Top Things to Do in Southwest Florida
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Welcome to Southwest Florida.

You won’t be bored here, and you probably won’t be cold. 

Southwest Florida is a region known for its sparkling beaches, lush landscapes, and vibrant communities. This area offers an abundance of activities for every type of traveler. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a chance to immerse yourself in nature, this sun-drenched part of Florida has something special for you. 

As local property management experts, we work with vacationers all the time, and it’s always fun for us to provide recommendations on what to do and where to go. Here, we’ve put together a curated list of the top things to do in Southwest Florida. Check out any number of these hotspots, and we promise that your vacation will be memorable.

Let’s Hit the Beach 

When you’re ready to enjoy some sun, some surf, and maybe some swimming or snorkeling, there’s plenty of shoreline for you to discover. In fact, there are hundreds of miles of beach here, and the best beach for you will depend on what you like to do while you’re enjoying the ocean. Here are some of the beaches that we always recommend visitors try to experience:

  • Barefoot Beach

Barefoot Beach, located in beautiful Collier County, Florida, is a pristine natural treasure that promises a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Nestled along the Gulf of Mexico, this untouched beach is perfect for those seeking a peaceful day by the sea. Visitors can indulge in a variety of activities, such as sunbathing on the soft sandy shores, exploring the rich biodiversity along the scenic walking trails, or spotting dolphins playfully swimming in the clear blue waters. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast eager to observe the local wildlife or simply looking for a tranquil spot to unwind, Barefoot Beach offers an idyllic setting for all who decide to visit.

  • Bonita Beach 

The Gulf of Mexico is especially beautiful at Bonita Beach, an oasis that offers an idyllic getaway for both the adventure seeker and the peace lover alike. Its white sands provide a stunning spot for reading a book on the beach. There’s also swimming, kayaking, or fishing available. Bonita Beach is particularly attractive for its laid-back atmosphere coupled with the picturesque sunsets that are known to be enjoyed here. Whether you’re seeking a slow stroll along the shoreline at dusk or an exciting water sports adventure in the heat of the day, Bonita Beach promises a memorable experience with its wide range of activities.

  • Fort Myers Beach Pier

You can come to Fort Myers for some great spring training baseball, but while you’re here make sure you check out the beach, and especially the Fort Myers Beach Pier. Extending 560 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, there are some gorgeous views of Sanibel Island to enjoy, as well as prime locations to drop a line and hope for a catch. Currently, this iconic pier is closed for some construction and maintenance that’s been required since Hurricane Ian swept through the area. Once it’s rebuilt and back to its former splendor, the crowds will return. In the meantime, enjoy all of the beach and fun that Fort Myers has to offer, including fishing charters and parasailing.

  • Lover’s Key State Park 

What’s not to love about Lover’s Key State Park? This area is known for its beautiful barrier islands as well as its two miles of coast. Once upon a time, this area was only accessible by boat. Now, the state park service will take you by tram to the beach. Beautiful mangrove forests wait to be explored, and if you love bird watching, you’ll want to explore the canals that host osprey, cranes, and egrets. There’s a Discovery Center and a gift shop, and a lot of people come here to bike, hike, paddle, and go shelling. 

  • Sanibel Beaches 

The Sanibel beaches are routinely ranked as some of the best beaches in Florida. Here, you’ll find places like Bowman’s Beach, Blind Pass Beach, Tarpon Bay Beach, and Lighthouse Beach Park, where you’ll find great spots for swimming and shelling. Cruises leave for an hour or a day, and there’s plenty of wildlife watching, shopping, and fine dining to enjoy along the beaches here. 

Shopping and Dining in Southwest Florida 

You’ll need to know where to eat, and where to shop. It can’t all be outdoor activities. That sun gets hot. And sometimes, it rains. 

