Flying into Fort Myers - now what?

Oct 12th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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Flying into Fort Myers - now what?

Husband and I flying there in early March for about a week. We've never been to that part of Florida so we're not sure where to go from there - Sarasota, Naples...etc? We would like to stay in a nice place preferably a low rise condo or a good suite hotel. We're not into night life. We like to sightsee a little, go out for a good meal once in a while, do a little shopping and go for beautiful long walks. We prefer to stay away from crowds. Any suggestions for us greatly appreciated.
ghisl is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 02:41 PM
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Naples or Marco Island.
Gretchen is online now  
Oct 12th, 2006, 02:43 PM
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Unfortunately it will still be high season=expensive.
We stayed at a motel on the water called the Boathouse on Marco. It is a very old style place but with large rooms. You can fish from their docks. It is convenient. It is not elegant by any means but interesting.
There are many high rise hotels on the main beach of Marco.
Gretchen is online now  
Oct 12th, 2006, 03:06 PM
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I think from what you described that Sanibel or Captiva would be perfect. I haven't been recently so I won't make recommendations for places to stay or eat, but just do a search here and you'll find tons of information.

Have a great trip!

AustinTraveler is online now  
Oct 12th, 2006, 04:06 PM
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My folks have spent winters there for years. Fort Myers itself is kind of dull unless you have friends, family or golf in mind. Sarasota is a great place to visit - has a beautiful waterfront, great shopping good restaurants, and condos are available right along the shore. Sanibel is also very nice, but the traffic over the bridge is so bad that it may make you reconsider.
patg is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 04:06 PM
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Check out South Seas Plantation on Captiva Island, next to Sanibel. But that's only if you love to be on the beach. Sarasota and Naples have excellent restaurants and shopping and beautiful places to walk (including some terrific beaches)-- but they'll be mighty crowded in March. Sarasota is more of a city, Naples more of a town. More to "do" in Sarasota (including the wonderful Marie Selby Gardens)
poss is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 06:31 PM
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You didn't mention the beach at all. Is that a priority or not important?
NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 07:47 PM
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As an aside:
If you are flying in and out of Ft. Myers, I would suggest thinking about a visit to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates - it's a bit of history, architecture, invention, Fords antique cars, and some unusual garden varieties.

We have visited it after arriving - having a quick lunch and then going to the estates, and we have done it on our way to departure, just leave yourself enough time but it is not far from the airport.

I think either Naples or Marco Island, but then again I am personally partial to them as my mom wintered in Marco for over 30 yrs -
on Marco it's a fairly quiet - you can take lovely walks through the Briggs Nature Center, there are several nice restaurants on island, go off island to other preserves and garden areas - look on to see if it appeals to you - a day trip to Naples for some shopping - if you like outlet shopping there are some on teh road between naples and marco, and a visit to the Isle of Capri is always nice too. Marco has a beautiful beach to walk from the 'hotel high rise area' way out to tiger tail.

Since my mom passed, we have made a few trips there and rented condos or last a house on the inland waterway which was lovely and there are plenty of hotel options.
escargot is offline  
Oct 12th, 2006, 08:03 PM
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One thing to consider: in season (March) the crowds aren't usually where you are -- but rather getting to other places. In other words, Naples itself or Sanibel itself are both quite quiet and traffic free -- but if you're staying one place and want to travel to another -- then you'll find yourself sitting in the traffic and fighting the crowds.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 05:41 AM
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Naples, traffic free?? No way. Even trying to walk-- much less drive-- down 5th Ave is a mess in season. Same with Olde Naples. And many of the beaches are similarly crowded (though Park Shore beaches aren't bad).
poss is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 05:59 AM
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Did someone suggest Naples is traffic free?

What I was saying was that you won't be in the midst of crowds staying wherever you're renting -- and I'd disagree that Naples or Sanibel beaches are even a fraction as crowded as most of the ones on the east coast in March -- unless you hang out in front of the biggest hotels.
My point was that there IS a ton of traffic, so if you stay put where you are, that isn't a problem, but anywhere you go -- then the traffic becomes a major issue.

But that's a moot point if you're looking for a low rise beachfront condo to rent for a week IN Naples. That ain't gonna happen. But it could in Vanderbilt or along the beaches further north or even on Marco.

NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 06:03 AM
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Sorry, but Marco Island is such an over developed high rise zoo. My Mom built a house there in 1980, but sold it two years later. It was sad watching high rise after high rise destroy the beach. Yes, it will be crowded in March...however, Naples has some nice places, good shopping and nice restaurants. Ditto for Sanibel/Captiva. Just stay there and don't be crossing the bridge a lot!
LLindaC is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 06:18 AM
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LLindaC, I'll be the first to agree that Marco is a "zoo", but let's be historically accurate. There was NO real beach there originally. The entire area was uninhabitable. Marco was dredged and built for total development. Anyone who ever bought there should have looked at the plans for development. The beaches were "built" to be developed with high rise condos and hotels. Actually to their credit, along the way, some people managed to stop development on one or two parcels in addition to the originally planned small "undeveloped" public beach area, but Marco is today what it was planned from the very start to be -- an overbuilt zoo!
NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 06:33 AM
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Okay can I respectfully disagree about some things about Marco? When my family bought there, we knew , as neopatrick said, exactly what it was slated to be years down the road - Mackle Bros/Deltona/et all were very clear about that.
So while we have watched it, since 1972, when there were but the few fishing villages in Goodland/ and spotted on the outskirts of the island, it can still be a wonderful place to vacation.

