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Fort Myers is a city in the southwestern U.S. - state Florida. It was established in 1886, named after a Colonel from the time of the American Civil War. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford made the city famous. They chose the "City of Palms' as their winter residence.
Fort Myers follows the Caloosahatchee River, which connects the cities Fort Myers and 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, such as the Edison Mall and Bell Tower, invite to purchase.
Fort Myers has a number of offshore islands - including Sanibel Island and the longest Estero Island (Fort Myers Beach). They have miles of white sandy beaches. The Gulf of Mexico offers ideal swimming and water conditions.
In the Southwest Region (Fort Myers and Naples), there are numerous fishing spots and the largest number of golf courses in the USA.
The climate is mild and warm. Statistically, it rains in the summer months to an average of 30%, even if only temporarily. The winter months are least rainy. The highest temperatures are in May to October, with up to 92°F. The coldest months are December to February with an average of 75°F. Snow is virtually unknown in the region.
Fort Myers Beach
A swinging wooden bridge, which was built in 1921 and 1926 destroyed by a hurricane, was the first link between the mainland and Estero Island. Previously, pirates ruled the island. End of the 20s was installed a used bridge from the east coast of Florida.
The way was paved, that people from the mainland were able to visit the island and Fort Myers Beach regularly. By and by attractive offers captured the imagination of visitors. Especially attractive are the miles of white sandy beaches and crystalline waters. Each year it attracts thousands of visitors from different countries, but also the residents of Fort Myers and Cape Coral.
Boat trips, water sports and fishing from the Fort Myers Beach Pier are some of the numerous offers and opportunities that the island has to offer.
The annual Sand Sculpture Contest, and the Shrimp Festival are just two of many events in Fort Myers Beach.
The Times Square at the northern tip of the island is the destination for shopping and restaurant visits. At night glittering the nightlife, with frequent live events.
Cape Coral is situated in south-west Florida. It offers so many waterways and channels that it has been called the United States’ Venice. Very many estates have not only direct access to those waterways but also to the Gulf of Mexico or the Calooshatchee River.
Cape Coral is still a very young city. The “Gulf American Land Corporation” was founded 1957. Right from its beginning the corporation worked to transform the land north of the Calooshatchee River, which belonged to the brothers Leonard and Jack Rosen, into a place full of waterways and channels. Rivers and channels were built right through the grassland. And in 1958 already the first houses were built. Due to almost aggressive advertising the city grew steadily. Today Cape Coral is one of the fastest growing cities in Florida.
Cape Coral earned its official city status in 1970. It has 170,000 inhabitants during wintertime. During the main season another 20,000 people move in.
Cape Coral Bridge (1964) and the rather new Midpoint Bridge (1997) connect Cape Coral with Fort Myers.
The small island (its 16 miles long) is situated right in the Gulf of Mexico, west of Cape Coral and is surrounded by the Pine Island Sound.
The island can be reached via the Pine Island Road, leading through the picturesque little village Matlacha, which forms a bridge between the mainland and Pine Island. Matlacha is a small fishermen’s village which has attracted numerous artists. There you’ll find little colorful houses, cozy fish restaurants and lots of arts and crafts.
Pine Island is a true paradise. Life seems to stand still and tourism hasn’t invaded the island yet. Fishing is still one of the main sources of income to the inhabitants, just like the cultivation of exotic fruit and all sorts of craftwork. Sport fishing is also a popular staple on the island.
And, as in most of the adjacent regions, gulf has been a major topic. On Pine Island you’ll find an 18-hole gulf-course, the Alden Pines. You’ll discover the true spirit of the island when you’ll visit it by car. Pine Island doesn’t have any traffic lights, traffic is regulated with mere politeness.
Pine Island is surrounded by mangrove woods and is thus perfect for canoeing. And you can take small water caps to visit the nearby islands Cabbage Key and Cayo Costa.
The Islands Sanibel and Captiva
Sanibel and Captiva Island belong to the Barrier Islands. They are connected to the mainland through a causeway, which is crossing the Pine Island Sound. The causeway is only 3 miles long.
Sanibel Island (12 miles long, 4 miles wide) and Captiva, which is situated slightly to the north of Sanibel, are renowned for their seemingly unending white beaches, covered with uncountable, beautiful shells. The palm trees and woods on the two islands are almost untouched. The buildings on the islands have been constructed with only one or two floors, so as to preserve the character of the islands. The rule is: No building shall be built higher than the highest palm tree. A nature preserve has also been created.
