Location: 26811 South Tamiami Trail | Bonita Springs, FL 34134
There is no question that Florida is one of the most popular vacation spots, not only for its pristine beaches but also for its variety of outdoor activities. If you’re looking to do something different than fishing or beaching, then hiking in Southwest Florida is a great activity that will not disappoint you. In fact, the Sunshine State has many extraordinary hiking trails in various spectacular parks and nature preserves. You can explore many areas on foot while observing wildlife, staying active, or maybe picking up nature photography as a new hobby. So let’s take a closer look at where to go.
Although it’s well known as a beach destination, there are numerous opportunities for hiking in Southwest Florida. From the John Yarbrough Linear Park and the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in the heart of Fort Myers to more remote locations like the West Main Trail and Collier-Seminole State Park, the area is home to endangered wildlife and unique plant species.
Discover why it’s worth spending time on land and exploring all the beauty it’s got to offer. You can read more about our favorite hiking trails in Southwest Florida below.
Visitors and residents of the Sunshine State have access to spectacular opportunities for hiking. You can hike along rivers, lakes, and beaches. On top of that, Southwest Florida is home to many tropical plants and trees, some of which are endangered.
In addition, the wildlife in Florida is mesmerizing. From the famed Florida panther to the symbolic American alligator, it’s an ideal place for wildlife enthusiasts. Luckily for us, the state takes great care of its trails and offers visitors an enjoyable experience. Some of the best nature walks in Florida have boardwalks and are ADA accessible, allowing people with special needs to enjoy our beautiful surroundings.
While there are endless options for hiking in Southwest Florida, including Cape Coral, Sanibel, and Captiva, we’ve picked ten of the most beautiful and wildlife-filled inland trails.
There is a sanctuary just west of Bonita Springs where you can find a 600-year-old bald cypress forest, the largest in North America. Additionally, you can see the biggest nesting population of wood storks in the U.S. Along with this federally endangered bird, you can find other endangered species such as the Florida panther, Florida black bear, and many other local favorites, such as the alligator. On top of that, you can see rare plants, including the ghost orchid. Visitors can enjoy the sanctuary through a 2.25-mile boardwalk with comfortable and safe walking conditions.
This county park consists of 342 acres of natural land and a beach, ranked as one of the best in the nation. You can find it off Bonita Beach Road, heading south when you reach the beach. Unfortunately, many people might miss it because you must go through a residential neighborhood. In addition to the world-class beach, you will find one of the best hiking trails in Southwest Florida – the Saylor trail. The entrance to this 1.5-mile trail is at the end of the parking lot, and since it’s a loop, you can access it from either side. Many wildflowers and plants are on the path, including cocoplum, Madagascar periwinkle, and wild coffee. In addition, there are even QR codes that tell you about the plants and their history. Furthermore, you might come across Gopher tortoises crossing the road. The Barefoot Beach Preserve is a relocation site for many of these tortoises.
If you’re looking for all-day hiking near Fort Myers, the Crew Bird Rookery Swamp trail is for you. This 12-mile trail is west of North Naples and Bonita Springs, close to Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. The best thing is that it’s completely free and you don’t have to do the whole path. In addition, this trail is an excellent place for birdwatching. There are many barred owls, swallowed-tailed kites (in the summer), wood storks, woodpeckers, egrets, kingfishers, and many Everglades wading birds. As a bonus, you can see alligators practically next to you here. Visitors have also spotted the elusive Florida panther, bobcats, black bears, otters, and deer. Some helpful information is that the first 1500 ft is a boardwalk and wheelchair accessible, and there are no toilets after the beginning of the hike.
If you’re looking for a place with multiple hiking trails in Southwest Florida, look no further than the Collier-Seminole State Park. The park is located off US 41, east of Naples and Marco Island, and as a state park, visitors can enjoy camping and other activities. The park has four trails – Royal Palm Hammock Nature Trail/Boardwalk (0.9 miles roundtrip), Prairie Hammock Trail/Off Road Bike & Hiking Trail (3.5 miles; you can rent bikes at the park), the Strand Swamp Trail (5.25 miles), and the Flatwoods Trail (3 miles). The last two are joined, and you must register at the ranger’s station to gain access. You should know they’re challenging, and you’ll need plenty of water for your trip.
Located in north Naples, the Delnor-Wiggings Pass State Park offers visitors a short half-mile boardwalk on the north side. You can see ospreys, hawks, eagles, and other migratory birds there. However, most guests use the beach for their hike, making it a relaxing excursion. In addition, a nice touch is the availability of beach wheelchairs, giving people with special needs a chance to enjoy a hike and the beach.
If you’re wondering where else to hike near Fort Myers, make sure to visit John Yarbrough Linear Park. The trail is six miles long, running from north to south along a canal right in the middle of Fort Myers, between Colonial Blvd and the Six Mile Cypress Parkway. It’s a paved trail, great for biking or hiking, and on-leash dogs are welcome. ADA parking, facilities, and even bike repair stations make it a convenient trip for the whole family.
Located in Estero, right off US 41, this site offers hiking and history lessons to visitors. Initially founded in the 19th century as a religious community, it now provides a look at the historic settlement. In 1894, Cyrus Teed and his followers settled there and built about 50 buildings, 11 of which stand today. You can take a nature trail along the Estero River from the settlement site and into bamboo, oak, and cabbage palm forests. There’s a loop of less than a mile, but you can continue, making your trip a bit longer and more memorable.
This preserve in Fort Myers is one of the most popular options for hiking in Southwest Florida. The Slough (pronounced “slew”) has a 1.2-mile wheelchair-accessible boardwalk that takes you through the wetlands and exposes you to a cypress forest, many plants, and trees, some of which are endangered and is home to wildlife such as alligators, turtles, and wading birds. There are many signs explaining the plants and their history, and from August to October, there are limited guided tours.
The West Main Trail in the Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park in eastern Collier County is a great option for those looking to go further into the Everglades. Located off US 29 just north of US 41 and heading to Gate 7, this 3-mile trail offers access to the wilderness of the Everglades. The trail passes through cypress stands, prairies, and swamps. You will see many wildflowers, such as orchids and bromeliads. Apart from that, the area is home to various wildlife, such as the Florida panthers, deer, black bears, East Indigo Snakes, Everglade Minks, and Diamondback terrapins. Finally, ensure you bring lots of water, and you must not forget bug spray, as mosquitos are everywhere.
There is a chance of meeting an alligator while hiking in Southwest Florida. What should you do in this situation? These iconic animals generally prefer not to interact with humans and are as afraid of us as we are of them. There is a tendency for movies to exaggerate their reputations. An alligator’s diet doesn’t necessarily consist of humans. As a matter of fact, there are fewer than ten attacks per year in the U.S. and even fewer fatal ones. However, it’s always important to be cautious, especially when a female has a nest nearby. As long as you respect their space, you will be safe.
If you happen to encounter one, walk slowly away. If the gator starts moving towards you, run away. There’s a myth about running in a zig-zag, but that’s inaccurate. You must know that alligators can run up to 35 mph, which is an impressive speed. In the rare scenario that you have no choice but to fight a gator or it gets a hold of you, never try to open its jaw; it is far too strong and powerful. Instead, go for its weak spot – poke the snout, or gouge its eyes. Additionally, make every effort to defend yourself. By doing this, the alligator might surrender.
As part of your trip, hiking in Southwest Florida and discovering the area on foot is essential. You’ll find yourself surrounded by lush vegetation and endless wildlife, just one of the many things to see while vacationing in the area. In addition, there are world-renowned beaches nearby, making it a vacation paradise. To make sure your vacation is memorable, choose a vacation company that will handle everything for you. Royal Shell Vacations is the perfect choice for short or long-term seasonal getaways. With over 26 years of experience, we’re the largest vacation company in Southwest Florida. In addition, we offer pet-friendly homes and access to private beaches. Is your next vacation just around the corner? Call Royal Shell Vacations at (866) 341-7799 or contact us online.
It’s a fact: Florida is more than 18% water. Some of the most beautiful water features in Florida are our natural springs. There are nearly 900 natural freshwater springs in Florida, many of which offer opportunities for outdoor recreation that everyone in the family can enjoy. Let’s look at some of the best natural springs in Florida and the activities you can enjoy there.
Some of the best natural springs in Florida include Silver Springs in Ocala, Devil’s Den near Ocala, Kings Bay in Citrus County, Ginnie Springs near Gainesville, Weeki Wachee in Hernando County, and many more. Activities you can enjoy at these springs range from swimming to picnicking to fishing and beyond.
Let’s dive into the details about the best natural springs in Florida. We’ll look at everything from geology and history to the information you need to plan a visit to a natural spring during your next Florida vacation!
