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Lovers Key family swimming

Affordable Vacations in Fort Myers

Spend time where white sands meet blissful waters, creating a vacation in paradise without breaking the bank. Easy to reach and overflowing with free and affordable vacation activities, you can get more out of your travel dollars in Southwest Florida.

Go on an Art Walk.

On the first Friday of every month, wander through the downtown Fort Myers River District where lively streets are lined with local artists showcasing their work. Plus, you can download a free walking tour anytime that guides you around 19 public works of art throughout downtown Fort Myers.

Take a beach break.

While most beaches will have a parking fee, you’ll enjoy immediate access to wide-open shores and park amenities for a budget-friendly day out. Pack a picnic for the whole family or make it a romantic outing for two. Head to Causeway Islands Park where you can drive right up to the water’s edge, or try Dog Beach Park where the parking is always free (easier on weekdays) and dogs can run off leash. Browse the complete list and need-to-know details of Fort Myers beaches.

Join the sunset celebrations.

One of the best events on Fort Myers Beach takes place every weekend, and it’s entirely free. Times Square lights up at sunset with live music, street performers, food and, of course, magical views.

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See the manatees.

Depending on the time of year, there are many places to see manatees swimming in their natural habitats — no fee required! In winter, when the Gulf of Mexico drops below 68 degrees Fahrenheit, Manatee Park becomes a popular retreat for these large sea cows. In summer, they swim back out into open waters as the Gulf warms up again.

Take a hike.

Nominal parking fees get you access to popular areas like Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve and J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Neighborhoods throughout the region boast their own lesser-known parks and preserves, like Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve in Cape Coral, the rugged Telegraph Creek Preserve in Alva and Prairie Pines Preserve in North Fort Myers.

Photograph a lighthouse.

Capture a memorable image of a lighthouse protecting our shores. The iconic Sanibel Lighthouse stands proudly on the eastern edge of the island. On the southern tip of Gasparilla Island, Port Boca Grande Lighthouse & Museum details how it once guided ships into Charlotte Harbor. It also reveals local stories from the original Calusa inhabitants and other historical artifacts.

You can climb the historic Gasparilla Island Lighthouse on select days, following in the footsteps of past lighthouse keepers to find sweeping 360-degree views of the beach and Gasparilla Island. 

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Collect your own souvenirs.

Gathering seashells from the beaches is free and open to everyone (remember not to take any live shells.) Follow our guide to finding the most beautiful seashells to add to your collection.

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Celebrate with the locals.

With movies and concerts in the parks, dog-friendly Yappy Hour at Bell Tower, year-round farmers markets and so much more — get to know the heart of our neighborhoods with free and affordable special events in and around Fort Myers.