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Island with a bird

Where to see nature’s greatest shows

Fort Myers Nature & Wildlife

In Southwest Florida, nature thrives in its diverse ecosystems, and your views of it shift throughout the seasons. Manatees are drawn to inland rivers and canals in cooler months and move toward the Gulf of Mexico when the water is warm. Cruise around on the water to spot dolphins and other marine animals playing in the wild. Sea turtle nesting season is a critical period on our beaches between May and October. Every year, migratory birds arrive here in droves, and you’ll be able to spot reptiles lurking in nature refuges. Welcome to the untamed beauty of Fort Myers’ islands, beaches and neighborhoods — where wildlife thrives in its purest form.

One of the friendliest animals you’ll encounter, the Florida manatee is also one of the Gulf’s most iconic creatures. Most people never forget their first experience with these gentle giants. Drawn to our coastline by the warm waters, keep an eye out when you’re in a kayak in case one surfaces next to — or accidently under — your boat.

Sharing the manatee’s love of warmth, the dolphin has also made a positive name for itself in our waters. You can often see them playing in the wake of a boat or casually swimming off the coast and in backbay waters.

Between May 31 and October 31, female sea turtles return to the sand to lay their eggs on our beaches, marking the beginning of sea turtle nesting season. This natural phenomenon is a highly delicate process, and many local organizations help to monitor and keep each nest safe. There are ways visitors and residents can help too.

The most sought-after wildlife to photograph is our abundance of migratory birds. If you’re interested in serious bird-watching, pack your camera and head to areas like J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. You might even see bobcats and river otters patrolling the mangroves and other habitats, like nature intended.

Discover more about Fort Myers

Imagine cruising down the river and spotting a massive silvery fish leaping from the shallows. Peak tarpon fishing season is upon

Located west of Fort Myers, Cape Coral is known for its 400 miles of saltwater and freshwater canals — yet the adventures you find

‘Tis the season for wildlife viewing in Manatee Park. Come winter, this Fort Myers marine refuge is one of the best places to see

Cape Coral Cape Coral

If you haven’t ever seen a burrowing owl out in nature, you’ll go wild in the Fort Myers area! They’re the smallest owl species —

You’ll find plenty of points of entry into the water around Fort Myers and its nearby islands through coastal beaches and launch

On the northern shore of the Caloosahatchee River, North Fort Myers draws you into a secluded area where nature is the star of the

Brick-paved streets and public art add charm to the laid-back atmosphere of Fort Myers’ downtown, known to locals as the historic

Fort Myers is the birthplace of National Seashell Day, which coincides with the first day of summer, and locals love to “shell

Even if you want to spend every moment on the shores of Fort Myers, it's worth it to spend some time on land exploring the area's

Thanks to our position on the West Coast of Florida, the warm Gulf waters gently wash hundreds of thousands of sea shells ashore

Let’s take a moment to spotlight the beautiful migratory birds that choose to make Southwest Florida their home in the winter

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