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Guidebook

Fort Myers - Discover the city and the country | Florida4you

Cape Coral

Cape Coral - also called the "Venice" of the USA - is a city located in the southwest of Florida, crossed by numerous canals. Many plots not only have access to the canal but also direct access to the Gulf of Mexico or the Caloosahatchee River.

Cape Coral is a very young city. In 1957 the "Gulf American Land Corporation" was founded, which set out to transform the land north of the Caloosahatchee River, owned by the brothers Leonard and Jack Rosen, into a true "waterway wonderland". Fallow land and pastures were crossed with canals and roads. The first houses were built in 1958. Thanks to an active advertising campaign, the city grew rapidly and is now one of Florida's fastest-growing cities.

In 1970 Cape Coral was registered as a city and has today about 170.000 inhabitants. In winter, during the high season, about 20.000 more, when the so-called "Snowbirds" move to the south.

The Cape Coral Bridge built in 1964 and the Midpoint Bridge completed in 1997 connect Cape Coral with Fort Myers. 

Fort Myers

Fort Myers is a city in the southwest of the state of Florida and was founded in 1886. The city was named after a colonel from the time of the American Civil War. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford made the city famous when they chose the "City of Palms" as their winter residence.

Fort Myers follows the Caloosahatchee River, which connects the city with its neighboring Cape Coral. Down Town is the newly renovated historic town center with numerous restaurants, bars, and small shops. Museums invite you to discover the history of Southwest Florida. Large shopping malls invite you to go shopping.

Fort Myers has several offshore islands - including Estero Island with Fort Myers Beach - which make the stay particularly attractive. There are also numerous fishing spots and the largest number of golf courses in the USA.

Matlacha

Matlacha (pronounced "MAT-la-shay") is located on an island in the Gulf of Mexico, in a strait between the island of Pine Island and the mainland in the southwest of Florida, adjacent to the city of Cape Coral. The village, in which about 700 inhabitants live, is connected by several bridges and is located in the Matlacha Pass, a wild animal refuge. The "National Wildlife Refuge" comprises 23 small islands and has a size of 2 square kilometers.

The time seems to stand still in Matlacha...Often called "Little-Key West", the small fishing village is THE insider tip for all Florida travelers. Away from the hustle and bustle of tourists, the inhabitants and visitors seem to be somehow different - everyone seems to be relaxed and satisfied here. In Matlacha prevails "island time".

When you reach the entrance to the village, the cheerful and colorful little houses that are typical for Matlacha and as individual as their inhabitants light up. Galleries, handicrafts, and boutiques line the main street of the historic part of Matlacha. Restaurants, cafés, and bars invite you to linger.

And every evening, the residents and the visitors let the evening end with the most beautiful sunset in the world...

Pine Island

This 27 km long island is located in the Gulf of Mexico, in the west of Cape Coral, and is surrounded by the Pine Island Sound.

The island can be reached via the small village of Matlacha, which forms a bridge from the mainland to Pine Island.

Pine Island itself is a true island paradise: here life still seems to stand still and tourism has not overrun the island. Fishing is an important source of income for the inhabitants, as are the cultivation of tropical fruits and handicrafts. Sportfishing is also very important.

Naples

Situated south of Cape Coral and Fort Myers, Naples is known for its exclusive shops, hotels and holiday homes. Many people who have earned money and prefer the southwest of Florida have made Naples their hometown. Naples City has a population of approximately 22,000, with a further 365,000 people living in the area.

From a fishing village, the town developed from the 60s to a prosperous town. Not only the exclusivity but also the proximity to the Everglades makes Naples tourism as an important source of income. The Fishing pier, surrounded by beautiful beaches, is Naples' landmark.

Marco Island

Marco Island is the largest barrier island in southwest Florida. Due to the island situation, the population remains constant at about 16,500.

The Captain John Foley Horr House is registered in the National Register of Historic Places. Captain John Foley Horr (born 02/15/1843) was a resident and the owner of Horr's Island at the southern end of Marco Island and one of the best known federal officials in the state of Florida. Today the house is a ruin. The wide sandy beach Tigertail Beach is popular with tourists. Anglers appreciate the fishing area near the "Ten Thousand Islands".

