With a comfortable mix of rural and urban, laid back and fast-paced, southwest Florida adds a special component along the southernmost Gulf of Mexico coast.
From the Bradenton/Sarasota area spanning all the way down to Naples, southwest Florida is a popular vacationing destination for any tourist seeking the finer things in life including, topnotch golf, world-class shopping, water sports, fresh seafood, and some of the best beaches on the planet.
While rest and relaxation are a favorite pastime on the southwest coast, playing outdoors is a must. Whether you're frolicking on the sugary sand beaches, learning to surf, shooting a hole-in-one, or diving for lobsters, leisure is the top priority. With a thriving arts scene and cultural activities at bay, head indoors for the best live performances, theater, and museums. Tour the Edison and Ford estates in Fort Myers, the Holocaust Museum, and the Naples Botanical Gardens for a sample of the Southwest’s culture.
Red Lifeguard hut on Siesta Key Beach
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Beautiful landscapes know no bounds on the southwest Florida coast. Visit some of the tropical gardens and lush oases for a glimpse of Mother Nature at its best. The Naples Botanical Garden is home to six gorgeous gardens and a nature preserve, walking trails and a Butterfly Garden kids love. Check out Sarasota Jungle Gardens for close encounters with Birds of Prey, reptiles, critters, and a feeding pond with flamingoes and hungry koi.
Experience Florida's wildlife for great family-friendly outings in the southwest region. Make your way to the Babcock Wilderness Adventure and take a 90-minute Swamp Buggy tour to see alligators, panthers, birds, deer, turkey, a herd of historic Florida cattle. Visit the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens to see favorites like monkeys, tigers, lions, and zebras. The Calusa Nature Center is home to three nature trails, a butterfly and bird aviary, and planetarium.
Take advantage of being amongst some great museums and culture in southwest Florida from days gone by. Visit the IMAG History and Science Center, which now combines the Southwest Florida Museum of History and the Imaginarium Science Center. Stop by the neighboring estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford and tour the nine historic buildings and botanical gardens that span over 21 acres. Pay homage to those affected by the genocide at The Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida.
As southwest Florida’s main attraction, the majestic beaches and historic piers are iconic to this region. Play in the soft sand or keep cool in the blue waters. Fish from the landmark pier at Naples Municipal Beach, which extends 1,000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. Surrounded by lush tropical foliage, coconut palms, and multi-million-dollar beachfront homes, soak in the sun all day in Naples. Fort Myers Pier offers jaw-dropping views of Estero Island and Sanibel from the wooden, pelican filled extension.
With natural beauty surrounding you at every bend, expect to spend most of your time in southwest Florida enjoying the great outdoors. With year-round golfing, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding and hiking at bay, explore the trails, parks, and waterways for the quintessential experience. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, features water sports concessions available for rental. Hop on a swamp buggy through the marshes in Fort Myers. Or go on a deep-sea fishing excursion with Capt. Tony's Fishing Adventures.
Keep cool in the sunny southwest and gather the family for a fun day at a waterpark. Located in Naples, Florida, head to Sun-N-Fun Lagoon and float your cares away on a long lazy river, four pools, winding waterslides, and a lit splash pad for a day of refreshing fun. Over in Fort Myers, spend a day splashing around Sun Splash Family Waterpark and soak up the fun at the largest water park in SW Florida.
From high-end boutiques to beachside souvenirs, Southwest Florida has a variety of shopping outlets and lifestyle destinations. For upscale shopping, visit Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South in Naples' historic downtown district. The Coconut Point Mall in Estero has a wide variety of shopping and dining options or spend the day at Periwinkle Place on Sanibel Island. For bargain shoppers, head to the Miromar Outlets also in Estero.
You know spring is here when the MLB teams head south. Watch the Boston Red Sox get ready for the upcoming season at JetBlue Park in Fort Myers. Also known as Fenway Park South, the experience is complete with famous Fenway franks. Catch the Baltimore Orioles play in Sarasota, the Minnesota Twins in South Fort Myers, the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, and the Tampa Bay Rays in Port Charlotte and rediscover your love for America’s favorite pastime.