Southwest Florida brings to mind images of sandy beaches lined with towering palm trees, thick sea grape bushes, long tunnels of tangled mangroves, and rows of beautiful homes with lush landscaping. When you're on Florida's Gulf Coast, you’re surrounded by beauty on all sides, including its neighboring cities who each bring something special to the area.
Here are five of Southwest Florida's most picturesque cities.
A short drive to the south, Marco Island is a popular upscale vacation destination with rich culture, great food, and plenty of scenic views.
With the island's beaches, marinas, resorts, shopping, and waterfront restaurants, it's easy to see why the island attracts tourists and visitors from all over Florida and the United States.
Visit Tigertail Beach to relax on the Gulf or wade in the tidal inlet. Browse the stores and indulge at eateries in the Esplanade shopping center. "Marco," as it's called by many, is also a good place to launch for an offshore fishing excursion or a few hours of kayaking among the mangrove islands of Rookery Bay.
Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach
If you're interested in the history of Southwest Florida, you’ll enjoy a visit to Fort Myers. From its days as a pirate hideout, to its time as a strategic location for a military stronghold, to its settlement in 1876, Fort Myers has grown to one of the largest cities in Southwest Florida.
Today, homes and buildings still stand a century later. One of the city's top attractions is Edison and Ford Winter Estates—the homes of inventors Thomas Edison and friend Henry Ford—along with museum exhibits about their work.
Visitors also go to Fort Myers for the Burroughs Home and Gardens, the city's other museums, downtown shops, and the parks and preserves along the Caloosahatchee River.
Made up of a collection of barrier islands, Fort Myers Beach is a place for fun for tourists and visitors alike. The main attraction for this beach town is the stunning shore, which you can access from 30 different places, including Lynn Hall Memorial Park next to the bustling fishing pier, and Bowditch Point Park.
Everyone visiting Fort Myers Beach must spend some time at Lovers Key State Park, with two miles of preserved beach in addition to quiet mangrove kayaking trails. Away from the water, the thing to do is peruse the beach shops of Times Square and enjoy the nightlife scattered across Estero Island and San Carlos Island.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands
Over the causeway from Fort Myers, Sanibel Island and its neighbor, Captiva Island, are gems of quiet beauty.
Renowned for its abundant seashells that just waiting to be found, Sanibel is also known for its famous lighthouse.
It's also the home of J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, which is a fair percentage of the island. At the refuge, you can drive or bike a 4-mile-long wildlife drive through mangroves and past ponds that are superb for birdwatching and photographing wildlife.
Visitors and residents enjoy Sanibel and Captiva's restaurants with fresh seafood, shops selling coastal merchandise, and spas offering beachside pampering.
Naples' nearest neighbor is a city where you can find plenty to do outdoors, beginning with several top golf clubs.
Even dogs get a beach and several parks where they can play outdoors. Boaters enjoy Estero Bay that slips right out to the Gulf of Mexico for saltwater fishing. In all, the city lives up to its name, which means "pretty" in Spanish.
Cities of the Everglades
In addition to these cities, Everglades City and nearby Chokoloskee to the southeast are quaint, rustic fishing villages on the edge of the Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands. Take one of many airboat or kayak tours that leave from this outpost, or visit the Gulf Coast Visitor Center of Everglades National Park.
The Rod & Gun Club here has hosted Presidents Hoover, Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, and Nixon, in addition to celebrities like Ernest Hemingway and Mick Jagger -- a true Old Florida place to stay on the edge of the wilderness.
Southwest Florida is full of beautiful locales that showcase this paradise in their own unique ways. If this is where you want to build the home of your dreams, let us show you the spectacular residences we have built for the Southwest Florida lifestyle. Get in touch to schedule your private tour of our communities and start planning your custom home.