Take cover in a seafood restaurant, and local pizza place, or one of the many gift shops that you can find up and down the beach cities of Southwest Florida. We have some specific recommendations, which we’re happy to share with you here:

  • Coconut Point Mall

An attractive outdoor shopping experience in Estero, Coconut Point Mall has everything from large retail stores to small, local boutiques to dining, bars, coffee shops, and entertainment. There are more than 100 shops and restaurants here, including giants like Target and Barnes & Noble. You can bring your dog, too, because it’s a pet-friendly place to hang out and shop. It’s a pleasant place to just sit and enjoy a coffee, too, with water and boardwalks surrounding the shopping center and restaurants. Stop in at the Cheesecake Factory for a generous slice of dessert or a Sunday brunch.

  • Gulf Coast Town Center 

Another open-air shopping center that makes for a great afternoon is Gulf Coast Town Center in Fort Myers. Here, you’ll find stores like Bass Pro Shop, Belk, Ron John’s Surf Shop, and Sally Beauty Supply. There are restaurants like Hooked Island Grill, Burntwood Tavern, and De Adriatico Restaurant. You can also find salons, nail shops, a dentist, and a movie theater. 

  • Miromar Outlets 

Strike some great deals on high-end brands at Miromar Outlets, in Estero. You’ll find over 140 stores here, and they’re all name brand outlets. Shoppers can save up to 70 percent off the list prices of the treasures that are found in stores like Converse, Guess, Brooks Brothers, and JCrew. There are also restaurants and eateries, including Ford’s Garage, Wasabi, and Luigi’s Pizza. There are ice cream shops, coffee shops, and a place for pretzels. Entertainment abounds for kids, too, thanks to playgrounds, climbing walls, and a turtle pond. 

  • Mercato Naples 

Head to swanky Naples for some real shopping. This is a modern mixed-use complex that provides shopping, dining, and even a supermarket if you need to pick up some groceries before returning to your vacation rental. In addition to the retail opportunities and the diverse menu of dining options, Mercato Naples hosts a lot of events and entertainment. Enjoy outdoor movies and music as well as the occasional pole vaulting competition. 

Entertain Yourself in Southwest Florida  

Check WebsiteWhat else can you do for fun around here? 

We keep a list of suggestions on our website, and in the meantime, here are some of our most favorite things to do when you’re visiting this part of the state: 

  • Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Take a tour of some luxury homes and gardens, where Thomas Edison and Henry Ford enjoyed the winter season. You’ll learn some history, enjoy some Americana, and get to know the flora and fauna that these estates are so proud of. 
  • Calusa Nature Center. This is a fantastic place to learn about nature and explore a planetarium. If you’re here at the right time, you can enjoy a moonlight nature hike, attend an animal talk, or see an exhibit with local Florida artists. 
  • Get out on the Water. There are a number of fishing charters, day cruises, and sunset sailings that can be booked from the various shores along the Gulf Coast. Choosing a shelling and lunch cruise or a sunset wine cruise. Book a private boat tour or have an entire wedding. There are a lot of options and a lot of providers. We can help you choose one. 
  • Naples Botanical Garden. We love the flowers that are on display at the Naples Botanical Garden, and even if you don’t have a green thumb – you’ll love them, too. There’s much more here than the flowers; enjoy some art exhibitions, swing on the musical swings, and pop in at the Evenstad Horticultural Campus. 
  • Sanibel Lighthouse. This lighthouse lost a leg during Hurricane Ian, but it still stands, and we’re pretty proud of that around here. It’s one of the oldest lighthouses we have – one of the earliest built north of Key West, in fact. 
  • Southwest Florida Museum of History. There’s nothing wrong with a history lesson while you’re on vacation, and that’s why you should visit our local Museum of History in Fort Myers. Here you’ll find a collection of historical artifacts, photographs, and history. 

This is a very brief list of things we recommend you do while you’re visiting us in Southwest Florida. The best things to do will depend on when you come, how long you’re here, and what you’re most excited about experiencing. 

Let’s talk about your plans. And, do you have a place to stay? We can make some recommendations on vacation homes as well. Please contact us at Realty Group of Southwest Florida.