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Southwest Florida road trip advice

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Southwest Florida road trip advice

Old 12-23-2019, 12:43 AM
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Default Southwest Florida road trip advice

I'm going to be in SW Florida with family through New Year, based out of Fort Meyers. I figure you guys can't be on the water the whole time... looking for things to check out on a road trip. I will have kids along, possibly ranging from 13-4.

Thinking of heading down to the gulf entrance of the Everglades to check it out and do a fan boat tour. Anything else neat within driving distance? I'd be willing to stay a night somewhere if it would be worth it.

If conditions look good I am probably going to rent a boat one day to cruise around and go shelling as well. Probably do that out of Captiva.

Thanks.
Old 12-23-2019, 03:05 AM
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Sanibel and Captive are neat drives...., when in Captiva, make sure to take the kids to "The Bubble Room". Go look it up...it's soooooooooo cool. HUGE deserts! Very quirky and unique...tons of old stuff lining the ceiling, walls, under the glass top tables, etc. You can spend HOURS just sitting in one spot and looking around.

Manasota Key...another decent drive, open beach areas south end, up north end...$$$ homes.

Boca Grande...$$$$$$$$$ homes....nice drive (there's a toll at the bridge but it's cheap and worth a drive).

Quirky artist community at Matlacha..tiny island middle of the bridge going over to Bokelia Pine Island





Old 12-23-2019, 04:43 AM
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Definitely do the Sanibel and Captiva trip but you will sit in major traffic on Periwinkle so plan ahead. Use Waze if you're going to Captiva.

Goodland and/or Everglades City also a fun day trip and you can catch an airboat ride in between them on 41.

Depending on where you are staying in FMY I also love the drive along Bonita Beach Road to Ft. Myers Beach. Also lots of traffic but it runs along the Gulf and once in FMB there are some cool restaurants where the shrimp boats dock.
Old 12-23-2019, 05:09 AM
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You could take a drive to Venice were the kids can look for prehistoric shark teeth.

https://www.visitsarasota.com/articl...-capital-world
Old 12-23-2019, 05:30 AM
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Edison Home is neat this time of the year. I think if I recall correctly they Clark Griswold it : https://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org/

about 1.5 or 2 hrs north is ziplining
https://www.treeumph.com/

Ofcourse you got the everglades with swamp buggy and air boat rides.

Or if you want to see alot of gators for free visit the Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center canal. Its about half way point between naples and miami via US 41.
https://www.nps.gov/bicy/index.htm

Old 12-23-2019, 08:19 AM
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We rented a boat and went to Cabbage Key, that was a fun day on the water.
Old 12-23-2019, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Hooper View Post
We rented a boat and went to Cabbage Key, that was a fun day on the water.
You beat me to it. Cabbage Key is a must see, but you can take a ferry from Pine Island and back for a heck of a lot less than renting a boat. Did that with some friends a few years ago. I never miss an opportunity for a cheeseburger in paradise when I'm moving a boat through there.
Old 12-23-2019, 08:32 AM
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This is the outfit we used. Florida Marina - Pineland Marina, Bokeelia, FL - Pineland Marina
Old 12-23-2019, 08:44 AM
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https://www.floridaeverblades.com/
Old 12-23-2019, 08:56 AM
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One of the best beaches is about 90 minutes north of Ft. Meyers in Sarasota called Siesta Key. Its amazing (and I don't like beaches, but I love the water)
Old 12-23-2019, 11:17 AM
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Thanks all for the awesome responses! Keep 'em coming!

I think we are going to rent a boat and head to Cabbage Key and do Cayo Costa for shelling.

Great tip on the everblades, probably going to go!

Old 12-23-2019, 12:16 PM
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Naples Zoo
Useppa visit the museum on the island.
Ding Darling National Preserve-Sanibel/Captiva
Everblades game is a good kid friendly event.
Boca Grande Beach

Just an FYI, the traffic on US 41 is brutal this time of the year in all directions.


Old 12-23-2019, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by alfnator View Post
Edison Home is neat this time of the year. I think if I recall correctly they Clark Griswold it : https://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org/

about 1.5 or 2 hrs north is ziplining
https://www.treeumph.com/

Ofcourse you got the everglades with swamp buggy and air boat rides.

Or if you want to see alot of gators for free visit the Big Cypress Oasis Visitor Center canal. Its about half way point between naples and miami via US 41.
https://www.nps.gov/bicy/index.htm
Every time we've been there, we've seen manatees out back. If you have time, on the east side of the building there's a small theatre. They'll show a 15-ish minute video of the Everglades eco system. This is just east of the road that takes you to Everglades city off of 41. (You can stay on 75 to to the Route 29 exit)

If you plan on the airboat thing, Everglades city has a couple of operators. They include holding a small alligator at the end of the tour if you want to do that. Picture op for sure. If you're in Everglades city around lunch time, try: https://triadseafoodmarketcafe.com
We prefer that place to the others there.

There's a boardwalk you can walk back in to Big Cypress as well. Free.
https://floridahikes.com/bigcypressbend or: https://www.floridastateparks.org/pa...rve-state-park

Old 12-23-2019, 01:21 PM
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All above have great suggestions. One time the red tide was really bad and we were stuck with the kids on Sanibel. Did Edison house and nearby stuff. Then we picked up a brochure for https://www.billieswamp.com. It was a longish drive but a lot of fun. If you are stuck for something to do give it a shot.
Old 12-23-2019, 01:24 PM
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Manatee are moving up to the power plant so if you want to see them, that will be the place.
Old 12-23-2019, 02:46 PM
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Janes scenic drive
Old 12-23-2019, 02:54 PM
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Cayo Costa is a great stop for shelling. We rented a boat from the Marina at Tween Waters on Captiva.

Pics from the south end of Cayo Costa.




Old 12-23-2019, 03:31 PM
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If you just want to drive to a nice beach, Lover's Key is pretty good and most of the time you can have 100 yards or more of beach all to yourself. If you walked from end to end and back it is almost 5 miles.
Old 12-24-2019, 06:05 AM
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If wanna do airboat tours, from our research this place seems to be one of the best.
Down South Airboat Tours

Not far from where you are, we're going there from Marathon...should be worth the 3 hour drive for us versus other "touristy/packed" places like Cooperstown one.
Small individual/couples tours....not packed on bus sized airboats of 20 like many others.

Old 12-24-2019, 11:21 AM
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Koreshan State Park: restored community built by a crazy cult that thought the Earth is a hollow shell and we're on the inside looking to the center. They actually built a miles-long straight edge and ran it down the beach to prove the theory. Edison supplied them with a power plant and Ft. Meyers society people came in to see plays put on in their theater. When the founder died they left him on display because he was supposed to come back to life. He got moldy so the county made them bury him.
https://www.floridastateparks.org/pa...han-state-park

Drive around Cape Coral neighborhoods and see the burrowing owls.

Visit Corkscrew Swamp and walk the boardwalk loop. Wrong time of year to see the ghost orchid bloom, too bad.
https://corkscrew.audubon.org/

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