Location: 26811 South Tamiami Trail | Bonita Springs, FL 34134
There are few things that are more quintessentially Southwest Florida than the Fort Myers Beach Lions Club Shrimp Festival. For two days every March, locals and visitors visit Fort Myers Beach to enjoy the parade, meet the Shrimp Festival Queen, and participate in arts and crafts, the shrimp-eating contest and the iconic shrimp boil and dinner. Approximately 30,000 people come out to the Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival. Parade and festival attendees consume about 13,000 pounds of shrimp. This is the ultimate event for seafood lovers.
The Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival began as the Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet more than 50 years ago. Now it is a major celebration. Shrimp is known as “pink gold” to locals, and in the early days the shrimp industry was one of the things that helped put Fort Myers Beach on the map. Come enjoy a Southwest Florida tradition since 1959.
Meet new people, enjoy the weather, try some shrimp and other seafood dishes, watch the parade, visit more than 100 arts and crafts vendors, watch live entertainment, meet the Shrimp Queen, or try to take home the title of the winner of the shrimp-eating competition. The Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival is an excuse to get out, eat a delicious meal, participate in some Southwest Florida culture and have a fun day on the beach.
It’s come a long way in 62 years. Today the Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival raises tens of thousands of dollars for charities that provide assistance for services like eye surgeries, the Florida Lions Eye Bank, Southeast Guide Dogs, scholarships for area students, Little League and Youth Soccer, large print books for the local library, and Beach Elementary and Cypress Lakes High School students’ needs.
Lions Club secretary, Shelby Stites, is in charge of the parade float and shrimp-eating contest.
She says her favorite part of the event is the 10 a.m. parade on Saturday.
“You get to ride on the float and throw out candy. That ties it all together for me,” said Stites, who is a third-generation Lions Club member.
She also loves seeing the festival come together.
“We work really hard and get lost in all that happens and forget the fun it creates for the community and what a big deal it is for them,” Stites said. “We work so hard. To take a step back and see the faces in the crowd and how much fun it creates for them and the camaraderie of the community, it hones in on why we do it in the first place.”
The March festival is from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on both days. The free event is open to kids and adults and there’s something for the entire family to enjoy.
The Shrimp Festival grounds are located at Lynn Hall Memorial Park at 950 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, 33931.
Some people opt to leave their cars off-island and take the LeeTran trolley to the festival. There is plenty of parking at LeeTran’s Beach Park and Ride facility at the corner of Summerlin Square Drive and Pine Ridge Road. The LeeTran trolley takes you to Fort Myers Beach. Once on the island, a free tram service runs continuously to help you get from point A to point B.
Keep in mind that the Matanzas Pass Bridge is closed from 9 a.m. to noon for the Saturday morning parade. If you’d like to access the beach from San Carlos Boulevard you should arrive before 8 a.m. The only bridge open to Estero Island during the parade is from Bonita Springs, about 16 miles south.
If you choose to park on the beach, there is a pay lot you can use on the north side of the island. From the south, you can park at Santini Plaza in the 7200 block of Estero Boulevard, or at Lovers Key State Park.
The parade of the season begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The one-and-a-half-mile-long route runs down the main street of town, Estero Boulevard. Many people get there early to claim a prime viewing spot, so if you want first dibs, prepare to get there by 9 a.m. The parade starts near Fort Myers Beach Elementary School and ends at Lynn Hall Park next to Times Square. It has run the same route for 60 years and it’s a piece of Southwest Florida history.
For more than 50 years, the Fort Myers Beach Lions have been serving delicious Gulf shrimp to festival attendees. In fact, many festival goers attend the event just for the delicious pink shrimp dinner. The secrets of the perfectly cooked peel and eat shrimp have been in the Lions family for generations, passed down throughout the years from boil master to boil master. The Lions also use their secret recipe for cocktail sauce. This is a dinner fit for a king or queen. The shrimp comes straight from the Fort Myers Beach shrimp boat fleet. It’s a whole operation. The Lions boil shrimp for two days, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. They make it a priority for festival goers to experience the goodness that is shrimp directly from the Gulf of Mexico.
The shrimp-eating contest has become a new island tradition. Ten sponsored contestants compete to eat as many pounds of cooked and peeled shrimp as they can in eight minutes. They are distributed to contestants in pre-weighed portions. Whoever eats the most wins! Will Fort Myers Beach firefighter, Joel, be crowned the Shrimp King yet again or will a newcomer outlast him?
The Shrimp Run 5k, presented by the Cypress Lake High School Athletic Booster Club and Cypress Lake High School, is back. It’ll twice take over the Matanzas Pass Bridge while thousands of onlookers cheer the runners on! It starts and ends at Doc Ford’s restaurant.
There is also a run for kids. The Kids Shrimp Run is a one-mile run on the beach sand and it takes place on the first Saturday in March. Each participant gets a T-shirt and accolades will be awarded to the top-three finishers for each gender per grade, Kindergarten through fifth grade. The free race will begin at the beach access on Gulf Beach Road. Each grade will be released separately and the race begins at 8 a.m.
Before the first Shrimp Festival was held in 1959, there was an event called Beach Day. St Raphael’s Episcopal Church sponsored the Blessing of the Shrimp Fleet, which was held on the Beach Pier. Shrimp rolls were sold in the county park.
“We started it from the beginning,” Stites said.
But at first, instead of shrimp, the Lions sold barbeque chicken dinners.
“Someone asked why we were selling chicken dinners at a shrimp festival and we stopped that and got local shrimp from shrimp boats, and turned it into a shrimp festival with shrimp from local shrimp boats,” Stites said.
And they haven’t looked back since.
