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North America > United States of America > Florida > South Florida > Southwest Florida

Southwest Florida

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Southwest Florida is a region in the U.S. state of Florida. It comprises the Gulf Coast counties of Sarasota, Charlotte, Lee, and Collier.


Map of Southwest Florida

  • 1 Cape Coral
  • 2 Englewood
  • 3 Everglades City
  • 4 Fort Myers - Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel and the exotic beaches of Captiva Islands.
  • 5 Marco Island - Relatively undiscovered small town with beautiful beaches.
  • 6 Naples - Enjoy the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, world class shopping, golf courses and the nearby untamed tropical wilderness of The Everglades.
  • 7 Port Charlotte - Though devastated by Hurricane Charley in August 2004, this city is on the way to a complete recovery.
  • 8 Punta Gorda
  • 9 Sarasota - Popular resort and timeshare destination.
  • 10 Venice Venice, Florida on Wikipedia

Other destinations[edit]


Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

  • Sarasota/Bradenton International Airport (SRQ IATA), located on the border between Sarasota and Manatee counties.
  • Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW IATA), located in Lee County.
  • Charlotte County Airport (PGD IATA)

By car[edit]

Get around[edit]


  • The Ringling Estate, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, +1 941-359-5700. Daily 10AM-5:30PM. All of the buildings have been restored, and four new buildings were added to the estate. Features of the 66-acre estate include the lush grounds and landscaping including Mable's Rose Garden, the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, the Circus Museum, the Cà d'Zan Mansion, the Tibbals Learning Center, and the Historic Asolo Theater in the Visitor's Pavilion.
  • Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System, located in southwestern Florida, twenty miles east of Naples, in the upper segment of the Fakahatchee Strand of the Big Cypress Swamp. It is north of I-75 and west of SR 29. The 26,400 acre (107 km²) refuge was established in 1989 under the Endangered Species Act, to protect the endangered Florida Panther, as well as other threatened plant and animal species. Besides the panthers, the refuge is home to Big Cypress fox squirrels, bobcats, black bears, alligators, swallow-tailed kites and several wood stork rookeries. It is part of a network of private land and government protected areas. To protect the panther and other endangered inhabitants, general public use is only available at the southeast corner of the refuge, on designated hiking trails. All other areas can only be seen by way of limited tours.
  • Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, 20 miles southeast of Naples, and south of SR 41 near Goodland. A chain of mangrove islets off the coast, one of the largest expanses of mangrove estuary in North America. About 30% of the refuge (8,000 acres) is mangrove forest, 16,000 acres marine water, and 11,000 acres is freshwater marshland and other habitat.

State parks[edit]