Natural springs are a geologic phenomenon you’ll find all over the world, but Florida has an especially high concentration of these natural wonders. In simple terms, a natural spring is a place where water pressure forces water from the aquifer above ground. The pressure moves the water through cracks in the earth’s surface, creating the bubbling springs we might think of when natural springs come to mind.
Springs fall into three categories: perennial, intermittent, and periodic. Most of the natural springs in Florida are perennial, which means there is a constant flow of water from the spring all year long. Intermittent springs might occur during periods of heavy rainfall or seasonally in cooler climates after snow melts, while periodic springs include geysers that erupt irregularly.
Springs are further classified by magnitude, which is a way to measure the output of the spring.
There are nearly 900 natural springs in the Sunshine State. In fact, 27 of the natural springs in Florida are first-magnitude springs.
One unique feature of the natural springs in Florida is that the water flowing from them is constantly 72 degrees. This cool, refreshing water is perfect for enjoying all kinds of freshwater activities, like snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, diving, and more.
Many kinds of wildlife also love these waters, as you might see creatures like manatees and river otters congregating at Florida’s natural springs. Visiting a natural spring in Florida can be part of your green vacation.
The beauty of Florida’s natural springs makes them great places to visit no matter whether you’re vacationing in the Sunshine State or a Florida local. Let’s look at some of the best natural springs in Florida and the activities you can enjoy there!
Florida is home to many natural springs. While many of the best natural springs in Florida are located in the central part of the state, you’ll find them across the entire Sunshine State. We’ve put together a list of 8 of the best natural springs in Florida. Peruse our list and start planning your next day at the springs!
Silver Springs just might be what put Ocala, Florida on the map. Today you can visit these crystal clear waters at Silver Springs State Park, located at 5656 E Silver Springs Boulevard in Ocala. The waters here feed into the Silver River.
You’ll find that Silver Springs is rich in history. In fact, Silver Springs was among the first tourist attractions in Florida in the 1800s. The famed Glass Bottomed Boats here have been operating since 1870.
Since then, the spring has been used as a movie and TV set, a private theme park, and much more. Movies like Tarzan the Ape Man (1932), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1961), and even James Bond films like Moonraker (1969) and Thunderball (1965) were all filmed at Silver Springs.
Today activities you can enjoy at Silver Springs include everything from kayaking to fishing to picnicking to camping. It’s the perfect place for a day trip from your Ocala vacation rental.
Devil’s Den Prehistoric Spring in Williston, Florida, is a can’t-miss attraction for scuba divers. Unlike other natural springs in Florida, it was formed by an underground karst window and dates back to before the Pleistocene era.
Today Devil’s Den is a nationally-known destination for scuba diving and is even home to an onsite diving academy. The deepest chamber in the underwater caves at Devil’s Den goes down 370 feet underwater and contains prehistoric fossils as well as human remains dating back 7,000 years.
Devil’s Den is located at 5390 NE 180th Avenue in Williston, FL. Williston is approximately 25 miles northwest of Ocala.
The Ocala National Forest spans a massive 673 square miles and is home to four of the best natural springs in Florida. These springs are Silver Glen Springs, Salt Springs, Alexander Springs, and our favorite, Juniper Springs.
What makes Juniper Springs special? This recreation area managed by the USDA National Forest Service is the perfect place to cool off. Here you can enjoy boating through spring-fed marshes perfect for observing wildlife, camping under a canopy of live oaks, day hiking and backpacking on the Florida Trail, experiencing history at a historic mill house, and of course, find a swimming hole in the refreshing spring.
Juniper Springs is east of Ocala, in the forest. The address is 26701 E Highway 40 in Silver Springs, FL.
Kings Bay is a first-magnitude spring in Crystal River, Florida. It is part of a complex that includes more than 70 individual springs that pump out in excess of 600 million gallons of water per day. Other springs in the system include Hunter Springs and Three Sisters Springs.
At a consistent 72 degrees year-round, Kings Bay is a mecca for manatees in the winter. You might find 400 manatees in Kings Bay all year long, but this number can swell to over 2,000 in the winter. Crystal River and Kings Bay are very unique because they are the only places in the entire U.S. where you can swim with manatees legally. You’ll find several manatee tour operators in the area.
Kings Bay and the small islands surrounding the bay are part of the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge. You can find a visitor center at 1502 SE King Bay Drive in Crystal River, FL. Crystal River is about 40 miles from Ocala.
Ginnie Springs is a recreation area just north of Gainesville, FL. It is privately owned and operated. Billed as a “true slice of Florida,” Ginnie Springs offers tubing and floating, camping, paddleboarding, scuba diving, and more. You can spring your own equipment or rent what you’ll need to enjoy the water onsite.
Ginnie Springs is located at 7300 Ginnie Springs Road in High Springs, FL. High Springs is about 60 miles from Ocala.
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, near Brooksville, is often thought of as one of Florida’s best natural springs. It is a truly enchanting place to visit. In fact, Weeki Wachee Springs is home to real, live mermaids.
The mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs have been one of Florida’s favorite roadside attractions since the late 1940s. The mermaids, which are really just costumed models, have been performing water ballets and breathing through air hoses in the spring since Perry Newton originally opened the attraction in 1947. They still perform here daily.
The spring itself here is one of Florida’s first-magnitude springs and pumps out more than 100 million gallons of water a day. The spring flows into the Weeki Wachee River.
The river is easy to navigate and perfect for paddling. You’ll find canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, and other vessels on the water here frequently. You can rent the equipment you’ll need to enjoy the water onsite. You can also enjoy the Buccaneer Bay waterpark art Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.
You can find Weeki Wachee Springs State Park at 6131 Commercial Way, in Weeki Wachee, Florida, FL. Weeki Wachee is about 60 miles southwest of Ocala.
Tarpon Springs is a famous destination on Florida’s Gulf Coast best known for its rich Greek culture and tradition. In fact, Tarpon Springs is one of the only places in the U.S. where you can see traditional Greek sponge diving in old heavy rubber suits just as it’s been done for more than a hundred years. Off the sponge docks, you’ll also find antique shops, art galleries, and all kinds of restaurants serving traditional Greek food.
But did you know there’s also an actual springhead around Tarpon Springs? The town is named after the nearby Tarpon mineral springs, which feed into the Anclote River.
The major spring at Tarpon Springs is more than 100 feet deep and once attracted visitors from around the country for its supposed medicinal properties. The spring was a major Florida tourist attraction as far back as 1885 when it became accessible by rail lines from Tampa.
Tarpon Springs is located in Pinellas County, about 100 southwest of Ocala or 140 miles north of Fort Myers.
Bonita Springs is a wonderful Southwest Florida destination. It sits right on the Gulf of Mexico. Bonita Springs is famous today for great fishing, great weather, a scenic white sandy beaches.
Like Tarpon Springs, what initially put Bonita Springs on the map is its natural springs. Bonita Springs is named for a natural springhead located off U.S. 41.
Though the spring is long forgotten, it was once upon a time known for its healing waters. The Calusa Indians who inhabited the area before the Spanish took over Florida in the 1500s were known to bring their sick to the spring here for its medicinal properties.
While you can’t visit the actual spring in Bonita Springs anymore, its history still lingers. Bonita Springs is a wonderful place to visit with ample vacation rental properties to enjoy!
Bonita Springs is located in Southwest Florida, between Fort Myers and Naples.
Interested in exploring the best natural springs in Florida? Make seeing these natural wonders part of your next Florida vacation. No matter you’re staying for a week or for the season, Royal Shell has the perfect vacation rental for you.
Looking for adventure in Florida? Ecotourism might be right up your alley. When it comes to ecotourism, Florida is one of the best destinations in the country thanks to our lush green landscape, sub-tropical weather, wondrous wildlife, and more.
Florida can be an eco-friendly vacation destination. When it comes to ecotourism, Florida provides many opportunities to nurture Mother Nature while having a great time. Ecotourism in Florida can include visiting state parks and protected lands, kayaking, hiking, shopping at farmers’ markets, observing wildlife, enjoying farm-to-table dining, and much more.
Let’s look at going green and how enjoying Florida ecotourism can make for a great vacation.
In the most simple terms, ecotourism is about conservation and appreciating nature. For many, ecotourism and green travel is about more than traveling responsibly. It is about sustainability and truly enjoying what makes the natural world wonderful.
There are many examples of ecotourism. Visiting state and national parks, outdoor activities, observing nature at wildlife sanctuaries, and even setting out on an eco-tour are all ways to participate in green travel and ecotourism.
When it comes to ecotourism, Florida is a top destination for many. This subtropical paradise is home to all kinds of wonderful wildlife to learn more about and enjoy. You’ll find all kinds of interpretive exhibits and natural beauty all across Florida. This means it is easy to explore nature and see what makes Florida special.
Ecotourism in Florida is important to the Sunshine State’s economy, communities, and the preservation of the unique landscape here.