“We’ve got some new members this year and they’ve reminded us that some people move down to the beach after experiencing the Shrimp Festival because they’ve decided this is where they want to be,” Stites said. “It brings everyone together. They (locals) consider it a holiday. For the community, it’s a way to get together. It’s all about the local pink shrimp.”
It also gives the local economy a boost.
“Everyone is slam jam-packed,” Stites said.
And every dollar raised goes back to the local community.
Stites says the Lions raise more than $60,000 in two days.
“We distribute funds we raise to local food pantries, students at the Beach School, help families in need, and all sorts of other efforts,” she said. “We can’t keep any of the money for ourselves. One-hundred percent of the money we raise goes back to the community.”
Come visit us on the beach and check out the Fort Myers Beach Shrimp Festival. Soak up the warm Southwest Florida sunshine, mingle with the locals, try some freshly boiled peel-and-eat shrimp and take advantage of this local tradition. If you’d like to dip your toes into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico or take in one of our famous sunsets at our famous beaches, any of our Vacation Planning Advisers will be happy to help you book a vacation in paradise. We have all sorts of rentals available, whether you’re looking for something to accommodate a large family or a romantic vacation for two. Call us today and let us know how we can help. Creating lasting memories is what we do best!
The Annual American Sand Sculpting Championship will make Fort Myers Beach its home for 10 days at the end of November and the first day of December.
The American Sand Sculpting Championship is the largest sand sculpting competition in the United States and people come from all over to compete. More than 30 sculptors from eight nations, including World Class Master Sand Sculptors and amateurs, will compete in a sequence of competitions to see who will be the next American Champion. The event will also include a kids’ activity area, quick sand speed sculpting, music, sand sculpting demonstrations and a vendor village. Food and beverages are available for purchase.
There will be free parking and a shuttle service at the Lovers Key grass lot at 8700 Estero Blvd. in Fort Myers Beach. Paid parking is also an option at businesses closer to the event, which is located behind the Wyndham Garden Hotel.
There will be nearly 50 sculptures made by 10 advanced amateurs competing in the Florida State Championships, 10 Masters competing in doubles and 16 Masters competing in solos.
In addition to people creating impressive works of art, the American Sand Sculpting competition will feature more than 40 arts and crafts vendors, food and drinks, photo opportunities and a people’s choice award. The VIP pass has also been reinstated this year. It includes a complimentary event T-shirt, food and beverage, as well as access to a private sand lounge.
Last year, sculptors worked with about 600 gallons of water and 10 tons of sand for each of their masterpieces.
Past Master Sculptor Solo Division winners included John Gowdy from the U.S. in first place with “A Tribute to the Wildland Firefighters of California,” Melineige Beauregard from Canada took home second place and the sculptor’s choice award with “You Make My Heart Burn,” and Seveline Beauregard, also from Canada, received third with “Dance and Breathe.”
As for the Master Sculptor Doubles Division, “Return to Oz” by Bruce Phillips and Jihoon Choi won first place, sculptor’s choice and people’s choice. John Gowdy and Laura Cimador-Gowdy took home second with “Dreaming Nonna’s Bedtime Stories” and “Connected/Disconnected” by Bert Adams and DeLayne Corbett received third.
The Advanced Amateur Division winners were “Alien Vacation” by Lisa Fewless in first place and “Pucker Up” by Amanda Bolduc.
In a local news article, President of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce, Jacki Liszak, said the American Sand Sculpting Championship had a huge economic impact.
“With 50,000 people coming in and putting heads in beds and staying the night, we don’t have hard numbers, but it has a significant impact,” she said. “It’s also over the holiday week, so a lot of people turn this into their vacation.”
Thousands of people visit the Annual American Sand Sculpting Championship on Fort Myers Beach each year. Whether you planned your trip around the competition or you stumbled upon it during your stay, it’s worth taking half a day to visit the beach and admire the creative sculptures. If you want to stay as close as possible to the action, we can help accommodate you. We have rooms available at RL Ambassador Suites, which is about a five-minute walk from the site of the event. We have the beach accessories you need for a day at the beach too. We also have a variety of rental Fort Myers Beach vacation rentals. Let us know which option is right for you and our Vacation Planning Advisers will get started searching for it right away. Contact us today.
The Roar Offshore powerboat racing event always make a big splash on Fort Myers Beach It was a popular race series in the mid-2000s and is bigger and better than ever.
Enjoy the beautiful town of Fort Myers Beach and watch powerboats whoosh by you at a cool 180 mph. There are events and parties celebrating the offshore powerboat races. See the boats up close, meet like-minded boat lovers and enjoy a true Southwest Florida vacation by the water.
A winner is crowned at the end of the national championship race. There are typically more than 60 racing teams.
Spectators will be able to catch a glimpse of the national race from anywhere along Fort Myers Beach, from mid-island to the pier.
Along with the Offshore Powerboat Association Nationals, the RoarOffshore Racing event on Fort Myers Beach is the last of the six-race American Power Boat Association (APBA) Offshore Championship Series.
The Roar Offshore Powerboat Race wouldn’t have been possible without Mike Shepherd, Tim Hill and his wife, Cyndee.
The organizers of the offshore powerboat racing event have been promoting it since last year. There are also a number of events you and your loved ones can enjoy a few days before the race starts on Oct. 10. Arrive a few days early and there will be plenty for you and your loved ones to do.
The race’s organizers estimate that the race will bring up to 70,000 spectators to Fort Myers Beach. Not to mention adding upwards of $6 million back into the local economy.
If you’re visiting Southwest Florida for the Roar Offshore Powerboat Races, there is no better place to stay than in Fort Myers Beach vacation rentals. You won’t be far from the action and all of the celebrations leading up to to the race, and you may even be able to catch a view of the race from your vacation rental.