Everglades City

The small town Everglades City, with a population of about 420 people, is called the entrance gate to the Ten Thousand Islands in the southwest of the Everglades.

The place is touristically shaped, but still has the charm of an old fishing village.

Anglers, boats and numerous airboat providers characterize the image of Everglades City.

Sarasota

Sarasota is known for its white, soft beaches, exclusive shops, and cultural diversity. Museums, art galleries, and art deco give the city a unique flair.

The region is also known as the "cultural coast of Florida".

The Ringling Circus Museum is definitely worth a visit, but also the culinary part of Sarasota should not be missed. Numerous restaurants offer fresh seafood.

St. Petersburg / Tampa

Because of its pleasant climate, St. Petersburg is known as the "Sunshine City". Its location in Tampa Bay on the Gulf of Mexico makes the city attractive for beach vacationers, anglers and boaters. The Dalí Museum is particularly noteworthy, with a large number of works by the surrealist artist.

Tampa is also located on Tampa Bay and is connected to St. Petersburg by bridges. The city or rather the historic part "Ybor City" is popular for its nightlife. At the beginning of the 20th century, Spanish and Cuban cigar factory workers lived here, who still shape the image of the quarter today.

Miami

Miami is a cosmopolitan city in the southeast of Florida, on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. The rapid growth gave is responsible for the name "Magic City".

Miami has a majority Latin American population, with Cubans accounting for the largest 34% of the population. A tourist attraction is the Cuban quarter "Little Havana", with its cafes, restaurants, and cigar shops.

The main attraction is still Miami Beach, located on the Barrier Islands off Miami, with South Beach and the Art Deco neighborhood known for its trendy nightclubs.  

Cape Coral Beach

Small beach in the south of Cape Coral (Yacht Club Area), situated on the Caloosahatchee River:

• no parking fees • very familiar with a playground • grills and picnic tables available • fishing possible from the pier • "Boat House" Tiki Bar • beautiful sunsets

Fort Myers Beach

Extensive beach on the island of Estero Island with adjacent bars and restaurants. Especially popular with young people:

• fishing pier • souvenir shops • numerous restaurants and bars with live music • water sports / Jet Ski • nightlife

Bowditch Point Park (in the North):

• grilling facilities • walks

• watch turtles

Ostego Bay Marine Science Center :

presentation of the local flora & fauna

 

Mound House:

archaeological exhibition

 

Sanibel and Captiva Island Beaches

Extensive sandy beaches for nature lovers who are looking for peace and quiet and like to go for a walk to collect shells:

bird variety • observe the nature • rich in shells • biking • fishing • snorkelling • watch Dolphins • hiking in the nature • golf • tennis • restaurants • art • cinema

Beaches:

Causeway Beaches (dogs allowed)Lighthouse Beach & Fishing Pier  Gulfside City Park BeachTarpon BeachBowman’s Beach

North Captiva Island

Beautiful sandy beaches on a car-free island that can be reached by ferry from Pine Island. Numerous holiday accommodations offer overnight stays. Despite several numbers of restaurants, the island is very close to nature:

no cars • experience the nature • collect shells • snorkeling • fishing • watch Manatess & Dolphins • bird variety • restaurants and bars • pool

Cayo Costa State Park

Natural park with beautiful white sandy beaches, with accommodations on the campsite. The island can be reached by boat ferry from Pine Island, Sanibel and Punta Gorda:

• no cars • collect shells • snorkeling • fishing • watch Dolphins & Manatees • bird variety • an experience of nature • camping • hiking trails • kayak rentals • turtle nests • alligators

Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park

Quiet and natural beach in Bonita Springs. Numerous plant and animal species live here and visitors can enjoy the ambiance of the park's natural surroundings:

• several gardens with butterflies and cacti • 1-mile hiking trail • picnic tables • experience nature • collect shells • turtles • bird variety • fishing • snorkeling • watch Dolphins

