Southwest Florida for Your Vacation
Anna Maria Island is made up of Anna Maria to the north, Holmes Beach in the middle, and Bradenton Beach to the south. The Island Trolley connects them all. Besides the beaches, Anna Maria Island has plenty to see and do.
Arcadia’ s All-Florida Championship Rodeo attracts old west settlers with antiques stores and historic buildings (the Main Street Program keeps things lively in the town). You can see barrel-racing and bronco-busting during the rodeo, and there is even a children’s calf scramble and shootout that recreates the rambunctious cattle wars of Arcadia’s past.
At Coconut Point Mall, enjoy the sounds of waterfalls and palms while shopping or dine at The Promenade or one of its sister restaurants. The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail and local sights are accessible via the Imperial River Boat Ramp in Bonita Springs, which leads to the Calusa Blueway north of Bonita Springs and Estero and Koreshan State Historic Site, a former 19th-century Utopian community.
Bradenton’s location makes it enjoyable and refreshingly slow. The Village of the Arts in Downtown Bradenton is filled with galleries, shops and cafes painted fuschia, lime and violet. You can learn about Hernando DeSoto’s local landing at the South Florida Museum, Parker Manatee Aquarium and Bishop Planetarium, as well as the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez Fishing Village. Want more? Here’s a list of things to do in and around Bradenton.
The Cape Coral skate park and family fun parks provide fun for children. Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve is a nature-loving paradise where you can walk and observe wildlife at the boardwalk. The Cape Coral Arts Studio and Cultural Park Theater Co. are two suggestions for arts-loving people. Cape Coral Arts Studio will inspire you and get you ready to laugh, cry, and sing along as you see comedies, dramas, and musicals put on. Mike Greenwell’s Family Fun Park is a sports park that includes batting cages and go-kart races, so you can swing for the bleachers or shoot a hole-in-one on the minigolf course. The on-site sports bar is a good place to catch the big game. Swimmers and non-afraid-of-getting-a-little-wet types will enjoy the Sun Splash Family Waterpark, the largest waterpark in Southwest Florida.
Clewiston’s position on Okeechobee bass fishing makes it an obvious choice, but there are other sweet things about the town. Take a guided airboat tour out of a Roland Martin Marina to catch scenery instead of to catch fish (fishing is popular here). Visitors also get an up-close look at citrus and sugar harvesting and processing at the Sugarland Express.
The Dearborn Street commercial center in downtown Englewood is lined with boutiques, bistros and galleries, which make up a mural. Englewood’s Farmers Market, which takes place every Thursday, is a great place to find fresh farm food and intriguing wares. September can be a fantastic time to dine out, as Let’s Eat, Englewood, offers a wide range of dining options. Manasota Key is an expansive barrier island where you can vacation in different ways, including paddling, kayaking and parasailing. Along the coast, there are three state parks where you can find the sort of picturesque sights that draw you in. Stump Pass Beach, where you can dig up shark’s teeth and fish for tarpon, is just one of them. At Boca Grande, you’ll find more shopping, eating and classic resorts with a beachy culture.
Everglades City is famous for its proximity to Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, and the Ten Thousand Islands. When you want to reconnect with the natural world, go to the Museum of the Everglades. Everglades City is adjacent to Everglades National Park’s Gulf Coast Visitor Center, which is located just outside the park’s boundaries. The Everglades National Park subtropical wilderness is one-third water-logged. You can fish the flats, paddle the Everglades Wilderness Waterway Trail, or take an airboat tour outside the park’s boundaries. Back in the city, there are plenty of outfitters for you to choose from.
Of course, many Fort Myers visitors know that Thomas Edison and Henry Ford once lived next door to each other here. You can see Edison and Ford’s original antique cars and relics, as well as Henry Ford’s original inventions, at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. Harvey Firestone, the pair of visionaries’ friend, stands next to them in Centennial Park, and the Caloosahatchee River lends the area its moniker “The River District.” River cruises, art walks, and the annual Edison Festival of Light (with a parade and science and engineering fair) are all available in the area. In 1908, the Arcade Theater building housed the Florida Repertory Theatre, which blended the past and present in perfect harmony.
The busy streets of Las Vegas are home to souvenir shops, bars and restaurants, all of which are open late. Lynn Hall Memorial Park connects Times Square to Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival and American Sandsculpting Championship. Lovers Key State Park is a great place to get away from the crowds.
LaBelle is a clothing line.