When you’re not watching the race or attending an award ceremony, don’t be shy — check out the water. Try a Southwest Florida boat rental from Port Sanibel Marina, or a shelling and lunch excursion to Cayo Costa. The weather is beautiful in October. Take advantage of it when you’re not enjoying the race and let us know what adventures you find. If you need help planning a memorable vacation, our Vacation Planning Advisors are happy to help! Contact us and book a vacation today.
One of Southwest Florida’s hidden gems is the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival. The 10-day event honors songwriters and crooners with impressive talent, featuring low-key music with a country vibe.
The Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is spread out over four different locations and it’s not like other music festivals that last longer than a few days. It’s comfortable, affordable, and rejuvenating. Explore this beautiful slice of paradise while discovering tons of new music. A vacation doesn’t get much better than this.
The annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is also the biggest festival in Southwest Florida that’s dedicated to all things songwriters. The best part? The event is mostly free, save for a few performances that require tickets.
Island Hopper began in 2014 and it continues to grow each year. With venues downtown near Fort Myers vacation rentals, Fort Myers Beach, Captiva Island vacation rentals, and Cape Coral, the annual Island Hopper Festival gives everyone a chance to catch a variety of musical acts.
The festival, typically held in late September, also helps boost the local economy. Each year local shops and restaurants see an uptick in business during the event, and it gives Southwest Florida visitors a chance to see what this part of the Sunshine State is all about.
The festival is produced by the Lee County Tourist Development Council, iHeartMedia, and BMI. It’s meant to bring people together through music while shining a spotlight on area bars and restaurants. Attendees will be able to enjoy 60-plus artists, most of which are free and in small, intimate venues across downtown Fort Myers, Captiva Island, Cape Coral, and Fort Myers Beach.
Past featured artists include Chris Janson, Kristian Bush (half of the popular country duo Sugarland), Gone West, Jerrod Niemann, Rodney Atkins, and Ryan Hurd. Check back every year to learn about the exciting music lineup!
Royal Shell has a variety of rental homes available on Captiva Island, Fort Myers Beach and in Fort Myers. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Whether you’re coming with a lot of friends and family or you’re looking for a romantic getaway or a low-key retreat with close friends and family, Royal Shell can accommodate any type of vacation. Our Vacation Planning Advisors offer optimal customer service, can help you plan your vacation and can answer any questions you have about Island Hopper Songwriter Fest.
For more information, you can also download the official Island Hopper mobile app for iOS and Android devices. You can use it to purchase tickets for select performances, look up artist information, updates and alerts, and performance times and venues.
When you think of visiting Florida, you picture rolling turquoise-green waves on the Gulf of Mexico, unique-looking shells that dot the shoreline, and cruising around on the water with your loved ones. If you’re looking for the best place in Southwest Florida for boat rentals, we’ve got you covered. Summer in Florida is made for hanging out on the boat, the wind in your hair, the warm sunshine covering your body, and the chance to discover new locales and embark on an adventure.
And if you love boating events and watching water vessels whoosh by at 180 mph, why not come back to Southwest Florida in October?
The Roar Offshore race on Fort Myers Beach is October 10-12. At the end of the national championship race, a winner will be crowned. Spectators can see the national race from anywhere on the beach, from the pier to mid-island. There will also be an area to watch the race out on the water. It’s always fun to enjoy the Fort Myers boat show. You can rent your own boat and enjoy one of the best views in the house. It’s well worth a fall trip to Southwest Florida!
The great thing about boating in Southwest Florida and spending quality time on the water is that there are tons of destinations to visit, and each of them offers something unique.
Head over to Sanibel and Captiva Islands and enjoy some of the best shelling and Captiva Island boating in the world. The Sanibel Lighthouse is also a popular destination. Fort Myers Beach has a handful of smaller bay islands you can visit. Naples is lined with white sand beaches and it’s near the Everglades, an enticing area of Florida everyone should visit at least once. It’s a step back into Old Florida and it’s beautiful. Cape Coral is a city full of canals. Really, that’s one of its nicknames. There are freshwater boating opportunities and you can also follow the canals to the Gulf of Mexico. Catch a glimpse of dolphins, West Indian manatees, birds and maybe an alligator or two.
Port Sanibel Marina, located just before the Sanibel Causeway, has boat rentals available for half a day, a full day or for a week. You can also rent a canoe, kayak or paddle board.
When you rent a boat from Port Sanibel Marina, you’ll need to stay within their boundaries – the Intercostal Waterway to the northern tip of Cayo Costa Island to the Caloosahatchee River, stopping at the Fort Myers Yacht Basin, to the Back Bay on the Estero River, stopping at Lovers Key State Park. The person operating the boat must be 25 or older, possess general boating knowledge and have a driver’s license. There is also an online boating safety course you can complete. Port Sanibel Marina provides renters with a lesson on operating the boat. If you plan on fishing from the boat, beach or pier, you must have a valid Florida fishing license. You can purchase a temporary fishing license here or by calling 1.888.347.4356.
If you’re visiting the first two weekends in June, you’re in luck. On June 1 and 2, it’s license-free saltwater fishing weekend. The following weekend on June 8 and 9, it’s license-free freshwater fishing weekend. This means that during these two weekends only, a fishing license is not required for Florida residents or visitors, provided they are fishing in the right type of water. Also keep in mind that all bag limits, size restrictions, and closed areas apply on these two weekends. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/License. For some helpful fishing tips, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing.
All the essentials you’ll need are for sale at the Ship Store.
We recommend bringing:
If you opt to rent a boat for a full day, that means you’ll be on the water from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Half-day rentals come in four-hour increments and they begin at 8 a.m. The last departure is at noon. Additionally, all rentals must be back at the fuel dock by 4 p.m.