Clam Pass Public Beach

Popular beach in North Naples, accessible via a wooden walkway through the mangroves. The mangroves are already a beautiful nature experience before reaching the white sandy beach:

• bird variety • fishing • snorkeling • swimming • observe nature

Tigertail Beach

Wide white sandy beach with a lagoon on Marco Island. At high tide it can be reached from the lagoon by hiking through the water:

• observe nature • fishing • snorkeling • swimming • collect shells • beach walks • kayak rentals • playground

Siesta Beach

Known as the whitest and finest sandy beach in the world, located on Siesta Key near Sarasota:

• volleyball field • tennis courts • playground • picnic areas • restaurants and bars • snorkeling • beach walks

South Beach

Long and wide white sandy beach in front of the hotels of the city Miami Beach. The Art-decó quarter is the most popular part of the city. Miami Beach became famous through the television series "Miami Vice" and became thus an emerging city:

• water sports • beach volleyball and other different sport activities • playgrounds • public bike rental • beach walks • restaurants • bars • famous nightlife

Edison & Ford Winter Estate

The Edison and Ford Winter Estate consists a historic museum, with the inventions and achievements of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford, and a 21 hectare botanical garden at the adjacent locations of the Edison and Ford Winter Houses, right on the Caloosahatchee River.

Burrowing Owls

Cape Coral has, with over 1000 breeding pairs, the largest population of rabbit owls in the USA. They live in burrows and can be found throughout the city. The CCFW is a volunteer organization whose goal is to preserve the habitats of these protected wildlife species.

The Shell Factory & Nature Park

Here you will find the world's largest collection of rare shells and corals. The adjacent souvenir shop has a gigantic sales area. Enclosed is a small leisure park as well as a nature park with various animals, a Christmas shop, and dog place.

River District Farmer´s Market

The River District Farmer´s market is a market with many regional products. The market is located in the River District below the Caloosahatchee Bridge.

Skatium (Ice Skating)

Skating rink, mainly used for training purposes for clubs. Usually open to the public from Friday to Sunday (please call in advance or check on the website).

Six Miles Cypress Slough

The Six Miles Cypress Slough is a 14 sq km park with hiking trails through wetlands to observe wildlife, butterfly gardens and the flora of the area.

Manatee Park

The Manatee Park is a hot water refuge for the Manatees. They live in the wild and are best observed in late December, January and February when the golf temperature is below 68°F.

Fleamasters Fleamarket

Flea market with over 900 unique shops full of bargains - new and old, jewelry and handicrafts, as well as snack bars and fruit and vegetable stands on over 37,000 square meters.

Oktoberfest

Every year in October, the German-American Club offers German coziness, beer tent atmosphere, brass music, and dance, German dishes and fun for the little ones at the fair.

Gator Mikes Family Fun Park

Here you will find leisure activities for the whole family, with mini-golf, paint-ball, go-karts, teeing ground for baseball and arcade, in Cape Coral.

Sun Splash Waterpark

14 hectares of water slides, pools and fun in the largest water park in Southwest Florida, located in the heart of Cape Coral.

The Butterfly Estates

350 square meter butterfly greenhouse with numerous native butterfly species flying around free.

Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve

This preserve is a 1.5 million square meter nature reserve located in Cape Coral. The brackish water wetland offers a hiking trail, a visitor center, a veterans monument, and moreover a seasonal kayak rental.

Imaginarium Hands-On Museum & Aquarium

The IMAG History & Science Center offers fun for young and old to discover the wonders of science and history. At the same time in a large, open environment over 60 exhibits to touch and experiment are shown.

Mini-Golf

Fort Myers and Cape Coral offer several adventure mini-golf courses, i.a. the longest course in the USA, at Tropical Breeze Fun Park.

Other courses • Castle GolfJungle Golf Mini GolfSmugglers CoveAlico Family Golf

Fowler Firearm and Gun Range

Fully air-conditioned indoor shooting range with 6 extra-wide shooting ranges and a weapons sales counter. With very good supervision, and shooting instructors for the inexperienced. On presentation of a passport also for foreigners a possibility to shoot various short and long guns.

