Fort Myers, located on the Gulf Coast of Florida, offers so many great family attractions.With an airport right in Fort Myers, it can be an easy visit from a number of US cities. We took a recent trip with our three small children to Fort Myers Beach, FL. We stayed with family so were able to save money on hotels and splurge on adventures! Here are the 10 things to do in Fort Myers with kids including things to do in Fort Myers Beach.
(Note: Part of this trip was provided at no cost for review, and there are affiliate links included. Clicking on links/making a purchase may help support Family Travel Magazine).
Fun Things To Do in Fort Myers With Kids
Sometimes the best things in life really are free. Sanibel has an East-West orientation, which allows gulf waters to gently push along the ocean floor, bringing many shells that are intact. You’ll want to leave any that have a creature living inside as they’re protected (and super gross looking!)
Red Sox Spring Training (March)
Where else can you score $20 Red Sox tickets and meet not only current stars, but up-and-comers? For afternoon games at “Little Fenway,” be sure to arrive around 10 am if you want an autographed ball or glove, and buy tickets in advance. Spring training can be a great way to enjoy baseball with kids in a low-key environment. You can tickets at a great price, and usually will have a better view than what you’d get at a regular season game.
Be sure to call ahead, as they update manatee sightings daily. Spanned across 17 acres, there are playgrounds, paths, and picnic areas. Entrance into the park is free, save a $2-$5 parking cost. This is arguably the best place to see manatees in a non-captive environment. The best months to see manatees are December, January, and February when the Gulf Coast water is cooler. There’s also a gift shop and kayak and canoe rentals on site.
This history and science center, which was formerly known as the Imaginarium, offers at least 60 exhibits. There’s so much to see and do, including live animal encounter shows, a 3,200-gallon aquarium that was built by Animal Planet’s Tanked, a living lab with animals, a stingray touch tank, and more.
There’s also a virtual reality experience, stingray feedings, and a theater-in-the-tank. You can also head outdoors to the Backyard Nature exhibit and walking trails.
Kids under 2 are free, as is parking. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday, and admission includes the exhibits, animal shows, and touch tank experience. Rates start at $10 for students/children over 2 and $14 for adults.
From alligators to lemurs, The Shell Factory has over 400 animals in the nature park. The park also offers bumper boats, restaurants, 68,000 square feet of retail space, and a rainforest attraction. Admission rates are $13 for adults, $8 for kids aged 4-12, and free for kids 3 and under. There’s also a family annual pass if you think you’ll visit a few times.
Mini golf is always a fun activity on a family beach vacation. There are a lot of mini golf places in the Ft. Myers area, but we’ve been coming to Smugglers Cove for years. You can feed baby alligators and they have a coupon on their website, plus everyone gets a chance to win a free round at the mystery hole.
Day Trip to Sanibel Island, FL
It’s $6 to get over the bridge from Ft. Myers to Sanibel, but once you are there it’s like a beautiful tropical oasis. Lighthouse beach is super kid-friendly with a gentle shore. A kid-friendly restaurant we loved was the Island Cow, which has parrots in the back and bean bag toss lawn games while you wait for a table. They also bring every table free sprinkle muffins before you place your order! Sanibel has 25 miles of bike trails, and you can have a bike delivered to your hotel from Billy’s Bike Rentals.
We all gave a mighty “Argh!” pirate-style when we climbed aboard Pieces of Eight, the family-friendly 90-minute cruise which sails around Fort Myers harbor thrice daily. The pirates truly try to include each and every kid in games, captain mutiny, dancing, and general rebel rousing. My sons loved earning gold coins for participation from the crew, and getting tattoos drawn on their arms to look tough.
During the holiday season, Salty Sam’s offers a holiday cruise. Pirate cruises start at $24.95 for kids and $29.95 for adults. You can book online, and you can also add on one of two kids’ souvenir packages with things like eye patches, bandanas, and pirate hats. The ship offers a full-service bar, once you are on board.
Located near Little Fenway, Fine Folk Pizza serves up delicious thin crust pizza, and the best part is they give kids a little ball of dough to practice throwing in the air.
Norman Love is a world-class chocolatier with shops popping up all over Southwest Florida. It’s his gelato we love most, and with two chocolate salons and one artisan gelato salon in Fort Myers, you can easily satisfy your child’s sweet tooth, or yours!
Where to Stay in Fort Myers With Kids
There are plenty of beach house rentals in the area, or many visitors stay with family. If you do plan to stay in a hotel, the Legacy Harbour Hotel Suites and the Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa both get great reviews. You could also combine a trip to Fort Myers with a stay in Marco Island, or another one of the gorgeous islands in the area.
Post originally written by guest author Kate Gillan in 2017, updated by editor Jodi Grundig in 2018.
Additional Resources: Want to read more Gulf Coast travel tips and reviews? Click to read our post with destination recommendations, ideas on what things to do, hotel reviews, and more.