Beach Vacation Blog - A blog about vacations in Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs along with things to do and places to stay in Southwest Florida.

Beach Vacation Blog

A blog about vacations in Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs along with things to do and places to stay in Southwest Florida.

Paradise on Earth

Posted by Barb On February 26th

Got the winter blues? Want to transport yourself to a warm, sunny beach? Thinking about the serene coast of Southwest Florida?

We can help! Normally we like to tell you how gorgeous our tropical paradise is, and we’re clearly un-biased ;) . But isn’t it better coming from a guest’s mouth?

It’s been a little while since we posted a recent guest’s experience. So when Francine Perkins recently commented on our Facebook post that follows, we were so excited when she agreed to share her experience in Fort Myers Beach, FL.

In case you didn’t see her comment, on Feb 17th she said that it was 2°F (-16°C) in Vermont, but that she was in Fort Myers Beach just a few weeks prior and “it was so nice as always!” At that point we popped the question “Would you be interested in sharing your story?” and to our delight she said yes! So without further ado, here’s Francine.

~Barb

Fort Myers Beach – Our Paradise on Earth

We saw dolphins from the coast!

Dolphins seen from the coast of Ft Myers Beach

For the last 4 years, my husband and I and our dog have been vacationing in Fort Myers Beach. We were drawn to the area because there were a fair amount of pet-friendly rental properties but mostly, because the beaches were pet-friendly. Upon our first visit to the island, we felt so welcome and at ease. The people, both visitors and locals, were so friendly we felt like we were at a home away-from-home.

My husband went to the local barber for a haircut and said he felt like he lived there his whole life. The gentlemen who were there treated him as they knew him. We soon figured out that was the “island way” on Fort Myers Beach.

Fort Myers Beach is our little piece of heaven. The beach is extremely clean and refreshing. The white, sugary sand is so soft and we love to look at all of the different shells that wash up on shore. We have found plenty of sand dollars and star fish which make lovely collectables for our New England home. Our dog loves to spend the days at the beach sunning and watching people. She gets lots of attention and makes plenty of friends. The beach is our place to rest, decompress and recharge from our very busy lives back home – as the mountains are healing so is the ocean.

We have stayed in several different areas of the Island and can honestly say that we feel comfortable any time of day on Fort Myers Beach whether it is early morning runs or late night strolls after dinner at one of the many fine restaurants. We really enjoy walking to Times Square at night with the dog to get an ice cream. After a couple of years, the dog still isn’t sure how she feels about the Mime who entertains evenings in the courtyard. ☺ The two of them are a crowd pleaser every year!

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If you’re staying in Fort Myers Beach or Bonita Springs, Florida but you haven’t a clue as to the best restaurants in town, you’ve just found the perfect insider’s guide. And the best part? It’s FREE!

One of the first five questions we are asked by guests at the check-in office is “Where is a great place to eat? We’re famished!” After a long day of traveling, we want to make it as easy as possible on you to find not just any restaurant, but the best restaurants closest to your vacation rental in Fort Myers Beach or Bonita Springs.

We’ve compiled 14 AWESOME restaurants in the guide above and you’re welcome to download a free copy. Inside, we give you suggestions on which entrees and appetizers to try as well as features that are pertinent to each restaurant. You’ll learn about waterfront restaurants, fine dining establishments, best place to catch a sunset, Mexican food, and much more.

Don’t feel like giving up your name and email address to download the free guide? No worries. We’ll hook you up with all the info anyway, just because we like you. :)

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Courtside Steakhouse

Posted by Barb On February 3rd

If you’re hungry for steak — and not just any steak, but top-grade certified Angus beef cooked to perfection — then you must visit the Courtside Steakhouse at Sanibel Harbour Resort.

Courtside Steakhouse - Fort Myers, FL

For vacation rentals close to Courtside Steakhouse, stay at one of our North Island, Ft Myers Beach rentals.

Ok, so I realize that I’m supposed to be showcasing our favorite restaurants in Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs. But I absolutely insisted that we include this restaurant in Fort Myers because of the mouthwatering steak! It’s to die for, seriously.

Courtside Steakhouse offers a wide selection of favorite menu items like lump crab cakes, Caesar salad, and onion soup. You can order your steak by classic cut, if you prefer — there’s the filet mignon, the N.Y. strip, and the bone-in ribeye. Or, try one of the specialty steak options, like steak Oscar (a halved filet with jumbo lump crab and asparagus, drizzled with a Bernaise sauce) or steak Diane (a halved filet covered with sautéed shallots, shitake mushrooms, and a cabernet demi-glace).

On the side, we especially like the caramelized Brussels sprouts or truffled creamed corn, and you can choose a wine to pair with your meal from the restaurant’s 1,200-bottle cellar. For dessert, we love the bananas foster or classic cheesecake, as well as the selection of specialty coffees.

As mentioned earlier, the resort is located in Fort Myers on the way to Sanibel Island, just before you reach the Causeway. It’s about a 30 minute drive from Fort Myers Beach, depending on the time of year and where you’re located on the beach. But it’s well worth the drive!

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Coconut Jack’s

Posted by Barb On January 20th

Coconut Jack’s is an all-time favorite for many beach residents and visitors!

Coconut Jack's - Bonita Springs, FL

To rent vacation homes and condos located near Coconut Jack’s, click here.

This waterfront restaurant sits right on the back bay, and its panoramic windows offer great views of the water and mangroves. You can also eat outside in the open-air seating that looks directly over the water.