Edison Mall

The Edison Mall is an air-conditioned shopping center in Fort Myers and includes over 130 shops and department stores such as Macy´s, Dillard´s, JCPenney, and Sears.

The department stores have two floors, while all shops are at ground level.

And if you are hungry, just go to the food court.

Gulf Coast Town Center

The Gulf Coast Town Center in Fort Myers is a huge shopping area with over 100 shops, large department stores, a cinema, numerous restaurants, and various sports bars. The following shops are particularly noteworthy here: "Golf Galaxy" - for all golfers; the "Ron Jon Surf Shop" - for friends of water sports; "Dick´s Sporting Goods" - a large sports shop, and the "Bass Pro Shops" - for all outdoor and fishing specialists.

 

Miromar Outlets

You should include a complete shopping day for visiting the Miromar Outlets. Over 140 top designers offer their goods at unbeatable prices.

These include Polo Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Abercrombie & Fitch, and many other popular designers.

Covered passages protect from getting wet even on rainy days.

Sanibel Outlets

The Sanibel Outlets Mall in Fort Myers is a good conclusion after a beach day on Sanibel Island. It is located just before the bridge to Sanibel Island. The size, with 40 shops, is manageable.

A complex of colorful wooden houses with roofed verandas invites you to shop also even on rainy days.

Coconut Point Mall

The Coconut Point Mall in Estero is a picturesque outdoor shopping mall with over 140 stores including Dillard's, Target, Apple Store, Michael Kors, and Barnes & Noble.

Many of the restaurants are located on the numerous artificial lakes, and invite not only to eat but also to linger.

Sawgrass Mills

The Sawgrass Mills in Fort Lauderdale is the largest shopping mall in the world with 350 shops. Only 30 minutes away from Miami, you should plan a complete shopping day to have seen all the shops only rudimentarily.

In addition to shopping, you can also visit one of the many restaurants and finally relax in the IMAX cinema.

Black Friday

The Friday after the traditional Thanksgiving day is called Black Friday in the USA. Many Americans use this day after the fourth Thursday in November as a vacation day to start with their Christmas shopping.

One should set the alarm clock on this day, as some shops open already early in the morning or even at night.

SAVE THE DATE: 11/27/20

Everglades National Park

The Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. The park is a real treasure - a world heritage site, a biosphere reserve, and a wetland of international importance.

Everglades National Park protects an incomparable landscape where numerous rare and endangered species such as manatees, the American crocodile, and the elusive Florida Panther live.

There are many ways to explore this wetland on foot, by water or by car. For more information, visit the official website of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

 

Billie Swamp Safari

890 acres of untamed Everglades wilderness in the Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reserve.

The $50-day ticket includes entry to the reserve, an airboat tour, a swamp buggy tour, and the visit of the snakes and small animal show.

In addition to wildlife watching, the park offers a wealth of information about Everglades flora and fauna, as well as the original lives of the Indians.

 

Der Peace River

The 171 kilometre long Peace River flows into Port Charlotte and is famous for fossil finds, especially shark teeth and shark bones. This is because the river has low water levels most of the year and is therefore easily accessible.

Paddlers, fishermen, and nature lovers of all kinds appreciate the peace and unspoilt scenery. The river and its surroundings give a sense of a return to bygone eras. Camping fans can explore the area and dine around their campfires on numerous locations.

 

Florida Keys

The Florida Keys are the southernmost Florida islands, best known for the town of Key West, which is located in the very south of the islands.

The Florida Keys are divided into the regions Key West, Lower Keys, Marathon, Islamorada and Key Largo (from south to north).

Every region includes state parks and national parks and offers numerous opportunities to explore and enjoy the overwhelming beauty of the water and land. Snorkeling, diving and, fishing are particularly popular.

 

Kennedy Space Center

An interactive visitor complex serves as a source of information about US space travel.

In addition to a wealth of information, simulators provide exciting insights into NASA's backdrops.

Furthermore, the center is an active rocket launch site and on several selected dates visitors can follow the launch of a rocket in Cape Canaveral from the Visitor Complex.