  • Cayo Costa State Park. 8AM to sunset. Located on La Costa Island, which is directly south of Boca Grande, Florida, 12 miles (19 km) west of Cape Coral and just north of Sanibel and Captiva Islands. The park is accessible only by charter boat, private boat or ferry. Among the wildlife that can be seen at the park are manatees, dolphins, and an assortment of birds. Amenities include boat slips, beaches, hiking trails, picnic pavilions, 12 primitive camping cabins and bath house/restrooms. The park offers a small nature center/gift shop with nature exhibits as well as items for sale. The park has the following available for purchase: ice, sun lotion, bug spray, t-shirts, hats, bird keys, shell keys, and postcards. Cayo Costa has bikes available for half-day and full-day rentals.
  • Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park. 8AM to sunset. Composed of islands and land that surrounds Charlotte Harbor. The park can be accessed from Punta Gorda, Cape Coral, Cape Haze, El Jobean, Rotonda and Little Pine Island. The main offices are approximately 3 miles south of US 41/Tamiami Trail, in Punta Gorda. The park provides vast areas of unspoiled scenery and vital habitat for many varieties of wildlife. The upland areas of the park are accessible at pedestrian walk-throughs available in each section of the park. The park also manages more than 80 miles of Charlotte Harbor shoreline. Most of it is shallow water fringed by mangroves. These areas provide amazing opportunities to view wading birds, manatees, dolphins and other wildlife. It is best accessed by kayak or canoe.
  • Cockroach Bay Preserve State Park (end of Cockroach Bay Road, Ruskin), +1 941 723-4536. 8AM to sunset.
  • Collier-Seminole State Park. 8AM to sunset. Located on US 41, 17 miles (27 km) south of Naples, Florida. The park is the home of a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, the Bay City Walking Dredge used to build the Tamiami Trail through the Everglades. The park includes 6,430 acres (26 km2) of mangrove swamp, cypress swamps, salt marshes, mangrove river estuaries, and pine flatwoods. Among the wildlife of the park are alligators, raccoons, ospreys, and white ibis. Brown Pelicans, Wood storks, bald eagles, red-cockaded woodpeckers, crocodiles, Florida black bears and big cypress fox squirrels also inhabit the park. Activities include picnicking, hiking, bicycling, and canoeing, camping, wildlife viewing, fishing and boating. Amenities include an RV park, four pavilion picnic shelters, a boat ramp, and a full-facility campground with youth, group and primitive campsites. The park has a number of trails. A 13.6-mile (21.9 km) canoe trail that flows down the Blackwater River through a mangrove forest. A 6.5-mile (10.5 km) hiking trail runs through the park. A .9 mile nature trail features a boardwalk system and observation platform that overlooks the salt marsh.
  • Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, 11135 Gulfshore Dr., Naples, +1 239 597-6196. 8AM to sunset. A popular beach destination with limited parking. Get there early, as the wait to get in can take an hour or more.
  • Don Pedro Island State Park, 8450 Placida Road, Cape Haze, +1 941 964-0375. 8AM to sunset. Accessible only by boat.
  • Estero Bay Preserve State Park, The park is managed by Koreshan State Historic Site located at 3800 Corkscrew Road in Estero, +1 239 992-0311. 8AM to sunset.
  • Fakahatchee Strand State Park, Copeland, +1 239-695-4593. 8AM to sunset. Approximately twenty miles long and five miles wide, the Fakahatchee Strand is a swamp forest that hosts a number of rare and endangered tropical plant species. It is the only place in the world where bald cypress trees and royal palms share the forest canopy. Wildlife such as the Florida panther, American alligator, White-tailed deer and Black bear may be spotted.
  • Gasparilla Island State Park, 880 Belcher Rd, Boca Grande, +1 941 964-0375. 8AM to sunset. The Gasparilla Lights are in the park.
  • Judah P. Benjamin Confederate Memorial at Gamble Plantation Historic State Park, 3708 Patten Avenue, Ellenton, +1 941 723-4536. 8AM to sunset.
  • Koreshan State Historic Site, 3800 Corkscrew Road, Estero, +1 239 992-0311. 8AM to sunset. Cyrus Teed, creator of the religion of 'Koreshanity' founded his 'New Jerusalem' community here. Various structures, many over a century old, are still preserved.
  • Lovers Key State Park, 8700 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, +1 239 463-4588. 8AM to sunset.
  • Mound Key Archaeological State Park, The park is accessible only by boat and is managed by Koreshan State Historic Site, Estero, +1 239 992-0311. 8AM to sunset.
  • 1 Myakka River State Park, 13208 State Road 72, Sarasota (Main entrance is 9 miles east of Sarasota on SR 72, Back entrance (open fewer hours than main one) is south of SR 70. Go down Vernon Road until it becomes Myakka Road, which turns into Hancock Road. Keep going south and east and you will reach the back entrance.), +1 941 361-6511. 8AM to sunset. One of the oldest and largest state parks, Myakka protects one of the state´s most diverse natural areas. The Myakka River, designated as a Florida Wild and Scenic River, flows through 58 square miles of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands. Visitors can enjoy wildlife viewing from a boardwalk that stretches out over the Upper Myakka Lake, then take to the treetops with a stroll along the canopy walkway. The park´s river and two lakes provide ample opportunities for boating, freshwater fishing, canoeing, and kayaking; a boat ramp provides access to Upper Myakka Lake. Hikers can explore trails that cross large expanses of rare Florida dry prairie. Scenic lake tours are offered daily on the world´s two largest airboats. Safari tram tours of the park´s backcountry are offered from mid-December through May. Full-facility campgrounds and primitive campsites are available. Five palm log cabins, built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps, have been modernized for comfortable lodging. $6.
  • Oscar Scherer State Park, 1843 South Tamiami Trail, Osprey, +1 941 483-5956. 8AM to sunset.
  • Stump Pass Beach State Park, South end of Manasota Key 900 Gulf Blvd, Englewood, +1 941 964-0375. 8AM to sunset.



  • 1 The Mall at University Town Center, 140 University Town Center Dr., Sarasota (At southwest corner of I-75 and University Parkway), +1 941 552-7030. M-Sa 10AM to 9PM; Su 11AM to 6PM. 880,000 sq. ft. of retail space. More than 100 stores and restaurants, including Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, Dillard's. Has children's play area. Includes sit-down restaurants. Parking is very crowded and needs to be expanded for easier access. Retail upscale, but pricing varies.




Stay safe[edit]

American Alligator

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Southwest Florida is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!