We celebrated a girls 50th there by renting a house for all of us last spring - we had a beautiful home overlooking the inland waterway, with a dock, enclosed pool and hot tub - we spent days on Marco Beach, walking from one end to the other and all around Tiger Tail, and also reading late afternoon on Tiger Tail....nothing like it, just when the crowds leave around 3/4 pm - we really settle in and stay thru those magnificent Marco sunsets.

Originally, when they were putting up one high rise after another, and the beach was getting dismally narrow, it was for a few years not as great a 'beach' in my mind - but now that they have widened that stretch of beach between Residents Beach and Tiger Tail - I can't even guess how much but well over 5 times as wide as it used to be at it's lowest - it is gorgeous beautiful white sand to walk and still great shelling esp near Tiger Tail !!

We had some great meals, some great walks in the nearby nature preserves/and yes, we hit some traffic going into Naples, you just know ahead of time it's going to be an hours ride from marco to parking near 5th Ave - and enjoy shopping and great restaurants. Great sidewalks in Marco for looong walks all around, I had my 2, 5 and 10 mile loops all worked out in no time, even with street/traffic changes (exc for last yr along the main drag where they were doing the roadwork, but you can avoid that easily enough)

If the beach is not important to you, I think you would be happier in Naples than Marco - more shopping areas, movie theaters, and you can still walk the beach - but don't know if you are looking to rent in a development where the walks you mention could be taken in the streets -

But wherever you decide, have fun !
escargot is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 06:34 AM
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For a very quiet time and old Florida try Pine Island.No crowds,great walking and biking path.Some good restaurants and just a very nice place to spend some time.
FLUFFYRED is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 06:42 AM
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I'm not so sure Pine Island is quiet these days -- have you been there since the hurricanes? It's wall to wall rebuilding right now. I'm not sure what it's going to be like when the smoke clears -- but the old Pine Island is no more.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 09:33 AM
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I'm sorry if I offended Marco residents I first went in 1972 and really liked it. There were only 2 shopping areas , the Marriott and a few condos. Mom built back where the Indian mounds were with a private bay, sigh. It was gorgeous. But after living there and negotiating with the traffic (ONE road essentially) and not being able to find a parking spot at the grocery, etc, they just got fed up and moved to a golf course community. I've been there many many times over the years and the traffic really is a nightmare in March! I just don't find it a very good place to take "beautiful long walks" like she said. I do love Stan's at Goodland, though!! ;-) Of course, Florida suffers in many places from too much development and bad planning. Ask Carl Hiaasen!
LLindaC is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 09:40 AM
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Before you even think about South Seas Plantation on Captiva, look at some of the horror stories on this list. It was badly damaged by hurricanes and has never been fully restored.

We sold our place in Naples last year, but I strongly recommend it for the kind of variety of activities you suggest you like.
Ackislander is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 10:21 AM
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Hi Everyone!

Sanibel and Captiva would be good choice. Very laid back and relaxing. South Seas Plantation would also be my choice in terms of quality. Though, our family has always stayed at Sea Shells of Sanibel.

Here are some suggestions for Sanibel: Shelling on the beach, NJ Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge Tour; sunset cruise with and also their 1/2 day excursion to North Captiva. Rent bikes and explore the islands. Watch a sunset on Bowman's Beach.

Love the Island Cow for breakfast (inexpensive) and plan on at least one dinner at Ellington's Jazz Clu$$$$).

Oh, and don't miss the Sanibel Tanger Outlet Shops (small strip, very but good) as well as the Ford/Edison Museum in Ft. Myers.

HIGHLY recommend purchasing Julie and Mike Neals book called, "Sanibel and Capita: A Guide to the Islands".

Lastly, you can take day trips from Sanibel to Naples (don't miss 5th Avenue South), Fort Myers Beach, etc. Just be aware that the toll for Sanibel is $6.00.

Hope this helps!
Winkz40 is offline  
Oct 13th, 2006, 02:00 PM
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LLindaC - no worries, you didn't offend me - every place sings to people diffferently - Marco is a different place than it was in the 70's, and the 80's, and I remember too the days you talk about -
when there was nothing at tiger tail - no lunch spot, no parking lot, and just pure beach - and we'd be surrounded by racoons and herons, etc - and then listeningn to the pounding while they built the condos on the beach, one by one -

but some of the improvements, like the rest rooms and walkways, etc at resident's beach and tiger tail are a welcomed thing - and even the little public beach is still delightful....and nothing like a burger and drink after a long walk on teh beach at the Marriot at Quinns and watching the sunset over the chiki huts...

but I still love the wildlife on Marco and find some lovely spots to enjoy on the beach and for walks -
I do know what you mean about the developing - I suppose the good side is you no longer have to fight for a space at the one and only old Winn Dixie since there are several plazas and Publix, etc - and lots of small shopping plazas -

I still love Stans, and Paul's Shoe Resort ! - and other restaurants and small spots - even still a drink at Snook Inn and watching the pelicans !
(but I miss O'Sheas....we had lots of birthday parties there over the years)

Nothing stays the same.....
escargot is offline  
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