Bucket List Season

Making Summer Memories

Summer is always the perfect time to spend more time with your family-kids are out of school, vacations are scheduled, and days last longer. There is both time to slow down and sneak in those movie nights or lazy days by the pool and time to be productive and accomplish all those projects or “to do” lists. However, with our world dramatically slowing back in the spring, everyone had plenty of time to get a jump on those typical “at home” summer activities, check them off their lists, and start the process over again. As we are now fully immersed into summer and businesses are reopening, we are restless to get out and about and enjoy everything about our community that we have been missing. With so many options, its hard to decide what to do first, so here are the top ten items on our bucket list for our summer enjoyment and our emergence back into the wonderful life that is Fort Myers. We hope you’ll join us!

Billy’s Bike Rentals

Instead of exploring Sanibel Island by car, choose a faster and easier way that’s fun for the whole family.  Billy’s Bike Rentals is loaded with options to take care of everyone in your family, even those who haven’t learned to ride yet. Choose from individual bikes, bicycles built for two, or covered surreys so the entire family can share in the peddling.  Grab a map and enjoy all Sanibel has to offer on your own timetable: the historic lighthouse, Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, an invigorating dip in the ocean, or island shopping.

Bennett’s Fresh Roast

Start everyone’s day (weekend, summer vacation, etc) off right with a trip to Bennett’s, where you will find the BEST donuts around! With good old fashioned service, fresh roasted coffee, and from-scratch, hand-cut donuts, this will hands down become your new favorite breakfast stop. Apple fritters or classic glazed, s’mores or maple bacon, Boston crème or keylime, every flavor of donut will be an experience you cannot forget and will leave your mouth watering for more. 

Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium

A place for learning that’s fun, Calusa Nature Center spans over 100 acres of land with elevated boardwalks, a museum, and a planetarium. Families can get up close and personal with some of Florida’s native creatures with the center’s interactive, educational activities. Guests can view stunning butterflies in the aviary and permanently injured birds of prey in the Audubon Aviary. The planetarium offers an exciting celestial experience as well as stargazing programs and nighttime laser light shows. 

Pieces of Eight Pirate Cruise

Join Captain Jack, Peg Leg Meg, and Pick Pocket Pete in Estero Bay for some exciting pirate action. Beginning your adventure at Salty Sam’s Marina, you can dine at Parrot Key or Bootleggers. Then it’s time to set sail on the 65-foot Spanish Galleon-style ship to explore the Fort Myers waterways. The 90 minute cruise will entertain you with swashbuckling pirate antics, pirate paraphernalia such as eye patches, swords, water pistols, and hats, and the favorite drink of pirates-RUM!-for mom and dad.

The Shell Factory & Nature Park

This one location offers so much, everyone in the family should be pleased! The Nature Center is full of exotic and native animals (one might go as far to say that it’s better than a trip to the zoo!), offers a petting zoo, and has a peaceful butterfly garden. The Fun Park features water activities such as bumper and paddle boats, a zip line, a mini golf course, and arcade games. Captain Fishbones can satisfy your food cravings with it’s local cuisine. And last, but not least, The Shell Factory is the perfect place to shop for authentic Floridian souvenirs.

Lakes Regional Park

Nothing is better than free, and Lakes Park offers more than you can imagine for the cost of nothing! There is a Miniature Railroad that offer’s a 15 minute ride past a small scale village. The small water park and playground is a favorite for kids. There are 158 acres of freshwater quarry lakes where you can see exotic vegetation and the occasional alligator and several gardens where vivid flora grows in abundance. Gazebos, covered picnic areas, and large trees provide shade for relaxing or picnics with the family. If you do have a few spare dollars, there are boats and bikes available for rent. In addition, many cultural and music festivals are held here along with the Farmer’s Market on Friday mornings.

Magic Wind Adventure Sailing

Jump aboard “Star of Orion” with Captain Dan & Dian to enjoy a day at sea. Their 38-foot coastal cruiser will take you out into the Gulf of Mexico to see dolphins, sea turtles, and other incredible seat life. You can sit back, relax, and experience the wind and waves or you can try your hand at sailing by helping to set the sails and taking the wheel.

Flipper’s on the Bay

It’s time to head out to Lover’s Key, not for a beach day, but to check out the “best waterfront restaurant.” It overlooks the backbay waters of Estero Bay, not only providing an incredible ocean view, but offering exceptional cuisine at every meal. It is the only open-aired restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner on the island, so you can always dine for lunch and come back for dinner after a day of exploration. This is NOT your typical island food, but it’s fresh, classic items with flavorful sauces and perfectly cooked accompaniments will be the perfect meal for your family to bond over.

IMAG History and Science Center

An incredible museum meets aquarium hands-on experience that will entertain, inspire creativity, and delight children and adults alike. Exhibits and interactive spaces include the Dino Dig where kids can look for real fossils, the Sporty Science Arena to test physical skills, and Tiny Town for kids under twelve to use their imaginations. Guests can run through rainstorms, experience tropical storm force winds, and become a weather forecaster on TV. There are opportunities to get up close and personal with sea creatures and learn about marine life in Fisheye Lagoon, as well as chances to touch reptiles, mammals, and fish in designated touch tanks and during programs.

Love Boat Ice Cream

All anyone really needs is ice cream, so don’t let summer slip by without heading over to Love Boat. With locations on Sanibel and in Fort Myers, you can make your rounds and go multiple times a day if you want; serving the best ice cream around, no one would judge you! Their premium homemade ice cream has been a favorite for over 50 years. More than 85 flavors are offered, with both classic and season flavors, so you can count on them having exactly what you’re craving on a steamy Florida day.

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