There’s nothing like swapping a snowy white holiday for the white sandy beaches you’ll see when you spend Christmas in Southwest Florida. In fact, the region is home to many special holiday activities and tons of opportunities to shop for the perfect gift.

From boat parades to light shows to music and more, there’s so much to do for Christmas in Southwest Florida.  Let’s explore 10 can’t-miss activities to enjoy in the area that are sure to put you in the holiday spirit. 

10 Ways to Enjoy Christmas in Southwest Florida in 2021

10 Ways to Enjoy Christmas in Southwest Florida in 2021

The month of December just might be the best time of year to vacation in Southwest Florida. The weather is warm and mild, the seasonal residents are around and enjoying themselves, and you’ll find many ways to have fun in a holiday state of mind.

Let’s look at 10 ways to enjoy Christmas in Southwest Florida, just in time for the 2021 holiday season.

1. Get Inspired at the Festival of Trees

Need inspiration for decorating the Christmas tree in your home or even your vacation rental? Want to bask in the scent of fresh-cut balsam without dealing with the hassle of a live tree? Consider checking out the annual Festival of Trees at the Sidney and Berne Davis Arts Center in Fort Myers. 

This special Fort Myers Christmas event lets visitors see all kinds of beautifully decorated Christmas trees, all in support of a local charity. The 2021 event will raise funds for Goodwill of Southwest Florida and the art center. 

The 2021 Festival of Trees kicks off on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, with a special preview party. Other special events during the festival include a wine and paint party, music events, and even a visit from the jolly old man himself.

You can learn more about the Festival of Trees at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center and find a full schedule of events by visiting the SBDAC website.

2. Learn a New Meaning for “Parade Float” at Boat Parades

Have you ever seen a parade float? What about a floating parade? Christmas boat parades are a big deal in Southwest Florida and it’s easy to see why. These decked-out vessels are floating displays of holiday spirit with lights, music, and fun! 

You’ll find quite a few Christmas boat parades around Southwest Florida in December. A few to consider checking out during the 2021 holiday season include:

  • Fort Myers Beach Boat Parade begins at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2021, at Salty Sam’s Marina and will float down Matanzas Harbor and the first two canals of Siesta Isles.
  • Bonita Springs Boat Parade sets off from Bay Water Boat Club and travels the Imperial River starting at 5;30 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2021. See the best views from Riverwalk Park or the bridge on U.S. 41.
  • Naples Boat Parade also launches at 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 11, 2021. See the parade and enjoy a bite from venues including Riverwalk Restaurant, Kelly’s Fish House, and others water-front venues.
  • Cape Coral Holiday Boat Along will take place from 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Dec. 18., 2021, at Four Freedoms Park, just off Cape Coral Parkway. Bring lawn chairs to see the parade and enjoy the festival atmosphere.

3. See Cape Coral Glow at the Festival of Lights

The Holiday Festival of Lights is a Cape Coral Christmas tradition. The annual holiday event takes place downtown along the Cape Coral Parkway. It features a ¾-mile run of holiday lights, festive attractions, spirited performances, and other fun things to bring in the season.

You can see Cape Coral glow at the Holiday Festival of Lights from 4 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, December 4, 2021. Visit the Cape Coral Chamber website to learn more.

4. Celebrate St. Nick at Santa’s Block Party

The jolly old man himself will be the star of Santa’s Block Party. This fun event will feature food and festivities sure delight those of all ages. Held at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center and part of the Festival of Trees mentioned above, Santa’s Block Party includes fun, games, craft workshops, and even cookie decorating.

Santa’s Block Party will take place from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Dec. 4, 2021, at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center in Downtown Fort Myers. Christmas treats and food trucks will be on-site with delectable lunch offerings to make the outing truly special.

5. Go Back in Time with Edison and Ford

Visiting the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers is like taking a step back in time. This holds true during the winter holidays as well. You’ll see these historic homes in traditional Christmas decor and illuminated with thousands of twinkling lights during the Holiday Nights event.

The 46th Holiday Nights run from 5:30 to 9 p.m. Nov. 26, 2021, through Jan. 2, 2022. Special events during the Holiday Nights festivities include musical performances, refreshments, guided tours, visits with Santa, and more. Call Edison and Ford Winter Estates at (239) 334 – 7419 for additional information.

