The Downtown River District of Fort Myers really comes alive during the monthly Art Walk and Music Walk events. Art Walk is held the first Friday of each month, where from 6-10 p.m. Galleries, museums and shops stay open late, with special exhibits and activities. There's even a free trolley to take you to shops and galleries outside the immediate downtown area. While some shops have live entertainment during Art Walk, the music really takes center stage on the third Friday of each month for Music Walk. Starting at 7 p.m. performers and bands take to the streets and to dozens of venues, playing jazz, rock and roll, top 40 and everything in between. Many shops and galleries offer wine, while bars and restaurants often sell drinks from booths set up on the sidewalk in front of their establishments.
Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: The action picks up during the Fall season for monthly Art Walk and Music Walks, on the streets of downtown Fort Myers.
Gina's expert tip: Street parking is free after 5 p.m., but show up early if you want to find a spot.
The Edison & Ford Winter Estates cover more than 20 acres along the Caloosahatchee River, offering a glimpse into the lives of two of America's greatest inventors, Thomas A. Edison and Henry Ford. The Edison Estate is 15-thousand square feet of fascinating exhibits from the nations most influential inventor. You'll get to see some of Edison's most famous finds such as the light bulb, telegraph, telephone, phonography, x-ray machine and more. You may also be surprised to discover more than 1000 of his lesser-known patents, as well as personal photographs and other items. Henry Ford's original Model T is also there, a gift to Edison from his friend and fellow winter resident. It's a must-see any time of the year but fall is particularly pleasant as it is more temperate.
Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: The waterfront estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford seem a little more breezy this time of year; the history is always fascinating.
Gina's expert tip: The self-guided audio tour is a good value, allowing you to explore the estates at your own pace.
Gator Mike's is ideal for the active and competitive family. Originally founded by Boston Red Sox left fielder, Mike Greenwell, with the intention of giving kids a fun, safe place to hangout, the sports entertainment complex has been renamed and is bringing in fresh activities. One tradition that remains is a spooky Halloween event. Each year is a different theme featuring scary haunted walks and houses. You can also enjoy arcade games, go cart racing, paint ball and miniature golf. And even thought it's not baseball season, grab a bat, head to the cages, and take a swing at both slow and fast pitches. Add to the list a sports bar and a gift shop and you have one well-rounded place for family fun.
Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: The theme may change every year but the haunted trails always have frightful twists; the rest of the park offers less scary entertainment.
Gina's expert tip: A variety of passes are available for purchase depending on what you want to experience here
This space doubles as a nature center and museum, spanning more than 100 acres. And in the fall, it becomes haunted. The elevated boardwalks wind through the native vegetation where you can catch glimpses of seasonal changes and even see wildlife. The dark wilderness is also a perfect setting for the annual Haunted Walk that takes place in October. The screams echoing through the brush get your heart pumping as you wait your turn to set foot on the path. There are also less scary, Friendly Forest nights for the little ones. If you prefer indoor activities, the planetarium offers special laser light shows this time of year (like Dark Side of the Moon) along with educational programs on the planets.
Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: See the change of seasons along the elevated boardwalks; they make a perfect setting for spooky, Haunted Walks at Halloween.
Gina's expert tip: Bring bug spray if you plan to explore the grounds.
Downtown Fort Myers has a quite a rich history and True Tours is a fun way to learn about it. Local experts regale visitors with intriguing information about the city's famous residents, old buildings and well-photographed streets. But during the fall the tours take a hair raising turn. The Ghost Tour not only offers history but also introduces you to the spirits that many believe, still reside in some of these old buildings. Many strange occurrences have been reported during the tours so beware, and be sure to bring your camera. If you don't capture a ghost, the tour does allow time for you to grab great shots of the charming downtown streets and architecture.
Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: This walking tour of downtown Fort Myers not only reveals the area's history but also its paranormal activity.
