Kid-friendly Things to Do in Southwest Florida

Posted by Katie Egan on Monday, March 9th, 2020 at 4:05pm

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When you think about living in Southwest Florida, white sand beaches, breathtaking sunsets and a warm year-round climate are likely a few things that come to mind. But, did you know there are also a variety of kid-friendly things to do in Southwest Florida as well? From Naples to Fort Myers to Sanibel and Captiva Islands, there are countless things you can enjoy with your little ones. Whether the kids are home from school for summer break, the grandkids are visiting or you have a budding family of youngsters running around all the time, we will break down all the things to do in Southwest Florida so you and the kiddos will never be bored.

From a day at the beach to an afternoon exploring the region’s natural beauty, there are so many kid-friendly things to do in Southwest Florida. One of the great things about the area is it attracts people from all different stages in their lives, from retirees to new budding families who’ve decided to move to the Sunshine State to begin their lives together. There is always something to do here, from water sports, water parks, to mini golf and movie and ice cream days, there are always fun family-friendly things to do. Some of our favorite kid-friendly things to do in Southwest Florida include the Sun Splash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral, Naples Zoo at the Caribbean Gardens and Naples Botanical Garden. There are also educational opportunities for the kids, and the adults, too! Southwest Florida has an interesting ecosystem and an even more impressive array of plant species and wildlife. Not to mention the beautiful beaches. Which kid-friendly thing to do in Southwest Florida will you try first?

What is There to Do in Southwest Florida for Kids?

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We’ve already mentioned that the beach is one of the top kid-friendly things to do in Southwest Florida. Some of our favorite Southwest Florida beaches include:

  • The Naples Pier
  • Barefoot Beach Preserve in Bonita Springs
  • Fort Myers Beach
  • Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island
  • Turner Beach on Captiva Island

Get out and explore the region’s natural beauty at one of the following:

  • Six Mile Cyprus Slough Preserve
  • J.N. ‘Ding Darling’ National Wildlife Refuge
  • Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
  • Koreshan State Park

These are all excellent choices if you like being outdoors or if you’re new to the area and you want to discover more about the place you now call home. People move to Southwest Florida from all over the country and the world. The beaches and the weather are some of the area’s biggest draws. 

After all, those two reasons are why many choose to vacation in Southwest Florida in the first place. However, the perk of living here is that you get to come home to your own space every night; not a hotel where everything looks the same, or someone else’s vacation rental home, where you don’t quite know where everything is. Living here is almost like being on a staycation all year long. Many consider it paradise for a reason.

New families also choose Southwest Florida homes for sale because they want their children to grow up in a place where outdoor adventures are easily accessible. The Gulf Coast is full of ways to get out and enjoy the area’s scenery, or you can explore by land. The weather is gorgeous all year long, so you can explore as much as you want. You can’t beat that!

What Can Toddlers Do in Fort Myers?

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If you have smaller children who are three years old or younger, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities in Southwest Florida for them to partake in as well. While hiking, water sports and the beach may not be ideal for toddlers, there are still plenty of things for them to do, too. If you live in Fort Myers or don’t mind a bit of a drive, we recommend trying out the following:

  • IMAG History and Science Center
  • The Shell Factory
  • Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium
  • Edison and Ford Winter Estates

These places are great for toddlers because there are tons of things to look at and learn about. There are interactive exhibits toddlers can participate in that will keep them stimulated. You can also spend all day at these places so your toddler will be entertained for hours. They are inside or mostly indoors, so you won’t have to worry about your toddler being affected by the sun. It makes for a more comfortable experience in the warmer summer months, and it’s more enjoyable for both parents and kids.

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates has a museum that the younger kiddos will enjoy. It’s also a treat to see how Thomas Edison and Henry Ford lived. The attraction does a fantastic job of preserving their homes, both inside and out. You really get a feel for who they were and how they spent their lives.

The IMAG History and Science center has over 50 exhibits, live animal encounter shows, a 3,200-gallon aquarium, a living lab with animals, a stingray touch tank and more.

In addition to a massive collection of shells, The Shell Factory has a nature park full of interesting creatures. Toddlers will love seeing all of the cool shells and the animals in the park. The Shell Factory has been a Southwest Florida attraction for more than 80 years. It’s definitely worth visiting at least once.

The Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium is the only planetarium between Miami and Bradenton. It’s really special that we have one in our own backyard in Fort Myers. There are also rescue animals and hiking trails. You can easily spend all day here!

What Are the Best Beaches on the Gulf Coast of Florida?

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There are countless kid-friendly things to do in Southwest Florida, but what if you just want to spend the day on the beach. If you bring enough things to keep them cool and entertained, the kids will love it just as much as you do. After all, do you really live in Florida if you don’t go to the beach all the time?

So what are the best beaches on the Gulf Coast of Florida?

  • Tigertail Beach on Marco Island
  • Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island
  • Keewaydin Island in Naples
  • Fort Myers Beach
  • Barefoot Beach Preserve in Bonita Springs
  • Turner Beach on Captiva Island

Tigertail Beach on Marco Island is the southernmost beach on this list. It is home to a lagoon that’s popular for paddleboarding. Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island is a fantastic shelling beach. It’s also one of the quietest stretches of coastline on the island. Keewaydin Island is one of the more remote options as the only way to get there is via boat. Camping is allowed, but only in designated areas. Fort Myers Beach is a nice family beach. When you’re done soaking up the sun, there is a pier to check out and a few blocks of beach-themed shops and restaurants to explore. Barefoot Beach Preserve in Bonita Springs is a good choice if you’d like to see some wildlife. There is a hiking trail on-site called Saylor Trail. There is also a concession stand. Turner Beach on Captiva Island is a gem. Like Sanibel, it’s also a great place to collect shells. If that’s what you’re looking to do, make sure you leave any live shells on the beach. If you make a day trip out of it and stay until sunset, you’re in luck because Captiva Island is home to some of the most beautiful hues in the area.

Royal Shell Can Help You Find the Perfect Family Home

Whether the grandkids are visiting or you’re looking for new kid-friendly things to do in Southwest Florida with your little ones, there are a variety of activities fun enough for the entire family to enjoy. If you’re looking to move here and you have children in mind, we hope this has served as a resource for you to keep the entire family entertained. 

Royal Shell can help you with all of your real estate needs anywhere in the Southwest Florida area. Let us know whether you are looking to buy, sell or rent a large single-family home with a dock, a bungalow on the beach or anything in between. Any of our agents are happy to help. We make it easy, you make it home.

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