By Pat Roush, Paradigm Yacht Sales
Southwest Florida has just about the finest boating waters you will find anywhere. We have beautiful, protected waters. Great places for cruising, sightseeing, fishing, swimming, anchoring or whatever you enjoy. And there are plenty of restaurants, bars and overnight dockage spots within a short cruise from wherever you are. As a long-time resident and avid boater, I’m looking forward to sharing with you my favorite places to go and things to do on the water.
I’m sure that some who read these articles will be familiar with the destinations but may have forgotten just how nice they can be. And for newcomers to our coast, maybe this will help you enjoy your boating experience even more.
I thought we would start up the Caloosahatchee River a bit to the Ft Myers River District in the historic downtown area. By the way, in case you don’t know, the Caloosahatchee River is part of the Okeechobee Waterway System that connects the east and west coasts of Florida. That’s a really great trip if you feel a little more adventurous (I’ll cover that in another article).
Anyway, the River District, an easy boat ride east (about 15 miles up the river from the Gulf of Mexico) brings you to the City of Ft Myers Yacht Basin. Dockmaster Leif Lustig and his friendly staff allow complimentary daytime dockage, if available, with an easy walk to downtown. Or they can accommodate an overnight stay, at reasonable rates, if you prefer. Call the Yacht Basin at 239-321-7080.
Downtown Ft Myers has undergone a major facelift and revitalization over the past few years (with more on the way) and is proving to be a great boating destination. Once downtown, you can take advantage of a wide variety of restaurants (my favorite thing to do) historic structures and many on main and off main shops.
There is even an interactive butterfly house (sounds dorky but is actually pretty neat with a café on site) , The Southwest Florida Museum of History and even the Art of the Olympians building. And of course the Edison Ford Estate is just a few blocks away. If you’ve never done that tour, it is well worth your time.
The District has many planned events ranging from car and bike cruise-ins, to art and music walks, to outdoor concerts and is home to the Fort Myers Boat Show each November.
You are guaranteed not to go away hungry, thirsty or in need of entertainment. And, if you need a place for the night, the Hotel Indigo is right in the heart of downtown. There are also both slip and hotel accommodations a short walk away at the Legacy Harbour Marina (239-461-0775).
You can check on line at www.myriverdistrict.com for more details and event calendars.
Get that boat out and go have fun!