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What’s new from Fort Myers – Islands,
Beaches and Neighborhoods

Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts headlines Island Hopper Songwriter Fest

LEE COUNTY, Fla. (U.S.A.) – Fort Myers’ Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods in Southwest Florida continues to provide new experiences for returning guests and first-time visitors. Great weather, shell-filled beaches, family fun and a chance to explore natural Florida along the Gulf of Mexico are a few of the experiences to be found in this destination. Check out for the most up-to-date vacation planning information.

Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts headlines Island Hopper 2022
Gary LeVox, frontman for Rascal Flatts is the headline songwriter/performer at the 8th Island Hopper Songwriter Fest, Sept. 16-25. LeVox is schedule to perform at 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 25, poolside at the Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina on Fort Myers Beach.

Tickets for the LeVox concert are available on the Island Hopper app or at Be sure to download the app to be entered for a chance to win a two-night stay at Pink Shell during the final weekend of Island Hopper, tickets to the LeVox concert and a $200 gift card.

The 10-day music festival features performances by some of the country’s most talented singer-songwriters and takes place in three areas, with the first weekend kicking off on Captiva Island, Sept. 16-18, then moving to downtown Fort Myers, Sept. 19-22, and ending with a weekend on Fort Myers Beach, Sept. 23-25. Most shows are free, with the exception of a few ticketed experiences, like our headliner shows. Stay up to date on festival news with the Island Hopper app or

Airport news
New air service at Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)
Breeze Airways: nonstop to Las Vegas (LAS) and Charleston, South Carolina (CHS), twice weekly.
Eurowings Discover: Frankfurt, Germany (FRA), weekly, year-round service
Alaska Airlines: Seattle (SEA) weekly, year-round service.

Attractions news
Wonder Gardens repainted, preserved popular roadside signs
Wonder Gardens in downtown Bonita Springs is a part of Old Florida that is nostalgic for generations of visitors. As a charitable zoological park and botanical garden, the attraction is home to rescued and non-releasable birds and reptiles nestled among sprawling banyan trees and plantings.

The attraction has repainted and reinstalled three large roadside signs that have been pointing visitors to the attraction for more than 60 years. The three large murals faded through the years and are now bright and protected. Also, a sign with giant painted alligator eyes that looked over the gardens has been repainted. John Merrifield, a Fort Myers artist and muralist of 30 years, was hired to work on the project.

As the oldest roadside attraction in Southwest Florida, the gardens opened in 1936 originally as the Everglades Reptile Garden.

Lovers Key State Park offers free events
August brings lots of events to Lovers Key that visitors will enjoy free with park entry. Fun topics include Walk on the Wild Side, Savvy Sea Turtles, Seashell Walk, Fishing Clinic, Munchin’ Manatees, All about Alligators and much more. Check them out along with dates and details at Reservations are required and may be made at

Upcycled Wonders at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Refuge
A selection of creations from the past two Project Refuge: A Couture Fashion Show Using Trash events is on display in the “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center Auditorium from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily through Aug. 30.

Project Refuge debuted in 2019 to celebrate the refuge’s 75th anniversary and raise awareness for recycling. The current, free “Upcycled Wonders: Project Refuge Designs Exhibition” showcases 18 of the fashions modeled at the events. Signage describes the creations and provides facts about waste and recycling and their impact on the environment.

Another free (parking fee) event from “Ding” Darling, a morning Mindfulness Beach Stroll at 8 a.m. on Aug. 20. Participants meet up at Gulfside City Park Beach. Reservations required at

Creatures of the Mound House
The Mound House is hosting special forums this month. Mound House Curator of Education Bobby Feldman presents “The Creatures of The Mound House: From Birds to Bugs” for adults on Aug. 9, with a wine-&-refreshments reception beginning at 5:30 p.m. and the program from 6 to 7 p.m. Learn about common animals found on the Mound House grounds while gaining a greater appreciation of suburban wildlife. Advance registration is required by calling 239-765-0865; $7 for Mound House members & $12 for non-members.