In fact, green travel is one way to protect Florida’s natural ecosystems. What does this mean? The more people who visit Florida and learn about our unique habitats and wildlife, the more people will be inspired to make a difference. This is important to Florida, as the state is home to many endangered plants and animals.
Threatened and endangered plants and animals in Florida include, but definitely aren’t limited to:
Learning more about these plants and creatures and even seeing their habitats up close and in-person can lend a hand toward preservation.
You’ll also find there’s more to a green Florida vacation than just seeing nature. There are many ways to have a sustainable vacation. From seeing and participating in nature to choosing local dining options, you’ll find all kinds of ways to make the most of travel that makes a difference.
Participating in ecotourism in Florida means enjoying all kinds of adventures and activities. Here are a few ways you can go green on your next Florida vacation.
You know that Florida is a peninsula surrounded by water. Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico waters are habitats for the bottlenose dolphin. Scientists estimate there are more than 10,000 bottlenose dolphins in the coastal Gulf of Mexico waters alone. One great way to observe and learn more about these playful creatures is through a dolphin-watching ecotour.
The warm Gulf waters of Southwest Florida are a great place to see dolphins in the wild. You might see them frolic in the surf on many local beaches. But for many, the best way to see dolphins in Florida is from a dolphin-watching tour. You’ll find many options for dolphin tours based in Fort Myers. Goodtime Charters, Adventures in Paradise, Sight Sea-R Cruises, and many other tour guides offer eco-friendly opportunities to see dolphins in the wild in Southwest Florida.
The waters around Captiva Island and Sanibel Island are often still and gentle, making these islands great destinations for a day of kayaking.
Pine Island Sound, right off the islands, is a perfect destination for kayakers in Southwest Florida. It features diverse coastlines. You’ll see everything from white sand beaches to tropical mangroves to salt marshes, which means the wildlife you can observe as you paddle is just as diverse. Creatures you might see while paddling Pine Island Sound include manatees, bald eagles, alligators, black vultures, kingfishers, pelicans, turtles, and many others.
Another green thing about kayaking: These vessels are human-powered, making them a very sustainable way to get around. You might have sore muscles after a day of kayaking, but you’ll likely leave no trace on the waters you traverse.
It is a fact that many Florida beaches turn into sea turtle nurseries during hatching season. Viewing hatchlings as they head to sea is a very unique opportunity, and you’ll find several opportunities to enjoy this unique experience in Southwest Florida. Florida state regulations only allow turtle walks on the state’s beaches in June and July.
Trained and specially-permitted naturalists lead turtle walks on Florida beaches during sea turtle nesting and hatching season, which takes place in the summer months. The turtle walks are the only eco-friendly way to observe these endangered creatures as they come to the beaches to make nests, lay eggs, and see hatchlings head to sea. Guides use special lights and share interpretive information about the sea turtle nesting and hatching processes.
The only organization permitted to hold turtle walks in Southwest Florida is Turtle Time, Inc. of Fort Myers Beach.
Many Florida vacation rentals come with a fully-equipped kitchen. Take advantage of this amenity and go green at the same time by cooking up a great meal with locally sourced ingredients. The best way to savor local flavor (and local ingredients) comes straight from local farmer’s markets. You’ll find quite a few farmer’s markets across Southwest Florida and beyond, including:
life Refuge is among the best ecotourism Florida destinations. This national treasure is the largest undeveloped mangrove in the U.S., and you’ll find it right on Southwest Florida’s Sanibel Island. You’ll find trails to explore and much more here.
Wildlife recently spotted at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge includes:
Find unique opportunities to observe unique wildlife at the refugee.
Looking for another place to see animals native to Florida? Consider taking a trip to the small fishing village of Homosassa and checking out the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. The park is a 3-hour drive from Fort Myers and is home to a captive collection of some of the state’s most unique creatures.
Only animals native to Florida live at the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park. Many of the animals at the wildlife park have been rehabilitated and are no longer suited for life in the wild. Interpretive exhibits about the animals’ care and conservation make this park an eco-friendly place to visit.
The farm-to-table dining movement is part of Florida’s rich restaurant scene. This delicious experience reduces the handling of food and lessens the carbon footprint associated with eating out. A few farm-to-table dining options in Southwest Florida include:
With so many ways to see natural Florida, it is easy to see why ecotourism is a great choice for those visiting the Sunshine State.
Are you ready to enjoy ecotourism? Florida has so much to offer when it comes to Earth-friendly activities and more. From state and national parks to carbon-footprint-friendly eats to beautiful botanical gardens, it is easy to enjoy the green side of the Sunshine State.
Reach out to Royal Shell Vacations when you are ready to plan your next eco-friendly Florida vacation. With vacation rentals across Southwest Florida and even up to Ocala, you’ll find the perfect property to call home whether you’re staying a few weeks or the entire season. Call (866) 202-0723 or contact Royal Shell Vacations online now.
North Captiva Island is a hidden gem, and getting there is half the adventure. You can only access North Captiva Island by boat, ferry, or small aircraft. But when you’ve figured out how to get to North Captiva Island, you won’t regret the journey, thanks to the pristine beaches and rustic surroundings.
North Captiva Island is not accessible by car, and you need to take a boat, ferry, or small aircraft over the Redfish Pass channel to get there. Getting there is worth the hassle, though. You’ll find that knowing how to get to North Captiva Island gives you access to what makes the Gulf of Mexico magic.
North Captiva Island is the perfect place for dolphin watching, shelling, and relaxing on a remote island. Learn more about getting to the island and how to enjoy your time there.
If you’d like to visit North Captiva, it is crucial to have a clear idea of its location. North Captiva Island is an island situated in Lee County located in Southwest Florida. It is found offshore adjacent to the Gulf of Mexico, north of Captiva Island.
There is a Redfish Pass resulting from the 1921 hurricane that separates North Captiva Island and Captiva Island. Also, the North Captiva Island is located in the southern part of Cayo Costa Island, and the Captiva Pass channel separates Cayo Costa Island and the North Captiva Island. It is very narrow and acts as a barrier island to Pine Island, just like the Sanibel Island and Captiva Island.
This tropical paradise is a beautiful spot to relax on its white-sand beaches and picturesque ocean. North Captiva Island is also arguably the best shelling place in the United States. Its calmness is also very an attractive feature for visitors to the island.
People only use bicycles and electric golf carts to move on the sandy roads. These sandy roads link different facilities and the approximately 300 homes found on the island. The absence of cars is not a bad thing as it allows the young ones to walk freely without fear of getting knocked by vehicles. It guarantees everyone’s overall safety and keeps the island’s air pollution-free.
North Captiva is one of the best areas if you wish to collect the best shells. If you wish to, you can also go to the nearby Cayo Costa, where you come across a wider variety of shells for a more fantastic shelling experience. In addition, you get to pack the attractive shells you have collected in an ecological sack and take them home as souvenirs!
North Captiva Island does not only provide a great vacation spot for its visitors. It is also active in safeguarding the well-being of the turtles on the island, through The North Captiva Sea Turtle Foundation. During the summer, many sea turtles come to the island’s sandy beaches to lay their eggs. If you’d like to contribute to preserving these creatures’ lives, you can volunteer or learn more about turtles from the North Captiva Sea Turtle Foundation.
Another amazing thing about North Captiva is its variety of delicious island eats. You can visit the restaurants on the island to taste the best wings and seafood. If you are not a fan of seafood and wings, how about taking a ferry ride to Cabbage Key to grab their widely recommended burgers? Alternatively, you can also take a thrilling boat ride to Captiva, if you’re in the mood for some fine dining. Last but not least, crab cakes at the Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island are also guaranteed to blow your mind!
The famous North Captiva Island was, for close to 2,000 years, predominantly filled with Calusa Native Americans. The Calusa people were able to survive by depending on the many natural resources found on the island. Their population grew steadily over time until the Spanish foreigners came to North Captiva Island to seek precious resources such as gold, which was found on the island. The Spanish foreigners dominated the locals by enslaving many and imprisoning many others.
Pirate ships often visited North Captiva Island, and the foreigners also used it to shelter themselves from strong winds and rough sea waves. However, a fascinating fact to note is how the island came to be known as North Captiva Island! The name came about from the Spanish foreigners who captured and imprisoned many beautiful female captives, hence the name, “Captiva.”
North Captiva Island is separated by a channel called the Redfish Pass. This channel was created by a hurricane in 1921. This has not stopped the quick population growth of residents and visitors to the island. One of the things attributed to the growing numbers includes the fantastic natural beauty it offers and its serene atmosphere. As early as the mid-’70s, people began setting up their residences along the stretch right from the island’s northern tip and across the entire gulf up to the bay.
