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The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau (VCB) is the lead marketing agency charged with bringing worldwide visitors to Lee County. Almost five million visitors spend nearly $3 billion annually. The VCB is funded exclusively by a 5 percent tourist tax and works to preserve and protect area beaches and the environment.
Recently, the VCB held its annual tourism summit. This year’s big news was a first-of-its-kind film called “Awaken,” which uses cutting-edge technology to showcase the most beautiful aspects of SW Florida as a destination.
The film compliments a digital ecological calendar that highlights the many, year-round, natural seasons and migrations of our area.
The goal is to share the natural beauty and diversity of the area, which will inspire both visitation and protection.
Fort Myers filmmaker, Cameron Michael, spent thousands of hours on location to capture beauty that is accessible to all.
Watch the film and share the beauty of Southwest Florida with your friends and family.
Located in Fort Myers, Florida, Manatee Park is a unique place where visitors can view the endangered Florida Manatee in a natural environment. Manatee Park is a non-captive refuge, therefore they are free to come and go as they please.
Manatees are generally not present during the warm summer months.
The park also has an extensive butterfly garden. The park is a demonstration landscape for the Florida Yards and Neighborhoods (FYN) program. Picnic areas & shelters, fishing pier on the Orange River. Canoe/kayak launch to the Orange River. Program amphitheater and playground.
Althoug a rare sighting of a manatee is possible during April thru October, optimum viewing times are between the months of November and March due to the cooler gulf temperature. The Florida manatees live along the coast of Florida and generally visit the park when the gulf temperatures dip below 68 degrees.
PARK HOURS (year round) sunrise to sunset daily
December thru March hours of concession and kayak rental operation are 9:00 am -4:00 pm. Kayak rentals May thru October by reservation only (239)481-4600
Driving Directions: Take I-75 to exit 141. Go east 1 1/4 miles. The park is on the right (directly across the street from the FPL Power Plant).
Southwest Florida is a special place during the summertime. It is a place to enjoy unique outdoor adventures, cool critters and an enriching coastal lifestyle. The Fort Myers News Press features the award-winning photographs of Andrew West in their weekly feature called “ANDREW’S VIEW”.
Below is Andrew’s View of Summer
For the second year in the row, the magazine “Coastal Living” has named America’s Happiest Seaside Towns.
Coming in at #3 is Sanibel Island, FL
This is how Coastal Magazine describes our little piece of paradise; “Life in this South Florida island town is a pastel dream. Picture pale blue skies and white-sand beaches. The island was literally built on millions of seashells. When locals dig in their backyards, they turn up conch, scallop, and clam shells – intact. The town offers a quiet, away-from-it-all life. No stoplights, nor buildings taller than the tallest palm tree.”
The millions of tinted seashells that have literally built the island on which this little town sits have made Sanibel famous around the world. Its 6,469 residents enjoy access to 15 miles of unspoiled beaches.
Even the Today Show got into the game, vividly describing each of the top 5 which includes:
#1 Beaufort, South S.C.
#2 Harwich Port, Mass.
#3 Sanibel Island, Fla.
#4 Sag Harbor, N.Y.
#5 Newport, R.I.
Click HERE to see the Today Show segment on America’s Happiest Towns.
The Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) has just confirmed what we already knew … that the tourist season just ended was one of the most successful in history!
With more flights to more destinations, RSW served almost 1.12 million passengers in March – the LARGEST total for the month, and the BUSIEST month since the airport opened in May 1983.
The airport handled 234 flights in March 2012. That soared 54 percent to 361 flights in March of this year. More full flights swelled the ranks of passengers.
United Airlines served 52 percent more local passengers this March and Spirit Airlines doubled the number of cities it served from Fort Myers from three to six, raising its March passenger total by 37 percent, year-over-year.
The crowds are gone … but the weather is STILL great. Come to Florida for our “Calm After the Break” Special
May in SW Florida is called our “shoulder season”. The spring breakers are gone, the snowbirds have left for parts North and the days become more consistently warm, with cold snaps becoming few and far between.
Average temperature is 86 degrees during the day and 66 degrees at night. The summer rainy season doesn’t start until June.
And most importantly, our rates are 40%-50% lower than peak season.
With 2 bedroom/2 bath condos at these rates what are you waiting for?
Share one of our luxury condos with another couple for as little as $37.50 per person per night or bring the entire family for as little as $25.00 per person per night (based upon a six person per unit maximum).
See the most spectacular sunsets in Southwest Florida from your own private lanai. Click HERE for slide show.
Call us at 239-243-0737 … you’ll be glad you did
Don’t miss out.
