Cape Coral is a vibrant community in Southwest Florida. Boating, fishing, water sports, tennis courts and golf courses, beaches, National parks and nature preserves contribute to a high quality of life. More than 400 miles of canals, some with access to the Gulf of Mexico make this city an appealing destination for visitors. Cape Coral was founded in 1957 and first homes were completed in 1958. Thanks to a highly active promotion of the community and its developments Cape Coral continued to grow very quick.
Many fun things to do in SW Florida - but where do you start?
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Cape Coral is a vibrant and friendly community with all the beauty that you expect from Southwest Florida. Located near Golf of Mexico and with more than 400 miles of canals, boating, fishing and water sports are a significant enhancement to the quality of life. And don’t forget the golf courses, tennis courts, athletic parks and nature preserves. With skate, water and “family fun” parks (featuring mini golf, paintball and the like), Cape Coral caters to kids. But this city bounded by Matlacha Pass and the Caloosahatchee River knows how to spoil nature-lovers, too. At Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, kayak or meander the boardwalk to see wildlife. Renowned Gulf Coast beaches, verdant golf courses and family attractions like the popular Sun Splash Family Waterpark make Cape Coral an appealing destination for visitors.
You and your family can experience one-on-one natural encounters, play on top-notch beaches and treat yourselves to endless family-friendly attractions, restaurants and resorts in Fort Myers and surrounding areas along southwest Florida’s sunny Gulf Coast. Many Fort Myers visitors know that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were neighbors here once. You may not know that Edison’s experiments centered as much on his tropical gardens as on his lab – tour both, and Edison and Ford inventions, original Edison Ford antique cars and artifacts, at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Downtown, a statue at Centennial Park brings the visionaries back to life alongside their friend Harvey Firestone, and the Caloosahatchee River lends the area its nickname “The River District.” River cruises, art walks and the annual Edison Festival of Light (with a parade and science and engineering fair) unfold here. The 1908 Arcade Theater building, home to the Florida Repertory Theatre, shows the past.
Fort Myers Beach
Even the nights are bright here as crowds shift between souvenir shops, bars and restaurants on the strip. Times Square wraps it all into one and leads to Lynn Hall Memorial Park, where a bait shop serves anglers who prefer to cast from its pier. Annual festivals include the American Sandsculpting Championship and the Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival and Parade. Carve out some quiet time at Lovers Key State Park. Heaped with sugar-sand, Fort Myers Beach is a popular destination for visitors eager to engage in watersports such as parasailing and kayaking – or just as eager to simply relax on the inviting beach.
The north end of Bonita Beach belongs to Bonita Beach Park. You’ll appreciate amenities like picnic shelters, a playground and a sand volleyball court; you’ll admire the shell-strewn Gulf shore. Inland, shop amid waterfalls, palms and Mediterranean architecture at The Promenade or its counter, mega Coconut Point Mall. The Imperial River Boat Ramp provides access to the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail and several local sites of interest: Follow the Blueway north of Bonita Springs to Estero and Koreshan State Historic Site, a former 19th-century Utopian community.
Perched on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida, Naples is well known for its high-end shopping, world-class culture and sophisticated dining. But it's also an affordable family destination that appeals to nature lovers and beach aficionados. Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South are the focal points for Naples shopping in the historic downtown area, with numerous art galleries, chic clothing boutiques and home decor shops. The Naples Art Museum and Philharmonic Center fit right in, but the outdoors are equally enthralling. Fish from the historic pier at Naples Municipal Beach, eye for the elusive and endangered ghost orchid inside Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary or comb Gulf beaches to revel in their signature soft sand.
With Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park and the Ten Thousand Islands as neighbors, it’s not difficult to imagine what Everglades City stands for. If you can resist the call of the wild, duck into the Museum of the Everglades. From Everglades City, just follow the signs to reach Everglades National Park's Gulf Coast Visitor Center. One-third of its 1.5 million-acre subtropical wilderness is waterlogged. Fish the flats, paddle the Everglades Wilderness Waterway Trail or take an airboat tour just outside national park boundaries – plenty of outfitters operate back in the “city.”
Sanibel Island and Captiva Island
Located along the Gulf of Mexico, just a short drive from Fort Myers, Sanibel Island is justly famed for its sunsets, lighthouse and luxurious resort. Even the shells travel all the way from the Caribbean to visit conservation-minded Sanibel and Captiva, loved for their colorful collection of original galleries, eateries and shopping villages balanced by ubiquitous pedestrian trails, preserved lands and oh, those beaches. Thank the currents for bringing in far-from-home shells, including the rare junonia. There are even charters dedicated to the “sport” of shelling, taxiing novice and veteran collectors to neighboring bridgeless islands including Upper Captiva and Cayo Costa. Life is similarly remote inside the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Captiva Island is often associated with the neighboring island of Sanibel to the south. Both are all about the outdoors – biking, sailing, birding and water activities abound.
Resorts here specialize in eco-themed activities and provide access to the area’s four-mile shoreline. Dunes along Tigertail Beach contrast island high-rises, and its butterfly garden and birding opportunities add interest (the beach is a site on the Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail). Shift your gaze to dolphins and manatees along the Paradise Coast Blueway.
Englewood and Boca Grande
In downtown Englewood, wander amidst the boutiques, bistros and galleries along Dearborn Street – a mural project makes the very buildings a canvas. Some of the area’s most memorable sights exist inside three state parks along its barrier islands: Stump Pass Beach, where you can sift the sand for shark teeth or fish for tarpon; Don Pedro Island, where boat-only access protects pristine beaches; and Gasparilla Island, where you can tour the circa-1890 Boca Grande Lighthouse Museum. On Boca Grande, find more shopping, noshing and classic resorts with a coastal chic culture.
Anna Maria Island
This seven-and-a-half-mile isle includes Anna Maria to the north, Holmes Beach at the center and Bradenton Beach to the south. The Island Trolley connects them all. Northernmost Anna Maria offers piers and parks. Holmes Beach hosts the Zagat-acclaimed Beach Bistro right on the Gulf. Bradenton Beach’s Coquina Beach is a family favorite with concessions, a playground and boat ramp. Together, the communities exude a retro ambience preserved by a building height restriction and an environmental sensibility.
Source: Visit Florida Guide