There are approximately 400 homes found on North Captiva Island today. The homes are being built at a rate of about 30 units annually. People expect the island to have a capacity of about 450 residences. Some parts of North Captiva Island have been experiencing speedy urbanization, and this has made efforts to safeguard the natural beauty of its features an essential practice. These efforts are meant to guarantee perfect harmony between the natural state of the island and the residents.
You can’t drive to North Captiva Island. In fact, getting there is part of the adventure! Let’s look at a few ways you can get to North Captiva Island.
How to get to North Captiva Island is quite easy if you choose to go by plane. Find the best flights to take you to any major international airports near the island. It is highly recommended you choose a flight that takes you to the Southwest Florida International (RSW) because this airport has easy access to parking areas. The Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) also helps you get to the island quickly because it has many more direct flights from different cities at affordable prices.
You can also travel by car, but it will not take you to the North Captiva Island Captiva itself. You will need to head west on Pine Island Rd from the South or North of I-75. Then, follow the right turn on Stringfellow Rd. (State Road 767) in Pine Island Center. Once at Pineland Road, take three miles down, and this will take you to the Waterfront Drive. At this point, you will see the Pineland Marina on the left. This marina is found nestled right on the shores of the Pine Island Sound. While there, you can use private water taxi services to take you to North Captiva Island.
How to get to North Captiva from the Pineland Marina is easy due to the availability of a scheduled ferry service to the North Captiva. The scheduled ferry usually stops at strategic places. These are the Barnacle Phil’s Landing, Safety Harbor Club, and the Cabbage Key. You must contact the ferry company for reservations and off-season scheduled times due to varying boat times from time to time.
How to get to North Captiva Island becomes relatively easy if you have a private or rental boat. You can start your ride from the Safety Harbor at Marker # 52. With your compass set at 195 degrees from this marker, head to the “The Fish House.” From here, you can safely enter the Safety Harbor found near the Peninsula and allow the Markers to guide you to the Hidden Cove. Once you get to the docks, you are now on the island!
North Captiva Island promises visitors plenty of fun activities to engage in. Here’s just are several things that you can do on the island.
Yes, they do! Many people have made North Captiva Island their home. It currently has about 400 units that offer homes to the locals. The State of Florida presently owns roughly half of North Captiva Island, and this portion currently is a part of a state park. The rest of the areas, such as the roads, are currently privately owned.
The locals of North Captiva Island and the visitors are served by a passenger ferry that operates from the adjacent Pine Island Marina. There is also a barging service that transports materials and garbage from the island.
The residents and tourists can also use golf carts to move around. However, almost everyone moves around on foot. The residents living on the island and these visitors are not allowed to use cars. This makes North Captiva Island even more pristine and special as it accommodates visitors and more residences.
If you need further evidence that North Captiva Island is a hot real estate hub that promises to accommodate more people in the future, you can look at the properties, land, and home listings on the Sanibel MLS. Prospective clients can get the best beachfront and waterfront listings whose prices range from $1,200,000 to $2.5 million!
It has also been widely speculated that A-list celebrities like the famous Joe Perry from Aerosmith and Tom Hanks have some properties on North Captiva Island. This makes North Captiva Island an even more attractive place to live for potential residents.
Now that you know how to get to North Captiva Island, you’re likely ready to see it for yourself. Consider a Captiva Island vacation rental from Royal Shell Vacations for your next stay in the Sunshine State.
No matter whether you’re staying just a few weeks or a few months, you’ll find the perfect property for your stay in Royal Shell’s inventory. Whether you’re seeking a cozy marina-front cottage or an expansive beach estate, you’ll find what you need to make the most of your time on the island.
Ready to learn more? Contact a friendly Royal Shell Vacations agent today by calling (866) 202-0723 or reaching out online.
Sanibel Island has a special place in the hearts of many. Just ask Royal Shell Vacations’ very own Business Manager Cameron Anholt. Cameron has special ties to Sanibel Island. He refers to Sanibel as “my island,” and it’s easy to see why: Cameron truly loves Sanibel today and Sanibel of the past. He’s an expert on Sanibel history and has many great stories to tell.
Sanibel Island history is rich and varied. Though today the island is a prime vacation destination, its development has humble beginnings as a farming community in the late 1800s. The cash crop on Sanibel before the island was developed was tomatoes. The 1920s brought the end of farming and the beginning of the vacation-destination boom to Sanibel Island.
Cameron might serve as Sanibel Island’s unofficial historian. The official title of Island Historian belongs to his mother, Betty Anholt, who has written several books on Southwest Florida and Sanibel Island history. Cameron recently gave a guided tour of Sanibel Island and shared tidbits and facts along the way. He was eager to share his knowledge of the island and its rich history.
Sanibel Island history reaches all the way back to the island’s formation nearly 6,000 years ago. The barrier island was separated from the mainland by rising sea levels in the Gulf of Mexico.
Sanibel Island is just a baby geologically speaking. The island was formed while the Pyramids of Egypt were under construction, agrarian communities were growing in China, and the first work of known literature was in the hands of ancient readers.
Even though the Sanibel Island physically dates back 6,000 years, it was only an inhabited island after the Calusa established a presence. These indigenous people migrated north from the Everglades to Sanibel Island more than 1,000 years ago.
The people of the Calusa tribe were the first to inhabit Sanibel Island. They were known for building their island homes on stilts, fierceness, and shell mounds. Instead of building their communities around farming like other tribes, the Calusa were hunters and gatherers. Their community depended on fishing and hunting for food.
The Calusa first appeared in Southwest Florida and Sanibel Island around 1200 AD. They got to the island on boats. They continued to use their boats along the island’s waterways for trading with other Southwest Florida tribes. The tribe even made the island’s first canal system to make it easier to get around.
Sanibel Island was home to the Calusa until the mid-1600s. Historians believe the island was home to one of the more important Calusa villages and settlements. Unfortunately, the entire Calusa tribe was extinct by the late 1700s.
You can see evidence of the Calusa and their impact on Sanibel Island history today. You’ll find a shell mound built by the Calusa people in the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
Sanibel Island was abandoned and empty after the Calusa left. It was uninhabited until the 1830s when the first settlers from the mainland made it to the island. The Florida Peninsular Land Company divided Sanibel Island into 50 long, thin tracts that ran from Gulf to Bay. The company marketed the island as a tropical paradise and many people from the mainland and beyond rushed to the island.
The settlers planted all kinds of crops, including:
These crops were planted out of necessity. However, Sanibel Island took a turn toward commercial farming in 1868. According to Cameron, castor beans were the first crop to be grown on Sanibel Island. The castor bean crop was short-lived, as a hurricane devastated the island in 1873.
Sanibel Island quickly recovered after the hurricane of 1873. The first order of business, Cameron said, was the construction of the Sanibel Island Lighthouse. The light was first lit on August 20, 1885.
Cameron loves sharing this interesting tidbit about the Sanibel Island Lighthouse. While the lighthouse was under construction, the barge carrying the lighthouse hit a sandbar and it tumbled into the very waters it was being built to protect.
Today the Sanibel Island Lighthouse and the adjacent keeper’s home are on the National Register of Historic Places.
What came next in Sanibel Island history? Tomato farming. After the construction of the lighthouse, more people became aware of Sanibel’s fertile lands and perfect Southwest Florida weather. Sanibel Island was a hub for tomato farms until the 1920s. In fact, you could find Sanibel tomatoes on the menus at New York City’s ritziest restaurants and hotels during the Roaring ‘20s. A single Sanibel tomato would have taken $1.50 out of your wallet then, the same as $25 in today’s money.
A great flood covered Sanibel Island with saltwater in 1926. Unfortunately, it rendered the land unfit for farming. Sanibel’s history then shifted toward tourism and development.
Bailey is a big name in Sanibel Island history. The family first came to the island in the 1880s. They soon got down to business. By 1889, the Bailey family had purchased a row of buildings that made up a plantation store. These soon became the first centers of commerce on the island, including a packing house for crops grown on the island.
The Old Bailey General Store, which was built in 1927, still stands today. It has survived many hurricanes thanks to its smart construction, Cameron said on his island tour. The store was built using tongue and groove diagonal boards and had braces on the gables.
Shoppers still visit a more modern Bailey General Store today. The store is located on Periwinkle Way and offers an array of groceries and other goods.
Sanibel Island became much more accessible in 1928 when ferry service came to the island. The first ferry traveled between Punta Rassa and Sanibel Island. The island then started building a reputation as a vacation destination.
In fact, according to Cameron, what today stands as Casa Ybel Resort was once known as a hotel called “The Sisters.” This is where the island tradition of welcoming guests and peaceful vacations first started. Many famous visitors soon made appearances on the island: Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and poet Edna St. Vincent Millay all spent time on Sanibel Island.
The U.S. military also had a presence on Sanibel Island. The island was once used as a training ground and training preparations for the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion took place on Sanibel Island. You can still see homes that were once officers’ residences on the island.
