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    Car hire in Fort Myers and Southwest Florida

    With its white sandy beaches, turquoise waters, fabulous year-round sunshine and a wealth of historic attractions, car hire in Fort Myers guarantees good access to the very best of the Southwest Florida region. The city derived part of its name from the old fort that was built to protect 19th-century settlers from the native Seminole Indians, and it’s an interesting fact that the Calusa Indians lived on nearby Sanibel Island for over 5,000 years until invading Europeans drove them away. History lovers are drawn to Ford Myers for its fascinating museums, sumptuous homes and unrivalled collection of early-20th century architecture, not to mention the world’s largest shell factory. The city’s star tourist attraction is the IMAG Science and History Center located on Cranford Avenue, which houses many interesting exhibits and hands-on activities such as stroking a stingray, watching a 3-D film and solving over 60 interactive puzzles. And nowhere captures the essence of early 20th-century American bourgeoisie life than the exclusive Burroughs Home and Gardens district, which is open daily for guided tours. Following the death of his first wife, the great American inventor Thomas Edison moved to Fort Myers in 1885, sharing the same neighbourhood as his close friend, the hugely successful car manufacturer Henry Ford. The popular Edison and Ford Winter Estates Tour incorporates a museum, botanical garden and the two men’s historical homes, and visitors can even see Edison’s famous research laboratory, which appears exactly as it would have done in his time, along with an early collection of Ford’s cars. With its long sandy beach and laid-back atmosphere, Sanibel Island is a short 3-mile causeway ride from Fort Myers, making it a pleasant half-day excursion from the city. Two-thirds of the island is a nature reserve, including the J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge (one of the Fort Myers area’s top attractions), which can be explored on foot, by tram, bicycle, kayak or car hire from Fort Myers. Just 8 miles due south of Fort Myers, Lakes Regional Park is another great place to cool off on a hot summer’s day with two splash parks, boats and kayaks for hire, and 2.5 miles of winding paths ideal for hiking and cycling, making it the ideal place for families with young children. Alligators, otters, turtles, bobcats, wild boar, pelicans, ospreys, egrets and herons are just a few of the inhabitants you might see whilst out and about in the Fort Myers area, especially at the Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve with its 1.2-mile boardwalk and viewing platforms. Fort Myers has one of the most fascinating downtown districts in the whole of Southwest Florida, with enough bars, clubs, restaurants, boutiques, art galleries and alfresco cafés to satisfy the most discerning visitor, particularly along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River. And each year the historic centre plays host to some of the liveliest events in the region, including the Celtic Festival, Artsfest and the amazing Edison Festival of Light.

    Car rental in Fort Myers is a very convenient and comfortable means of travelling, not only through the Southwest Florida region but also to other popular cities in Florida, such as Miami, Tampa and Orlando. And Auto Europe offers some of the best deals on the global car rental market, so start planning your journey with us by downloading our USA driving guide. For peace of mind, please visit our Fort Myers car hire reviews page to see the ratings and comments posted by some of Auto Europe's previous customers who visited Fort Myers and the rest of south-west-Florida.

    Traffic and parking

    Fort Myers is a bright, airy city with plenty of big wide-open roads and motorways that rarely become busy except during the morning and evening rush-hours. The warm season attracts plenty of beach-goers, so expect a lot more traffic during the summer months. The Southwest Florida coast is easily reached via the I-10 and I-95 highways which connect indirectly with the scenic I-75 that skirts the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel. This enchanting stretch of coastline is also served by the US 41 highway that runs perfectly parallel with the I-75 down to the famous Everglades and Miami. Parking in Fort Myers is very well organized, especially in the popular River District where all legal parking spaces have white visible tick marks on the road at both the front and back of the space. The city’s excellent Zip Zone parking system allows visitors with a car hire in Fort Myers free parking for up to two hours each day, whether the vehicle stays in the same spot or not. Please note that drivers must move their cars out of the Zip Zone after 2 hours or they will be fined. To park for more than 2 hours, it’s best to park in the garages or at one of the city’s many 10-hour meters available. The 2-hour and 10-hour meters accept both coins and credit cards, but drivers opting to pay by credit card are advised to download the Passport Parking app to their mobile phone and following the payment instructions. The good news is that after 5pm Monday to Friday and on weekends and public holidays, there’s no need to put any money at all in the meter. There are plenty of parking garages in and around the city (such as the Main Street and City of Palms garages) open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, with both cash and credit cards accepted. Parking permits for on-street and garage parking can be purchased at Denison Parking located at 2123 First Street.

    Geographic Information

    Fort Myers is the geographic hub of the Southwest Florida region, which stretches all the way from the white sandy beaches of Englewood in the north to the picturesque fishing villages of Everglades City and Chokoloskee in the south. The whole area is a rich mosaic of beautiful ecosystems set within the many parks and nature reserves that exist across the entire Greater Fort Myers and Naples district. With over 50 miles of uninterrupted beaches, and some of the most spectacular scenery to be found in the whole of the southern states, Fort Myers is a land brimming with magnificent hiking trails and glorious sunsets, with year-round mild temperatures that very rarely rise to 100 °F (38 °C) or lower than freezing.

    Fort Myers Airport

    Fort Myers Airport (officially known as Southwest Florida International Airport) is located southeast of the city of Fort Myers, roughly three miles east of the I-75 interstate highway (exit 128) and south off Treeline Ave. It is the second busiest single-runway airport in the United States after San Diego International Airport, a fact that has prompted a second runway to be built in 2020/21. Major domestic carriers fly in and out of Fort Myers airport with direct services from Atlanta, Chicago, New York and other important hubs. International services operate to and from places as far and wide as Canada, Mexico and Germany.

    Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW)
    Address: 11000 Terminal Access Road, Suite 8671, Fort Myers, Florida
    Website: Fort Myers Airport
    Telephone: +1 239-590-4800

    Public Transportation

    Besides Passport (a service for people of limited mobility), local public transport company LeeTran operates a total of 24 bus routes. Use routes 15 and 20 for downtown Fort Myers and route 50 for Southwest Florida International Airport. Please note that several hotel companies offer complimentary shuttle services between the airport and downtown Fort Myers, including Baymont Inn, Best Western, Comfort Inn, Marriott, Hilton, Travelodge and Holiday Inn.

    Useful links

    Fort Myers Tourism Information