And of course there’s more to enjoy than just the breathtaking beaches. Life on the islands is slow and relaxed. You’ll find fantastic restaurants, theaters and small museums. If you prefer a stroll over the islands, the mere variety of animals and plants is almost unbelievable. Captiva is a bit more remote than Sanibel and offers you a maximum of peace and quiet. You’ll just find a tiny resort for visitors.
The Everglades, reaching from Lake Okeechobee up north to the outer southern tip of Florida, are tropical marshland.
They are basically a body of water 40 miles across the land. It is difficult to recognize them as such, since most of the area is overgrown by grass. Trees (Mahogany or Cypress Trees) only grow in the higher regionsThe Everglades are a natural resort for uncountable animals, best known of those are of course the alligators. But there are also raccoons, black bears, spiders and snakes, cougars, roughly 350 different kinds of birds like flamingos, pelicans, sea ravens and storks.
About half of the territory is protected as the Everglades National Park. More natural resorts surround the park itself.
You’ll find many roads through the park so you can have a look at the Everglades’ unique flora and fauna from the safety of the road. Best known is probably “Shark Valley” which is situated roughly 20 miles south of Miami.
The Everglades have been a part of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage. Unfortunately the region had to be included on the list of the endangered heritage between 1993 – 2007. Pollution, huge drainages and the effects of hurricane “Andrew” had done their part to endanger the whole area. Only about half of the water from Lake Okeechobee is reaching the Everglades. The other half is used for irrigation or it is redirected for urban land reclamation.
There have been plans put in action since the 1990s to reconstruct the original waterways. Florida’s government invested 1.75 billion dollars to buy the southern parts of Lake Okeechobee. The area was to be used as water reservoir to protect the Everglades National Park with its unique flora and fauna.
Matlacha ("MAT-la-shay") is located on a small island in the Gulf of Mexico between Pine Island and the mainland in the southwest of Florida, directly adjacent to Cape Coral. The small village with a population of almost 700, is connected by several bridges and situated in the area of the "National Wildlife Refuge" with its 23 small islands and a size of 2 square kilometer.
The time seems to stand still in Matlacha...often called "Small Key West", the cute fishing village is THE insider-tip for Florida-vacationers. Away from any kind of trouble or hustle everybody appears to be serene and content - "island time" by silently agreement!
Reaching the village entrance, the brightly colorful printed cottages catches someone’s eyes. They are as individual as the inhabitants. A lot of art galleries and small boutiques line the main road of the historic part of Matlacha. Many bars, restaurants and the most popular ice cream shop invite you to sample regional delicacies.
Matlacha is the best place to be if you are searching for a quiet little place where you can relax! Nearly each house is built on the waterfront. Matlacha is one of the best fishing grounds of the world. There are countless possibilities to discover the surrounding area: during a boat trip to the islands off the coast with deserted beaches or while paddling in your kayak exploring the amazing animals and plants. Fisherman get their money´s worth and the local fisherman might even teach you some new tricks.
Enjoy your vacation in one of the most popular destinations in Florida...
Who doesn’t like to go shopping when enjoying a vacation?
Downtown Fort Myers is in walking distance of our Villa Barra.
Downtown you’ll find cozy little stores, galleries, theaters, bars, cafés and restaurants. If the shopping has worn you out you can relax in the Centennial Park right next to the Calooshatchee River. If you should be there on Thursdays you’ll have a chance to visit the Fort Myers Farmers’ Market.
It’ll take you at least half a day to tour Edison Mall. It hosts more than 160 shops and department stores as Macy’s, Dillard’s, JCPenny and Sears. Of course there’s also an exclusive food court.
Furthermore there’s the Gulf Coast Town Center right next to the I75. It’s a huge area with uncountable shops, department stores and restaurants and sports bars. You’ll find speciality stores for almost any hobby, like Golf Galaxy, Ron Jon’s Surf Shop and Dick’s Sporting Goods, which offers anything from the world of outdoor sports, and the Bass Pro Shops for all things fishing.
There’s more, of course. For example the Miromar Outlets, where you can easily spend a whole day. More than 140 top designers art offering their goods for outlet prices. You can find Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Lacoste, Escada, DKNY, Guess, OshKosh, Levis, adidas, Nike shops etc.
And if you’re looking for a shopping opportunity after a day at the beach at Sanibel Island, why not visit the Tanger Outlets which are right on the way back to Villa Barra. It’s smaller than the Miromar Outlets, but offers a special atmosphere since all the shops are located in small, colorful wooden cabins with pretty little front porches. It’s not a mall, but everything is under small roofs on those porches so you can go shopping without getting wet even if it rains.