 

Miami´s Attractions

Architectural District: Art Deco buildings characterize South Beach, with its numerous hotels, restaurants, shops, galleries, and extensive nightlife.

Historic Overtown: Formerly known as the "Broadway of the South", shaped by artists such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, and Josephine Baker. Soul food restaurants and boutiques with southern influences shape the image of this district.

Little Havanna: The center of Cuban culture and life, with numerous Cuban restaurants.

Wynwood Walls and Streetart: Wall paintings by artists from all over the world on old warehouse walls.

Downtown Miami & Brickel: Miami's financial center with an art scene, restaurants from all over the world and luxurious hotels.

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens: The winter residence of the industrialist James Deering, in the style of a northern Italian Renaissance villa, was built between 1914 and 1916. The building and its gardens are open to the public.

Frost Museum of Science: Miami's only planetarium, aquarium and science museum - from the ecosystems of South Florida to the wondrous human body and mind, visitors can expect a dazzling world of discoveries. Live shows, animals, interactive hands-on activities and state-of-the-art technology are the museum's attractions.

 

Walt Disney´s World Resort

A theme park that includes 2 water parks and 23 hotels:

  • Magic Kingdom: the fairytale park where Mickie and Minnie are at home
  • Epcot: the future and technology park
  • Animal Kingdom: an animal park which leads through all continents
  • Hollywood Studios: this film park leads through the world of Disney film productions
  • Disney's Typhoon Lagoon: one of the two water parks of the Disney Resort. The theme of the park is the "Disney legend" of a typhoon that hit a formerly untouched tropical paradise
  • Disney's Blizzard Beach: the second water park of the Disney Resort. The theme of this park is the "Disney legend" of a remaining ski area after a snowstorm and the snow melted afterwards

Universal Orlando Resort

A leisure park that includes 2 theme parks, 1 water park, and a shopping and restaurant area:

  • Universal Studios Florida: a theme park based on TV and movies
  • Universal's Islands of Adventure: the expansion of Universal Studios with 8 themes - including Harry Potter and King Kong
  • Universal's Volcano Bay: a water theme park in which the artificial volcano Krakatau - with various giant slides - forms the centre of the park
  • Universal CityWalk: the transit point to the theme park with various restaurants, bars, and shops

SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

A number of marine theme parks (besides Orlando also in San Diego and San Antonio):

  • SeaWorld Orlando: is a mix of animal and amusement park, with breeding programs for endangered species (according to the operator)
  • Bush Gardens: a 335-hectare theme park for African animals: a mix of a zoo, amusement park and stage shows. A must for all roller coaster fans!
  • Adventure Island: a 30-hectare water park, located directly opposite Bush Gardens

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

A resort for the whole family, consisting of 2 parks and 2 hotels:

  • LEGOLAND Florida Water Park: wave pool, water slides, and interactive water play structures - always combined with large and small Lego bricks
  • LEGOLAND Florida Park: a journey through 13 fascinating worlds - paired with rides, restaurants, and other attractions
  • LEGOLAND Florida Hotel & LEGOLAND Florida Beach Retreat: the resort's own hotel or rather bungalow complex with theme rooms and sufficient LEGO bricks

Boat trips

Southwest Florida means one thing: water, water, water!

If you don't take the adventure of going out on your own by boat to discover Florida's water world, you'll miss a lot!

Nowhere is it easier to take a boat than in southwest Florida. How convenient it is that in Florida no boating license is required... (Exception applies to all persons born in 1989 and later).

If you don't want to drive yourself, you can also get in touch with one of the great tour guides on-site.

For more information please contact us directly.

 

Fishing

The Gulf Coast of Florida is the dream spot for every enthusiastic angler. Whether in on the fresh and salt water canals, in the inner coastal area or on the high seas - the variety of fish species and the catch guarantee make fishing in the region a great pleasure with an addictive factor.

