19. Fort Myers
This city on the Gulf would be a favorite for many if it only offered the golf and yachting so many enjoy through all the months of the year. According to Wikipedia, Fort Myers was the winter home of both Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, and was an early favorite of visitors from the northeast, beginning in the early 20th century.
Its location on the inner coast gives its boaters year round according to the city’s website,access to some of the world’s best fishing.
Early visitors to the area and residents put a strong emphasis on culture, and Ft. Myers has some of the best facilities in the state. A regular schedule of world-class entertainers, orchestras and specialty acts regularly appear in the city to SRO audiences. There are many other activities and sights, many of them centering on the River District. Three of the most popular events each year include the Music Walk, Art Walk, and the ArtFest Fort Myers.
While the city’s website shows Fort Myers currently has a population of nearly 63,000, it also lays claim as one of the fastest growing small towns in Florida, It is also a sister city of Cape Coral. The large number of visitors helps this small population support such facilities and the Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium, the Imaginarium, and numerous world-class golf courses.
Closely associated with Fort Myers are the nearby Sanibel and Captiva beaches and islands. A special website is dedicated to the many attractions in these areas, from fishing to diving at the USS Mohawk reef. The area is also known for its careful attention to environmental issues, sponsoring what it calls sustainable travel. This means many of the area accommodations and businesses employ environmentally responsible practices.
According to this website, the beaches in the Fort Myers and Sanibel area are among the most popular in Florida for weddings, providing stunning vistas and sunsets as a backdrop for these events.