Fort Myers

Today, visitors come to Fort Myers to tour Edison and Ford’s neighboring properties.


Welcome to Fort Myers

This Florida city was once known as the winter oasis of inventors Thomas Edison & Henry Ford

The “City of Palms,” as it’s sometimes called, is located along the Caloosahatchee River in Southwest Florida. As the name implies, Fort Myers was built around a Fort — one of the first in operation during Florida’s famed Seminole wars in the 19th century. 

One of the city’s biggest claims to fame is being the longtime winter residence of brilliant inventors Thomas Edison & Henry Ford. According to historians, Edison was traveling down the Caloosahatchee in 1885 when he stopped in present-day Fort Myers, swiftly fell in love, and purchased 13 acres of land. Several years later, when Edison invited friend Henry Ford down for a visit, he too fell in love with the area, snatching up the home next door. Today, visitors come to Fort Myers to tour Edison and Ford’s neighboring properties. 


What to Love

  • Historic River District filled with dining and entertainment options
  • Access to historic sites, nature preserves, and arts centers
  • Home to Southwest Florida International Airport

Local Lifestyle

Fort Myers has a population of around 87,000. Between 2010 and 2019, the city’s population underwent a substantial boom. The city is loved by retirees, who make up a quarter of the city’s overall count. A number of families also call Fort Myers home, as well as college students from Florida Gulf Coast University. 

Downtown Fort Myers, known as the River District, is walkable and bikeable. A number of historic buildings line the brick-paved streets, with the predominant architectural styles being Beaux-Arts & Neoclassical. 


Dining, Entertainment & Shopping

Fort Myers offers a plethora of dining, shopping, and entertainment options. Downtown is thick with eateries, with options ranging from Downtown House of Pizza, which serves up NY-style pizza in an open kitchen, or the Veranda, which offers Southern cuisine in two attached turn-of-the-century homes.  

Those looking to embrace the city’s inventor theme can dine at
Ford’s Garage, which serves craft beer and burgers in a setting meant to mimic a 1920’s service station, complete with a Model T suspended above the bar. 

Voted the top restaurant in Fort Myers on TripAdvisor is
Harold’s Restaurant, which serves farm-to-table dishes with a French twist.

For after-dinner entertainment, you’ll want to check out the
Sydney & Berne Davis Art Center (SBDAC), which features rotating exhibitions and musical performances, as well as a rooftop sculpture garden. 

One of the River District’s best shopping locations is
Franklin Shops. Over 100 eclectic vendors sell their wares in the two-story 1937 Hardware store. A more traditional shopping experience can be found at Edison Mall, home to stores like Dillards, Express, Victoria’s Secret, and Sunglass Hut.

Things to Do

Fort Myers accommodates a very active lifestyle; there’s always something to see and do. A visit to Edison and Ford Winter Estates is, of course, a must. Tour both houses, as well as the Edison Botanic Research laboratory. The site also puts up holiday lights every Christmas season, and in February, the city celebrates the Edison Festival of Lights. The festival lasts two weeks and culminates in the Grand Parade of Light. 

Sports fans will want to attend a game at
JetBlue Park, the Boston Red Sox’s Spring Training facility or Hammond Stadium, home to the Minnesota Twins. For a round of golf, Eastwood Golf Course and the Club at Pelican Preserve are one of many courses sure to hit the spot. 

Outdoor enthusiasts can also find plenty to do in Fort Myers. Make a trip to
Calusa Nature Preserve & Planetarium, a 105-acre property featuring two scenic trails, a butterfly house, a raptor aviary, and a planetarium. Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is also a great choice. The protected wetland spans 3,500 acres and features a 1.2 miles boardwalk through towering cypress trees.


Fort Myers is served by the School District of Lee County, as well as private institutions. Top educational opportunities include:
  • Canterbury School, PK-12, topnotch private college-prep school
  • Edison Park Creative and Expressive Arts School, PK-5, public school with high test scores
  • Fort Myers High School, 9-12, ranked #1 “Best Public High Schools in Lee County”
  • Florida Gulf Coast University, four-year university, considered one of Florida’s top public universities


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