Southwest Florida

Fort Myers Beach shrimp boat by Albert Heaps via Flickr

Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival, March 10-11, 2018

This isn’t frozen shrimp or imported shrimp or farmed shrimp. The huge boiling pots at the Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival are filled with fresh, right-off-the-boat Gulf pink shrimp. Members of the Lions Club have perfected the cooking technique over 50 years of Shrimp Festivals.

The view from the water (Photo by Constance Mier)

Smallwood Store in Chokoloskee: Everglades icon still owned by original family

Smallwood Store is an exceptional slice of Florida history at an end-of-the-road site overlooking Chokoloskee Bay near Everglades City.

Everglades Seafood Festival

Everglades City Seafood Festival: Feb. 9-11, 2018

Seafood lovers mark their calendars for the annual Everglades Seafood Festival, scheduled for the weekend of Feb. 9-11, 2018, in Everglades City, gateway to the Ten Thousand Islands. This free event packs ’em in for fresh seafood, country music, carnival rides, crafts booths — with an estimated 50,000 people expected to attend this year’s event in a remote corner of Florida.

A post office on Pine Island (Courtesy of Chief Dennis, Tarpon Lodge)

Pine Island: Step back in time, without a tourist in sight

Pine Island never was a big tourist destination. And that’s why it is such a refreshing place to explore today. It’s full of groves and plant nurseries with a few stops that make it worth exploring.

Naples beach: Discover hidden Clam Pass Park, where you ride the tide

Naples beach: Discover hidden Clam Pass Park, where you ride the tide

In honor of the upcoming beach season, Florida Rambler is highlighting a Beach of the Week throughout summer. This week, it’s Clam Pass Park, a hidden beach in Naples with a shallow, safe pass that lets you ride the tide in and out of a tropical lagoon.

Caladesi Island State Park, Dunedin/Clearwater.

Caladesi Island: Kayak to a wild beach

Caladesi Island State Park, off the coast of Clearwater and Dunedin, has been called the best beach in America. What’s even better? Kayaking to Caladesi and seeing wonderful wildlife along the way.

Not a soul in sight.

Tigertail Beach, a Marco Island adventure, where you wade to wild beach

Tigertail Beach is for adventurers who love unspoiled beaches where you can walk for miles. You reach this beach by wading across a shallow lagoon. It’s full of seashells, wildlife and it’s a birding hot-spot.

Sunflowers at Pepper Ranch in 2013. Photo by Ron Perkins.

Sunflowers in Florida: ‘Stunning’ fall scene at Oct. 1 sunflower festival

Fields of sunflower bloom in Florida each fall, and a preserve near Immokalee celebrates with a sunflower festival Saturday, Oct. 1. The blooms last two to three weeks. This sunflower only blooms in Florida and Georgia and is common: Watch for it blooming along roadsides in early fall.

A sand version of "The Don" and, in the distance, the iconic pink Don CeSar Hotel on Pass A Grille beach.

Pass-a-Grille, one of Florida’s best beaches in a charming historic town

The beach is spectacular here — wide white sand, clear blue-green water. But the Old Florida charm of Pass-a-Grille, a community within St. Pete Beach, is what makes it stand out.

Wat Mongkolratanaram -- Wat Tampa for short is located on the Palm River amidst live oak trees. (Photo:Bonnie Gross)

Tampa Buddhist temple: Sunday market for brunch in lovely outdoor setting

An open-air Thai brunch and market draws throngs every Sunday morning to this beautiful waterfront temple in Tampa. The food is very good and moderately priced. The exotic gold-trimmed temple is worth visiting just because it’s beautiful, set among shady live oak trees decorated with orchids.