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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.

 

Scenic Legacy Trail between Venice and now Sarasota is one of Florida’s best bike trails

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. And it keeps getting better. The final northern segment to downtown Sarasota just opened.

Read More about Scenic Legacy Trail between Venice and now Sarasota is one of Florida’s best bike trails

Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival: March 12-13, 2022

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.

Read More about Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival: March 12-13, 2022

Sunflowers in Florida: ‘Stunning’ fall scene in Immokalee preserve

Miss the change of seasons? Here’s fall in South Florida: Fields of wild sunflower bloom in Florida every fall, and a preserve near Immokalee is the best place to view them. The preserve opens for this occasion on Friday Oct. 8 and Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021. You must reserve ahead.

Read More about Sunflowers in Florida: ‘Stunning’ fall scene in Immokalee preserve

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