Now that we have no car, we have no home port to return to. Still, we must provision, do laundry, take on water, and do assorted chores on land. Fort Myers Beach is an excellent place to do so.
The city mooring field is administered by the Matanzas Inn, just under the bridge onto Estero Island. For $15 bucks per day one can grab a safe mooring, get rid of your trash, fill water jugs, and take a nice, long hot shower. There is free fresh water at the dinghy dock, but bring your own hose. The showers are nice and kept fairly clean. There are only two, so sometimes you may have to wait. The laundry room is air-conditioned and has free wifi.
A huge plus for this area is the ability to take your dinghy directly to the grocery store. Topp’s Supermarket is shown in the Google Maps pic. Occassionally there are some vagrants or other seedy looking characters in the area, but it’s very convenient.
If you wish, the ocean-side beach is just a few blocks away. There are many good restaurants within easy walking distance. We’ve decided our favorite place to hang out is the Tiki Bar at the Lighthouse Resort. $5 lunch specials and a good happy hour. Customers are free to use the pool and also the wifi. Our second favorite is Petey’s Upper Deck at the Matanzas Inn. Good live music every night and the best pizza on the island.The beer is nice and cold. Opens at 4:00 p.m. during the week.
The harbor can sometimes be busy with pirate ships, shrimp boats and the Key West Express. If you need civilization, you get the noise and bustle that comes with it. Overall, if you’re are traveling the west coast of Florida, it’s a must stop. Bridge clearance is 65 feet and waters depths are sufficient for deep draft vessels. Pumpouts are free with a paid mooring ball.
All necessary marine services are nearby, or within a trolley ride. There’s plenty to see and do if you end up hanging out for more than a few days to re-provision. Don’t pass it by.
Pic for Topp’s Supermarket wouldn’t paste, here’s the Google Maps link:
Hmmm …this “vagrant” status you speak of sounds appealing! From Websters- “one who has no established residence and wanders idly from place to place without lawful or visible means of support”. Where do I sign up?
Weren’t you recently thinking about chucking it all and living under a bridge?
Good blog Ed. I like Ft. Myers Beach.
Thanks for the blog. I will stop there again!
Is there a good ramp and long-term parking for two vehicle and trailer nearby?
(I have trailersailored to Cape Coral — nice area…!)
I don’t even have a car, so I don’t know for sure. Must be a ramp, but trailor storage on the island is problematic. A few of the hotels have space. Try Matanzas Inn.