Visit Southwest Florida for a beautiful summer vacation in Florida and come back in the fall for one of the most exciting boat races all season.
On Thursday, October 10, Roar Offshore Racing event starts with a parade of race boats over the Matanzas Pass Bridge. The parade will spill over onto Old San Carlos Boulevard, and there will be a street party afterward. What better way to kick off an event? You’ll be able to catch a glimpse of the boats in the street. There will also be live music, food and a chance to meet the teams competing in the race.
The Race Village opens at Salty Sam’s Complex on Friday morning. Spectators can see and interact with race teams and boats. There will also be vendors. If you want to see teams practicing out on the water, you’ll get a chance to see that, too.
Saturday is the day. There will be three races on the beachfront and plenty of places to view the race on the island. To watch the race, visit one of the host restaurants, a VIP waterfront table, or catch the action from a boat in the spectator anchoring area on the water. We also recommend bringing a beach chair and spending a day on the beach, or you can even see the race from a raft floating in the water.
Whether you’ve been to the Sunshine State before or this is going to be your first time, spending your summer vacation in Florida will leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and refreshed.
Port Sanibel Marina also offers discounts for Royal Shell guests. When you stay in one of our vacation rentals, you’ll get to take advantage of 30% off boat rentals at the marina. If you want to purchase some new stylish outfits for a day on the water, Royal Shell guests also receive 15% off most items at Coastal Outfitters.
Rent a boat from Port Sanibel Marina and explore the surrounding areas or just spend a leisurely day on the water. There are so many things to do and so many places to go if you have a boat. We know you’ll have a great time! We have a variety of rental homes on Fort Myers Beach to choose from, and if you have any questions, our Vacation Planning Specialists are just a quick phone call away.
Don’t forget to come back again in October for the national Roar Offshore Racing event. It’s one thing you won’t want to miss!
When you’re planning a trip to Southwest Florida, picking the perfect beach spot can be one of the most important parts of your vacation. While we have you covered there, it’s also important to have everything you need to look like you’re a beach bum pro.
Southwest Florida beaches are the best beaches in the country. We also offer the best beach accessories to make sure your Florida vacation and your beach time are enjoyable and as effortless as possible. Here are some of the best beach accessory ideas we can offer to make sure you get the most out of your Southwest Florida beach experience.
No one likes a cold drink that’s covered in sticky, white sand. Make sure you take a long beach cup holder that anchors into the sand and allows you to pick up your beach drink without receiving a hand full of wet sand. Make sure the beach you are visiting allows beverages before you break out the beach drinks!
It’s also a good idea to bring along plenty of beach koozies to keep your drinks cold. Juice boxes for the kids and plenty of waters and beverages for the adults are important, too.
Do you have little ones that make messes? Add the beach and watch that mess multiply by mixing in wet and dry sand to the equation! The only thing worse than beach messes is kids trying to eat lunches on the beach with a towel. Avoid the mess and the loss of another beach towel by bringing a folding beach table that’s perfect for juice boxes, snacks and lunches!
If you have a table that’s sturdy enough, you can even play a game of beach poker under the tent to cool off and get a break from the sun’s rays.
Beach carts are a necessity for families heading to the beach. No one wants to be that mom or dad lugging everything from umbrellas to towels and kids over their shoulders. Find yourself a nice, collapsible beach cart that you can pull through the sand with ease. Beach carts ensure you only have to make one hands-free trip from the car to your beach spot.
A beach tent for adults and kids is a must-have beach item. Whether you are on the beach all day, or for a few hours, a beach tent provides much-needed relief from the sun during a snack, nap or even just for a breather while you reapply your suntan lotion. Make sure it’s an easy-to-pack-and-fold item that isn’t too bulky for your beach cart or vehicle.
Gone are the days when a regular terry cloth beach blanket on the sand would suffice. Beachgoers today can do better. In today’s beach world, you can find beach blankets that repel sand and are water-resistant. Many of them also have pockets to hold belongings like phones and keys you’ll want to keep clean from the elements. Microfiber beach blankets also work to create a plush environment for sunbathers and act as a quick-drying towel. Many of these fancy, new beach towels can also work as a yoga mat or exercise towel.
We realize the days of bringing a boombox to the beach are over. But that doesn’t mean the beach jams have to stop! Make a fresh beach playlist for summer or any other time of the year and make sure it’s available to play for friends on a portable Bluetooth speaker that’s charged up for your beach trip. Bring along a pair of headphones, too, for when it’s time to meditate in the sand and get lost in your own world.
Beach bags are all the rage right now. Big, bulky mesh bags that you can toss everything in, from beach towels to buckets and shovels for the kids, are not hip anymore. The perfect beach bag for a day at the beach is waterproof, has containers to hold and protect valuables, and looks good doing it with cute designs, tassels and monogrammed options.
A good beach umbrella that can handle and buffer a good Gulf of Mexico rain shower is very important. Beach umbrellas with aluminum poles that are adjustable are the best choice. Tilt adjustments are also a must because they allow you to angle the umbrella to protect yourself as the sun changes position.
Umbrellas should also have:
Beach chairs have come a long way in the last 10 years. These days, it’s easy to select an affordable beach chair that offers the following perks:
If you have kids, you cannot forget to take a good variety of sand toys to the beach to keep them busy throughout the day.
Other kid-friendly toys to bring include:
Whether you are sitting on the dock of the bay or on the beach, you need ultimate sun protection all day long! Make sure you select a sunscreen that you can use on both your face and your body. You should also look for a non-greasy formula and one that is water-resistant if you know you’ll be spending time in the water. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF 30 or higher for ultimate protection from harmful UVB rays and reapply often!