LaBelle, a historic, friendly town near the Caloosahatchee River, is home to the Curtis Honey House, citrus farms, and Swamp Cabbage Festival. A glance at Florida’s historical past can be experienced here, thanks to cattle-raising and cattle ranching.
There are fishing rods and canoes for rent at Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park near Bradenton, Florida, which is a town devoted to relaxation. Nearby mangroves, marshes and cypress swamps are home to alligators, tortoises and ickle otters.
Euphemia Haye and The Haye Loft are acclaimed for their excellent cuisine, ambience, and live music in this quiet island area. The Haye Loft is owned and operated by a chef, and its dishes are constantly evolving to appeal to locals and visitors alike.
This area offers an island-like experience without leaving the United States. In addition to world-class dining, this area contains a wide variety of both upscale and classic Florida dining spots. It is the gateway to the Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands, where you can enjoy unspoiled natural environments, bird watching, and wildlife viewing.
There are not enough five-star and luxury resorts in this discerning destination to support only one luxe label. Carefree golfers can be seen congregating in fashionable galleries, boutiques and eateries on Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South. Artis-Naples is home to The Baker Museum and the Naples Philharmonic. There are many locally owned restaurants throughout the area, which serve award-winning chefs and range from gourmet to Floribbean flavours.
Nokomis is located between Sarasota and Venice, but it’s also known for its beach, jetty, and surfing. There are also opportunities for fishing and swimming nearby. People who like to lounge on the sand may prefer Nokomis Beach and North Jetty Park.
North Port is home to biking, hiking, cycling, and modern-day health spas with ancient histories.
The Palmetto of late is reminiscent of the Riviera Dunes Marina, but a waterways and an agricultural museum suggest Palmetto’s origins. Explore Palmetto Historical Park, the 1914 Carnegie Library and a 1935 schoolhouse at Palmetto, Manatee County. Emerson Point Preserve displays Palmetto naturalistically; paddle or bike past mangroves and Seas choked with canals.
The north shore of Charlotte Harbor, just west of the Peace River, is home to a variety of scenic locations. You’ll find fishing charters, paddling outfitsters, and other outdoor activities in the area. The harbour is a boating and fishing hub, and the region is recognised as the world’s Tarpon Capital thanks to its abundance of water and fishing. There is also a growing commercial centre, with shopping malls, office buildings, financial institutions, cinemas, and restaurants and hotels.
Anglers and nature-lovers in Punta Gorda appreciate the perch on the south side of Charlotte Harbor and the Peace River, which provides a creative hook. Local and visiting artists create an artistic hook here, resulting in more than 30 hand-painted murals depicting local flora, fauna, and founding fathers. You can dine and shop amid the arts along Marion Avenue, and Fishermen’s Village is a lively place with more of the same. Punta Gorda was named 2 for its small-town food scene by USA Today.
On the bike, you will see more of Sanibel than on the road; the park has 25 miles of paved trails for you to choose from. Alternatively, you may hike the area’s excellent parks, pedestrian paths, and bike lanes. Sanibel Island’s botanical gardens at Sanibel Moorings and J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which comprises almost all of Sanibel Island, are excellent places to see the country’s most untouched mangrove forests.
The arts keep Sarasota County nourished. Become a patron of the opera, ballet, or theatre (the Asolo Repertory Theatre Company performs in a 19th-century opera house, built in Dumferland, Scotland). Visual arts are among the fundamental pillars of the John and Mable Ringling Museum, a museum that displays an impressive range of European art. It features ancient Egyptian artefacts alongside American and Asian contemporary artwork as well as Asian antiquities. Ca’ d’Zan, a Venetian-style winter mansion that was built for the Ringlings by Venetian craftsmen, is an awesome sight to behold, and a circus museum on the estate provides a look-but-don’t-touch account of Sarasota’s big-top history. Appreciate Sarasota’s historic architecture, called after its design the Sarasota School style. Pineapple Avenue and Main Street are known for their restaurants and annual festivals, in addition to their historical architecture. With the beach at your fingertips, shop and snack as far as downtown St. Armands Circle.
Siesta Key’s gorgeous, 8-mile-long island is home to a variety of exciting activities, including watersports, nightlife, and the nearby Gulf State for international cuisine and shopping.
The Venetian theme is due to well-preserved Mediterranean Revival structures and magnificent water views. The Triangle Inn museum and the Venice Train Station, both renovated since their 1927 completion, are two of the prettiest spots. If prehistoric life fascinates you, make plans to attend the annual Shark’s Tooth Festival in North Veneto. Oscar Sherer State Park, which is north of Venice, is home to an abundance of nature and wildlife.