or loses serving as a warm-up to the regular season. It’s just great to go the stadium, see some baseball action, and even take a mid-day nap in the sun with 70 degree weather. Fort Myers serves as home to two major league baseball teams, the Boston Red Sox and the Minnesota Twins. Spring Training games generally start around the end of February and last until the end of March annually.
The Red Sox stadium, Jet Blue Park, is located just east of I-75 at Daniels Pkwy, whereas the Minnesota Twins stadium, Hammonds Stadium, is also location of I-75 on Daniels Pkwy, but make sure to head west. Looking for even more sites to watch a spring training game in March? The Tampa Bay Rays and the Baltimore Orioles aren’t too far away with short drives to Sarasota and Port Charlotte. Even with the national recognition for baseball, Ft. Myer’s Beach isn’t anything to disregard. As I stated earlier, the calm water and beautiful sand are enough to attract all beach goers.
How about the food in Ft Myers Beach? Fort Myers Beach has some great spots for hanging close to the beach, grabbing a few cocktails, and listening to live music. You just have to know where to go find it!
· Smokin Oyster Brewery – Also pronounced by the locals as S.O.B. in case you heard another name. Now, here is a spot with live entertainment that won’t disappoint providing a good time mixed with cold drinks, fresh seafood, and plenty of music. On the appetizer menu, they have a nice variety of shrimp (try the Caribbean Shrimp), oysters (you can’t go wrong with a dozen raw), or just the Island Bread (accompanied by bleu cheese, tomatoes, scallions, and mozzarella). On the dinner menu is more of the good stuff loaded up like fresh grouper, lightly golden-fried oysters, or broiled scallops in butter. Don’t worry, there’s chicken, steak, and plenty of burgers for those non-seafood lovers. As far as the entertainment, the Smokin Oyster is never short of it. They feature live music daily from 6-10 p.m., and sometimes later on the weekends (just call ahead at 239-463-3474). For the full menu, click here.
· Flipper’s on the Bay – This is probably one of the best “food” spots within Fort Myers Beach, especially if you are craving fresh seafood near water. Let me provide a few suggestions just to give you an idea of the great food. For the appetizer, I would grab the Campechana that is a Spanish style shrimp cocktail, meaning it’s got a good kick loaded with shrimp, lump crab meat, cilantro, and jalapeno (there’s the kick). It has a peppery taste that finishes like a spicy Bloody Mary, yummy. The others you definitely cannot go wrong with are the calamari, tuna ceviche, or the lobster mac ’n’ cheese (and yes they have a dinner portion too if it’s not enough). The dinner menu has some very obvious things like pan seared Sea Scallops and Shrimp Scampi, but there’s a few other dishes I’d rather guide you towards grabbing them. For the freshest fish, try the Bohemian Grouper topped with a citrus mango relish or the Gulf Red Snapper topped with a fire roasted chipotle sauce. Lastly, the Taste of the Bay has all the shell fish you’ll crave tossed in fettuccini over a basil pesto sauce. Trust me, don’t pass that one up. To finish off the perfect meal, go with the House Made Crème Brulee for a touch of sweetness. You won’t regret it. Check the menu for yourself for dinner.
· Heavenly Biscuit – Recently I got a request to review at least one breakfast place for those early risers to throw in some variety to the column. Well….Here you go! The Heavenly Biscuit is one of those places that doesn’t offer to cook 100 things and they all are pretty good. They know exactly what they do right and capitalize on it, like making delicious biscuits. Make sure to grab a cinnamon and pecan bun while you are there, the cinnamon taste is sweet, slight bit of spice, and has the gooey frosting you are looking for to make a perfect cinnamon roll. Everything is made in house, fresh, and to order. The “special” consists of a biscuit, egg, bacon, cheese, and tomato and is just simply delightful. It just may be the best breakfast in Fort Myers Beach. A few tips, remember to get there before 8 a.m. (otherwise the line is out the door) and always bring cash as they do not accept credit cards. Stop in and grab your Heavenly Biscuit!
· Nemo’s on the Beach – I bring up this beach bar mainly because of the huge convenience factor once you arrive to Fort Myers Beach over the last bridge. The spot is located at 1154 Estero Blvd, which is just to the left of exit from the bridge and is literally right on the beach. The bartenders are super friendly and they have a very generous happy hour with drinks and food. Most nights they have a live band most nights consisting of some laid back music while the ocean waves crash in the background. To see the full menu, click here…
Lastly, let’s review where to stay, the categories of hotels and what to look for to each unique set of needs per person visiting Fort Myers Beach.
Where to stay –
- Family –
- Singles or without kids –
- Luxury –
- On a Budget
After a few days in Fort Myers Beach, you may be looking to venture out to find other destinations. You are in luck! Sanibel Island isn’t not too far away and probably is the same distance from Fort Myers as Fort Myers Beach is to reach the sand. Sanibel Island is the next door neighbor of Fort Myers Beach and has lots of locally run mom ‘n’ pop restaurants and shops once you arrive. The beach itself has lots of shells, maybe more than most beaches that I have visited, but the water is still crystal clear blue. The island itself is great to explore new places to eat, find a new getaway, and spend a weekend there. I would say that it’s especially great for a family weekend near a resort because of the friendly atmosphere and lack of partying / Spring Break. Sanibel Island is literally just the next island over, has the same pretty blue water, same water temperature. Go check it out!
Another thing you could do with your family or even a group of friends is to take a boat over to Key West for the day or even a few days, which is located at the southern tip of Florida. Check out the Key West Express for this service. If you happen to be in Fort Myers for an extended stay (let’s say over 4-5 days) and need a few options for variety, check out this great option to get the southern tips of Florida in Key West. There’s a jet boat called the Key West Express, and looks like a mini cruise ship (similar to a small casino boat), cruises at about 50-60 mph, and lands you in Key West in about 1-5-2.0 hours from Ft. Myers one way. Key West is nationally known for its fantastic fishing, laid back way of life, and beautiful climate.
There are several benefits to taking the cruise ship instead of driving to Key West in a car. The first of which is the fact there’s no driving, just relaxing on an express cruise ship that’s a much better concept to letting someone else do the work of getting you there. The next benefit to point out is the fact that while on the Jet Boat, they have bars setup to grab a few cocktails and relax too. The third benefit is the worst part about going on vacation or a weekend getaway is the drive back. The Jet Boat makes evening return trips back to Ft. Myers around 6 p.m., meaning you can leave the long drive back up to someone else too. The fourth and last reason is that it’s quite affordable to get back and forth from Ft. Myers to Key West for a round trip of about $150.
Regardless of what you decide to do while there, Fort Myers Beach is a wonderful family oriented beach destination. I gave some other options besides just Fort Myers Beach, but I could take a week there anytime to wash away the worries of work and life. If you would like to add to the article or feel like I missed your favorite spot, please feel free to leave it in the comments section so others can see too. I’m always willing to learn a new spot or ideas when it comes to Fort Myers Beach, FL.