Nice-and-easy easily sums up the area of southwest Florida known as The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, which combines a variety of laid-back beach communities with a quaint downtown and the event-ready estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.
Encompassing the communities of Sanibel and Captiva islands, Fort Myers Beach, Fort Myers proper, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs, Boca Grande and others, the destination provides everything from a quaint downtown experience to tropical-paradise beaches and remote islands to luxurious estates.
According to Pamela Johnson, deputy director of The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel CVB, its popularity as a leisure market is opening doors to more meetings business.
“It’s interesting because in the past other areas in Florida were certainly much more well-known and much larger, but I think as people have discovered it as a great place for leisure visits for vacation, people are finding out that yes, you can have a meeting here as well,” Johnson says, adding that because the destination doesn’t have a traditional large convention facility, most groups stay and meet at its many resorts and hotels.
Johnson says most groups also take to the water, as many local companies offer chartered yacht service, as do many of the resorts. A popular off-site option is the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Located on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River, the venue offers botanical gardens, Edison’s lab and vintage autos.
And if your group wants a little stroll after visiting the beautiful gardens of these inspiring estates, Fort Myers offers a quaint, imminently walkable downtown.
“We do have a nice, small, quaint downtown area. I think our downtown is about three blocks, to be perfectly honest, so it’s very walkable,” Johnson jokes. “It’s maybe a mile away from the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, so groups can do that in the evening; have dinner and come to the downtown area, where there are several restaurants and bars on the Caloosahatchee River.”
The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel