Southwest Florida

Southwest Broward is known for some of the best beaches in Florida, wildlife and birds, interesting historical spots and as a launching point to see the Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands.

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.

 

legacy trail in oscar scherer state park
Bike & Hike, Southwest Florida

Ride through forests, prairies and quiet neighborhoods on Legacy Trail

The paved 11-mile Legacy Trail follows an abandoned railroad bed from Sarasota’s suburbs to Venice, where it links up with another 10 miles of trails in Venetian Waterway Park. At the halfway mark, the trail hooks into 15 miles of offroad trails within Oscar Scherer State Park.

Leoma Lovegrove’s Gallery and Garden in Matlacha.
Kayak & Canoe, Southwest Florida

Matlacha: Artsy, Gulf Coast spot for kayaking & nature

This out-of-the-way destination reminds us of artsy waterfront towns like Key West and Cedar Key. West of Fort Myers, Matlacha is a colorful collection of little wooden houses surrounded by good saltwater-kayak trails. Artists love this funky little village.

Live oaks arch over Telegraph Creek
Kayak & Canoe, Southwest Florida

Telegraph Creek: Unspoiled kayak trail worth discovering & not just for llamas

Telegraph Creek, a tributary of the Caloosahatchee River located between LaBelle and Fort Myers, is all the things I love about kayaking destinations – out-of-the-way, uncrowded, scenic, quiet and full of wildlife. You may even see zebra, llamas & big horn sheep!

Typical campsite at Oscar Scherer State Park
Camping, Parks & Forests, Southwest Florida

Oscar Scherer State Park a wild oasis amid urban sprawl

By mid- October, days have cooled a bit in Sarasota, making it an ideal time to explore a lesser known state park — Oscar Scherer State Park. What makes it special? The vast array of things to do in a very scenic setting. It has excellent kayaking, camping and this is the best place to spot the rare scrub blue jay

Bike & Hike, Birding, Historic, Kayak & Canoe, Southwest Florida

Punta Gorda: Magnificent riverfront location with Old Florida feel

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.