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Sand, Sun, Nightly Fun -- Enjoying a hot summer night of fun and frill on Fort Myers Beach

July 11, 2016
Melissa Schneider - Editor ( , Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

As the summer chugs along and Fort Myers Beach residents have a chance to rest and take a few breaths, many plan to take quick trips down to our sister island to the south, Key West. One of the quickest, most affordable and enjoyable ways to travel there is by sea aboard the Key West Express, departing from its dock along Main Street, San Carlos Island.

Rather than hop in the car or taxi and drive to the Main Street port of call early in the morning that day, several like to really make their trip a getaway staycation, dining, dancing and dreaming overnight at Fort Myers Beach's fantastic restaurants, lounges and resorts, really enjoying a night on the town before heading to the Southernmost Point the next day.

Dining the night away

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Fort Myers Beach is home to some of the best, most tastiest and award-winning restaurants in Southwest Florida.

One of the newest dining endeavors on the island, Sunset Beach Tropical Grill, at 1028 Estero Blvd., is just around the bend from the Matanzas Pass Bridge. Diners can sit back, relax, enjoy some fresh eats and watch the gulf waves lap against the shore.

Open for lunch and dinner, menu items are quick, simple yet savory dishes. Enjoy a juicy burger, steamy flatbread or custom-crafted sandwich, along with a refreshing cocktail and live music that's offered a few nights a week.

Just down the street from Sunset Beach is Matanzas on the Bay, along the Bay Walk community of the island, at 414 Crescent St. This eatery's Upper Deck boasts live music nightly, and Chef Dave Chetwin's menu items are sure to make your mouth water. The crew serves up the freshest seafood on a daily basis, along with the island's best known pizza and delicious drinks hot and cold.

Heading toward mid-island, one may enjoy a delectable dining experience at Fresh Catch Bistro, at 3040 Estero Blvd. This upscale eatery encourages all to indulge in a great bottle of wine, a fine bourbon or scotch and some of the best food and service on Fort Myers Beach.

Menu items offer a smattering of seafood and steaks, as well as a nice selection of vegetarian delights, and the full bar houses spirits and liquors from around the world, on top of an extensive wine list for the perfect complement to your meal.

Dancing the night away

Fort Myers Beach offers far more than just a place to eat. This seven-mile stretch of island also has some of the best hot spots to dance the night away.

The brightly painted two-story building at at 1131 First St., along Bay Walk, the lovingly named Nervous Nellie's doesn't just offer great amounts of food at great prices. This is one of the biggest hot spots visited daily, with live music offered every day of the week along the back bay deck, as well as upstairs in Ugly's Lounge, where it's happy hour all day, every day. This is the perfect spot to catch a live set by The Oysters, High Tide and other crowd faves. There's never a charge to enter the fun, either but make sure you have a companion nearby to help you with one of the many 60-ounce concoctions, such as the Nervous Nellie, the Marga Rona or the Don't Do It Alone Margarita they're humongous!

Walk down the road just a little bit (yes, it's close enough to walk) and you'll end up at The Cottage, 1250 Estero Blvd., an upstairs open bar that might seem a little smaller but this place sure can pack a musical punch. This is another great bar that offers live music nightly, where you can catch the likes of Steve Farst, the Bad Banditos, the New Vinyls, and other fantastic local musicians every day.

If you still finding yourself needing a chance to shake your money maker and throw your hands up like you just don't care, hop over the bridge to Parrot Key Caribbean Grill. This is yet another fantastic location that doesn't just offer a plethora of fresh menu options, but great live music, as well.

DJ Frank Torino has a fab following that gets the crowd to its feet, dancing the night away. Other talented entertainment includes Cadillac Blue and David Johnson, and Jazz Night rocks the establishment every Wednesday evening.

Dreaming the night away

Once your stomach is full and you've danced yourself tired, it's time to rest your head. As one would imagine, Fort Myers Beach is host to numerous resorts, hotels, motels and inns, whether one is looking to stay in an all-inclusive resort or a hideaway bungalow away from it all.

For top amenities that suit any lifestyle, the Pink Shell Beach Resort and Marina, 275 Estero Blvd., and DiamondHead Beach Resort, 2000 Estero Blvd., are two lush getaways that have it all, right at your fingertips.

At the Pink Shell, sophistication meets the Gulf of Mexico, with one- and two-bedroom condo-style suites and villas, an indulging spa, three expansive resort-style pools with waterfalls and other features, and dine-in and dine-out restaurants and lounges.

Rest your head in comfort, knowing the Pink Shell has regularly been awarded for best hotel in the area, as well as been the recipient of Certificates of Excellence.

DiamondHead is yet another island resort that has received a wealth of accolades over the years, including Reader's Choice award and best hotel/resort in the area. Breathtaking views are available from almost every corner of the lodge's perimeter, offering standard and premium suites that can accomodate up four people.

This resort also has a luxury spa, lounge, pool and cabana bar, with live music offered throughout the week.

Once you're well rested and ready for your boat trip south, take in a fresh-brewed cup of coffee from the Tuckaway Caf, 1740 Estero Blvd., Truly Scrumptious, 7205 Estero Blvd., or Beach Brew and Bakery, 401 San Carlos Blvd.



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