You have to drink plenty of water during a trip to the beach, especially on hot and humid days. Choose a reusable water bottle that can keep drinks cold for 24 hours and keep hot drinks warm, if you’re heading to see a Southwest Florida sunset on a cool and breezy winter night.
Whether you are packing a lunch, bringing drinks or need a place to keep things cool, a beach cooler is your friend. Soft coolers are all the rage right now, especially ones that have straps so you can walk onto the beach with the cooler on your back like a backpack. Coolers with wheels also get the job done for a family that needs a big cooler to hold everything for a long day at the beach.
The only thing left to do now is enjoy the beach and your Florida vacation. Are you looking to head to Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel or Captiva islands? Why limit yourself? Book a longer Florida beach stay and explore all the beaches in the area because each one of them has something unique. The agents at Royal Shell can help you plan your perfect beach getaway vacation today.
Apple pie, family get-togethers and the American flag all make us think of the Fourth of July because they symbolize independence. Spending the holiday on the beach in Southwest Florida, or at least in warm, sunny temperatures, makes 4th of July Florida events even better for your holiday vacation getaway.
Whether you’ve already been to Southwest Florida’s Sanibel Island or Captiva Island or the mainland, it doesn’t hurt to revisit special memories and make new ones. The best 4th of July Florida events are truly made on the beach. There’s nothing like fireworks on the beach to get you in a patriotic state of mind.
The Fourth of July has officially been a federal holiday since 1941, but the holiday has been celebrated since the American Revolution. On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence from Great Britain.
Patriotic fervor became even more prevalent after the War of 1812, in which the United States again squared off against Great Britain. In 1870, Congress made the Fourth of July a federal holiday; in 1941, the provision was extended to grant all federal employees a paid holiday.
Celebrate America’s Independence Day in sunny Southwest Florida and relax on the beach before heading to one of the area’s hotspots to view one of the stunning fireworks shows.
Whether you’re looking for a Fourth of July parade or the largest fireworks display, this post will tell you all you need to know about 4th of July Florida events in Naples, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island.
Southwest Florida is a big area, so there’s a lot of ground to cover for America’s birthday bash. Regardless of where you’re staying or what you’re looking for, there are plenty of options for you to find something to do.
Most people celebrate Independence Day by watching a firework display, and Southwest Florida has plenty of options to choose from. If you’re watching the firework spectacle from the beach, don’t forget to bring a towel, folding chairs, sunscreen, water and bug spray.
Fireworks at The Naples Pier begin 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 4 from a barge 1,000 feet away from the pier
The Naples Police Department will strictly enforce parking and pay special attention to “No Parking” areas with a focus on the entire length of Gulf Shore Boulevard, fire hydrants and blocked intersections.
A good rule of thumb for viewing fireworks at the Naples Pier is to get there early so you can snag a parking space. Traffic is also always backed up after this event. Make sure you plan accordingly.
Located in the heart of downtown historic Bonita Springs, Riverside Park will feature kid-friendly events and July 4-themed activities. There will also be a firework and laser-light display at night for a star-spangled spectacular.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit downtown Fort Myers, now’s your chance. The WINK Freedom Fest starts in the afternoon and the downtown Fort Myers firework display begins at 9:30 p.m. It’s free and it boasts live entertainment and food trucks. If you’re staying in or near Fort Myers for the 4th of July, this is an ideal option.
Think red, white and blue but it’s really about the boom in Cape Coral. This is one of the best Fourth of July celebrations in Southwest Florida, and also one of the area’s most talked about. Singer-songwriter Chase Bryant will headline the annual Cape Coral fireworks Independence Day celebration at 8 p.m.
From 5 to 10 p.m., expect vendors, kids park with rides, kids activities and of course, a firework display at 9:30 p.m. Guests must purchase a wristband to enjoy the rides. Each session lasts one hour and 15 minutes, and there are a limited number of wristbands available.
Red, White and Boom is free and located at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge in downtown Cape Coral, just east of Del Prado Boulevard.
Parking for Red, White and Boom is also free and parking lot locations include Club Square, Iguana Mia, the Veterans Museum or Big John’s Pizza. There will also be free parking and trolley service. For more information, you can call 239-573-3128.
If you are staying on Cape Coral or don’t mind a bit of a drive, there is also a Freedom 5k at the foot of the Cape Coral Bridge at 7:30 a.m. Registration for the Cape Coral Fourth of July 5K, begins at 6 a.m. and runners can register for the Cape Coral 4th of July 5k at the Fort Myers Track Club website, freedom5kcc.com.
If you’re staying in the area for a while, there is also the Cape Coral Mango Fest on June 14 and 15. The 22nd annual Cape Coral Mango Mania features everything mango with food and recipe contests, music, food and drinks, and tropical plants and trees for sale.
A firework display starts at 9 p.m. from a barge off the end of Bailey Road. The best spot to view July fireworks is from the Sanibel Island Causeway.
It wouldn’t be a major holiday without a parade, and these options will help put you in the patriotic spirit.
The Fourth of July parade will take place on July 4 from 10 a.m. to noon. Grab a spot near the start of the event on Broad Avenue South or wait for the parade to finish on Third Street South. Don’t forget to bring water and folding chairs.