Sanibel Island was known as a remote destination until the Sanibel Island Causeway opened in 1963. The causeway connects the island to Fort Myers and brought an influx of development to the island.
Cameron’s favorite parts of Sanibel Island are the trees and natural beauty. Thankfully, land use restrictions set by local government in the 1960s and 1970s dictate that no building on Sanibel Island can be taller than the treeline. These strict building codes ensure that Sanibel Island stays lush and green despite development. In fact, you might think Sanibel Island is uninhabited if you look toward the island from Fort Myers. This is because the dense treeline overtowers any building on the island.
Today Sanibel Island is known as a lush, green vacation destination. When compared to its sister island Captiva, you’ll find that Sanibel Island is less developed with more natural splendor.
The JN “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge takes up 61% of Sanibel Island. Named after a famous cartoonist, the refuge was created to protect and enhance the island’s wildlife and their habitats.
Sanibel Island is also known for the abundance of seashells found on island beaches. The island’s unique geography is what makes the shelling special. The island sits on a large plateau on the Gulf of Mexico. This creates a perfect “shelf” for capturing seashells from the Gulf.
You’ll also find eclectic businesses on Sanibel Island today. Periwinkle Way is lined with shops and restaurants with something for every taste. (Cameron’s favorite, though, is on Sanibel’s sister island Captiva. He’s a fan of The Bubble Room and the desserts there.)
Are you ready to make your own Sanibel Island history? Plan your most memorable trip yet with help from Royal Shell Vacations. With offices right on Periwinkle Way, Royal Shell Vacations has its own rich history of ensuring guests have a great experience on Sanibel Island.
From help finding the perfect rental to a seamless check-in process, Royal Shell Vacations is eager to go to work for you. Vacation rentals available on Sanibel Island include everything from
charming beach cottages to epic estates.
Call Sanibel Island home this season. Reach out to Royal Shell Vacations by calling (866) 202-0723 or contacting us online now.
Wonder who lives on Captiva Island? You’ll find that the answer to the question varies depending on the time of the year. Typically, there are a humble number of people populating Captiva Island to the tune of 175 souls. But, when peak season rolls around, how that number swiftly rises to a whopping 20,000 people. Among the inflated seasonal number of people, you may come across a few very familiar faces from your favorite bands, movies, and other well-known people.
Just who lives on Captiva Island? Multiple celebrities call Captiva home, ranging from actors to musicians and business executives. Celebrities like TV newsman Ted Koppel, and “America’s Dad” Tom Hanks, are among a few well-known faces who are celebrity neighbors on Captiva Island. Even if their typical stay on the island amounts to the equivalent of one or two weeks in their vacation home.
While those are just a few names, there are many more. Keep reading to learn more about the known faces of Captiva Island.
Absolutely. Several celebrities live on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. A few of those that you may recognize immediately include:
The famed novelist and master of horror stories recently acquired a sprawling Lee County waterfront home to the tune of 8.9 million. Known for his cult classics such as Kujo and the hair-raising clown, IT, King’s mansion sits on 3 acres of land. It boasts picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico. Can you imagine a new book, filled with horror up against such a fantastic backdrop?
This classic funny man, known for hilarious comedies such as Bringing Down the House with co-start Queen Latifah, Father of the Bride, and Cheaper By the Dozen, may dominate the screen showcasing how all falls apart to one extent or another in his on-screen homes.
Larry Bird is known for his basketball legacy, boasting the record of being the only athlete to win MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the year. So it’s no surprise that when he purchased his initial home on Captiva in 1993, he decided to demolish it and build his nearly 6,000 sq. ft. custom waterfront mansion overlooking Venetian Bay. He had his eyes set on bigger and grander things.
Having the bird’s-eye view as Tom Cruise’s neighbor is something that nearly everyone would love to experience. While he does not personally have a residence on Captiva island, rumor has it that it was a frequent spot he visited because his mother lived there. The Mission Impossible actor as well enjoyed the beautiful sands of Sanibel for vacation getaways. Christopher Walken is a fellow actor who has parents living on the island.
Before his passing, NBC Weatherman Willard Scott and his larger-than-life personality (creator of Ronald McDonald and voice behind ‘America’s favorite Clown,’ Bozo) had first views of the best weather conditions from his lakefront resort-style home. He credited his love for the island to his first visit in 1972.
Of course, the rich and famous are just like us. They have favorite supermarkets and clothing stores. They also enjoy a day out on the beach with family or simply curling up in a nice corner and reading a good book with a steaming cup of tea.
Until recently, when vacationing in Naples, you might have spotted Fox News’ Sean Hannity. His high-rise penthouse overlook had bird-eye views of the tropical-like views if you missed him out and about. It was perfect for his at-home broadcasts.
However, there are still an overwhelming number of celebrities who call southwest Florida home, including Aerosmith guitarist, Joe Perry. Joe Perry is the founding member and lead guitarist of the group. Perry was a nearby resident of the late NBC weatherman, Willard Scott.
Perhaps the area is where the musical juice really gets flowing—Rickey Medlocke, lead guitarist of the rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd; John Mooney, blues guitarist; and AC/DC guitarist Cliff Williams each have a residence in the Fort Myers area.
Setting and scenery make all the difference and North Captiva and surrounding areas of Southwest Florida have plenty of both. So, it’s no surprise that so many films are filmed in the area.
A few movies that you may have seen or thought of adding to your ‘films to watch list’ include:
There’s nothing like a good tale chronicling a woman’s reinvention. Sweet Home Alabama unfolds as Reese Weatherspoon does just that. This 2002 Romantic Comedy was filmed on Captiva Island.
Johnny Depp and Al Pacino outdid themselves in the mob drama which premiered right before the turn of the century. As the two of them maneuvered the gritty scenes of their world, there were many scenes that may be recognizable as areas of Captiva Island.
Possibly one of the most iconic films to ever be filmed in the area is The Bodyguard. The film chronicles the story of a former secret service bodyguard and an R&B singer. The beautiful scenes of Captiva in the early ’90s are still as prevalent today.
There’s something about getting caught up in arts along with the pursuit of love. Charles Dickens got it and when the 1998 creatively influenced film Great Expectations made it to the screen, choosing to set the scene in Captiva was a great idea.
Filled with great laughs at the turn of every half hour, this crime-centered comedy following Danny Glover and Joe Pesci is a classic. It’s also another great film among the ranks of iconic films that were shot along the beautiful shores of Southwest Florida.
While the islands of Captiva, Sanibel, and other Southwest Florida areas are populated with numerous celebs, some people live there daily and go about what is considered a typical life. Instead, they simply enjoy the scenery and revel in the beautiful location.
According to the most census count, the population of Captiva Island was 175 with a median property growth of $778,800.
The breakdown of the demographics identifies as 49.1% non-Hispanic whites, 29.1%African Americans, or non-Hispanic and the remaining 21.7% consists of those of Hispanic
Captiva has a large population of foreign-born citizens, predominantly born in Cuba, with a median age of 36. As for individuals native to the island, the median age is 65. Other foreign natives accounted for on the island rounds up from Haiti and Colombia.
You don’t have to be a celebrity or movie star to call Captiva Island home this season. Royal Shell Vacations has everything you need to make the most of your time on Captiva Island.
Whether you’re escaping winter’s cold weather from up north or planning a staycation from another part of Florida during the off-season, Captiva Island is the perfect destination to come home to when you’re ready to relax. With so much pristine nature, breathtaking beaches, gorgeous sunsets, and perfect shelling, you’ll love every moment spent on island time.
Who lives on Captiva Island? You could live on Captiva Island. Reach out to Royal Shell Vacations by calling (866) 202-0723 or browse Captiva Island vacation rentals to find your slice of paradise.
What’s pickleball? It’s only the hottest and trendiest game in the world. Pickleball is considered the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., and that especially holds true in the Sunshine State. Regardless of whether you’re a beginner just picking up a paddle or an experienced pro, you’ll love hitting the courts in Florida.
Pickleball is a sport that combines tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. You play with a net on a specially marked court, usually with a partner. Players use a plastic ball and wooden paddles to hit the ball over the net. What’s pickleball’s objective? To hit a shot so good the other player can’t return it and score a point for your team.
Ready to learn more about this exciting new game? Read on to get the gist of pickleball and its origins, find places to play in Southwest Florida, and more.
Pickleball is a racquet sport that is said to be the fastest growing sport in America.
It is played on a court, with a plastic ball and players use wooden paddles to hit a ball over the net. The pickleball game is played on a court that is like a badminton or tennis court with a net in the middle. In fact, many tennis courts in Florida have lines marked just for pickleball. Just like tennis, the objective of pickleball is to hit the ball back and forth over the net, so that the other player cannot return it. The game is played on a court that is 34 inches wide and 64 feet long.
