Cabbage Key is reachable only by boat. It’s popular as a lunch-cruise destination. But stay overnight in the inn or cabins to discover its true charms. On our visit, we also found it’s a great base for exploring by kayak.
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
The following are recent stories about Southwest Florida.
Clam Pass Park in Naples is a beach hidden behind a posh resort. It’s special: Tides in the little pass float you in and out of a lagoon like ia lazy river ride.
Florida’s wackiness goes back to its first settlers, and Koreshan State Historic Site celebrates one of our earliest eccentrics. Thanks to this cult leader, though, a lovely wooded site on the Estero River was preserved through the years for us to enjoy.
This paved bike trail system has it all — spectacular scenery, a smooth paved surface with few road crossings and great amenities and stops along the way. The 11-mile Legacy Trail, which follows an abandoned railroad bed from Sarasota’s suburbs to Venice, connects to another 10 miles of trails in Venetian Waterway Park.
Kayaking the Braden River, with time at Jiggs Landing and Linger Lodge, is a delightful trip back into Old Florida. Both outposts date to the 1940s and the scenic river that connects them preserves much of its natural beauty.
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.
The beach town of Marco Island is all manicured and modern, but here are four adventures into the wild and authentic Florida that are within a quick drive. You can wade across a lagoon to a wild beach or have lunch in a funky fishing town or stroll on a boardwalk into a beautiful old growth cypress swamp.
Peace River Botanical Gardens in Punta Gorda exceeded my expectations with its whimsical monument sculptures and lovely gardens in a scenic riverfront site.
These 12 Florida State Parks campgrounds are a short hop from Interstate 75 and offer unique experiences — roaming buffalo, a disappearing river and one even memorializes a strange and wacky cult.
The Gulf coast along Charlotte Harbor has miles of wild shoreline, making it a wonderland of wildlife and natural beauty and ideal for sea kayaking.