Cape Coral, Florida
I spent three years living “on the Cape” and I’m qualified to tell you it’s a nearly perfect location for sightseeing, or settling in to buy or rent a home and stay. Here are great things to do when you visit.
A gorgeous Florida setting on the Gulf of Mexico, Cape Coral is home to everything to do when the sun is shining, plus so many family-friendly activities. You’ll have a full itinerary before you know it! Consider some of our absolute favorite things to do in the area, and start planning!
Let’s explore the best things to do in Cape Coral:
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Soak Up Some Sun
Yacht Club – Cape Coral
If you’ve rented a car use Map Quest to find nearly any route to any place. If you have a GPS unit in the car, that’s even better.
One of the most popular beaches lies within the realm of the Cape Coral Yacht Club Community Park.
This yacht club has been around for nearly 70 years, and is one of the original attractions in the city.
The beach zone offers gorgeous white sand, and plenty of family-friendly space to stretch out and enjoy yourself.
Take advantage of the club’s fishing dock, or their swimming pool.
Inquire about the events calendar in advance, so you can catch one of the many festivals throughout the year. The beaches are great places for some sun, a walk in the evening, a place for your teenagers to meet other teens for volley ball or maybe sand sculpting, and sometimes picking up beautiful rocks and shells.
About Swimming: Check local knowledge. I have been swimming along this coast to a depth of probably 6 or 8 feet. Your mathematical probability of being “hit” by a shark or barracuda is small but it’s real and these animals are very dangerous. There are no nude beaches in the area. Being naked on a beach is not against the law. Lewd behavior is illegal. You’re not likely to see either, but you may see a few young women wearing little more than a smile. Most of the tourists are older, conservative people who cover up when off the beach and behave in civilized fashion.
- Enjoy a Healthy Visits To The Farmers Market
Cape Coral Farmers Market
Many families rent a condo and cook for themselves. The Cape Coral farmers market is a great place to buy before going to the big grocery supermarkets for what’s left on your list. Find fresh veggies and fruits (all well priced), flowers and even some great souvenirs handmade in the area.
- Splash and Be Cool
Sunsplash Family Waterpark
If you’re more into water parks than sea water, you may want to take the kids to Sunsplash Family Waterpark.
They have 14 acres of aquatic fun, including water slides, a lazy river and a toddler section.
This is the largest waterpark in the southwestern portion of the state! They’re open March through September, and there are a few nights a month that they stay open late, for family fun and movies in the pool!
- Hike the Ecological Preserve
Visit this Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve and enjoy the boardwalk that winds its way through marshy jungle and straight to the waterfront. It’s really peaceful and beautiful.
There are kayak rentals if you want to go onto the water, or you can take in some history at the Iwo Jima Monument.
You’ll find a real sense of the Floridian landscape, back before the jungle was paved to make way for high-rise hotels and endless condominiums.
You may even spot some dolphins if you’re lucky.
Just be sure to bring the bug repellent and always carry sunscreen and some clothing to cover up. The more direct rays of the sun at this latitude can burn skin quickly.
- Visit the Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly Garden
Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly Garden
The Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly Garden provides the native butterflies with a spot to live in relative peace and harmony, away from their natural predators.
Butterflies in this garden often start out as new hatchlings, and are allowed to grow to maturity, before they’re released into the wild.
This stop is a great educational opportunity, as it allows visitors to see the entire lifecycle of the insect, as well as learn about various different butterfly species.
Tours Are FREE for the entire family, on Monday, Friday or Saturday mornings.
The Rotary Park Environmental Center (#10 on this list) is “next door” and you can experience both places conveniently in the same few hours.
- Visit Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library
Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library
The Southwest Florida Military Museum & Library began with help from the Invest in America’s Veterans Foundation, and now has a new home as of five years ago, in a 34,000-square-foot facility.
It’s the largest military museum in southwest Florida, and features artifacts, books and papers on all American wars, conflicts and important events.
The family-friendly museum includes 60 fully-dressed mannequins, a theater and various display stations.
You’ll find the majority of the artifacts and information stem from World War II, but there are also many other time periods remembered.
- Explore More History
Cape Coral Historical Museum
The Cape Coral Historical Museum offers three exhibit buildings and a historic rose garden, which is often one of the favorite experiences.
The focus is on the history of the city, and shows its development over the years.
Interesting artifacts from the area include those found at Native American archaeological sites.