Head over to Riverside Park at 9 a.m. for a Fourth of July parade and stay all day for fun-filled activities the whole family can enjoy. It’s a family-friendly event everyone can enjoy.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. at the Bay Oaks Recreation Center and travels along Estero Boulevard to Times Square. Stick around Times Square near the clock until 2 p.m. for patriotic crafts, a watermelon-eating contest and a dunk tank. The event is free and parking is limited. However, free trolley service is available all day. Fireworks start at 8:45 p.m. at Times Square. Bringing your own beach chairs is encouraged. Also, keep in mind that the Matanzas Pass Bridge will be closed from 9:30 p.m. to 11 p.m. to oncoming traffic
Start the Fourth of July festivities at 9:30 a.m. with a parade that travels along the main thoroughfare, Periwinkle Way, from Tarpon Bay Road to Casa Ybel Road. There will be an after-parade celebration at Jerry’s Shopping Center at 10:30 a.m. and the 39th-annual San-Cap Optimist’s Club Road Rally also starts at noon at Timbers Restaurant.
Whether you decide to spend the Fourth of July holiday week in Naples, Bonita, Cape Coral, Fort Myers, Sanibel or Captiva Island, there are plenty of things to do for members of the entire family.
It just depends on what type of Fourth of July vacation you’re looking for. Try a laid back vacation rental in Bonita Springs or a Cape Coral vacation rental. Perhaps you’d like to try a Naples vacation rental and enjoy its high-end eateries and fancy boutiques. Whatever kind of trip you’re planning, our Royal Shell vacation planners can help make it happen.
Come for July 4th celebration week and enjoy some of the best Fourth of July celebrations in Southwest Florida. You might like it so much; you’ll want to stay for a lifetime.
There are so many different Fourth of July Florida events. You can’t go wrong whether you spend the holiday in Naples, Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Ocala, Sanibel Island, or Captiva Island. Each area has something unique to offer. Bonita Springs and Cape Coral are located in the middle of everything. Naples is known for its food and arts scenes. It’s also near the Everglades if you’re looking for an adventure. Sanibel and Captiva Islands have beautiful beaches and the destinations truly feel like you’re on vacation. Let us know what kind of trip you’re thinking about taking and our Royal Shell Vacation Planners will make it happen.
If you are thinking about becoming a Florida regular, any of our agents will be more than happy to take you around to see our beautiful Southwest Florida homes. We can also help you plan a last minute holiday getaway! If you’re considering selling your home and buying a place in the Sunshine State, our agents know Southwest Florida like the backs of our hands. We can answer all of your questions, point you to the best beaches and show you some of the area’s best hotspots. Helping people find their dream home or vacation rental is what we do best. Contact Royal Shell today!
When you get out the suitcase and start packing for a vacation, your pets naturally become excited because they see that everyone is getting ready to do something and they want to know what’s going on and if pet friendly travel is in their future.
Your furry friends are a member of your family; too, so it’s no wonder they always think they get to go everywhere you do. You don’t like going anywhere without your pets either, huh? So, why not bring them along so they can have some fun? After all, Fido deserves a vacation, too, right?
These tips will help pet owners and their companions get the most out of their Southwest Florida vacation.
Have you tried any of these tips? Let us know in the comment section below this post!
1. Check the Pet Policy When Making Reservations
Some pet-friendly vacation rental homes require an additional, non-refundable fee to cover the cost of cleaning up after your furry friends. According to Royal Shell Vacations Director of Operations, Nykkie Rizley, pet fees are also used as additional rent to the property owner.
If you are considering a vacation rental property, and pet-friendly is not specified, it’s a good idea to call and inquire anyway, just to be safe. If you assume a property is pet-friendly and don’t learn otherwise until you arrive, that type of thing has the potential to ruin your entire vacation.
Always check the vacation rental property’s pet policy before you make reservations. You can also contact our vacation planners as well. If they’re not sure, they’ll work to get you an answer as soon as possible, so you can plan your vacation accordingly.
2. Proper Pet Identification
Remember, your pet can’t speak for itself. It can’t tell anyone its name or yours. So, if something were to happen to your pet while you’re on vacation, it’s vital to have your fur baby outfitted with proper identification, whether it’s via a tag or a microchip. Your furry friend could wander off and get lost and you never know when an unexpected event like a car accident or natural disaster could occur.
Even if you are super careful, something could catch you and your pet off guard and cause you to become separated. Making sure your pet has some type of identification ensures a much higher chance of them finding their way back to you safe and sound.
You also never know when you may need to take your pet to the vet. Or worse, you and Fido could become separated. If the worst case scenario does happen, it’s much easier to be reunited with your furry loved one if it has proper identification to find its way back to you.
3. Update Pet Vaccinations and Medical Records
Before you travel, it’s always a good rule of thumb to make sure your pet’s vaccinations are up to date. Sometimes, owners are asked to provide medical records for their pet before they make the vacation rental reservation. If that’s the case, you don’t want to scramble to make a last minute appointment.
Also, keep in mind that medical records for your pet can play a vital role in the event of an emergency visit to a local veterinarian while you’re on vacation. Some pet vaccines are considered vital and they’re based on how severe a disease is, risk exposure to it and the chance of the disease being passed on to humans.
4. Pack Pet Carrier & Other Supplies
Sometimes, we’re so excited to get to our sunny vacation destination that packing our pets’ essentials can seem like an afterthought. When packing for a vacation that’s going to include pets, don’t forget their carriers, food, toys, leash, doggy bags, litterbox, litter and other necessary pet supplies.
Your dog or cat may also appreciate blankets and seat covers so they have a comfortable ride down to the Sunshine State and a comfortable place to lie on once they get here. If your pet is used to sleeping on a certain bed or a particular sheet, bring that with you, too; unless you want them sleeping on the guest bedroom.
While you may want to bring your furry loved one everywhere you go, there likely will be times when you need to leave them alone for a few hours. Putting them in their carriers is going to be the safest option, or you could opt for a local pet sitter.
Find a pet sitter in Southwest Florida
A pet sitter will feed and walk your dog as well as spend quality time with them so they don’t feel lonely while you’re gone.