The iconic Mound House on Fort Myers Beach traces its roots to the ancient Calusa of more than 2,000 years ago. As the oldest standing structure on Estero Island, the Town of Fort Myers Beach operates the Mound House as a museum complex and cultural and environmental learning experience that offers numerous monthly tourism and environmental programs, including many for kids. Check the schedule at

Have fun and save with Fort Myers Sun Saver Passport
Fort Myers’ Islands, Beaches and Neighborhoods has launched a free mobile savings passport giving users access to exclusive deals on attractions, restaurants and experiences throughout the destination.

To participate:
• Sign up at
• The passport will be delivered to your mobile phone via text.
• Redeem it on your mobile phone at participating businesses.
• Visit the website for a complete list of attractions, restaurants and experiences.

Check in and have a good day: Fort Myers Discovery Challenge
Explore Fort Myers and surrounding areas to discover the arts and cultural attractions that make the islands, beaches and neighborhoods naturally unique. Embark on a guided tour of the Mound House that overlooks Estero Bay or walk the Calusa Heritage Trail on Pine Island. From the nationally recognized shell museum on Sanibel Island to the art galleries of Matlacha, there are so many ways to have a good day. Using your mobile device, check in to each location and you could find exclusive savings and deals. Even better, you can earn a variety of prizes.

In the news has named Sanibel and Captiva Islands among the “world’s best islands in the U.S.” Describing Captiva with its “low-key vibe and beaches with abundant shells,” it also mentions South Seas Island Resort.

With “equally beautiful beaches,” it mentions “off-beat fun” including the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. writes about prime birdwatching opportunities in the Fort Myers area year-round for locals and family travelers alike. The article includes Sanibel Captiva Audubon Society, J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. It also mentions the Sanibel Public Library where kids (and adults) may check out birding kits that include binoculars.

Annual festivals and event

Island Hopper Songwriter Fest
Sept. 16-25

Roar Offshore, Fort Myers Beach
Oct. 6-8

Art in the Wild Day, J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island
Oct. 13

37th Annual Oktoberfest, Cape Coral
Oct. 21-23 and 28-30

Alliance for the Arts 5th Annual Arts on Tap, Fort Myers
November TBD

38th annual Luminary Holiday Stroll
Sanibel Island Dec. 2 and Captiva Island Dec. 3.

Fort Myers Beach 34th annual Christmas Boat Parade
Dec. 3 beginning at 6 p.m. at Salty Sam’s Marina and will pass the restaurants on the back bay.

Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, Fort Myers
Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” in the Main Theatre Nov. 18 through Dec. 30;
Ha! Ha! Ho! The Holiday Show in Off Broadway Palm Dec. 10 through 25;
“Santa Claus the Musical” in the Children’s Theatre Nov. 29-Dec. 24.

Adventures in Paradise Holiday Cruises, Port Sanibel Marina, Fort Myers
Dec. 24 Santa Dolphin and Wildlife Cruise and a Christmas Eve sunset cruise.

2023 Events

38th Annual Cape Coral Festival of the Arts, Cape Coral
Jan. 14-15

ArtFest Fort Myers, downtown River District
Feb. 3-5

Edison Festival of Light Grand Parade, Fort Myers
Feb. 18

Spring training 2023
Boston Red Sox
JetBlue Park, Fort Myers

Minnesota Twins
Lee County Sports Complex/Hammond Stadium, Fort Myers

Boca Grande Film Festival
February TBD

86th Annual Sanibel Shell Show and Festival, Sanibel Island
March 2-4

24th Annual Southwest Florida Reading Festival, Fort Myers
March 4

ECHO Global Food and Farm Festival, North Fort Myers
March 7-11

65th Annual Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival, Fort Myers Beach
March 11-12

34th Annual “Ding” Darling Day, Lakes Park, Fort Myers
Conservation Carnival
April 22

17th Annual Fort Myers Beach International Film Festival
April TBD

13th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival
May 17-21

11th Annual “Ding” Darling & Doc Ford’s Tarpon Tournament, Sanibel Island
May 19

Captiva Pride Weekend
June 2-4

National Seashell Day
June 21

MangoMania Tropical Fruit Festival, Pine Island
July TBD

Fort Myers and surrounding areas includes Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel & Captiva islands, Boca Grande & Outer Islands, Pine Island, Matlacha, Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Estero, Alva, Buckingham and Lehigh Acres.

Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau
2201 Second Street, Suite 600, Fort Myers, FL 33901, USA
Visit our website www.VisitFortMyers to learn more!

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