Fort Myers Beach is a stretch of coastline located on Estero Island. This family-friendly destination is known for its seafood restaurants, safe beaches, fun nightlife, and remote parks. Vacation rentals range from cozy cottages near the mainland to spacious oceanfront homes. You can go fishing along the quiet waterways or go kayaking in the marshes. Rent bikes and explore the Lover’s Key State Park. There’s also shopping at Time’s Square, or tiki bars located directly on the water. This guide details 11 of the most popular spots for Fort Myers Beach vacation rental locations.

1. Estero Island

estero island

Stay on Estero Island for easy access to the Gulf of Mexico and a variety of outdoor activities, including shell collecting, swimming, and fishing. Take a boat to the Mound Key Archaeological State Park to view the ceremonial center of the Calusa Indians, which is made entirely of shells, pottery pieces, and bones. If you want to experience the history of the area, kayak down the Estero River Paddling Trail of take a tour through the Koreshan State Historic Site. There’s also an outlet mall close by for scouting out bargains, or you can spend the day relaxing at a local spa.

2. Sanibel Island

Dolphin
Source: Flickr / DMangus

Enjoy a beach sunset from the porch of your vacation rental on Sanibel Island. During the day, you can rent a boat and head out on the water for whale and dolphin watching, or visit the Bailey Matthews National Shell Museum to see a variety of shells from the region. If you are looking for some exercise, you can take a leisurely stroll through the Botanical Gardens at Sanibel Moorings, or rent a surfboard or paddleboard on the beach and learn a new hobby. If you like shopping for gifts and souvenirs, be sure to stop by the Islander Trading Post.

3. Cape Coral

Cape Harbour at Night
Source: Flickr / Elin at Nite

Cape Coral is a popular destination spot for families and those who enjoy golfing by the water. Both children and adults will enjoy floating down the lazy river at the Sun Splash Family Waterpark or you can experience the thrill and excitement on one of the towering water slides. Grab your racket or rent some equipment and play tennis, or visit the Southwest Florida Military Museum and Library to learn about the history of the military in Florida. If you want to relax on the open water, rent a luxury yacht at the Cape Coral Yacht Basin for a day, or when you get hungry, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the dockside grills. For organized sports, the Cape Coral Sports Complex is the perfect place to go to watch a baseball game or to let the kids play on the playground.

4. Bonita Springs

Bonita Springs
Source: Flickr / Matthew Warner

Spend your vacation relaxing on the beach in Bonita Springs. Wildlife is in abundance at the Everglades Wonder Gardens where you can watch birds and other creatures in their natural habitat. You can also escape the crowds and spend the afternoon soaking away the stress of work at a local spa where you can sign up for a full day of facials and body treatments. If you like collecting seashells, the Barefoot Beach Preserve is located near a high-end beach community where you will find facilities and plenty of parking.

5. Port Charlotte

Port Charlotte Beach
Source: Flickr / Brian Whitmarsh

Located between Fort Meyers and Sarasota, Port Charlotte offers every type of water activity imaginable. Here,you will find over 165 miles of waterways for swimming, boating, kayaking, windsurfing, and fishing. You can also travel to the Bayshore Live Oak Park Fishing Pier for a day of crabbing and people watching. The Peach and Myakka Rivers provide a calm respite for canoes, or you can visit the Tippecanoe Environmental Park for hiking, biking, and wildlife. Vacation rentals range from small furnished apartments for one, or spacious beach-front homes for families and groups.

6. Pine Island

Captiva Island Dolphin Cruise
Source: Flickr / Pete Markham

Enjoy your vacation away from the crowds and city on Pine Island. This small island offers a laid back atmosphere, uncrowded beaches, and lush natural greenspaces. Rent a canoe or a kayak and explore the waterways of the Matlacha Pass, or stop by the Four Winds Marina to chat with locals, lease some equipment and go fishing. Closer to downtown, Elena’s Gallery has a display of beautiful paintings, and you can finish off the day by satisfying your sweet tooth at the local fudge factory.

7. Naples

Everglades and Turner River
Source: Flickr / Chauncey Davis

Naples is known for its high-end shops, sophisticated restaurants, and eclectic culture. The downtown historic district offers a day of shopping, or there are plenty of opportunities to escape the heat at one of the numerous art galleries. Sip a glass of wine at a bayside bar, or relish a sandwich at a seaside café. If you like the water, you can rent a kayak and float over the open water at the Cocohatchee River Park, or take the kids and float down the lazy River or add some excitement on one of the water slides at the Naples Water Park.

8. North Naples

Naple Beach
Source: Flickr / Pat O’Malley

North Naples is the perfect place to schedule your wedding or other special event. You will find mansions for large parties, or opt for a small beach bungalow for a few friends. A trip to the beach isn’t complete without a day of fishing or crabbing in the ocean. The Naples pier provides the perfect location with plenty of access to the water. Animal lovers will enjoy the Naples Zoo, which is home to a variety of reptiles, birds, and mammals. You can also view over 70 species of plants from the region. If you bring your pet on vacation, you can go to the Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park for a day of Frisbee on the beach, or go hiking at the Collier-Seminole State Park.

9. Punta Gorda

Rick Treworgy's Muscle Car City - Punta Gorda, Florida
Source: Flickr / Timothy Wildey

Feed your love for Corvettes and classic cars at the Muscle Car City Museum, which houses the largest collection of Corvettes in the southeast. Explore the Punta Gorda Bike Trails, or paddle down the Peace River. Rent a boat at the Fisherman’s Village, or soar above the region from a place at the Punta Gorda Airport.

10. Marco Island

Marco Island
Source: Flickr / clarkmaxwell

Marco Island is connected to the mainland by two separate bridges. It has a remote feel with its uncrowded beaches and several offshore island beaches. There are hammocks and beach chairs that beckon you to linger, or you can walk along the shore and collect seashells. The Briggs Nature Center offers three miles of easy trails for a nice walk in the shade, there are also benches to sit and watch the birds. You should also be sure to travel to Cape Romano to take pictures of the famed Dome Homes.

11. Fort Meyers

Jet Blue Park
Source: Flickr / Alma Ramos-Mcdermott

Travel east from the beach to Fort Meyer, and catch a game of spring training baseball at the JetBlue Stadium. The ball park sells some delicious goodies like fresh seafood, beer milkshakes and mini doughnuts. Pack your kayak and paddle on the Great Calusa Blueway, or sign up for a pontoon tour around the islands. Children will enjoy the interactive exhibits at the Imaginarium Science Center. They can spend the day learning about force and reaction and other concepts.