Here are some pet sitter options:
5. Play with Fido at the Dog Park or on the Beach
You’ll get to enjoy the Florida sunshine and fresh air and you can soak up the sun and not feel guilty for leaving Fido behind. Your dog may also want to dip a paw in the water, too!
Here is a list of dog-friendly beaches in Southwest Florida, according to BringFido.com:
The Naples Daily News offers these pet-friendly options:
6. Pet-Friendly Restaurants
A night out on the town can be fun for the whole family, and maybe your four-legged members want to come, too. Depending on the area—from the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, to Fort Myers or Fort Myers Beach, Bonita Springs, Cape Coral or Naples—many restaurants welcome pets in an open air setting.
Check out our list of options, and make sure to call the restaurant ahead of time to confirm. The Naples Daily News recommends the following:
When you do decide to dine with Fido, make sure to bring a treat and bowl of water for your pooch, so they behave themselves and don’t seek out food from the table.
7. Good Pet Etiquette is Key
Let’s face it, not everyone enjoys pets. However, practicing good pet etiquette is important while you’re on vacation. If you’re planning on staying in a resort condo, keeping your dog quiet will be much appreciated by the building’s other guests.
The atmosphere can be exciting for pets because everything is exhilarating and new. It’s helpful to keep them on a leash and close by, so they don’t disturb others. While a beach house will afford you a little more privacy, pet owners will still need to focus on pet etiquette to ensure, for example, that a barking dog cannot be heard by neighbors at the next property over.
Make sure you and Fido have the vacation of a lifetime
If you’re getting ready to go on the vacation of a lifetime and you can’t stand not being able to bring along your furry family member, the professional staff at Royal Shell can help you find a pet-friendly vacation rental property that suits all of your needs. Whether you choose Sanibel, Captiva, Fort Myers Beach, Cape Coral, Bonita Springs or Naples vacation rentals, we want to make sure the entire family has the vacation of a lifetime, including Fido with a variety of pet friendly rentals! Connect with Royal Shell today.
Do you have other tips for pet-friendly travel on vacation? Share your comments here on your experiences with pet-friendly vacation rentals, or connect with us on social media. We look forward to hearing about your pet-friendly traveling adventures!
Whether you’re looking for a small one-bedroom cottage for a romantic getaway or a three-bedroom home for the entire family, booking vacation rentals online is quickly becoming a popular trend.
Secure your spot in paradise by opening up a few tabs of vacation rentals websites. No need to pick up the phone or slip out of your comfortable sweatpants. You can book your trip to Florida from the comfort of your own living room.
With Royal Shell, you can make your Florida vacation rental online. Unlike sites like Airbnb, HomeAway or VRBO, you can also chat with a vacation planner on the phone and lock down your vacation spot the old-fashioned way. If you love where you’re staying now, you can visit any of our 16 offices in Lee and Collier counties and reserve your vacation rental for next year.
There are also more options available if you choose a vacation rental over a hotel room. For one, you’re staying in a home instead of a room, and that alone is a huge plus. There’s more space, privacy and you can come and go as you please. Besides, you can also take advantage of the fully-equipped kitchen that comes standard in most of our vacation rental properties. Host a family dinner or just save a few bucks and cook dinner at home.
Our vacation planning advisers live and work in Southwest Florida, so if you have any questions about where to go, what to do, or where to eat, they’ll be able to give you all the information you need to know. We don’t want to just get you down here. We want to make sure you have the vacation of a lifetime.
Looking for an Airbnb accommodation is a popular way to find a place to stay while you’re on vacation; however, some people still have reservations about it. If you choose to rent out a room, you may also end up staying with fellow travelers you don’t know who are also renting out the home’s other rooms. Or you may end up crashing with the home’s host while they’re staying in another room on the property. If you’re looking for privacy and amenities, this is probably not going to be your best option.
You may also end up paying additional fees to book your stay. According to VRMintel.com, Airbnb charges an additional 6 to 12 percent of the cost of the rental. The site also says that same fee can be even higher on VRBO.com. According to VRMintel, “The service fee is between 5 to 12 percent for most bookings, but can be above or below, based on the reservation.”
When most people think about traveling, they consider staying at a hotel. There’s normally free breakfast or some sort of special if you book early or during a certain time of the year. But is a hotel room really the best choice if you want to feel more integrated into the city you’re visiting?
Tausha from The Globe Getter points out that you don’t get the same feeling when you have to walk down a hallway, use an elevator and take a bunch of extra steps to get to the city’s center. If you stay in a vacation rental property, it’ll already feel homier and less sterile right off the bat. And besides, you won’t feel so much like an outsider in your new temporary city when you can walk out the front door and be steps away from beaches, shops, restaurants and things to do.
The good news is that you’ve already decided when and where you want to go. The hardest part is over. Whether you’re coming to Southwest Florida for a week, a month, or longer, Royal Shell offers plenty of vacation rental options in a variety of different types of breathtaking locations.
We provide you with the type of luxury and customer service you’ll find at a hotel, but you get the space and privacy of a vacation home or resort rental. Vacation rentals with a company like Royal Shell also have other advantages over booking with a hotel or Airbnb.
Let us know what you think of your stay with us in sunny Southwest Florida. Many people come here and never leave. We can help you find condos and cottages in Sanibel Island. If you’re thinking about buying or renting in the Sunshine State, any of our agents will be more than happy to show you around and give you the lay of the land.
Helping people find their dream home or vacation rental is what we do best. Come for a visit, maybe you’ll end up staying for a lifetime. Contact us at Royal Shell today to book a Sanibel vacation rental.
