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If you are into "conchology" (aka collecting shells) you will be wetting your pants here, as there are more varieties of shells on its beaches than anywhere else in North America and you can actually make a career out of scouring the sand.
A thriving city, Fort Myers sitting on the Caloosahatchee River is a haven for eclectic artists and boutique art galleries. It was home to the contemporary American painter Robert Rauschenberg who began the pop art movement. It is the national headquarters for Hertz Rental Cars, a Fortune 500 Company in a state that rents more cars per capita than anywhere else in the US. Nicknamed the "City of Palms", due to the fact that Thomas Edison planted royal palm trees along the McGregor Boulevard in 1907 connecting his estate with downtown Fort Myers, today some of these palms stand taller than 75 feet in height.
The gateway to the Southwest Florida region it is where you can meander around the Edison & Ford Winter Estates of 20 acres of tropical gardens, historic homes, a museum and Edison's laboratory. It's easy to get around by bicycle if you don't want to pound the pavement for hours on end. Make sure you check out the only shell museum in the United States, the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, where you can meet the mollusk expert and have a heart to heart about the collection. You can pack your swag and go camping on Sanibel Island or kayak the Great Calusa Blueway through the Gulf of Mexico amidst coves, rivers, mangroves and backwaters where you may see dolphins and manatee frolicking. If you like to be tickled with the odd feather or two, then head to the fancy feather factory for some exotic feather varieties to play with. For the nature lover there are 7,600 acres to explore at the J N "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel where you can spy on more than 245 bird species amongst the undeveloped mangrove ecosystem.
There are plenty of bars, cafes and restaurants where you can dawdle over a meal, sip an espresso or grab that necessary drink when you have lingered on the beach too long gathering your precious horde of shells.
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