In 2021, more than 122 million people visited Florida. Florida is the second most visited state, behind California, and for a good reason.
Disney World, Universal Studios, Miami Beach, and the Kennedy Space Center are just a few places that draw massive crowds. But that doesn't mean other parts of Florida are boring.
In fact, there are plenty of fun things to do all over Florida, including Southwest Florida.
And with that, let's dive into our seven most fun things to do in SW Florida!
1. Everglades National Park
Everglades National Park is the largest subtropical wilderness in the US. The landscape provides a habitat for many rare and endangered species.
The park is also a World Heritage Site and an International Biosphere Reserve. You can kayak your way through the overgrown mangrove tunnels or camp out in one of two drive-in campgrounds.
Wildlife watching is always a thrill, with many guests reporting alligator sightings! Though, it's important to keep a safe distance since alligators do attack people.
You will also have the chance to see plants and birds that don't live anywhere else in the country. The park and surrounding city have so much to offer; there are activities for everyone and you can have fun for days.
2. IMAG History and Science Center
Formerly the Imaginarium Science Center, the IMAG Center offers guests a complete hands-on experience. You can find exhibits like:
- Dinosaurs and fossils
- Calusa culture
- Small live native and non-native animals
- Touch tanks
- Interactive displays
- Educational films
One of the most popular exhibits is the hurricane simulator. Those inside the simulator will feel what a Category 1 hurricane is like!
This museum is an excellent choice for travelers of all ages.
3. Buckingham Farms
If you like to eat amazing food when you travel, you need to check out some of the best SW Florida restaurants.
Buckingham Farms in Fort Myers is unbeatable with its farm-to-table concept. Guests will feast on all-natural and locally grown food. Actually, it comes right from the property! In addition, the restaurant is vegan and environmentally friendly.
If you find yourself short on time, you can also order online and eat on the go.
Consider renting out the Rustic Barn if you're traveling with a large group or planning a special party.
The venue offers elegant open-air seating nestled in acres of oak trees. The Rustic Barn is full-service, so you can sit back and enjoy your event while the coordinators take care of the rest.
4. Spring Training
Baseball fans often plan a trip to Florida for spring training. You'll find several teams with spring training facilities in SW Florida.
For example, the Boston Red Socks play and train at JetBlue Park (Fenway South). The entire facility includes:
- The main ballpark
- Six practice fields
- A rehabilitation center
- Adjoining facilities for Major and Minor league operations
Further, the Minnesota Twins train in Lee Couty at Hammond Stadium. The stadium is part of an 80-acre sports complex, which includes:
- Five full baseball fields
- Two half baseball fields
- Two soccer fields
- A softball complex
- An eight-acre lake (fishing allowed)
If you watch a Twins spring training game, you can also access the activities at the sports complex for a whole day of fun.
The Tampa Bay Rays have spring training at the Charlotte Sports Park. Fans can experience the following:
- A 360-degree pedestrian concourse
- A luxury hospitality suite level
- Two outfield berms
- A children's play area
- An outfield bar
- Practice fields
- Batting cages
- A covered pavilion
- Meeting rooms
The park is one of the premier facilities in the area. It's also connected to the Tippecanoe Environmental Park, which offers even more outdoor activities for visitors.
5. Anna Maria Island
Those visiting Florida for the beaches must visit Anna Maria Island. The seven-and-a-half-mile isle includes three stunning white-sand beaches.
You can experience the emerald green and blue water of the Gulf all day long or participate in many water activities.
There are several cute business districts with restaurants and shopping. A free trolley is available around the island, so you can explore this laid-back slice of paradise.
Just off the island is Cortez Village. Cortez is one of the last working fishing villages on Florida's SW Gulf Cost. It's a great stop for those who want their Florida vacation to be about fishing.
6. Naples Pier and Beach
The Naples Pier was once a freight and passenger dock from the late 1880s. Now, it serves as a community landmark.
The pier extends 1,000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, making it an excellent spot to watch the sunset or catch a glimpse of a dolphin. Additionally, visitors can fish from the pier at all hours of the day.
The beach offers a host of water activities and sports. There is also access to bathrooms, showers, beach supplies, and a concession stand.
7. Edison and Ford Winter Estates
You may not know this, but Thomas Edison and Henry Ford lived next door to each other during the winter months. And now, you can take a visit to see their homes at this sprawling estate.
Experience the historical museums with interesting artifacts. Or, take a tour of the 21-acre botanical garden. The estate also has the Edison Botanic Research Laboratory, where Edison tested more than 17,000 plant samples.
There is so much to discover when you visit.
Plan Your SW Florida Trip Today
These are just seven examples of the fantastic things you can do in SW Florida. But the truth is, the area is full of fun activities for all ages.
So start planning your trip now!
When you're in Fort Myers, don't forget to come to our restaurant at Buckingham Farms. You can always contact us with questions about our hours, menu, and booking availability at the Rustic Barn. We look forward to hosting you soon!