Destination Guide to South West Florida

Truly a vacationer’s paradise, situated along the Gulf of Mexico stretching from Sarasota to Everglades City.

POPULAR CITIES IN SOUTH WEST FLORIDA

Arcadia

The City of Arcadia is the county seat for DeSoto County. It is centrally located between Orlando, Ft. Myers; Sarasota and Lake Okeechobee at the crossroads of US 17 and State Route 70. Arcadia is famous throughout Florida for its historic downtown antique district.

Arcadia is a unique Florida town in that it has an antique western feel.  It has a rich history of cattle-raising, and also has a large population of cowboys, known locally as Florida Crackers (for the sound made by their whips).  Arcadia is also home to the All-Florida Championship Rodeo where you can observe barrel racing and bronco bucking, and there’s even a kids’ calf scramble and a shoot-out.

There are many great cafes tucked between the many antique shops. Every May there is the Annual Watermelon Festival along with car shows, parades, and special events take place throughout the year.

Bonita Springs

Bonita Springs is a relaxing beach community in Southwest Florida situated between Fort Myers and Naples. It is named for a medicinal water spring located on Old Highway 41 that the local Indians believed could heal the sick. It’s known as the “Gateway to the Gulf” of Mexico because of its sugar-white sand beaches and calm Gulf waters.

Fishing and outdoor activities are popular in Bonita Springs, as are the fantastic beaches. Bonita Springs also has a beach area known as Lovers Key State Park, a place so named because it once was an island so remote only lovers went  through the trouble of locating it to have privacy.

Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park has been on Dr. Beach’s Top 10 U.S. Beaches list which is a scientific-based list.  Dr. Beach, whose name is Dr. Stephen Leatherman, is one of the world’s top coastal experts and uses a point system to rate beaches and factors measured include sand grain size, the beach’s slope into the water and offshore current. Bonita Beach is an expansive white-sand beach laced with beachfront cottages and lush tropical greenery.

There is fantastic Shopping and dining all around Bonita, from waterfront casual restaurants to gourmet steak and seafood houses.

Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach

The Fort Myers area is one of the most visited areas in all of Florida, mainly because there is so much to do and see. Arts, Culture, Shopping, Dining, Beaches you name it it’s here.  Thomas Edison and Henry Ford once were neighbors here .  You can tour the Edison and Ford homes and estates as well inventions, original antique cars and artifacts, at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates. River cruises, art walks and the annual Edison Festival of Light with a parade and science fair are located here as well.

Fort Myers Beach is a popular destination for vacationers looking for a fun time, watersports such as parasailing and kayaking – or simply relaxing on the sugar sand beach. You can go on a dolphin eco-tour via wave runner, or on a fishing charter.  Just off the coast of Fort Myers Beach and easy to get to are the islands of Sanibel and Captiva.

Naples

Naples is a luxury resort city along the Gulf of Mexico on Southwest Florida’s Paradise Coast. It is famous for its high-end shopping, world-class culture and sophisticated dining. The area is home to many wealthy and famous residents, many of which live in large mansions along the Gorden River. Some present and past residents include: Judge Judy Sheindlin, Sean Hannity, Brett Baier, Jane Seymour, John Schnatter – Papa John, Shahid Kahn – owner of Flex-N-Gate and the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL football team,  Alex Lifeson – from the rock band Rush,  Bob Seger, Donna Summer until her passing, Fuzzy Zoeller, Larry Bird, Mike Ditka  and the list goes on.  Naples is also a top vacation spot for the likes of Steven Tyler from the band Aerosmith,  Nicole Kidman and her husband, country singer Keith Urban as well as celebrity chefs Emeril Lagasse,  Daniel Boulud, Wolfgang Puck, Tom Colicchio, Bill Telepan, John Besh, Eric Ripart, Michelle Bernstein and many more.

Naples is considered by many as the Golf Capital of the world with many award winning PGA designated courses located in high-end country clubs throughout the Naples area. The beauty of  Naples begins with its powdery, white sand beaches, which extend from the parks and public beaches near downtown Naples to more secluded seaside areas to the north.

Sanibel and Captiva Islands

Sanibel and Captiva Islands are located just west of Fort Myers, Florida. Fort Myers is located north of Naples & south of Tampa with over 15 miles of beautiful, Florida beaches. The islands are what many describe as pure paradise, unspoiled Florida.  Sanibel Island is 1 of the “Top 10 Best Florida Beach Towns” according to USA Today and Frommer’s Travel Guide ranked Sanibel Island a #1 top tourist destination.

Our islands provide for the perfect vacations. Enjoy 15 miles of unspoiled beaches, 25 miles of bike paths, 50 types of fish, 230 types of birds, 250 kinds of shells and 0 stop lights. There are many unique shops as well as great restaurants.

Sarasota

Sarasota is a city south of Tampa on Florida’s Gulf Coast that used to be the winter home of the Ringling Brothers Circus. These days Sarasota has become the Art center of South West Florida including the Ringling Museum of Art, which showcases old masters and modern art.  The museum features everything from antiquities to Asian and American as well as contemporary art.  Ca’ d’Zan, the Ringlings’ Venetian-style winter mansion is a look into the past.

In Sarasota area, you will enjoy the breathtaking sunsets, educational museums, operas, ballets, plays, golf tournaments, and boat races. You can join in tennis, lawn bowling, water skiing, shell collecting, bird watching, growing exotic tropical plants, university classes, golf, or boating.

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