When most of the Northern states are still blanketed in winter snow, Southwest Florida offers a welcome change of scenery—and temperature. If you aren’t trying to escape the cold, the Sunshine State is also known for its emerald-green and blue water and white sand beaches.
Saying there is a lot to do if you’re considering Southwest Florida vacations for your family is an understatement. The Gulf Coast of Florida features a variety of different types of shops and restaurants. It’s also home to the Everglades, a somewhat prehistoric-looking tropical jungle. Explore the scenery or see if you can spot a wild alligator. There’s never a shortage of things to do in Southwest Florida.
Stay at a beach resort so you always have access to the shore. Take a stroll with the kiddos, go shelling with your grandparents or try a fun water activity like kayaking or paddleboarding with your loved ones. Southwest Florida also has some of the best sunsets in the country. In fact, people are known to gather at the end of the Naples Pier to watch the sunset. They even clap when it’s over.
If you’re looking for Southwest Florida vacations for families, there are a variety of family-friendly rental properties available in Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Captiva and Sanibel Islands. Most homes or condo units come equipped with full kitchens and swimming pools. Some units even have access to private beaches and the Gulf of Mexico. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the top vacation destinations for families in Southwest Florida to help you make your decision on which area is best for your upcoming family escape.
You may not really know where Naples, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, Captiva and Sanibel Islands are right now unless you’re looking at a map. But once you visit the Gulf Coast, we won’t blame you if you and the kids want to come back again every year. This part of the state is a gem and a Southwest Florida vacation for your family is an excellent choice if you want to unwind. It offers a laid back lifestyle and things to do for the entire family, from small children to senior grandparents.
Out of all of these cities, Naples is the furthest South and right across the state from Fort Lauderdale. If you like high-end dining and delicious and fresh seafood, downtown Naples is where you want to be. Third Street South offers some boutique shops, but it’s better known for its upscale restaurants. Fifth Avenue South also features a plethora of restaurants, but there are more casual and low-key options as well. If you’re here for the shopping, Fifth Avenue is definitely where you want to be. Beautiful beaches are only about a 10-minute drive from downtown and the Florida Everglades is about an hour South if you and the kiddos want to go on an airboat ride to try and spot an alligator.
The Naples Pier is about 10 minutes away from downtown Naples on 12th Avenue South. The pier has a place to get snacks and drinks in the middle of it and volleyball courts on either side. However, its best feature is the sunset. The timing of the sunset varies from month-to-month and especially during daylight savings time. Make sure you visit the pier to see it at least once. You may even see the rumored “Green Flash.” This happens when the sun dips just below the horizon and is reflected by the blue water of the Gulf of Mexico. A green flash of light appears and surrounds the sun for a brief moment. They’re very rare, and if you get a chance to see one, you’ll never forget it!
Fort Myers is about an hour North of Naples and is also home to one of the most popular beach destinations for families, Fort Myers Beach. It boasts more tropical-themed shops and it’s dotted with colorful bungalows that will make you feel like you’re in the Caribbean.
Downtown Fort Myers is also a popular destination. It features blocks of historic buildings and it’s right on the Caloosahatchee River. Check out one of the art walks, music walks, classic car shows or any of the themed festivals hosted in the city’s center every weekend. You can even visit the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates.
Bonita Springs, or Bonita as locals call it, is in between Naples and Fort Myers. If you can’t decide which area you like best, this is the perfect choice. One of the most appealing draws to Bonita Springs is its no fuss lifestyle.
Historic downtown Bonita Springs is small, but charming. It features one of the best breakfast and brunch spots in the area, the Survey Cafe. You can also find authentic Mexican tacos about a block away. In between the two sits Everglades Wonder Gardens, an 82-year-old attraction that features breathtaking gardens, alligators, flamingos and other exotic animals. This is something you won’t want to miss. It’s such a beloved landmark in the community; a few years ago, a group of local residents formed a non-profit organization to purchase the property and save it from commercial development.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands are about an hour and a half North of Naples. Once you get into Sanibel, Captiva is about a 20 or 30-minute drive away. Sanibel and Captiva are some of our most exclusive options, and there’s a reason for that. Both islands are dotted with true Florida-style homes. Their homes are tucked away and surrounded by Florida’s natural beauty. They come in all colors of the rainbow and they all have unique personalities. This is where you go if you really want to relax.
Sanibel and Captiva are also both known for their local restaurants. If you have a chance, don’t miss out on Captiva’s Bubble Room. It’s one of the quirkiest places in Southwest Florida. There’s also the Captiva Course, a nine-hole golf course that features a relaxing ocean view. Known as the shelling capital of the world, many people visit these islands for their one-of-a-kind Florida seashells. Since Sanibel has an atypical east-west orientation, the north-flowing Gulf Stream waters deposit a treasure trove of seashells onto the beach every day. You never know what you’ll be able to find.
You really can’t go wrong with any of these Southwest Florida family vacation locations. They all offer something for everyone; it just depends on what you want to do while you’re here. Will it be a bungalow on Fort Myers Beach or Sanibel or Captiva Island? Perhaps you want a laidback vacation in Bonita Springs, or you’re tempted by Naples’s high-end eateries and fancy boutiques. The possibilities are endless.
Come for a week, or a month and connect with Royal Shell today to book a Sanibel vacation rental. Who knows, maybe you’ll stay for a lifetime. If you love Southwest Florida so much, try our vacation home rental tips for families to learn more. If that’s something you’re considering, let us know! Whether you’re thinking about buying or renting, any of our agents will be more than happy to show you around and take you around to see our beautiful Southwest Florida homes. If you’re thinking about selling your home and perhaps looking to be closer to the beach or have more space, we know Southwest Florida like the backs of our hands. Helping people find their dream home or vacation rental is what we do best.