You can fish from bridges, jetties, piers, from the beach or from in- and offshore boats. The fishing license is available in various supermarkets, fishing shops or the easiest way is online at "Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission"

For the catch guarantee and the ultimate fishing experience we recommend a guided fishing tour with local guides. Our NUMBER 1 guide which we highly recommend is Tim Jones:

Matlacha Fishing Charters

 

Canoe and Kayak

Kayaking and canoeing stand for the intensity of the experience. On the one hand, there is the sporty aspect, on the other hand, the "back-to-the-roots" feeling.

Added to this is the immediate, direct fishing experience for anglers. Only a few paddle strokes away from the best hot spots, you can discover the fascination of kayak fishing for yourself or live it out further!

Together as a family, you have the possibility to dive into the silence of the mangrove forests and discover different bird species or watch raccoons robbing. It is also very likely to experience dolphins or manatees up close.

At our Fishermen's Paradise in Matlacha we offer 3 kayaks, 1 canoe and 2 SUP's. For anglers there are several professional fishing JACKSON kayaks available:

2 x Octopus 13.5ft, 2 x Cuda 12ft, 1 x Coosa HD 12ft

For more information please contact us directly.

 

Diving and Snorkeling

Scuba Quest is the name for the dive centers with various locations in South Florida, including Cape Coral. The diving schools offer also equipment.

To get more information please visit: www.scubaquest.com

Snorkeling is also uncomplicated and very popular. Therefore a trip to Key West is worthwhile, e.g. to the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park:

pennekamppark.com

Those who prefer to stay on the west coast can snorkel on the rocks near the shore on Venice Beach and - with a little luck - find shark teeth from the great white, tiger and megalodon sharks. A snorkel at the Point of Rocks, on Siesta Key, is also worthwhile. Depending on the season you can watch dolphins and manatees there.

Golfing

With 330 days of sunshine a year, Florida invites you (not only) to play golf. Many golf greats have found their home here because of the climate, the relaxed atmosphere and a large number of golf courses. There are several hundred golf courses in Southwest Florida, plus the fact that golf equipment can be purchased cheaply.

More information about the golf courses can be found here:

Golf clubs & Golf courses at and around Fort Myers

Tennis

Florida is the world's most popular tennis destination. And Florida is home to many of the world's most prestigious tennis academies and tennis resorts. But also those who do not want to afford an expensive tennis vacation can live out their tennis passion at various tennis courts during their vacation. Here are just a few tennis courts in and around Cape Coral and Fort Myers mentioned:

CAPE CORAL RACQUET CLUB

Southwest Tennis Courts in Cape Coral

LCCTA TENNIS CENTERS

Hiking

At first glance, Florida does not seem to be the typical holiday destination for hiking. But there is a quite long hiking trail with almost 2100 kilometers from North to South Florida. More information can be found at www.floridatrail.org

It is also possible to hike near the holiday resorts on the Gulf of Mexico. The Myakka River State Park offers about 60 kilometers of hiking trails, which lead to an original (and for many people) unknown Florida nature. It is located about 100 kilometers southwest of Orlando.

Hiking in Florida - Myakka River State Park

The Big Cypress National Preserve is located north of the Everglades. Hiking within the park can be done on designated trails or orienteering through unmarked areas. Hikers should be prepared for the conditions depending on the season. The dry season offers the most comfortable hiking conditions. The rainy season has its special challenges and hikers should be prepared to trot through water that in places reaches to their waist.

Hiking in Florida - Big Cypress National Preserve

All other national parks also offer hiking trails and - of course - hours of walking on Florida's beaches.

Riding

Horseback riding is also a popular pastime in Florida and due to the great weather conditions possible all year round. In the south of Florida there are two riding schools:

The Saddlewood Horse Club in Cape Coral which offers German lessons and the Americanhorsetrails (in the southwest of Fort Lauderdale) offer rides in different gaits - depending on the level of ability (reservation necessary).

Below we have listed some restaurants in the area of Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Matlacha. This is only a selection, which does not claim to be complete. Not always the best food is considered, but often the great atmosphere. Because tastes are, as known, very different...

It is important for us to propose a mixed selection with something for everyone.

