Ongoing efforts to revitalize the area have not stopped, and there is still much to be done
Hurricane Ian hit Fort Myers, Florida, a year ago, and while it was very popular Destination Beachfront homes and attractions have taken a devastating hit, and with determination and resilience, residents and business owners have worked hard to restore the idyllic setting to its glory. We had the opportunity to visit Beach City This summer, even with ongoing work to reopen the main strip of property hardest hit by the storm, there were so many fun things to do in and around Fort Myers that we were frankly surprised we didn’t miss (much) the long days in the sand And the sun.
Beaches are open, as are restaurants away from the main strip (such as in Bonita Springs and surrounding areas) and family attractions such as animal sanctuaries, amusement parks, and science centers. The water is clear, and there’s nothing quite like the ocean in Southwest Florida. If you’re looking to support a hardworking community while enjoying a relaxing family adventure, Fort Myers is the place for you.
I was lucky enough to spend a few days in the area, and even with ongoing efforts to revitalize the area, there are plenty of fun things to do in Fort Myers, Florida, with kids.
Discover Bonita Springs
This idyllic Florida town is located just four miles from the beach, and the downtown area is filled with unique restaurants and shops. You can ride your bike along the main strip and enjoy the sights, perfect for families.
must Gardens of WondersIt is a botanical garden and a refuge for more than 300 rescued and rehabilitated birds and reptiles. It is located in the heart of Bonita Springs and is the perfect place for young children. Enjoy the parrots and peacocks, talk to a parrot, and check out the conservatory that looks like it belongs in the garden of a Victorian mansion.
After your time there, move on Survey Café. One of our favorite meals was at this cozy French café. Located in a former farmhouse reminiscent of old Florida, we admired the courtyard shaded by oak trees and Spanish moss. A family owned establishment, there is a crepe option for breakfast, lunch or dinner, and the eggs Benedict were perfect. We wanted to come back for lunch to try the smoked salmon, Reuben sandwich, and veggie burger wrap, but ran out of time. Next time we visit the area, Survey Cafe will be at the top of our list.
Another fun place to eat is Waffle monkey. If you plan to eat here on the weekend, be prepared to wait or get there early! The line at this modern breakfast restaurant was out the door but worth the wait. No matter how you want to serve your waffles, there’s likely a choice. Think classic pancakes served with syrup and powdered sugar, pancakes topped with eggs and bacon, pancakes loaded with banana, coconut and honey, pancakes whipped with Nutella and peanut butter, and so much more. Freshly roasted coffee will refresh you after one of these delicious blends.
One restaurant we were happy to see open is the famous restaurant Coconut Jack Waterfront Grill. Located just a couple of blocks from the beach, this legendary place is known for its menu featuring local seafood. We started with their famous coconut shrimp and grilled bacon, which my son loved. The clam chowder was delicious, and although we didn’t try the grouper bites, we had serious food envy when we saw an order come out. Don’t forget to check out the fun cocktail options.
The experience is one of the best aspects of this place. It’s on the water, the wait staff is excellent, and the atmosphere is relaxed and fun. They also offer free valet parking, as parking is tight. Don’t miss this place while vacationing here.
Look for hands-on entertainment
We loved hanging out Popstroke For the afternoon. This open concept restaurant has two 18-hole golf courses designed by Tiger Woods. Fun for kids and adults alike, there’s not only a playground, but also a playground, ice cream counter, table tennis, and cornhole. This location is a large patio with plenty of seating overlooking the golf area. The menu offers a variety of options of everything from great hamburgers to baby back ribs, giant pretzels, quinoa salads, a fun variety of kids meals like macaroni and cheese, sliders, corn dogs, and of course the always popular platters. Chicken thighs.
A Southwest Florida staple for over 80 years, Shell factory It should be at the top of your to-do list. Along with the world-famous gift shop that sells the largest selection of (you guessed it) seashells in the world, kids will love the Fun Park, which features ziplines, bumper boats, a climbing pole, mini golf, and much more.
They also have fun seasonal events, and the restaurant offers plenty of snacks for the family (drinks for adults, too!). You’ll also find a newly renovated playroom and Christmas shop open year-round, and the Nature Garden is home to more than 400 animals, a dinosaur park and an outdoor playground.
One of the fun things to do in Fort Myers with kids is to spend a day at IMAG Center for History and Science. With 60 shows, you’ll need to have a family vote on what everyone wants to do. Check out the Living Lab, which includes a 3,600-gallon tank for tropical fish and a replica of the USS Mohawk. The Sea-to-See exhibit has twice-daily feedings and hourly shows with sea urchins, sea stars, sea horses and stingrays. For budding meteorologists, a visit to the Weather Lab, featuring exhibits such as the IMAG TV Studio, Science on a Sphere, and Google Earth Wall, will be an irresistible experience.
In the hands-on hall, little ones will love the Imagination Playground filled with those adorable big blue blocks that can be used to engineer creative structures, and thrill-seekers can explore the concepts of gravity and speed in the Rollercoaster Builder Zone.
Another fun thing to do in Fort Myers, Florida, is to check out… Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium. Explore the stars on one of two daily shows, visit the Raptor Aviary, or hike the trails covering 100 acres.
Hang by the pool (and next to the fireplace)
There are certain lodging features that create the perfect vacation equation when my kids and I take a trip. Swimming pool? Checks. Lawn toys and fire pits? Checks. On-site restaurants for all ages and tastes? Checks. Comfortable beds and friendly staff? Check and check!
When we arrived Hyatt Regency Coconut Point ResortWe were excited to see that every box was checked. It’s not just at the top of the resort Our list of the best resorts in Florida with water parks, But the grass extends from the patio steps to the sandpit and climbing wall, and massive fire pits welcome 10 or more guests at a time. Choose from multiple dining options like Cool Beans, featuring a dessert bar, to-go drinks, s’mores kits and snacks, or Tarpon Springs, where guests dine on oysters, lobster, salmon and other coastal favorites.
Events and activities vary, but there is often live music and fun games for kids: limbo races, relay races, three-legged races, and even a craft or two.
Be closer to the beach
A year after the storm, many beach resorts in Fort Myers are open. The legendary Pink Shell Beach Resort is taking reservations and most amenities have reopened. DiamondHead Beach Resort is also open with beach access, and Margaritaville Resort Fort Myers Beach is taking reservations beginning January 2024.
The Fort Myers community is strong, and our trip not only kept in mind that this area of Southwest Florida will come back bigger and better than ever, but even the whole family will be able to enjoy a trip there as they continue to develop.