Ft. Myers with Kids: 25 Top Things To Do in Ft. Myers, Florida

Fort Myers beaches are a favorite destination for locals, snowbirds and vacationers.  Photo courtesy of Visit Fort Myers
Fort Myers beaches are a favorite destination for locals, snowbirds and vacationers. Photo courtesy of Visit Fort Myers
6/8/24 - By Jackie Jones

Ft. Myers, Florida—the gateway to the state's southwest region—is a city full of water-play opportunities, interactive museums, and a history that includes two of America's most famous inventors.

Though arguably more urban than Naples, its neighbor to the south, Ft. Myers also has stunning beaches. I'm talking about white sand, warm Gulf Coast water, and mild weather pretty much all-year round. The city was greatly impacted by Hurricane Ian in 2022, but it has largely bounced back. With great restaurants and resorts to boot, it's an ideal spot for a family vacation.

Read on for our top 25 things to do in Ft. Myers with kids, from Ft. Myers Beach to kid-friendly Ft. Myers hotels. Also, check out our Florida Vacation Guide for more trip ideas in the Sunshine State.


Top Attractions in Ft. Myers, Florida

1. Edison and Ford Winter Estates

I had no idea that Henry Ford and Thomas Edison knew each other (let alone were neighbors!) until my kids and I visited this must-see attraction. The 20-acre property features the winter homes of the two American icons, a botanical garden, and one of Edison's labs. There's also a large museum with thousands of cool artifacts, including some of Edison's other interesting inventions (he dabbled in doll-making, much to my daughters' delight). Be sure to pick up a kid's scavenger hunt on the way in; you can win a prize!

RELATED: Best Florida Beach Vacations for Families

Top Things To Do in Ft. Meyers, kids on Florida: For Myers Beach
The family-friendly beaches at Fort Myers Beach offers seven miles of beautiful white-sand beach.

2. Local Beaches

Take your pick from a plethora of great Ft. Myers beaches. Lovers Key State Park boasts nature trails, a tram to the beach, a wildlife education center, and 2.5 miles of gorgeous white sand and water. Locals also love the gentle waves and fishing pier at Lynn Hall Memorial Park. And the picturesque Lighthouse Beach Park (located on Sanibel Island's southern tip) gets its name from its historic 120 year-old lighthouse. While visitors can't go inside the structure, frolicking in the water and collecting sea shells is highly encouraged.

RELATED: Top Florida Snorkeling and Scuba Diving Trips for Kids

Top Things To Do in Ft. Meyers, Florida: MAG HIstory & Science Center sting ray touch tank.
A highlight of IMAG History & Science Center is the sting ray touch tank.

3. IMAG History & Science Center

It was hard to tear my kids out of this museum that has live animals, dramatic demonstrations, and tons of STEM-friendly exhibits. We especially loved the sting ray touch tank and the aptly named Hands On Hall, where kids can build roller coasters and other gadgets. There are daily events like animal shows, virtual-reality experiences, and educational movies. An on-site snack shop selling personal pizzas and sandwiches is super convenient.

4. Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium

Located on a 105-acre property, this environmental learning center is home to rescue animals, a butterfly garden, a raptor aviary, and walking trails. Perhaps its biggest draw is its large dome planetarium theater, the only one of its kind in southwest Florida. Shows are offered every day of the week except Monday, when the center is closed. They are included with the price of admission.

5. Manatee Park

Visit this public park during the winter and you're likely to see those adorable, whiskered creatures known as manatees. The sea cows come in search of warmer waters (usually from December through March). Rent or bring a kayak for an up-close view. Other amenities include hiking trails and a playground.

RELATED: Best Places to See Manatees in Florida

Top Things To Do in Ft. Meyers, Florida: Manatee boating
See manatees, play Wildlife Bingo, and take in the sights on a boat ride.

6. Boat Tours

Another great way to view manatees and other local wildlife is aboard a boat. Manatee & Eco River Tours offers a two-hour sightseeing cruise that includes a game of wildlife bingo (yes, there is a prize). Meanwhile, Sight Sea-R Cruises guarantees you will see dolphins on its two-hour eco tour. And Salty Sam's Pirate Cruise is sure to delight young scallywags with a treasure hunt and pirate games.

More Outdoor Fun in Ft. Myers, Florida

7. Sun Splash Family Water Park

This seasonal water park in Cape Coral has more than 14 acres of slides for riders of all sizes, a lazy river, and a kids' obstacle course. We especially loved the Electric Slide and the Power Surge, twin tube slides that drop riders five stories, twisting and turning for 457 feet. We were also impressed with how clean and family-friendly the water park is.

8. Fort Myers Aquatic Center

Hit this aquatic center on weekends in the spring and fall, or daily during the summer, to access its splash pad for toddlers and slide tower for big kids (according to my daughters, the tower's three slides go super fast). The best part is how reasonably-priced admission is: $5 or less per person. Children 2 and under are free.

9. Centennial Park

Located on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River is this scenic park with a giant ADA-accessible playground, sure to delight kids of all ages. Swings, slides, climbing structures, spinners... this colorful park has got it all! Covered pavilions and picnic tables make it convenient to eat while on the go, and the area features unique art installations for added eye candy.