The vibe is upscale-casual in the way that Florida does best. Men can wear nice shirts and shorts, and women will be fine in a sun dress or nice shorts. The food is a mix of American and Caribbean. Try the lobster and shrimp ceviche, the Mahi-Mahi fish tacos, or the surf-and-turf.

And don’t miss the pulled pork nachos! They are outrageously delicious. For dessert, be sure to order the coconut cream pie or the homemade key lime pie.

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Wylds Café

Posted by Barb On January 6th

Wylds Café offers an elegant take on modern American cuisine in a casual atmosphere that still manages to feel refined.

Wylds Cafe restaurant - Bonita Springs, Florida

Wylds is merely a 5 minute drive from our beachfront condos in Bonita Springs.

The walls are covered by works from local artists, and the low-lighting and earth tones lend a rich, intimate vibe.

Some of the restaurant’s best-known menu items include pan seared scallops, parmesan-encrusted walleye pike, and cranberry barbecue boneless short ribs, plus a good selection of fresh fish and steaks as well as vegetarian options. We especially love the kumomoto oysters on the half shell with horseradish crème fraîche and American caviar.

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Figs Grille

Posted by Barb On December 19th

Figs Grille in Bonita Springs offers an exceptional dining experience with menu items pulled from Continental and Mediterranean cuisines.

Figs Grille - Bonita Springs

Click here –> for Bonita Beach vacation rentals located close to Figs Grille.

Appetizers include baba ganoush; pan-fried goat cheese served with arugula, figs in port wine, and a lingonberry reduction; and a mezze platter served with hummus, vegetarian spreads, and homemade yogurt mixed with fresh cucumbers and mint.

For your main course, try the braised lamb shank and orzo or the roasted duck with fig chutney and pistachios in a port wine sauce. For diners with food sensitivities, the menu clearly labels which items are gluten free, and there are several options specifically for vegetarians — a meat-free moussaka and a vegetable tagine. There are even dishes that cater to children, like cheese ravioli and chicken parmesan. Figs Grille has an extensive wine list that includes both American and international varietals.

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A Table Apart

Posted by Barb On December 10th
A Table Apart, Bar

Want to stay close to A Table Apart? Check out these Bonita Springs vacation rentals.

A Table Apart offers a unique, global menu in a fine dining setting that is not stuffy or formal. Chef Jeff Acol is originally from Hawaii, and he brings an appreciation for a wide variety of foods and a commitment to sustainable ingredients. In fact you may come to find out that the seafood you eat, he caught himself!

He only serves seafood that is not considered overfished, and his natural meats and poultry come from farm-to-table programs. His menu items reflect his global tastes, like the appetizers Madeira-infused chicken liver pate and Mediterranean eggplant caviar. His entrees include heirloom pork chops, free range chicken, whole snapper, and organic salmon.

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The Fish House Restaurants of Southwest Florida

Posted by Barb On November 26th
The Fish House Restaurant Logo

Vacation rentals near the Fish House Restaurants are located on the North Island and Bonita Springs.

The Fish House Restaurant has long been a go-to destination for locals and visitors. The casual island vibe makes it the perfect vacation lunch or dinner destination. Known for its fresh fish, the restaurant offers a variety of classic and signature seafood dishes. Try the stuffed grouper, the lobster tacos, or the seared ahi tuna. Have someone in your group who doesn’t like seafood? No problem! The Fish House also offers great burgers, pastas, and salads. Don’t forget to order the mud pie for dessert!

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Bayfront Bistro

Posted by Barb On November 12th

Bayfront Bistro is one of the premier dining destinations on Fort Myers Beach.

Bayfront Bistro dining room

Want to stay close to Bayfront Bistro? Reserve a mid-island Fort Myers Beach rental today.

The restaurant faces the back bay and offers unparalleled views of the water. Each night around sunset, a flock of white ibises flies overhead, and if you’re lucky you might catch a glimpse of the single scarlet ibis among them.

This is just one of the many elements that makes a night at Bayfront Bistro so unforgettable. To start, try the sweet fire shrimp – fresh gulf shrimp in a spicy aioli served in a crispy wonton bowl – or one of the bistro’s salads.

We especially love their signature salad, with baby field greens, gorgonzola cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, and walnuts.

For entrees, the bistro does both steak and seafood well. Try the Mahi-Mahi wrapped in a banana leaf with fresh herbs or the classic New York strip.

They also offer an award-winning pot roast that has a cult following in the county.

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Flippers on the Bay

Posted by Barb On October 28th
Flippers on the Bay - Ft Myers Beach, FL

Stay close to Flippers on the Bay in these Lover’s Key Beach rentals.

One visit to this open-air restaurant and tiki bar and you’ll know why it was voted the #1 Best Waterfront Dining Restaurant in Fort Myers in 2014. Flipper’s on the Bay offers outdoor seating and a spectacular panorama of the blue waters of Estero Bay where you can watch dolphins play as you enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner.

The restaurant is located on Black Island at Lovers Key Resort, a five minute drive south of Fort Myers Beach on Estero Boulevard, adjacent to Lovers Key State Park. If you decide to come by water, Flipper’s is at Channel Marker 4, Lat: 26.406.255 Long : 81.876. There are plenty of mooring anchors for you to tie up to, and the restaurant’s casual atmosphere means you’ll fit right in in your boating attire.

Flipper’s can get busy, especially during season. Although they don’t take reservations, they do offer call ahead seating. Just give them a call before you leave, and if there’s a wait they’ll place your name on the list. When you arrive, check in at the host stand and they’ll let you know how much time is left before your table is ready.

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