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Southwest Florida - About the area

CAPE CORAL

Cape Coral is known as the "Venice of America" because it has over 400 miles of navigable waterways and more miles of canals than any city in the world, including Venice, Italy! It is actually a peninsula and is connected to Fort Myers by two bridges. It is the largest city between Tampa and Miami and its population has grown to around 182,000. Boaters and water lovers flock to its shores and it is also known as the "Waterfront Wonderland."

In 2016 Forbes magazine named the City of Cape Coral as #9 in the "Top 25 Cities to Retire in the United States".Although being one of the quickest growing cities in the United States, Cape Coral has not lost the atmosphere of a small town. There are year-round flowering plants, citrus trees, and palms. There are no skyscrapers but it is only a few minutes away from large shopping centers.

Cape Coral averages 355 days of sunshine each year. The other 10 days are only moderately sunny. Cape Coral is known by birding enthusiasts for a wide variety of wildlife and has the largest population of burrowing owls in the state of Florida. The recreational opportunities are endless and there is something for everyone! Water sports of boating, sailing, jet skiing, kayaking, and snorkeling are all enjoyed here year round. Deep sea fishing to fishing at the Cape Coral Pier at the Yacht Club on the Caloosahatchee River is a favorite pastime.

Cape Coral

See the breathtaking sunset from the water and watch the dolphins, manatees, and the wildlife on a Sunset Dolphin Cruise through the San Carlos Bay, the Caloosahatchee River, and the canals. At the 4 Mile Ecological Preserve you can observe wildlife from the elevated nature trails through the mangroves or rent a kayak for an up-close expedition. Spend the day with the family at the Bat-A-Ball Family Fun Park or the Sun Splash Family Water Park. Explore the beautiful Cape Harbour Marina shops and restaurants while at the Tuesday Night Block Party and Happy Hour while listening to live music outside. The Cape Harbour Marina also hosts the outdoor Farmer's Market every Saturday where you can listen to live music and enjoy breakfast outside with gorgeous waterfront views of the boat slips and marina. Take in a play at the great local theater at the Cultural Park Theater.
Sunbathers and swimmers can enjoy the small sandy public beach near the Yacht Club on the Caloosahatchee River.

KEY WEST

The city of Key West is a 5 1/2 hour drive from Cape Coral. You will travel the 7 mile bridge that connects the lower keys south to Key West. The drive is a beautiful way to explore the different islands and see the warm turquoise water which is wonderful for snorkeling, diving, or fishing. Savor the fresh wonderful clean air in this unpopulated area of Florida. Key West is known for world-famous sunsets, water activities, lively night life, historic sites such as the Ernest Hemingway House and for its laid back lifestyle.

Key West

PINE ISLAND

Matlacha, only 15 minutes from Cape Coral, is a funky, charming, small town fishing village with a cozy island atmosphere. Explore the quaint, colorful shops and art galleries along the main road. Enjoy the restaurants with views of the water and watch the manatees from your table. From the Bokeelia Marina, catch a nature cruise to the world famous Cabbage Key Inn for lunch, a quick walk around the island through the lush landscape paths, or just enjoy the boats coming in and out of the harbor.

Indulge in a day trip to the Coya Costa Beach State Park accessible only by boat where you can have a secluded beach all to yourself. See the dolphins, manatees, and all types of wildlife from these boats and enjoy the fresh open sea air as you travel through the beautiful Pine Island Sound and the Intercoastal Waterway.

Pine Island Pine Island

FORT MYERS

Fort Myers

Fort Myers is a blend of tropical paradise and historical landmarks. The downtown River District offers vintage charm with many historic structures dating back to the early 20th century. While walking the brick paved streets, visit unique art galleries, colorful shops, and cozy outdoor restaurants. Enjoy an evening stroll listening to the street music venues during Music Walk evenings. Browse the displays set up by local artists during Art Walk evenings as you enjoy the fun nightlife in the downtown area.

At the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, you can enjoy a trip through history and tour the buildings of a previous era and stroll the stately landscaping throughout the 20 acres. The Edison Ford Museum displays hundreds of inventions, artifacts, and special exhibits. The estates are located on McGregor Boulevard which gives Fort Myers the official nickname of "City of Palms". An estimated 1800 palm trees are planted along the sides of this grand road. This historic area of town features beautiful mansion-type homes enclosed by lush greens and blooming bougainvilleas. Take a glimpse back in time as these homes reflect the "Old-Florida" and Spanish-style design influenced by Florida's early discoverers. Fort Myers is the home of the professional baseball team, the Fort Myers Miracles and the professional hockey team, the Florida Everglades.

World-famous golf courses are a year round popular sport. Delight in the conservatory at the Butterfly Estates and check out the headline entertainment concerts at the Barbara Mann Performing Arts Hall. Fort Myers Beach is a favorite destination and is linked to the mainland by the Matanzas Pass Bridge and visitors can walk the entire 7-mile length of the island along its sandy Gulf of Mexico shores. The beach gained a reputation as the World's Safest Beach because of no undertow and shallow water. Fort Myers Beach is a busy populated beach area with numerous shops, restaurants, and water sports available. You can rent kayaks, jet-skis, or go parasailing for spectacular views of the Gulf of Mexico and a "fun in the sun" day. On the weekends, enjoy the sunset celebrations at the Fort Myers Pier with live music and entertainers.

NAPLES

Naples

Naples is situated between the Gulf of Mexico and the Everglades. Naples has a striking natural beauty with relaxed sophisticated living. The Naples Zoo and the Golisano Children's Museum of Naples provide a fun day for the entire family. Take a walk on the historic Naples Pier to watch the beautiful sunset and stroll through the Naples Botanical Gardens. For nature lovers, enjoy the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary located in the Western Everglades and walk through the 2.25 mile boardwalk that meanders through the world's largest remaining old growth bald cypress forest.

SANIBEL AND CAPTIVA ISLANDS

Sanibel Island is a barrier island located just offshore of Fort Myers. Captiva Island is at the end of the island and connected to Sanibel by a bridge and a strait called Blind Pass. These two islands boast Florida's most pristine stretches of white sugar sand. There are 15 miles of unspoiled beaches and 22 miles of scenic bike paths. Sanibel beaches attract visitors from all around the world because of its over-abundance of seashells. The shelling is world-renowned as the beaches offer a stunning display of the 250 species of seashells. Sanibel Island's Gulf Coast is considered the best shelling spot in North America according to Travel and Leisure Magazine. Lighthouse Beach is named after the famous Sanibel Lighthouse which includes a popular fishing pier and nature trails where you can see 230 species of birds.

The most secluded beach on the island is Bowman's Beach. With no hotels and other buildings in sight, the atmosphere is completely remote, unspoiled, and quiet. If you want a quiet, peaceful, and calm day at the beach with little crowds, Sanibel or Captiva will be the perfect location. More than half the island is made up of wildlife refuges. The biggest wildlife refuge is the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Here you can walk, bike, and drive through miles of mangrove tree forests and tidal flats. Kayaking, Canoeing, and Stand-up Paddle Boarding trails and guided tours are available to give you an unforgettable experience. Enjoy seeing the rare species of migratory birds, lizards, alligators and perhaps bobcats. Sanibel and Captiva offer a slower pace island experience of just enjoying the beach, bird or wildlife watching or peddling along miles of protected bike paths. There is a small-town ambiance that you feel in the shops and in the vast array of restaurants that range from quaint eateries to fine dining.

Sanibel
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