10. Spring Training and Local Baseball

Catch a big-league preseason game in an intimate setting. The Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox hold their spring training in Ft. Myers at jetBlue Park and Hammond Stadium. Single-game tickets usually go on sale in late December. Come April, when the major league season begins, Hammond Stadium transforms into the home for minor-league team the Mighty Mussels.

11. Shell Factory & Nature Park

What started 80 years ago as a souvenir shop is now a family amusement park and animal rescue center. Attractions include bumper boats, a giant zip line, a mini golf course, and a carousel. Plus, there are more than 400 animals at the park's nature center, like lemurs, turtles, and snakes (look for Gator John's alligator show if you visit on a Saturday). There's also a year-round Christmas House and plenty of gift shops.

12. Mini Golf

Tee off at one of Fort Myers' mini golf courses. Castle Golf has a medieval theme, complete with knights, dragons, sea serpents, and a drawbridge. Kids 4 and under are free with an adult, and there are usually coupons on their website. Smugglers Cove Adventure Golf has a pirate motif (including live alligators) and is open 365 days a year. And Gator Mike's Family Fun Park in Cape Coral has a dinosaur-themed mini golf course as well as go-karts, climbing walls, and an arcade.

Indoor Activities in Ft. Myers, Florida

13. Fort Myers Skatium

Do the opposite of a beach day by lacing up those ice skates at the Fort Myers Skatium, which offers limited public sessions during the week and on weekends. Don't forget those thick socks!

14. Fort Rock Climbing Center

Children as young as 4 can get harnessed up and test their skills at this local climbing center. Along with classes for kids, Fort Rock offers day passes (which include gear) so families can try a variety of colorful climbing walls. Bonus: Fort Rock recently announced an expansion that will include a toddler area and more kid-friendly play zones.

15. Skyzone Fort Myers

Bounce off some energy at Skyzone, which has two trampoline parks in the area (one is in North Fort Myers). Along with freestyle jump zones, both locations offer zip lines, ninja courses, and dodgeball courts. They also offer discounted tickets and private jump times for the 6-and-under crowd.

16. Retro Zone Arcade

Indulge in nostalgia at this arcade that features more than 60 video games and pinball machines from the 1980s and 90s. Unlimited-play wristbands are just $15. Now you can finally introduce your kids to the original Q*Bert!

Family-Friendly Restaurants in Fort Myers

17. Ford's Garage

Modeled after a 1920s service station, this casual restaurant is your pit stop for comfort foods like burgers, mac n' cheese, and meatloaf. The food isn't fancy, but it's fun to eat here (my kids loved the tire-shaped sinks in the bathroom).

18. Cabos Cantina

This lively downtown spot will solve your hankering for Mexican food, with quesadillas, fajitas, and 12 different types of tacos, as well as signature cocktails and margaritas. Our family enjoyed the table-side guacamole so much, we ended up ordering two!

19. Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille

At this Ft. Myers Beach waterfront eatery, families can nosh on fresh seafood while enjoying live music in a tropical atmosphere. Kids' menu items include fried shrimp, fish fingers, and pasta; all kids' meals come with a special dessert.

20. Sun Harvest Citrus

Fill up on fresh Florida citrus fruit at this specialty shop that also sells gourmet foods, souvenirs, and delicious soft-serve ice cream. Bonus: There's a playground in front of the store and free orange juice samples!

RELATED: 30 Awesome Things To Do in Destin, Florida with Kids

Top Things To Do in Ft. Meyers, Florida: Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina
Wake Up to stunning gulf views at Pink Shell Beach Resort and take walks along the private beach. Photo courtesy of the resort

Ft. Myers Hotels and Resorts for Families 

21. Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina

This waterfront property in Ft. Myers Beach has daily activities for families including crafts, bubble parties, and guided nature walks. Many of them take place at the Octopool, a space where guests of all ages can cool down and enjoy a sea animal-themed waterfall. The hotel also boasts 12 acres of white sand beach. Lounge chairs are included.

22. GullWing Beach Resort

Looking to spread out? Guests at the GullWing love their one-, two-, and three-bedroom suites, along with the resort's heated pool, tennis court, grills, and access to a local trolley. Post Hurricane Ian renovations are ongoing at the GullWing, but many of the rooms and public spaces have reopened.

23. The Westin Cape Coral at Marina Village

Another hotel that's great for big families, the Westin Cape Coral offers large guest suites (up to 3,500 feet of space), as well as sweeping views of the Caloosahatchee River, San Carlos Bay, and the Gulf of Mexico. Complimentary bike rentals are available for visitors, as is admission aboard a dolphin cruise.

24. Luminary Hotel & Co., Autograph Collection

If your desire is to stay in downtown Ft. Myers, this riverfront property is a great option. Noted for its modern design and cleanliness, the Luminary also has several on-site restaurants and an outdoor pool overlooking the Caloosahatchee. The hotel is a five-minute walk to Centennial Park and a five-minute drive to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

25. DiamondHead Beach Resort

A quieter option for families seeking to be on Ft. Myers Beach, DiamondHead also has a pool overlooking the water and an indoor/outdoor restaurant with regular live music. Holiday Water Sports provides Jet Ski and paddleboard rentals to resort guests.

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Unless noted, photos by the author

Places featured in this article:

Edison and Ford Winter Estates

IMAG History & Science Center

Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium

The Westin Cape Coral at Marina Village

Luminary Hotel & Co., Autograph Collection