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Southwest Florida is known for some of the best beaches in Florida, wildlife and birds, gateway to the Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands and other outdoor getaways.

Here are some of our favorite places to begin your exploration of the area. Each of these stories contains links to places to kayak, hike, bicycle and fascinating historic sites.

  • Everglades City, a historic fishing village known for its stone crabs
  • Marco Island, a beach resort close to the Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands
  • Naples, a good basecamp for exploration of nature-rich region
  • Fort Myers Beach, an Old Florida beach town
  • Sanibel, an unspoiled island where seashells litter the beach.
  • Punta Gorda, natural beauty and historic charm
  • Venice, Mediterranean-influenced city with old world charm

We recommend:

Hiking: Myakka River State Park near Sarasota and Bird Rookery Swamp near Naples.

Biking: The Legacy Trail in Venice and the many bikes trails on Sanibel Island.

Kayaking: The little known Shell Creek near Punta Gorda and the joys of paddling with manatees in winter on the Orange River in Fort Myers.

Camping: There’s tent camping on the beautiful wild island of Cayo Costa State Park.  One of our favorite campgrounds for both tents and RVs is Camp Venice on the Myakka River.

Interesting Old Florida spots: Historic Smallwood Store near Everglades City and Koreshan Historic State Park near Naples.

The following are recent stories about Southwest Florida.

 

Punta Gorda: 11 things to do in an Old Florida riverfront town

Punta Gorda is blessed with a beautiful riverfront location, but it doesn’t have a beach. And there lies the reason it has an off-the-beaten-track quality. It’s a great place for kayaking, biking, hiking, birding and discovering funky crab shacks and other authentic Florida experiences.

Read More about Punta Gorda: 11 things to do in an Old Florida riverfront town

Mound Key: Kayak to archaeological park, once center of its world

A fascinating kayak destination: Mound Key Archaeological State Park, an uninhabited island accessible only by boat near Fort Myers Beach. The ceremonial center of the Calusa people, Mound Key is one of a kind and is surrounding by waters full of wildlife.

Read More about Mound Key: Kayak to archaeological park, once center of its world