You can play pickleball with friends and with family members of all skill levels and ages and abilities. It’s easy to learn but can be challenging to master. The game is a lot of fun and can be played competitively or casually. There are also many pickleball tournaments around the country. Playing pickleball is a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to get some exercise!
Pickleball isn’t the only way to work up a sweat in Southwest Florida. Learn more about Cape Coral walking trails and get ready to lace up your sneakers.
Pickleball originated here in the U.S. It was invented in 1965 by three friends, Joel Pritchard, Bill Bell and Barney McCallum. The friends were looking for something to do during their summer vacation and came up with the game after a ferry trip.
These three amigos took a badminton net and put it up between two trees and used a Wiffle ball to bat back and forth with ping pong paddles. They had fun playing the game and soon other’s heard word of this exciting new sport. Since then, the game has taken off and continued to grow.
Rumor has it that the sport got its name from Pritchard’s dog, Pickles, who would always run out to retrieve the ball. However, the true source of the name came from the wife of Joel Prichard who was a competitive boat rower in her college days. To her, the game was like a pickle boat crew, which had members chosen from the leftovers of other boats. Therefore, just like this game was a mash-up of different sports, she named it pickleball.
What’s pickleball made up of? It combines the sports of tennis, badminton, and ping pong. Players use paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. In Florida, pickleball is played outdoors and is growing in popularity as a fun way to get some exercise. If you’re looking for a new activity to try, give pickleball a go!
It is estimated that 4.1 million people world-wide play pickleball. While not quite as popular as tennis with 21.5 million players world-wide, the number of pickleball players is on the rise and growing about 30% each year according to information from the BBC.
Tennis and pickleball might reign when it comes to the courts, but golf is another popular sport in our corner of the Sunshine State. Learn more about the best golf courses in Southwest Florida.
Pickleball is a mashup of three popular games, but it is most often compared to tennis. Both games are played on a court with a net. Both games can be played with or without a partner. But that might be where the similarities end. Let’s look at how the games are different.
Pickleball is much slower paced than tennis, which can make it more beginner friendly. There is a lot of give and take in the game, so rallies can last for extended periods of time.
Pickleball is a paddle sport that combines elements of badminton, tennis and table tennis. Unlike tennis, the two or four players on the pickleball court use solid rackets made of wood or composite materials to hit a perforated polymer ball, similar to a Wiffle Ball, over a net.
However, in tennis, the rackets are stronger t and the balls bounce is much higher than the plastic ball in Pickleball.
Tennis scoring comes with lots of complicated terms like love, deuce, and add. Pickleball, on the other hand, is simply played to 11 points or 21, whichever comes first.
In pickleball, the plastic ball can bounce twice on each side of the net before being hit back across, making the game more strategic.
The strokes made to hit the ball in pickleball are more placement based than power shots made in tennis. This means that they are gentler to make than tennis strokes. This is which makes it an easy sport for all ages to play.
The shots made in pickleball need to be better timed and precise because of the shorter distance of the court.
Pickleball is less demanding on your body than tennis is because there is less movement on the court and therefore less instances of getting injuries.
Pickleball is considered to be a softer sport than tennis. It is a paddle sport that is played on a badminton-sized court with a slightly hard ball. You also don’t have to move as much as tennis, which reduces your chances of injuries.
However, pickleball can require more mental alertness than tennis does. This is especially because there is no volley zone requiring you to stay some distance from the net.
Ready to get started playing pickleball? You’ll need a wooden paddle, a wiffle ball, a net or court, and a partner. Most sporting goods stores in Florida sell pickleball sets. You can likely find the equipment you need to get started with pickleball for less than $50.
You’ll also want to dress the part when you’re playing pickleball. Men will likely find that loose-fitting athletic shorts and a moisture-wicking top will keep you cool on the court in Florida’s sun. Ladies might consider dressing in tennis attire to play pickleball, like a skort and moisture-wicking top.
Now that you know what you’ll need, where to find it, and what to where, let’s look at a few places where you can play pickleball around Southwest Florida.
There are pickleball courts all across Southwest Florida. You’ll find some courts dedicated just to pickleball, others are courts shared with other racket sports.
Yes, you can play pickleball on a tennis court. You would just need to set up the appropriate boundaries for the game. Many public tennis courts in Southwest Florida already have pickleball lines marked.
East Naples is something of a pickleball paradise. In fact, there are 64 pickleball courts in East Naples. You can find them at the East Naples Community Park, which is also known as “Pickleball Central” and home to the Naples Pickleball Center.
Why is East Naples Community Park known as “Pickleball Central”? Not only will you find 64 pickleball courts, but you’ll also find a pickleball pro shop and the Pickleball Academy of Southwest Florida here. This makes East Naples the perfect place to go if you’re ready to get into the game.
East Naples isn’t the only pickleball hot spot in Southwest Florida. You’ll also find nearly 2 dozen places to enjoy the sport in Fort Myers, giving you plenty of options.
Here are 20 pickleball courts you can play in Fort Myers:
Looking to get into the game on island time? You’ll find several places to play pickleball on Sanibel Island.
Local pickleball courts on Sanibel Island include:
So, what’s pickleball? It is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world and it brings serious fun and competition to the courts.
Ready to make pickleball part of your next Southwest Florida vacation? Browse vacation rentals in Fort Myers now and find the perfect homebase for your sporty adventure. Need more flexibility in your vacation planning experience? Learn more about Flexcation Options from Royal Shell.
The possibilities for romantic getaways in Florida seem endless. While Florida is home to some of the most spectacular vacation spots in the world, finding the destination that is right for you and your partner can be challenging.
Florida is a large state with many attractions, a diverse environment, and seasonal weather. Understanding where and when to visit will help you enjoy your perfect romantic getaway in Florida.
Florida is known internationally as a world-class family destination. When looking for a couple’s getaway, the Sunshine State shines even brighter than the rest. There are so many things for a couple to do in Florida.
Florida has so much more to offer than just beaches and theme parks (which are amazing). Nature’s offerings include incredible natural springs, coral reefs, and waterfalls. Florida is great for that golf getaway, party trip, or quiet retreat. Accommodations range from campsites to some of the most exclusive resorts in the world.
No matter your style or budget, there’s no end to what a couple can do in Florida. And, there are always plenty of opportunities for spontaneity.
A Florida vacation is a dream way to celebrate your anniversary. You’ll want to plan your vacation around the season, as the weather can impact your plans. No matter when you visit, though, you’re certainly going to have a fantastic time. And, of course, a romantic beach vacation is always in season.
What’s more romantic than enjoying some of the best weather in the country? The cool, dry winter is the perfect time for outdoor activities — golfing, hiking, kayaking, and even the beach (though the water is probably too cold to go in). Theme parks are less busy during winter. In general, though, this is the most crowded time of the year. Don’t shy away — the amazing weather makes it well worth it.
If your anniversary is during the summer, you are in luck. Really. Sure, it’s hot and humid. But the crowds are smaller, and, most importantly, so are the prices. Look for summer resort offers and great deals on vacation rentals. Outdoor activities should be enjoyed in the mornings before it gets too hot. The warm water makes this the best season for water sports. Don’t fret the stormy afternoons. They’re the perfect opportunity for indoor activities — museums, aquariums, shows, and casinos.
Both seasons are an outstanding balance between winter’s dry weather and summer’s low crowds. The days are warm, but the evenings are cool. Indoor or outdoor, there’s really nothing you can’t do. This may be the best time to visit — don’t miss out on a Spring or Fall Florida vacation.
You can fit a lot of romance in a short amount of time in Florida, and weekend getaways are a great way to do it. To get the most enjoyment in a weekend, try a beachfront resort with onsite amenities and dining options, like Sundial Beach Resort & Spa on Sanibel Island or The Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island. Imagine having your own private balcony looking out onto the water and enjoying restaurants, shopping, and other amenities without leaving the property.
Florida is known for having some of the most romantic beaches globally. Couples from around the world travel here for the experience. But with 825 miles of beaches in Florida, you’d be hard-pressed to choose just one. The best beach for your romantic trip depends on whether you’re looking for quiet relaxation or prefer a little more excitement.
If you desire a more relaxed beach experience, you’ll find that one of these beaches may be just what you’re looking for:
The nearest neighbor of well-known Sanibel Island, Captiva Island is just as beautiful and even more serene. It is a quaint throwback to yesteryear, where you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. If you enjoy funky shops and eclectic dining, look no further than Captiva Island. It’s a little gem off the beaten path. The island is famous for shelling.
While there are no dogs roaming this panhandle island, as the name may suggest, there is wildlife abound. This relatively unknown island’s incredible beaches are virtually untouched — so much so that there are no restaurants or even public amenities. It can only be reached by boat or plane. You’ll feel like you have your private beach.