By clicking on the restaurant, you will automatically be directed to the website of the supplier for more information:

 

Our recommendation

Among all the numerous restaurants, there is the one pleasure that is probably most likely to be remembered:

A BARBEQUE ON THE BEACH!

 

Thereby, the effort does not have to be big at all: pack a small grill, some pieces of meat and/or vegetables and a self-made salad. Or simply serve meat and vegetables on a salad leaf and eat out of your hand - that saves the tiresome packing of plates and cutlery.

BBQ is very popular with the Americans. But one has to pay attention if barbecuing is allowed at the respective beach sections...

Things to know

Climate

Cape Coral and Fort Myers are year-round destinations and you can expect a lot of sunshine for 12 months - that´s why Florida is also called the SunShine State. However, you can neither influence the temperatures nor the weather in the Sunshine State and everyone should decide for himself when it is the right time to travel to Florida.

Our recommendation:

If you plan to stay in Florida during the popular travel season (January - April), it is recommended to book your accommodation very early, because then many of the so-called "Snowbirds" in Florida will set up their winter quarters.

Travel / Airports

Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers is the ideal destination to reach our vacation rentals the quickest way in just 30-45 minutes.

Other airports in the area are:

Tampa International Airport (TPA), travel time about 2 hours

Miami International Airport (MIA), travel time about 2,5 hours

Orlando International Airport (MCO), travel time about 3 hours

Not all airports have non-stop connections to the United States. But if you accept (multiple) changes, you might be able to save a little money here. With one click on the respective airport and a little patience, you will find the right departure airport, the right airline and a harmonious flight connection.

Visa / Entry Requirements

Before you start your trip to the USA, you have to apply for the application for visa-free entry, the so-called ESTA.

This is done through the official website of the United States Government. The application costs about $14. Caution: there are some sites on the Internet that take an additional fee for the application. However, the application is simple and does not require any fee-based aid programs. The link for the website is: https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov

We recommend that you carry your ESTA application with you, as well as the destination address of your trip. If you are going on a round trip and are using several accommodations, simply enter the address of the first accommodation.

Time Shift

In the USA there are many different time zones. In most of Florida, Eastern Standard Time (EST) prevails.

Florida also distinguishes between summer and winter time. However, daylight saving time in Florida begins on the 2nd Sunday in March. However, winter time in Florida does not begin until the 1st Sunday in November.

Car Rental

Mobility is a big issue in the USA and even the shortest distances are simply covered by car - the "American Way of Life"!

Although there are bus and train lines, the timing is often different from what we know from home. And not everybody wants taxi rides or driving with Uber. Therefore,  we highly recommend to rent a car!

You can pick up your rental car very easily at various stations in the respective city or even better directly at the airport from the provider. We recommend that you book your car from your home country, as this is much cheaper and all insurance policies can be booked in addition (make sure that you take "all-inclusive protection"). They will certainly try to talk you into something on the spot - simply refuse if you are sure you have booked all-round protection.

You do not need an international driver's license in Florida, but you should be at least 21 years old to rent a car. However, some companies also rent to "young drivers". Please note: for drivers under 25 years of age, an additional fee or risk surcharge will be charged.

An indispensable part of the rental is a credit card (Attention: no pre-paid card!) because as security the car rental company blocks a deposit for the period of the rental as security in case of any problems (e.g. when returning the car).

Experience shows that booking a rental car via one of the numerous search engines is more worthwhile than booking directly with the car rental company.

Toll Fees

In addition to some toll roads, the crossing of certain bridges is subject to the payment of a toll.

For example, the Sanibel Causeway, which takes you from Fort Myers to Sanibel Island, as well as the Cape Coral Midpoint Memorial Bridge and the southern Cape Coral Bridge, which both lead from Fort Myers to Cape Coral.

For a fee, many car rental companies offer a badge for passing the toll stations. But many times, this does not pay off, so that by this way, one has clearly higher costs than by paying per passage right at the toll stations.

Our recommendation: at the customer service of Publix or Walmart, one gets the Sunpass for $ 5.00. Just stick the Sunpass for the holiday time on the front window of the car (do not forget to remove it before handing in the rented car!). With the number of the sticker, you can then register on the Sunpass page on the Internet and pay even a lower amount per crossing passing the toll stations (e.g. instead of $2.00 only $1.50).

