Located along the Gulf Coast, Southwest Florida truly has something for everyone. Southwest Florida vacation rentals sit in Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Englewood, and all the places in between, giving you plenty of attraction and activity options for your family. The region presents an ideal mix of relaxation and fast-paced fun, ensuring your family makes the most of your time here. Consider these 10 activities when visiting Southwest Florida with kids.
1. Relax on the Sand
Settle into your vacation rental, and get ready to relax in the sun as you enjoy the laid-back vibe of the beaches of Southwest Florida. Visit Coquina Beach in Bradenton, complete with concessions and a playground for the little ones. Kids love collecting seashells and sharks teeth that wash up on Stump Pass Beach in Englewood. Alternatively, spread out your towel on the soft white sand of Captiva Island’s beaches, or plan a picnic on the beach in Siesta Key.
2. Tour a Museum
Whether you’re dodging the rain or just need a break from the sun, museums help you keep the kids entertained for a few hours. Head to Fort Myers to check out the Imaginarium Science Center, where the kids can learn as they explore the interactive exhibits. Be sure to watch a 3D movie while you’re there. Make a trip to Sarasota to visit The Ringling Circus Museum, located in John and Mable Ringling’s former winter mansion. View the costumes, browse the murals, and even try to walk across a tightrope.
3. Try Out Some Water Sports
Delight those adventurous tweens and teens with some fun water sports. Take an airboat tour of the Everglades, or set sail on an afternoon cruise with Magic Wind Adventure Sailing in Fort Myers. Silver Lining Charters in Port Charlotte lets you share your love of fishing with the kids. Visit Barrier Island Adventures in Englewood to catch a stunning view of the Gulf Coast as you parasail over the water, or go stand-up paddleboarding. Rent some gear for the week from Hooked On SUP in Englewood, and store it in the garage of your vacation rental when you’re not using it.
4. Grab a Bite to Eat
A vacation rental in Port Charlotte puts you in proximity to some incredible restaurants. Pioneers Pizza is a must-visit location. Grab a few slices during your afternoon stroll, or pick up a whole pie for dinner. Seafood lovers look no further than Fish Tale Grill in Cape Coral, where the lobster bisque is a raved-about favorite. For some heat, head to Paraiso Mexican Grill and Bar in Englewood, and be sure to drop by A Better Scoop after dinner for some unforgettable homemade ice cream.
5. Check Out a Zoo
Take the short drive to Naples to see all the animals at Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens. See honey badgers, leopards, black bear, coyotes, and Florida Panthers. Be sure to check the schedule for the catamaran cruises through the primate islands, where you see monkeys, apes, and lemurs. Get up close and personal with the animals at Kowiachobee Animal Preserve in Collier County. The rescue operation houses everything from goats and horses to Jaguars, African lions, and Bengal tigers.
6. Go Shopping
Visit Sun Harvest Citrus in Fort Myers for fresh-squeezed juices. While you’re there, pick up some fruit and baked goods to enjoy at your vacation home. Fort Myers’ Sanibel Outlets offer a wide variety of top-name-brand outlet stores, so everyone in the family can find something. Spend a few hours at Fleamasters Fleamarket, which is open Friday through Sunday. Browse everything from fresh vegetables to antique furniture. Stop by Anderson’s Bead Room in Port Charlotte for all your crafting needs. Create one-of-a-kind beaded jewelry with the kids to commemorate your Southwest Florida vacation.
7. Play the Day Away
When the kids are ready for some excitement, there’s always an adventure awaiting you in Southwest Florida. See if your family can solve the clues at Escape Room Adventures in Fort Myers, or spend a few hours in the Mega Arcade at GameTime — a 22,000-square-foot entertainment center for kids and adults alike. Challenge the family to a few rounds of bowling at Treasure Lanes or Bowland in Port Charlotte.
8. See a Show
Check out the concerts and shows available in the various Southwest Florida neighborhoods. Langdon Playhouse in Fort Myers offers numerous productions throughout the year. Check out a family-friendly comedy in this intimate theater with incredibly comfortable seating. The Cultural Center in Port Charlotte hosts everything from bands and opera to plays and performances.
9. Head to an Amusement Park
Get the kids geared up for some good old-fashioned family fun with a trip to Zoomers Amusement Park. Spend the day riding roller coasters, playing mini golf, and racing go-karts. There are even a few special rides geared toward the younger kids. Sun Splash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral spans over 14 acres. Lay back and relax as you float through the lazy river, or try out one of the many exciting water slides. Little ones love the splash playgrounds.
10. Visit a Park
Pack up a few sandwiches at your vacation rental, load the family in the car, and head to one of Southwest Florida’s many parks for a picnic. Bonita Beach Park in Bonita Springs has a sand volleyball court and playground. In Lehigh Acres, Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park offers a fishing pier and hiking trails through the scenic pines.
Ready to go? Check out these amazing Southwest Florida vacation rentals on Tripping.com.