As the weather starts to cool down (we hope!) and pumpkin spice season moves in, it’s refreshing to enjoy a few outdoor adventures in Southwest Florida. So, let’s take a tour around town and see what there is to do outside in the Sunshine State!
Naples Zoo, Naples, Florida
Naples Zoo is nationally accredited and yet much more than a walk-through zoo. There are enough activities to keep you busy all day. The paved path winds nearly a mile past rare and beautiful animals that live in a historic tropical garden. The exotic plants were first planted in 1919 with a fascinating history. The Zoo features a beer garden and a catamaran cruise through islands of primates (monkeys, lemurs, and apes) living in natural habitats.
Kayaking the Estero River, Estero, Florida
Open every day 7:00AM – 6:00PM, Estero River Outfitters has been serving Southwest Florida with kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and full-line bait and tackle since 1977! Rent a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard and let their team help you launch out on the river. Another option is to visit the Koreshan State Historic Site. Rent water gear or launch your own and get ready for your outdoor adventures in Southwest Florida down the Estero River!
Lover’s Key State Park, Fort Myers Beach, Florida
Enjoy a private 2-mile long beach featuring free Wi-Fi, shelling, swimming, picnicking, and sunbathing. Hurricane Charlie’s Hideaway offers food and beverages right on the beach and a trolley takes you where you need to go. Lover’s Key is a haven for wildlife. The islands and their waters are home to West Indian manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, marsh rabbits, and bald eagles. Anglers and boaters can launch their vessels from the park’s boat ramp. The park’s concession offers kayak tours, as well as bicycle, canoe, kayak, paddleboard, beach chair, and umbrella rentals.
Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Fort Myers, Florida
Explore the winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford with guided and self-guided tours. The estates offer river boat tours, young inventors’ tours, sneak peaks inside the homes, and more! Tour the Edison Ford Garden and learn how the garden began! Attend one of the “Ask the Curator” events and find answers to questions like, “From Failure to Triumph: What was Edison’s role in developing the cement industry? Chief Curator Brent Newman explains how Edison capitalized on one failed industry in order to create another successful one. ”
J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island, Florida
Ding Darling is ranked #2 on TripAdvisor’s top things to do in Sanibel Island. It’s excellent for bird watching, fishing, boating, bicycling, hiking, kayaking, canoeing, and SUP. The refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States. It is world famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations. Ding Darling was created to safeguard and enhance the pristine wildlife habitat of Sanibel Island, protect endangered and threatened species, and provide feeding, nesting, and roosting areas for migratory birds. Today, the refuge provides important habitat to over 230 species of birds.