~ Fort Myers, Florida ~
Ft. Myers anchors Lee County, home to the larger suburban city of Cape Coral and the famous shores of Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, and Ft. Myers Beach. My wife and I drove through Fort Myers on the Tamiami Trail back in 2001 while on our honeymoon. We were heading from Sarasota to Ft. Lauderdale and wanted to take a route that would give us a peek at the cities of Southwest Florida, since Interstate 75 skirts the area too far to the east. Although it does not hug the coast, the Tamiami Trail is the only other continuous road through Southwest Florida, and it happens to run right through the heart of Ft. Myers.
Given the area’s famous beaches, penchant for palm trees, and historical tourist appeal, I assumed Ft. Myers would be attractive. Sarasota set the bar really high, and from a passerby perspective, Ft. Myers just doesn’t come close in appeal. Arriving from the north, the Tamiami Trail actually skirts past the larger neighboring city of Cape Coral and really doesn’t feel like the entrance to a major regional city. Crossing the Caloosahatchee River into Downtown Ft. Myers, the city’s surprisingly low-lying skyline looks a bit clumsy and outdated. Once arriving in Downtown, we were met with a terrible traffic jam as the Tamiami Trail turned from a downtown street into a clogged suburban thoroughfare. After passing the Edison Mall, we left the traffic behind by cutting over to Interstate 75, which is several miles to the east. It was getting to be lunch time, so we decided to exit at Naples, a much more attractive city in Collier County, just south of Ft. Myers. Here we not only found food but also discovered a great beach.
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