The tour of the Florida Friendly Garden is free and teaches visitors how to take best advantage of green space; however, the regular museum tours are inexpensive, just $5 for both the guided and the self-guided tours. You’ll learn more and – it’s worth the small price.
- Enjoy A Great Seafood Lunch
You can’t leave the Gulf Coast and Cape Coral without enjoying some freshly caught seafood.
You’ll enjoy many seafood restaurants here, whether you’re looking for an elegant and upscale dining experience, or you’d rather have a classic, roadside stand-type lobster fast food style munch.
Whatever your preferences, Cape Coral has a way to satisfy you at prices to fit your budget.
Delicious Lobster, succulent scallops, strong flavored oysters, and delicious local fish, you can find and enjoy it all.
If you prefer to cook and eat at your place, rent a condo, buy at the city’s markets and enjoy a private dinner at your rented abode. When dinner is done, there’s no reason to drive home. You can just relax as the sun sets.
- Get Scent and Site of the Marsh
I Love Rotary Park Environmental Center for a varying collection of Florida ecosystems.
Set on 97 acres, there’s plenty to explore, see and do, whether you want to take a walking trail, the boardwalk or a kayak. As you walk along you’ll see bronze signs explaining what you’re looking at. It’s a walking ecological education, and it’s so lovely, and peaceful. Bathe in that good energy and feel like you could remain there for weeks.
Check their calendar for regular classes on everything from gardening to exercise, as well as festivals.
If you’re thinking to visit the Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly Garden (#5), this works conveniently for you, because the two are adjacent, making them a convenient stop to get two tastes of Cape Coral’s best at once.
- Go For A Locally Made Libation
Wicked Dolphin Artisan Rum
Nothing says Caribbean like rum, and, being on the Gulf, you knew you’d have to find some here in Cape Coral.
Wicked Dolphin Artisan Rum offers award-winning alcoholic beverages distilled from sugar cane grown right in the state.
Schedule a tour of the distillery and barrel room, to see how these delicious rums are made, and even get to sample a few limited editions that are still in testing stages.
Tours are available Tuesdays, Thursdays, Friday nights and Saturdays, and a reservation is required.
While children are allowed on the tour if accompanied by an adult, this may be one Florida activity that you save for yourself. Just remember, the old sailors didn’t call it “The Devil Rum” for nothin’.
- “Summer Stock Theater” is So Much Fun!
Cultural Park Theatre
The longest-running theater in southwest Florida, the Cultural Park Theatre’s season runs from September to May, and puts on Broadway favorites such as “Chicago” and “South Pacific.” There are almost 200 seats, and they’ve been showing off the local talent since the 1960s.
In addition, the venue also hosts an art gallery, with a new set of artwork displayed for each show. Performances are weekend nights, with a matinee on Saturday and Sunday.
- Watch the Cardboard Boat Regatta
Cardboard Boat Regatta
One of the favorite annual events around the area is the Cape Coral Cardboard Boat Regatta, held in April.
This is one you’ll want to mark on your calendar, as it’s a load of fun, whether you watch or participate.
Groups create a cardboard boat and then race them in, the water while the crowd cheers them on.
While cardboard and water usually don’t mix, you’ll find that these experts have made it work, and have even come up with some ingenious, and sophisticated designs!
- Attend the Cape Coral Festival of the Arts
The grand idea of art is that it expresses itself anywhere and some great art may be produced in the back yard of a home you’ve ridden past. You’d never know.
Each January, Cape Coral attracts hosts of visitors who come into town to view the art in the cape’s (almost always) great weather.
Tons of exhibitors bring their wares for display and shopping, and food vendors are on site to fulfill all your festival food cravings (as well as give you a sampling of the local restaurants, to help you decide where to dine later!). For the kids, there’s a rock climbing wall, a play area and an activity center. That’ll keep them busy!
- Enjoy Art All Year-Round
Harbour View Gallery
If you’re not visiting Cape Coral in January, you can still catch a glimpse of the region’s art world by heading to Harbour View Gallery. Discerning art lovers enjoy this place.
It’s the only artists-owned co-op in the region, with galleries changing each month.
Public receptions are held each month as well, so check their calendar to see if you’ll be in town to catch the unveiling of the month’s noted artist! I recommend this place…just love it.
- Go Beer Tasting at Cape Coral Brewing Company
If you’re not into rum, but you still want to enjoy the area’s best brew, go to Cape Coral Brewing Company, a venue that’s relatively new on the city’s scene.
The local “craft brewery” is more than happy to serve you up a cold one, AND you can also avail yourself of one of their events or tours.