Gina's expert tip: Walking tours of the fishing/art village of Matlacha are occasionally added to the calendar this time of year
Ice hockey does exist in Southwest Florida and the Everglades prove it with their loyal following. The team first took to the ice in 1998, winning it's first ECHL Championship in 2012. Fans flock to the arena every season to not only watch the action on the ice but also to participate in the many special events dreamed up by the creative marketing team. Although the area is home to many northerners and midwesterners who grew up with hockey, locals are often less familiar with a sport involving jackets and ice. The Everglades often hold hockey clinics and tours which serve to educate local fans which in return adds to their loyalty.
Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: Hockey fans wait all summer for the ice to form and the Florida Everblades season (ECHL league) to kick off.
Gina's expert tip: Check the website for game promotions and special events that include giveaways, themes and entertainment.
There is something about the fall that beckons one to be outdoors, drinking beer, watching football and perhaps playing a game of corn hole. Fort Myers Brewing Company has all of this and more. There are TV's to watch sporting events and oversized games like Jenga and the bean bag toss, to keep you company while you sample the award-winning brews from the more than 20 taps. While there is seating both inside and out, patrons often bring their own fold-up chairs and sit in the parking lot of this space located in an industrial park. At least one mobile kitchen is on-site every day the brewery is open, with a popular food truck rally on Thursdays and once a month on Saturdays. Check the brewery's Facebook page for the food truck and event calendar.
Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: Sitting outside, drinking local beer, watching football, it doesn't get more "fall" than this in Southwest Florida.
Gina's expert tip: Look for a Panther Crossing sign on Daniels Parkway as a marker for the turn into this obscure industrial park
Owned by fourth-generation farmers, Southern Fresh is on valuable real estate along the Daniels Corridor in Fort Myers. The family sold much of the land for high-end development but kept this small parcel, now a hot spot for local agritourism. The farm always has some kind of fall festival and is full of seasonal produce; the pumpkin patch makes for great photos. Plants are grown in traditional methods as well as vertical containers. You might even get to taste real Florida sugar cane when you visit as well as local bison and beef. Kids love it here. Not only is there a playground but also a petting zoo. Adults love it too, especially the on-site micro brewery.
Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: Agritourism is growing in popularity and Southern Fresh embraces it with more than produce, but also fun activities for the entire family.
Gina's expert tip: Friday nights at the farm include entertainment and food trucks.
Lakes Park is the perfect backdrop for festivals and events like the one that takes place each Fall. The Fall Festival features all kinds of seasonal fun such as hayrides, pumpkin patches, blow-up displays, games and more. The annual scarecrow decorating contest adds an element of creativity and decorations can be found throughout the park. It's a good time to take a 15-minute miniature train ride past a small scale village and its spooky landscape. The 2.5 miles of paved and unpaved paths at Lakes Park include workout stations, encounters with wildlife, and boat and bike rentals too. A weekly Farmers Market also resumes during the fall season, full of local produce, products and more. Check the website and social media pages for the most up to date schedule.
Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: The Fall Festival is particularly fun with scarecrow decorating contests, pumpkin patches and games for the entire family.
Gina's expert tip: While the Fall Festival is free, parking is $1 an hour
The Fort Myers area is quite popular with German tourists and German Americans; perhaps this is one reason why the community is home to the biggest Oktoberfest celebration in the state and the second largest in the nation according to organizers. Some 40,000 visitors walk through the doors over its six-day (two-weekend) run. Queens are crowned, there are parades, and bands direct from Germany for non-stop entertainment. The Biergarten is a festival highlight, full of tables, imported and domestic beers, German wines and spirits, and aromatic food. Set up over 15-acres are huge tents, three stages, two dance floors and a carnival area. Dancers put on traditional shows, while folks who've spent a lot of time in the Biergarten put on an entirely different kind of show. Prost!
Recommended for Things to Do in Fall because: This six-day party is the biggest Oktoberfest celebration in Florida. Bands are flown in from Germany, there's non-stop dancing, drinking, food and great fun.
Gina's expert tip: Although it's a family-friendly event, leave your pets at home