One of the top vacation spots in Southwest Florida, Fort Myers has envious white sand beaches and a vibrant nightlife. But the city isn’t just tropical paradise and palm trees. Thanks to its interesting history, choosing where to stay in Fort Myers isn’t as simple as finding a spot by the water.
The best areas to stay in Fort Myers cater to all personalities, from hikers to kayakers to history & museum buffs. For travelers, the best hotels in Fort Myers are scattered in its eclectic neighborhoods, including Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island, two of the region’s most popular beach getaways.
Not sure where to begin? Get your accommodations search started with this complete guide to the best places to stay in Fort Myers, Florida.
Best places to stay in Fort Myers, FL
Known as the “City of Palms,” Fort Myers is famed for its sugar-sand beaches. On the shores of Fort Myers Beach, water sports and relaxing on the sand are king. But the area also features historic estates, vibrant shopping districts, nightlife, and nearby islands. With all its charms, nailing down where to stay in Fort Myers isn’t always straightforward.
The Fort Myers area is split in half by the surging Caloosahatchee River. On one side is Downtown Fort Myers; on the other, beautiful Cape Coral. South of downtown lies the popular Fort Myers Beach. Located on Estero Island, Fort Myers Beach offers visitors some of the best nightlife in town—when they aren’t enjoying the sunny coastline, of course.
From Fort Myers Beach, you’ll see Sanibel Island and Captiva Island across the way. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts will enjoy access to parks, trails, and a more remote coastline.
The best areas to stay in Fort Myers, FL, are:
Fort Myers Beach
✓ Top area to stay in Fort Myers for shopping & nightlife
In a town that’s renowned for amazing beaches, what better way to spend your time than on the water? Fort Myers Beach comes with white sand lined by palm trees swaying with the ocean breeze. The spot is perfect for relaxation, fun, and water sports while offering shops and nightlife when the sun goes down.
Fort Myers Beach itself is located on Estero Island, a barrier island that’s wide enough to provide plenty of space for big crowds. The vast open sea here is clear and calm. Staring out on some of the top-rated Fort Myers beaches, you’ll catch kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders making the most of it.
Like a lot of tropical tourist towns, public transport is lacking in Fort Myers Beach. But with the beach, restaurants, stores, and some of the best Fort Myers hotels all within walking distance, Fort Myers Beach is a glorious area to stay if you want to avoid hiring a car.
Alongside the Old San Carlos Boulevard entertainment district lies the Manatee Bay Inn. Couples will love staying here, with its proximity to nightlife plus a fully equipped kitchen and private outdoor space. When you aren’t at the beach, swim in the on-site pool or cook in the outdoor BBQ area.
With options for couples and families, Edison Beach House comes with an outdoor pool, BBQ area, and a garden for relaxing. But nothing tops the expansive Atlantic Ocean views from your private patio. Being just steps from the white sand, this guesthouse is one of the best places to stay on Fort Myers Beach.
With its private beachfront location, this hotel offers endless access to Fort Myers Beach. Each room comes with a private balcony, fully equipped kitchenettes, plus free breakfasts. Guests can also enjoy the outdoor cooking facilities and pool. The J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is just a brief drive away.
Luxury travelers to Fort Myers Beach will enjoy the many amenities Diamond Head Beach Resort has to offer. The beachfront location paired with the outdoor pool, fitness center plus beachfront restaurants is hard to top. Nearby water sport rentals and golf courses will keep you active when you aren’t enjoying the views from your balcony.
Downtown Fort Myers
✓ Top area to stay in Fort Myers for sightseeing & culture
If you’re looking to strike a balance between sunny beach days and arts and culture, then Downtown Fort Myers is the place for you. On the Caloosahatchee River, the downtown district features many of the top tourist attractions in Fort Myers, plus gardens and heritage estates.
When you aren’t at the beach, you can explore the museums dedicated to the lives of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison. Downtown Fort Myers also provides fantastic shopping with an array of vintage stores and outdoor shopping centers.
To escape the sun, experience the local art scene with many galleries, none better than the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center. You can also get out on the water with boat trips along the river or with the help of the Edison Sailing Center.
Another prominent part of the city center is the River District. Come here for delicious local cuisine and international eats, set within historic buildings.
Close to cultural and historic attractions, Legacy Harbor Hotel & Suites places it all on your front door. Some rooms also have beautiful waterfront views. After enjoying your free breakfast, take a short 5-minute walk into downtown to see the Edison Ford Winter Estates or the Fort Myers Historical Museum.
Couples will love the layout of the stately Hibiscus House. Wake up in comfort and enjoy a delectable breakfast before taking in the many nearby attractions, including picnics at Centennial Park or Edison Square. The BnB also comes with a well-appointed garden, patio, and free WiFi.
With a great location and stunning views of the riverfront, the Luminary Hotel is one of the best spots to stay in downtown. The hotel has something for couples and families alike, with spacious rooms and a large patio featuring a pool with a view. The Winter Estates and aquarium are all within walking distance.