The self-guided tours are open for your interest throughout the day, but if you visit on the weekend, you can enjoy a guided tour by one of their professionals, who will not only tell you all about the company, but also teach you quite a lot about the work and machinery that goes into brewing a craft beer.
- Take A Boat Tour
Cape Coral Boat Tour
If you’d rather be on the water than in it, look into one of the many different tourism providers around the city that offer boat tours. Tourism spots, hotels and travel agents have brochures about these.
You’ll be able to safely see some of the area’s best ocean life, including dolphins and manatees, and learn about the native bird species, such as pelicans, osprey and eagles.
Depending on the provider you choose, you may be able to schedule a sunset cruise, or choose the size of boat you’d prefer to be on, whether that’s a larger or smaller vessel.
There are several different routes to choose from as well, so you can pick what interests you most.
- Watch Pro Soccer
Cape Coral Hurricanes
Cape Coral is actually home to a professional men’s soccer team! A part of the National Premier Soccer League, the Cape Coral Hurricanes are a 4th Division team within the Sunshine Conference, which includes teams in the South, like those in Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville and Atlanta.
The regular season runs May through August, with pre-scrimmage and pre-season games in March and April, so you can find a game most of the year.
Tickets are very affordable and parking is $2 or free.
- Go Golfing
Coral Oaks Golf Course
Golfing and Florida go pretty much hand in hand, so you’ll want to visit the 18-hole, Arthur Hills-designed Coral Oaks Golf Course.
The beautiful setting makes it a pleasure to play, as you look out over eight lakes and 37 bunkers. It’s not expensive. When I was there a time on the course was just $10. (I don’t play – I was wandering around with a Pastor and his son. But it was a good walk enjoyed.)
In addition to the course itself, there’s a huge practice facility, with a driving range, chipping area and putting green.
You can also stick around and enjoy the onsite restaurants. Big views and good food!
There are also PGA professionals on staff to help you brush up on your golf skills, with some private lessons or a golf clinic.
As country clubs go, this is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen! The restaurant facilities are excellent!
If you’re thinking of making your retirement home in the area this is an ideal place to visit, talk around, and then go with a realtor to see what’s offered.
- Set Sail on the River
Long name, beautiful river, great place to sail or putter, several marinas and riverside restaurants. Homes dot the riverside too. What’s not to like?
While the ocean is certainly a Cape Coral draw, the Caloosahatchee River is a nice change of pace.
At the mouth of the river, there’s a wildlife refuge for manatees, which you’ll want to see.
Perfect stopping points dot the 67-mile river which leads up river into farm country.
There are historic attractions, hiking, biking, horseback riding, birding, boating, river cruises, and lovely restaurants for excellent freshly caught fish and shell fish.
- Relax for a Day of Fishing
Cape Coral Fishing
If all this talk of fresh seafood doesn’t make you hungry so much as it makes you want to grab your rod and reel, make sure to schedule a fishing charter boat to take you out on the water.
Your boat will be captained by a licensed professional, and you can either bring your own equipment or rent.
You’ll be able to catch giant tarpon, trout, redfish, snook and more.
You can also try shelling, and you’re even able to find some charter boats that’ll take you out fishing for shark!
- Cross the Bridge To The Islands
You can drive to a number of heavenly island spots from your base in Cape Coral, all within less than an hour thanks to the city’s great location.
These are not tourist traps. Real people make their homes here, and so long as we visitors are civilized they’re thankful for your patronage of their businesses.
Sanibel Island is quaint and homey. There are many restaurants and local shops in an island setting, surrounded by white, sandy beaches. The beaches are safe and I have done some brief swimming there, alone to about the 6’ deep level. I was a bit of a dare devil and I’ll explain why shortly.
You can also go to Captiva Island, where there are more than 300 species of shells that wash up onto the shore particularly after a storm. Bring a big bag and take home beautiful shells to wash, sun dry, and make into something “artsy” at home.
This beach is one of the world’s secret/favorite places for many to go shell snooping. Car parking may be a bit of a problem and you’ll have to pay to park. But, if you are parking to stay overnight at a motel by the beach you can do so with no charge. I visited “off season” working as a salesman and some motels allowed me to part at no charge for an hour or two. The parking lot was empty and the clerks were always kind and accommodating.
I recommend you stay at least one long day and overnight. This island is just waiting to give you fond memories and love — but you can’t fall in love with a location in a short visit. Take some time on these islands. If I were with the love of my life, I’d plan for some quiet time together. Indeed I suggest you do so.