Bordering Georgia, it’s a lovely, quiet beach on Amelia Island. Lined by sand dunes and sea oats, the island juxtaposes luxury and unspoiled charm.
You can tell by its name that it’s the perfect spot for a romantic trip. The state maintains the island’s natural beauty. But as a popular Tampa Bay-area park, it can get busy. If you’d prefer a less popular and more secluded beach, take the short ferry ride to the neighboring Caladesi Island State Park — an undeveloped island with concessions and restrooms.
This aptly named beach is part of Lovers Key State Park, a collection of natural barrier islands. Located between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs, it is a popular location for beachfront weddings, hence the name.
Beautiful beaches of soft sand line this picturesque island. There are no traffic lights, and the pace is wonderfully relaxed. It also has some of the world’s best beaches for shelling. Learn more about Sanibel Island beaches.
While the oldest city in the U.S. may be touristy, its beach is quiet and great for couples looking for a romantic getaway.
Just west of Dog Island, this 28-mile barrier island is more developed and is reachable by car. Most of its beaches are quiet and secluded.
Does your idea of a romance involve a little more adrenaline? If so, check out these fantastic beaches that also have an active social life:
It’s known as one of the best surfing spots on the east coast, and it is, appropriately, home to the largest surf shop in the world, Ron Jon. It’s also Orlando’s closest beach, at just a 45-minute drive. This classic “surf town” is active but not overwhelming.
Another great place to surf, the “World’s Most Famous Beach,” is a major spring break destination and a popular spot for water sports.
Another popular spring break locale, Fort Myers Beach is a fun, lively beach town. It’s often referred to as the World’s Safest Beach because of its gradual slope, gentle waves, and lack of undertow.
The westernmost region of the Florida Keys is known for its beautiful beaches and its nightlife. The (in)famous Duval Street is family-friendly fun during the day but transforms into a raucous spectacle as the night falls. It’s not for the faint of heart.
Its fine sand and turquoise water are just part of the appeal of what is arguably the country’s biggest party beach. South Beach’s nightlife is the stuff of legend. It’s trendy, upscale, and will get your heart pumping. You may even bump into a celebrity or two.
If you want to dazzle your sweetheart, here are some of the most romantic activities you can do in Florida:
Sanibel Island is a beautiful barrier island located off of the coast of Southwest Florida in the Gulf of Mexico. Couples and families come from around the globe for its gorgeous powder-white sand beaches. They are world-renowned and enjoyed without the hustle and bustle of many other premier beach destinations.
If you dig shelling, there’s nowhere better to find shells. Sanibel is known as the shelling capital of the world. And for good reason — you can find over 250 species of shells. You’ll see scores of people slowly walking along the shoreline, bent over as they go. Locals and visitors alike affectionately refer to this as the Sanibel Stoop. And no shelling aficionado should leave Sanibel without a trip to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, an accredited natural history museum spotlighting shells and mollusks.
Planning the perfect romantic getaway in Florida starts with the right partner — Royal Shell. A recognized leader in luxury vacation rentals for over 25 years, Royal Shell is unrivaled in its dedication to customer service. If the beautiful beaches of Southwest Florida or the picturesque hills of Ocala are calling you, allow us to exceed your expectations. Search our collection of vacation rentals or call (866) 341-7799 to speak with our knowledgeable vacation planning advisors to plan your next romantic getaway in Florida.
When you visit Naples Botanical Garden, Florida flora comes to life in front of your eyes. This 170-acre garden offers a world-class experience and gives easy access to the plants that make Southwest Florida a tropical garden paradise. It is a must-visit attraction for any fan of flowers and plants.
At Naples Botanical Garden, Florida’s subtropical and tropical plants are the stars of the show. The park features 10 unique gardens. See orchids in bloom, succulents, water plants, and more at this expansive facility dedicated to horticulture and learning. Lake Tupke and Deep Lake offer a waterfront ambiance. You’ll also find walking trails, dining opportunities, and a gift shop for souvenirs all at Naples Botanical Garden.
Naples Botanical Garden spans 170-acres located just 10 minutes from beautiful downtown Naples. The garden features a visitors’ center with interpretive exhibits, food services, restrooms, a gift shop, and 10 unique gardens.
In addition to spanning over 170-acres, Naples Botanical Garden is also home to several miles of walking trails. With so much to explore, you’ll love making the gardens part of your next Southwest Florida vacation.
Botanical gardens are collections of plants dedicated to cultivation, preservation, and display. They inspire the senses through sight and smell and let you get back to nature in serene surroundings.
At Naples Botanical Garden, Florida plants are the centerpiece. The garden’s mission is to preserve plants that grow between the 26th latitudes and to share knowledge about these plants for beauty, sustenance, tranquility, and well-being.
Naples Botanical Garden has 10 unique garden areas. These gardens are:
Let’s look at a few of the details about each area of the Naples Botanical Garden.
Irma’s Garden at the Naples Botanical Garden features unique flowers and plants that you’ll only find in the topics and subtopics. This charismatic collection shows off what makes the plants of the 26th latitudes special. See bright colors, unique changing plants, and more in Irma’s Garden.
Kathryn’s Garden at the Naples Botanical Garden is home to a collection of plants, flowers, and trees inspired by the work of the post-Impressionistic French artist Henri Rousseau. You’ll see and smell fruit trees, enjoy lush vegetation, and see bright flowers in this unique garden.
The LaGrippe Orchid Garden at Naples Botanical Garden features a collection of orchids found around the globe. These notoriously fickle plants thrive there. You’ll find beautiful bromeliads growing among the orchids.
When strolling through the Marcia and L. Bates Lea Asian Garden at Naples Botanical Garden, Florida turns into Japan. This garden is themed after a Japanese temple ruin and features the plants and flowers you’ll find growing in Asia.
The flora and fauna of Brazil are beautiful and diverse, and you’ll find this well-represented at the Kapnick Brazillian Garden at the Naples Botanical Garden. Art installations inspired by Cubism and Brutalism are the perfect backdrop here to the plants of Brazil.
There’s more to the Caribbean experience than white sandy beaches and turquoise blue seas. The Kapnick Caribbean Garden at Naples Botanical Garden captures the unique tropical essence of the Caribbean and brings it to Southwest Florida. See crops like banana, sugar cane, and papayas grow, along with fragrant vanilla orchids and more.
The Sunshine State is a lush paradise. Naples Botanical Garden, Florida is well represented in this unique collection. See palm trees, native wildflowers, and local plants up close and in person.
The 90-acre Preserve shows off Florida’s unique ecosystem. Explore pine flat woods, lush wetlands, and other Florida habitats and environments in the natural wonder. If you’re lucky, you might encounter an endangered gopher tortoise, many species of birds, and other Florida critters.
You’ll find the Water Garden in the heart of the Naples Botanical Garden. Florida is 18.5% water and the Sunshine State’s lush lakes and rivers are the perfect habitat for all kinds of growing water plants. See them in person at this unique garden.
With so much to see and explore, the Naples Botanical Garden is well worth a visit for tourists and locals alike.
With its massive size and 10 unique gardens to explore, visitors to Naples Botanical Garden should count on spending at least 3 hours. This allows time to bask in the beauty of Florida’s flora, have a drink at the cafe, and pick up a few souvenirs at the gift shop.
Admission to Naples Botanical Garden is $25 per adult, $10 for kids ages 3-17, and free for little ones under 3. Parking is free but can be limited during special events.
If you are interested in becoming a member at Naples Botanical Garden, you’ll find several different tiers of membership. The most basic membership for individuals is $90 per year and provides free admission. A family membership is $145 per year and offers free admission for two adults and children and/or grandchildren under 18. Other memberships range from $265 a year to $1,000 a year and offer a range of other benefits.
Naples Botanical Garden goes to the dogs on Sundays and Tuesdays, when the park is open to pets. Twice a week from 8 to 11 a.m., this garden paradise turns into a dogwalker’s dream. Well-behaved and vaccinated dogs are allowed in the park during these special hours. Pets are not permitted in the gardens at other times.
Naples Botanical Garden is has been part of Southwest Florida for 30 years. The garden was established in 1993 and has flourished with flora since.
If you want to say “I do” among the blooms, you’re out of luck. Naples Botanical Gardens recently eliminated private events, like weddings, from their offerings so they may focus more on member and community programming.
Planning a trip to Naples in Summer? While the Naples Botanical Garden will be in bloom, you’ll find warm weather and steamy humid conditions. Expect the temperature in Naples to hover in the 90s during the months between June and September. You’ll also need an umbrella as summer brings up to 9 inches of rain each month.
Even though Summer is considered Naples’ “off-season,” you’ll still find lots of families vacationing here. Family-friendly attractions like the historic Naples Pier, Naples Botanical Gardens, Naples Zoo, and more make Southwest Florida a great destination for a summer vacation.
