Fort Myers’ islands, beaches and neighborhoods in Southwest Florida continues to provide new experiences for returning guests and first-time visitors. Whether you’re looking for great year-round weather or shell-drenched beaches along the sparkling Gulf of Mexico, VisitFortMyers.com is your source for the most up-to-date vacation information.
ArtFest Fort Myers returns Feb. 4-6 along the waterfront featuring art by more than 200 artists, entertainment, delicious food, and fun children’s art activities. The show was named among the best in the country by Sunshine Artists Magazine. artfestfortmyers.com
The 23rd Annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival takes place on March 5. Free and a great event for all ages, this popular annual outdoor festival gives fans the opportunity to meet a diverse line-up of bestselling authors, participate in contests and activities, and discover the latest in books and technology. In addition to author appearances and autograph sessions, there will be food truck vendors, storytelling programs, arts and crafts, youth writing contests, and a free book for every child and teenager. ReadFest.org
Mark your calendars for Island Hopper 2022! Returning for its eighth year, this 10-day music festival features performances by some of the country’s greatest singer-songwriters. The festival takes place in three areas, with the first weekend kicking off on Captiva Island, Sept. 16-18, then moving to downtown Fort Myers, Sept. 19- 22, and ending with a weekend on Fort Myers Beach, Sept. 23-25. Most shows are free except for a few ticketed experiences (headliner shows). islandhopperfest.com
New Dining and Brewery Openings
Bonita Springs has two new breweries. Hopsized Brewing Co. (hopsizedbrewing.com) opened in the new Bernwood Trade Center with a focus on sours and New England IPAs. Ceremony Brewing (ceremonybrewing.com) celebrated its grand opening in downtown Bonita Springs with 18 taps and a bottle shop selling hard-to-find brews.
The owners of the Tacos & Tequila Cantina, which has three locations in the region, have opened Aldos Italian Table & Bar in University Village adjacent to Florida Gulf Coast University in Estero. The focal point of the 4,500-square-foot restaurant is the imported Italian pizza oven, which can bake a 12-inch pie in 90 seconds. https://universityvillagefl.com/aldos-italian-table-and-bar.html
R.A.D. Winery & Cidery is open at Miromar Outlets in Estero. R.A.D. (short for Really. Awesome. Drinks.) carries its own line of wines and ciders on tap, as well as a selection of wines from Gravity Winery and Red Top Winery in Michigan. https://miromaroutlets.com/store-directory/gravity-wine.html
Recently opened, Topgolf Fort Myers features 70 climate-controlled hitting bays for year-round comfort with HDTVs in every bay and throughout the sports bar and restaurant. Visitors may use complimentary clubs or bring their own as they take aim at giant outfield targets. https://topgolf.com/us/fort-myers
Free guided beach walks at San Carlos Bay Bunche Beach take place at 9 a.m. Wednesdays through April 27. Visitors of all ages may enjoy this volunteer-led program and learn the basics of different beach ecosystems, types of shells and more. Free tour with paid parking. leegov.com/parks/beaches/bunche
Visitors are invited to a free tour of the Manatee Park butterfly garden and habitats
at 9 a.m. Sundays through March 27. Visitors will enjoy walking the ADA accessible paths through the restored native plant habitats and butterfly gardens. A volunteer naturalist will lead the tour. Manatee Park is a non-captive refuge for the threatened Florida manatee. Optimum viewing is now through March. Free tour with paid parking. leegov.com/parks/parks/manateepark