If you’ve decided to travel across the USA and your journey took you to Southwest Florida, then you’re right where you’re supposed to be. This area is an appealing and exciting one, with so many things to see and do, that you won’t be bored for a minute. In case you aren’t familiar with what this part of Florida has in store for you, here are some suggestions on what activities you should engage in while you’re there.
Take a Trip to Marco Island
The Ten Thousand Islands is an excellent starting point for your Southwest Florida visit, and the first thing on your agenda should probably be Marco Island. This is a breathtakingly beautiful place, with palm trees as far as your eyes can see and waters so turquoise, that you’ll feel like you’re in a dream.
This is also an ideal place for those who enjoy nature hikes and searching for seashells. Also, you shouldn’t be surprised if you get to look a dolphin or two in the eye. Plus, while there, you should also check out the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, where you can do some fishing or birdwatching. On the other hand, Marco Island also gives you the chance to sit back and enjoy the sun and the view with a delicious cocktail in your hand. So, if you’re looking for a place that combines sandy beaches with hiking paths for you to roam, you’ll have a great time on Marco Island.
See the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse and Museum
With all of the insanely popular tourist attractions, it’s sometimes nice to visit something that truly reflects the history of an area. One such place is located in the south part of Gasparilla Island and is a part of the Gasparilla Island State Park. The Port Boca Grande Lighthouse used to be a light station for the island, starting in the late 19th century. It’s the oldest structure there, but it’s been restored to its former glory in 1999. Today it’s a museum that actually looks like a house, and one with five rooms, which chronologically show the socio-cultural history of this particular territory, dating back to 12000 BC. In one of the rooms, you’ll even be allowed to touch and inspect the fossils, shells and bones found locally, but the most alluring feature of the museum is the porch, where you can sit down and soak in the sounds, smells and the sights of the island.
Take a Boat Tour of Everglades National Park
For the wildlife-lovers out there, it would be a crying shame not to find an adequate boat tour around Everglades National Park. These exciting adventure tours and activities can provide you with a phenomenal first-hand tropical-wilderness experience you’ve always dreamed about. Plus, you can actually make this tour more private, as you can book boat rides for smaller groups, and with an experienced guide to tell you and show you all you need to know and see. If you’ve ever wondered what an alligator, a manatee or a sea turtle look like from a short distance, this is the perfect opportunity to take a good look at these magnificent creatures. Plus, if you do this with a guide, you’ll get more insight into the one-of-a-kind ecosystem there and you’ll get all your questions answered. This is an eco-friendly expedition and one that will work for families with children, single travelers, or groups of friends alike.
Take a Stroll Through the Naples Botanical Garden
This large botanical garden covers 170 acres of space and is home to some of the most astonishing tropical and subtropical plants you’ll ever get to see in one place. For instance, you can find over 1600 species and hybrids of orchids in Naples Botanical Garden. Another interesting thing you can find there is the Herbarium of Southwestern Florida, which is an enormous collection of pressed plants native to Florida. In fact, there are over 42000 samples there, which is beyond impressive.
With trails positioned so that you can really see everything, you’ll get to spend some quality time soaking in the colorful plants, lush greens and the sweet smells of the flowers there. Plus, the garden is divided into seven separate natural habitats and ecosystems, where you can even see hundreds of animal species, such as gopher tortoises, otters and eagles. This is a family-friendly attraction, with a range of informative and interactive workshops aimed at the youngest visitors, in an effort to teach them how to preserve the environment and how to work with plants.
Spend a Day on Edison Ford Winter Estates
Ever since Thomas Edison first arrived in Fort Myers in 1885, and till his death, his family spent their winters there. After his death, his wife, Mina Miller Edison, decided to deed the Estate to the city, which turned it into what it is today. With most of the Edison family’s furniture still there, you’ll be shifted back to the past while moving from the main house to the caretaker’s house and the pool complex. You’ll understand what it was that made Henry Ford and his wife purchase the estate next to that one, and you’ll be able to take a closer look at Ford Winter Estate, too. Aside from the historic houses, you’ll also be able to take a pleasant walk through the twenty-acre gardens and see the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory with its 17,000 plant samples. You can make a day of it, since the Edison Ford Museum is 15,000 square feet big, with so many impressive and thought-provoking artifacts that time will simply fly for you. They also have children’s camps, education programs for adults, a variety of workshops and virtual field trips. Plus, if you’re a true fan of these two great people, you can even get married there, as private events, such as wedding ceremonies, corporate meetings and receptions are allowed on the premises.
If you decide to visit the southwest part of the Sunshine State, you definitely won’t regret it. Start with touring these four places and see where you’ll end up next.