✓ Best district to stay in Fort Myers for outdoor activities
When working on your Fort Myers itinerary, you may want to find time to explore the local nature. If that’s the case, consider staying on pristine Sanibel Island. The island has something for all kinds of travelers, with museums, bars, live music, and theaters to entertain in the evening.
But Sanibel Island is primarily a place of romance and nature. The many beaches on the island are perfect for unwinding with your loved one, with a lovely balance of local atmosphere and scenery. It’s also one of the loveliest places in the area to catch a blazing sunset over the Gulf.
It’s life on the dry land, however, that should get visitors the most excited. Much of Sanibel Island remains as it always was, with trails throughout the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
Shelling is also one of the most popular things to do on Sanibel Island. The local beaches are some of the region’s best for collecting shells thanks to the island acting as a natural scoop.
The swaying palms trees at Kona Kai will have you feeling a world away from the streets of Sanibel Island. The mid-range inn provides upscale amenities at a comfortable price, with an outdoor pool and BBQ facilities. Plus, the Sanibel Lighthouse is just a quick trip away.
Mere steps away from Gulfside Beach, the Sunshine Island Inn is a perfect option for budget travelers staying on Sanibel Island. The inn comes with free parking, a lovely pool with umbrellas and sun lounges, plus free WiFi. Staying here, you’ll be a short distance from shops, museums, and the lighthouse.
With upscale accommodation right off the coast, Seaside Inn offers wonderful panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico. Add in the sprawling green lawns and you’ll feel at home in paradise. Along with private beach access, enjoy onsite games, tennis courts, complimentary bicycles, and a swimming pool.
Another great beachfront choice on Sanibel Island is Song of the Sea. Each room features a stocked kitchenette, flat-screen TV, and ensuite bathroom. Plus, you can rent bicycles, jump in the hot tub or cook up a feast on the BBQs. Dunes Golf and Tennis Club is just a few minutes’ drive away.
✓ Best place to stay in Fort Myers for families
If you’re traveling to Fort Myers as a family, Captiva Island is a great choice for your accommodations search. Around an hour from downtown, Captiva Island offers the perfect escape from the downtown area, with family-friendly resorts and hotels.
The beaches of Sanibel Island may be easier to access, but the sands of Captiva Island are much quieter. Staying at a resort will offer easy access to peaceful beaches with plenty of room for the young ones to run around, and the parents to kick back and relax.
Like on Sanibel Island to the south, the most popular things to do on Captiva Island also include plenty of outdoor fun for everyone to enjoy. Far from the crowds, Captiva can feel like a magical place, where one can partake in water sports or venture inland for bird watching. Plus, the island is home to the Bubble Room restaurant, where it’s Christmas all year long!
Eclectic and vibrant, the Captiva Island Inn was inspired by the rooms at Martha’s Vineyard. The bed and breakfast is a great option for groups of friends and comes with plenty of dining options just a quick walk away. Island activities like canoeing, sailing, and fishing are also nearby.
The condos at South Seas Beach Villa provide travelers with exceptional beachfront views. The romantic location will suit all couples on Captiva Island, with easy access to the local beach. Each apartment comes with a kitchenette, plus washing facilities, along with a hot tub.
Great for families and couples, the Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa is the perfect place to escape on Captiva Island. The luxurious setting comes with an envious waterfront location, plus an expansive pool. Rent a kayak or pamper yourself at the spa before dining out at the onsite restaurant and bar.
✓ Recommended neighborhood to stay in Fort Myers for foodies
Cape Coral has a lot to offer travelers and provides a fantastic selection of fun attractions, from boating to fishing and local water parks. All complement the diverse dining scene within the area, allowing you to experience it all without venturing further afield.
Beyond the many restaurants along the river and Cape Coral’s 400 miles of canals, is a vibrant local community. The top tourist attractions in Cape Coral offer great options for families, with several calm beaches, public amenities, and spacious parks to enjoy picnics and games. Plus, the young ones will love the hands-on exhibits at Imaginarium.
Around the city, there are several nature parks to explore, such as Sirenia Vista, where ospreys and manatees are seen in large numbers. At Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, tortoises, eagles, and herons create a beautiful, wild place.
Cozy, modern, and with free breakfast, the Holiday Inn Express is a top choice for budget travelers. Just a quick 20-minute drive from Fort Myers Beach, the Holiday Inn Express comes with strong WiFi, an outdoor pool, and is close to many local attractions such as Edison Park, Dolphin Marina, and Zoomers Amusement Park.
A top choice for families exploring Fort Myers and Cape Coral, the Hampton Inn comes with spacious rooms, complimentary breakfast along with an on-site pool. After starting your morning at the buffet, use the fitness center or take a brief trip to the local beach, Coralwood Mall, or the Eagle Harbor Yacht Club.
As one of the best luxury resorts in Cape Coral, the Westin is a fantastic choice for luxury travelers. The resort comes with views of the Gulf of Mexico and the river, along with fully equipped kitchens. When you aren’t soaking in the sun, make use of the fitness center or have a date night at one of the two on-site restaurants.