6. Tour the Burroughs Home and Gardens

The Burroughs Home and Gardens in Fort Myers’ River District is another historic home that goes all out for the holidays. The annual Holiday House dresses up the house in ribbons, garlands, and of course, twinkling lights to truly let visitors bask in the holiday glow.

The Holiday House is open every night from Dec. 10 through Dec. 22, 2021. Find Burroughs Home and Gardens at 2505 First Street in Fort Myers. You can also tour the historic Langford-Kingston home right across the street. Guided tours are available, and Santa will even make an appearance most evenings during the event. 

7. See Sanibel and Captiva Lit with Luminaries

Sanibel and Captiva Islands glow every year during the annual Luminary Stroll. This year’s event will take place from Dec. 3 and 4, 2021.

Stroll down a trail of luminaries, savor the sights and stops along the way, and even take in a peaceful nativity scene during this annual holiday tradition. Slated activities and things to enjoy include:

  • Live music at Periwinkle Place
  • Photos with Santa
  • Live nativity scene
  • Tasty refreshments

Learn more about the Luminary Stroll from the Sanibel-Captiva Chamber of Commerce.

8. Get in the Spirit with Holiday Music

Nothing sets a holiday mood quite like the sounds of the season. Hear holiday music from the Southwest Florida Symphony at several special events during this year’s Christmas season.

  • Holiday String Quartet performances are free of charge and will take place across the Southwest Florida region. Hear the players in Naples, downtown Fort Myers, and even at Bell Tower
  • Guest vocalist Heather Ivy will perform big band Christmas music with the orchestra in Punta Gorda, Bonita Springs, and Shell Point.

Learn more about these TinyConcerts from the Southwest Florida Symphony.

Find the Perfect Gifts at Miromar Outlets

9. Find the Perfect Gifts at Miromar Outlets

There’s something for everyone at Miromar Outlets in Estero. This expansive shopping plaza is just a short drive down I-75 and is home to more than 160 stores. Find mall favorites like Abercrombie and Fitch as well as designers like Kate Spade and Michael Kors. 

You’ll occasionally find live entertainment at the mall, as well as car shows, pet adoption events, and more. Miromar Outlets is located right between Naples and Fort Myers at 10801 Corkscrew Road in Estero, FL. 

10. Experience Christmas on The Farm

Christmas Festival at Springtime Plant Farm is a can’t-miss holiday event for family fun in North Fort Myers. You’ll find more than 30 uniquely decorated trees, a maze, a slide, more than 300 animals, and much more. 

Find the Springtime Plant Farm and Adventure Park at 10761 Aqua Vista Lane in North Fort Myers, FL. Call (239) 309-0630 for additional information.


What Else Is There To Do in Southwest Florida in December? 

You’ll find endless opportunities to enjoy Southwest Florida in December. With so much to do, it’s easy to find ways to bask in the season’s glow. From holiday festivals to live music to boat parades, there’s always an entertainment option to take in when you’re visiting Fort Myers and the surrounding areas in December.

Just a few of the things you can do in December in Southwest Florida include:


Can You Swim in Southwest Florida in December?

You might even be able to swim in Southwest Florida in December. The average daily high in December in Fort Myers hovers around 77 degrees, so you might be able to make a splash and swim outdoors. However, you’ll probably prefer a heated pool for swimming in Southwest Florida in December, as the Gulf temperature averages around a chilly 71.5 degrees this time of year.

Plan Your Holiday Escape with Royal Shell

Plan Your Holiday Escape with Royal Shell

Ready to experience Christmas in Southwest Florida? Plan a holiday getaway now. No matter whether you want to book a trip a few weeks away or for next winter, the experts at Royal Shell Vacations help you plan your perfect winter escape. 

We can help you find the perfect vacation rental, from a city condo for 2 to a 6-bedroom beach casa with room for everyone. Flexcation options will let you book with confidence, while online direct bookings can help you save money on your vacation rental. 

Let Royal Shell Vacations be your partner in planning the perfect Southwest Florida escape. Contact us by calling 866-202-0723 or reach out to a friendly agent with our online contact form.