Naples Botanical Garden is among the largest botanical gardens in Florida.
However, it’s not the only botanical garden in the Sunshine State. Other botanical gardens here include:
When Ponce de Leon claimed what is now the Florida peninsula for Spain, he called the area La Florida because the word meant “an abundance of flowers” in Spanish. It’s so surprising that today’s Sunshine State is home to so many botanical gardens.
When you plan a trip to Naples Botanical Garden, Florida’s unique plant life will inspire and impress. You’ll see everything from native wildflowers and palms to exotic plants from around the world in the 170-acre garden paradise.
Make Naples Botanical Garden part of your next Florida vacation. Every vacation needs a great home base, and Royal Shell makes it easy to find the perfect vacation rental in Naples, Florida.
With so much to see and do, you’ll find that Southwest Florida is the right destination no matter your age, lifestyle, or interests. From miles of white sandy beaches to dozens of world-class golf courses, there is truly something for everyone to enjoy.
Flexcation™ options from Royal Shell can give you the peace of mind you need to plan a trip during uncertain times. No matter whether the weather won’t cooperate or someone in your vacation party falls ill, Flexcation™ from Royal Shell lets you reschedule or even cancel your vacation while keeping more money in your pocket. Ready to learn more? Reach out to Royal Shell now to start planning your next Florida adventure.
During sea turtle season, Florida beaches become nesting grounds for beautiful and endangered creatures. Female sea turtles come ashore to find nesting sites and lay their eggs. This means thousands of sea turtle hatchlings will head to sea by moonlight just two short months later.
When is sea turtle season in Florida? You’ll find sea turtle season runs from March through October every year. During sea turtle season, Florida beaches transform into nurseries for turtle eggs and hatchlings. Ninety percent of sea turtles that nest in the United States nest on Florida beaches.
Learn more about turtle conservation and what sea turtle season brings to Florida.
Loggerhead and Green sea turtles are among the most common species you’ll find in Florida.
Other sea turtles you’ll find in Florida include:
Sea turtles in Florida range in size from the 1,300-lb Leatherback to the 75-lb Kemp’s Ridley.
Sadly, all 5 of Florida’s sea turtles are considered threatened or endangered. The Loggerhead Sea Turtle is listed as threatened by the Federal Endangered Species act, while the others (Green, Hawksbill, Kemp’s Ridley, and Leatherback) are all listed as endangered.
The Kemp’s Ridley turtle is the most critically endangered Florida sea turtle. Some estimates project there are fewer than 10,000 individual Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles left in the world. There might be as few as 57,000 Hawksbill turtles left in the world.
In sea turtle season, Florida beaches transition from being sunny tourist spots to nesting grounds for beautiful and mysterious animals. More than 100,000 female sea turtles head to the Sunshine State’s beaches to lay their eggs. They come at night, usually in the spring, and dig out nests deep in the sand to keep their eggs safe. The eggs incubate for about 60 days, depending on conditions, before hatching.
Sea turtles hatch in the late summer and fall months in Florida. This means you might see a swarm of infant turtles fighting their way to the sea between August and October.
Sea turtles nest along both the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida.
Your chances of seeing these sea turtles in the wild increase the further south you go. This means you might be most likely to see sea turtles in Florida in Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, or Brevard counties.
However, these aren’t the only places you’ll find these magnificent creatures coming ashore. On the Atlantic side of Florida, you might find sea turtle nests as far north as Ormond and Daytona beaches in Volusia County.
On the Gulf side of the state, you might find sea turtle nests in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Sarasota, Collier, and Lee counties. The barrier islands of Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, located in Lee County, are also known to be sea turtle nesting grounds.
With such a large percentage of the state’s beaches serving as nesting grounds, it’s easy to see why sea turtle conservation is a big deal in Florida. You can see captive and rehabilitated sea turtles in Florida at facilities and attractions including:
While seeing a sea turtle in person in captivity or rehab can be an awe-inspiring experience, there’s nothing quite like seeing them in the wild. Let’s look further into the details on sea turtles in Florida.
During sea turtle season, Florida beaches up and down the state turn into nesting grounds. It is possible to watch the two-hour hatching process from afar along almost any beach during this time.
However, if you want to watch sea turtles hatch up close and in person, you’ll need a trained naturalist as a guide. Naturalist guides lead turtle walks at night along Florida beaches so visitors and locals can hopefully catch a glimpse of sea turtles nesting and hatching. The guides use special infrared lights to avoid disrupting the turtles, as the creatures use the light of the moon for guidance.
You can find this special turtle walks along many beaches during sea turtle season. Florida is known for its natural splendor and turtle walks are led by specially trained guides who show you how to respect nature while observing.
Looking got a place in Southwest Florida where you are guaranteed to see wildlife? Consider a trip to the zoo in Naples, Florida!
Sea turtles season brings these magnificent and mysterious creatures to beaches up and down the state each spring through fall.
The best way to see sea turtles hatching is on a guided turtle walk. These walks are held on beaches across the state by trained guides with special infrared lights. These turtle walks forbid regular flashlights and cameras with a flash, as these devices can confuse or disorientate the hatchlings.
During a turtle walk, the specially trained and permitted guide will give an interpretive talk on turtle conservation and biology. Then you’ll head down to the beach. When on the beach, you should be able to see either a nesting Loggerhead sea turtle mother laying her eggs in the sand, or if you’re really lucky you’ll catch the hatchlings making their way toward the sea by moonlight.
Florida state regulations only allow turtle walks on the state’s beaches in June and July. Additionally, guides are required to hold a special permit issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). The FWC’s Marine Turtle Permit Holders (MTPH) are the only guides approved to lead turtle walks.
According to information from the FWC, there are two MTPH organizations in Southwest Florida:
Turtle Time Inc. is a non-profit organization and the only MTPH in Lee and Collier counties. They lead guided turtle walks on Southwest Florida beaches in June and July. If you’d like to watch sea turtles nest or hatch during your Southwest Florida summer vacation, consider giving them a call at (239) 481-5566.
Sea turtle nests and eggs are very delicate and should not be disturbed. But what does a sea turtle nest look like? You can identify a sea turtle nest by a few tell-tale signs.
Sea turtles nest in the sand. A mother sea turtle will dig out a hole to lay her eggs. She might dig several holes in the sand before she finds the right one for her eggs. You might identify sea turtle nesting holes by disturbed vegetation around the nest and flipper imprints in the surrounding sand.
If a sea turtle conservationist has found the nest first, it will be clearly marked on the beach with signage and protected with mesh fencing. This will prevent beachgoers from disturbing the eggs inside the nest.
If you find a turtle nest in the sand that hasn’t yet been identified by conservationists, consider calling the local FWC office or a sea turtle conservation group. You can reach the FWC Wildlife Alert line at 888-404-3922.
When a baby sea turtle hatches and emerges from the sand, it was a 1 out of 1,000 chance of making it to adulthood safely. The odds are heavily stacked against them. Baby sea turtles can die of dehydration if they don’t make it to the ocean fast enough. They can also become snacks for birds, crabs, and other animals.
Despite their slim chance at survival, you need to let nature run its course. It is illegal to touch sea turtles in the state of Florida and federally in the U.S. This means that you cannot help baby turtles to the sea by moving them to the water.
Even though you can’t physically help them to the ocean, there are a few things you can do to help baby sea turtles and their mothers through conservation efforts.
A few things you can do to help baby turtles include:
In most cases, sea turtle mothers come ashore at night during high tide. They might spend the rest of the night on the beach looking for the perfect spot to lay their eggs.
Even though sea turtles use the moon to guide them back to see, it is a myth that they only come ashore during a full moon. Sea turtles come to shore throughout the lunar cycle.
Sea turtle hatchlings usually emerge from their eggs at the coolest point in the evening. This is usually after midnight into the early morning hours, depending on the forecast.
Interesting in making sea turtle season part of your next Florida vacation? There are many advantages to visiting the Sunshine State during the Spring, Summer, and Fall months that align with the sea turtle season.
Not only is the summer high time for sea turtles, but you’ll also likely find this to be the most affordable time to visit southwest Florida. You’ll also find fewer crowds and a great inventory of Florida vacation rentals available to you.
If sea turtles are what’s bringing you to Florida, you’ll find many other nature-and wildlife-focused activities for the whole family to enjoy across the Southwest part of the Sunshine State. The Naples, Florida Zoo is a great place to see all kinds of creatures up close and in person, while the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island is the perfect place for a day of exploring and birding.
During sea turtle season, Florida turns into a nursery for these beautiful and majestic sea creatures. Get a truly wild Florida experience by seeing them for yourself. Plan your trip with help from the experts at Royal Shell Vacations. Reach out now by calling (866) 341-7799 to learn about vacation rentals, Flexcation™ Options, and more.