- Bike For Exercise and To See Cape Coral
Ride A Rented Bicycle
Bicycling is a great way to see Cape Coral, so don’t pass up on taking one of the easily found rentable bikes for a spin around town.
The League of American Bicyclists have even named Cape Coral a designated Bicycle Friendly Community! There are more than 90 miles of interconnected bike routes, and they’ll take you to some of the best scenic spots, such as the Caloosahatchee River, the canals, marinas and more. This is a great way to see and enjoy more and spend very little doing it.
- Dig For Fossils
Take the kids on a hunt for fossils within the southwestern Florida rivers and streams.
Fossil Expeditions fossilexpeditions.com provides you the opportunity to head to a real dig site to mess around in the mud and excavate your very own fossil to take home with you.
This is the perfect outing for a family with dinosaur-crazy kids, or just a few grown friends who dream of starring in the next Grade B Dinosaur Movie. This is a bit of a drive to get to the remote dig sites. Expect to find lots of alligator bones and shark teeth. It’s highly unlikely you’ll find “the missing link.” But, if you have an interest in biology or want to teach some to the kids while you’re there, this could be a good experience for you.
- Visit Eagle Skate Park
Eagle Skate Park, skatepark.com is one of the largest skate facilities between Tampa and Miami. Everyone gets good exercise and kids enjoy meeting more young people too.
There are nearly 27,000 square feet of skate space, with challenges for your experienced skaters, and newbie-friendly spots for those who aren’t quite so skilled.
You can watch the kids from the pavilion, or join in.
Kids must have parental consent before going inside, and, of course, all safety gear is required.
- Shop and Dine at Cape Harbour – MY Favorite Place!
Cape Harbour is a trendy neighborhood in Cape Coral, with waterfront restaurants and local shops that sell lots more than just your average souvenirs. The food is great. The ambiance of this tiny heavenly spot is just relaxing. It’s a great place to schedule in for a lunch or dinner and make time to look into the art shops too.
The farmer’s market sets up here for a few hours each Saturday, and there are several events that occur yearly, such as Oktoberfest, fishing tournaments and charitable events.
It’s the perfect setting for a leisurely evening stroll and a dinner, after a lovely day enjoying the best outdoor activities that this picturesque Florida town offers its many guests.
This spot is magnificence packed into a small package. The shops and restaurants are beautiful, the food is “designed” by excellent chefs, there are facilities for yacht tie up and overlooking it all are fabulous tall apartment buildings allowing dwellers there to look out to sea and across the Cape. The beauty of this life style is, you never have to maintain a lawn or anything else. There are no concerns for you about realty taxes either. It’s all done for you, and after age 60, I can think of many meritorious reasons to consider this area carefully for your final settlement home.
I did live in Cape Coral 3-years, until year 2014, and I found it a very convenient place in which to live particularly if you want to retire there. You’re close to Fort Myers, the airport, shopping centers, to several churches and synagogues, to the bridges leading to the beach islands, and to the I-5 highway taking you south to the wealthier areas nearer to Miami.
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You’ll see, as of April 2018, land going for anything from $17,000 on up, and beautiful large modern homes under $200,000. If you want more and can afford it there are locations all around the area with fabulous homes and prices rising into the 1.7 to 5 million dollar range.
During “the housing boom” too many homes were built with bank loans, and then “the housing bust” left them lonely. There’s enough business there to serve your needs, and there are too many homes and consequently, bargain prices. And banks there are willing to make mortgage loans. Therefore…
#26 in my list of great things to do is have a visit and chat with a Realtor.
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Go south on I-5 highway to Naples if you prefer a wealthier neighborhood. Many corporate retired CEO’s live there, which gives you an instant survey, doesn’t it? You’ll have the services you want, Miami is closer, the international airport at Fort Myers is about 45-minute’s drive, maybe longer getting out of town but not much. You won’t see traffic jams in Naples. You will see higher class restaurants, art, custom clothing, yacht docking marinas, and canals with boat docks 30 feet from your screened patio door and all the service providers you need to maintain these luxurious vehicles.
What more could you want? Maybe MORE information?
This local Cape Coral website is operated by a good God-Fearing Lady and she has more information to help you enjoy a great visit or vacation. I haven’t told her I am referring you to her site, but if you do online, that would be nice. All of us God-Loving people should do what we can to help one another, I think.
Maybe it’s time for you to consider a move. Make your new home in Cape Coral or Fort Myers.