Summer in Southwest Florida is not the hot box you imagined. It’s often cooler here than in most of the rest of the country. Our summer high temps are in the high 80’s to low 90’s.
We have breezes most every day and thunderstorms most every afternoon to cool things down and keep the air clean. Summer skies are crystal blue with snow-white fluffy clouds that are spectacular.
Spend your most memorable summer vacation exploring the wilder side of Southwest Florida.
Discover our mangrove estuaries and visit J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a national treasure, that draws bird watchers from all over the world.
Watch dolphins play and pelicans dive for dinner at Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island.
Go wild this summer in Southwest Florida and The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.
Parasailing is a recreational kiting activity where a person is towed behind a vehicle (usually a boat) while attached to a specially designed canopy wing that reminds one of a parachute, known as a parasail wing.
There are six parts of a parasail. The harness attaches the pilot to the parasail, which is connected to the boat by the tow rope. The activity is primarily a fun ride, not to be confused with the sport of paragliding.
There are commercial parasailing operations all over the world.
Here is Southwest Florida, you can fly single, double, or triple while enjoying panoramic views of the Southwest Florida Gulf Coast including Fort Myers Beach, Barefoot Beach, Estero Bay, Lover’s Key and Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
Prices range from $75 – $250 depending on the number of riders in the harness and length (height) of the ride.
Recently, Jenny Williamson is an intern for The Fort Myers News-Press went parasailing and wrote about her adventures
You can read her report HERE
For a video of her experience click HERE.
Florida is known for its great weather, sandy beaches and numerous golf courses. Down here we call it “high season” and “tourist season,” but behind these warming spring days is another season Southwest Florida … growing season.
Florida strawberries fill grocery shelves; local heirloom tomatoes blush juicy from produce stands. Oranges, grapefruit, limes, and all manner of ground crops are ripe for the picking.
The best place to stock up your fresh pantry is at the farmers markets that convene on different days around the area.
So do what the locals do, try vendor sample at the numerous farmers markets that convene on different days of the week all around Lee County
The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau has tracked below some popular market stops where you can sample the ‘other’ things we are famous for:
Sanibel Farmers Market, City Hall, 800 Dunlop Rd., Sanibel Island; 691-9249; www.facebook.com/sanibelfarmersmarket; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.
It can get quite crowded, so arrive early. If you’re a visitor, it’s a good place to meet the locals, who are avid fans. While there: You cannot go to Sanibel without a walk on the beach to pick up some shells.
Fenway South Farmers Market, Jet- Blue Park, 11500 Daniels Pkwy., Fort Myers; 691-9249; www.facebook.com/FenwaySouthFarmersMarket; 3 to 6 p.m. Monday.
Held in front of the Boston Red Sox spring training stadium, it is the area’s newest seasonal market. While there: During March, try to catch the Sox at practice, free to the public.
River District Farmers Market, Centennial Park, 2000 W. First St., Downtown Fort Myers; 321-7098; www.downtownfortmyers.com/market_ days; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday.
It’s one of the area’s longest-running markets and resides under the bridge year-round. While there: Check out the shops and restaurants in the downtown area.
Lakes Park Farmers Market, Lakes Regional Park, 7330 Gladiolus Dr., Fort Myers; 691-9249; www.facebook.com/ LakesParkFarmersMarket; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday.
Live music adds to the pretty park ambiance. While there: Bring the kids so they can enjoy the water park, mini-railroad, trails and playground.
GreenMarket, Lee County Alliance of the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers; 939-2787; www.artinlee.org; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
This year-round market adds children’s activities, live music, and cooking and gardening demonstrations to the usual lineup. While there: Step into the Alliance’s art galleries to see what’s currently showing.
Cape Coral Farmers Market, Club Square, SE 47th Terr. and SE 10th Pl., Cape Coral; 549-6900; www.capecoralfarmersmarket.com; 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Live entertainment and presentations add to the festive spirit of this community event. While there: Make a day of it at Sunsplash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral.
Fort Myers Beach Farmers Market, Under the Matanzas Bridge between First and Second streets, Fort Myers Beach; 765-0202; http://www.fortmyersbeachfl.gov/ ; 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. through April.
This farmers market offers fresh fish and shrimp along with fresh produce. While there: Enjoy the food and walk it off on the beach.
Bonita Springs Lions Club Farm Fresh Market, The Promenade at 26811 South Bay Drive in Bonita Springs; 495- 8464; www.farmersmarketonline.com; from 7 a.m. to noon, through May.
White tents fill the Promenade with fresh fruits, veggies, baked goods, jewelry and plants and flowers. While there: Shop at the farmers market and then shop retail.