Clutching the great arc of the Caloosahatchee River as it rolls down to meet Estero Island and the green-blue Gulf of Mexico, Fort Myers is perhaps mainly known as the home of Thomas Edison's winter estate. However, it's also an easy-to-access stepping stone to stunning beaches and more off-beat Sunshine State draws. Check out this guide to get booking the very best Fort Myers rentals out there.

The sorts of Fort Myers rentals to choose from

The first step in securing the perfect Fort Myers vacation rental is deciding exactly what types of getaway you're after. Will it be a five-star villa with an infinity pool and a yacht mooring? Will it be a cheap and cheerful condo with alluring shared facilities?

Condos are everywhere in Fort Myers

The undisputed king of the vacation rental scene in Fort Myers is the condominium. Popular right across Florida, this sort of escape is versatile and flexible. Want something with multiple bedrooms for the family? That's easy. Looking for a compact flat with self-catering? You bet. And then come the extra frills that are available in condo complexes – swimming pools, spas, golf courses.

Floridian bungalows for romance

One of the great things about plumping for Fort Myers over the glitz of Naples or the affluent beach communities of Sanibel is that this corner of the Florida coast tends to get smaller crowds. That makes it the perfect backdrop for more low-key and chilled cottages. Find them tucked into the historic neighborhoods close to downtown, with creaking porches and flapping stars-and-stripes flags out front.

Deluxe villas in the Fort Myers region

Anyone on the quest for a dash of pampering down south will be pleased to find myriad villas in these parts. Only, you might need to stray from the Downtown core to find them. They are typically sat on marinas by the Caloosahatchee River or pop up on the waterways of the Gulf's barrier islands. Slick, modern stays mingle with Spanish-styled haciendas in this category, and most boast private swimming pools.

Vacation rentals in Fort Myers, Florida – an area guide

Zero in on the part of Fort Myers that's likely to have the home away from home that will capture your imagination. You can do it with help from the pointers below, which flit from the historic River District to the sparkling islands and beaches on the nearby Gulf of Mexico.

See the city sights around First Street

Coming to tinker with the inventions and see the preserved interiors of the intriguing Edison & Ford Winter Estates? Want to dine on prime seafood buffets by piers on the Caloosahatchee River? There's no beating First Street, which has townhouses and condos within reach of Fort Myers's main sights.

Fort Myers Beach – an escape to the Gulf

Spring breakers bounce between the bars of Times Square while families hit up the salt-washed cottages along Estero Boulevard, all over on the coastal side of Fort Myers – Fort Myers Beach. If you've got your heart set on a sun-filled trip with dolphin spotting and sailing, this is surely the place to aim for.

An alternative in Cape Coral

The vacation vibes are always in full flow over in Cape Coral. Just a little down the river and on the northern banks, this villa-brimming city is laced with 100s of miles of canals. That means it's a doozy if you're bringing the yacht in tow and need a house with its own jetty. And there are golf courses, country clubs, and sailing schools aplenty.

How to grab great deals in Fort Myers rentals

No one likes to fork out dollars they don't have to fork out for a vacation rental, wherever it may be. Down in Fort Myers, those extra cents could go towards scuba trips, deep-sea fishing expeditions, or just some new-spanking beachwear. That makes the tips below all the more important.

Beachfront isn't always the way to go

The priciest Fort Myers vacation home rentals are almost always located down by the sands of Estero Island or in the well-to-do communities of Sanibel Island. It's easy to see why – they offer coastal views and beach access in most cases. To save cash, you can hop a few streets back, or, better yet, consider a letting that's in the suburbs a short drive from the shore.

Try long-term rental contracts

One of the joys of opting for Fort Myers vacation rentals by owner is that it's usually possible to negotiate great deals direct with the property manager. A good way to approach that is to mention that you're planning a jaunt to Florida for a month or more, which can bring hefty reductions on the cost of otherwise nightly rentals.