Public Holidays

There are currently 10 public holidays in the USA. These days often have no religious background but remind of important historical events of the country or social topics.

• New Year´s Day (Neujahr) – January 1st

• Martin Luther King Day – third Monday in January

• Washington´s Birthday (President´s Day) – third Monday in February

• Memorial Day – last Monday in May

• Independence Day – July 4th

• Labor Day – first Monday in September

• Columbus Day – second Monday in October

• Veterans Day – November 11th

• Thanksgiving Day – fourth Thursday in November

• Christmas Day – December 25th

(If New Year's Day, Independence Day or Christmas Day falls on a Sunday, the following day is also a holiday. If one of these days falls on a Saturday, the day before becomes a holiday).

Authorities, schools, post offices, and other public institutions are closed on these days. In general, public holidays in the USA are not work-free; however, the opening hours of private shops, retail stores, and restaurants may vary greatly from normal hours. If you are planning lunch or dinner on one of these days, you should find out early on what the opening hours of your favorite restaurant are on that day.

Locals often use these days to visit one of the many parks or spend the day together on the water or on the beach.

 

Tip

Since service staff in Florida only receive a very low basic salary, tipping is the most important source of income and therefore an absolute MUST. The usual tip is 20%, if you pay only 15% you show dissatisfaction, at 10% it can happen that the friendliness of the waitress turns over and in the worst case you are expelled from the shop.

Attention: with every invoice, however, it is important to check whether the tip is already included on the invoice.

Medicl Care

First of all, the most important advice for foreign travelers in advance: It is absolutely necessary to take out a foreign travel health insurance in advance, which also covers the USA because medical treatment in the USA is very expensive.

In case of an absolute emergency, you can go to a hospital, otherwise, we recommend first visiting a doctor that is available in the form of walk-in clinics. For regular treatments, you pay directly on-site and submit the bill at home to your health insurance company. For larger treatments in the hospital, you should try that the clinic settles directly with the insurance. If this is not possible, you will receive invoices (usually several, e.g. for the ambulance, for the treating doctors and for the hospital itself), which you submit directly to the insurance company so that you do not have to advance large sums.

FORT MYERS

Hospital:

Lee Memorial Hospital

2776 Cleveland Avenue

Fort Myers, FL 33901

Phone: (239) 343-2000

Ambulant Care:

Lee Convenient Care - Page Field

4771 S. Cleveland Avenue

Fort Myers, FL 33907

Phone: (239) 343-9800

Pediatrician:

Downtown Fort Myers Pediatrics First Choice Kid Care

2232 Grand Avenue

Fort Myers, FL 33901

Phone: (239) 342-7935

Dentist:

Downtown Fort Myers Family Dental

2232 Grand Avenue

Fort Myers, FL 33901

Phone: (239) 344-2344

CAPE CORAL

Hospital:

Cape Coral Hospital

636 Del Prado Blvd S

Cape Coral, FL 33990

Phone: (239) 424-2000

 

Ambulant Care:

Convenient Care - Pine Island Road

1682 NE Pine Island Road

Cape Coral, FL 33909

Phone: (239) 424-1655

 

Pediatrician:

Cape Coral Pediatrics First Choice Kid Care

305 SW 2nd Terrace

Cape Coral, FL

Phone: (844) 342-7935

 

Dentist:

Del Prado Family Dental

316 Del Prado Blvd S, 4th Floor

Cape Coral, FL

Phone: (239) 226-2630

HELPFUL WEBSITES:

Lee Health

Family Health Centers

 

Since we ourselves have so far been in the lucky position not to have to visit any of the locations, the addresses given are not personal recommendations!

 

We generally recommend the conclusion of the important insurances (cancellation insurance in addition to a travel health insurance)!

 

Guest Recommendations

Many thanks to two of our long-time regular guests for the first two recommendations:

Airboat Tour with Captain Jack

  Boat Trips Sanibel & Captiva

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