The Lower Gulf Coast

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Lower Gulf Coast - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

    Giant shell photos by nature photographer Henry Domke draw you into this wonderful museum with more than 30 permanent and short-term exhibits. Get a close-up...Read More

  • 2. Bowman's Beach

    This long, wide beach on Sanibel's northwest end is the island's most secluded strand, but it also has the most amenities. Park facilities include a...Read More

  • 3. IMAG History and Science Center

    Kids can't wait to get their hands on the wonderful interactive exhibits at this lively museum–aquarium combo that explores technology, physics, weather, and other science...Read More

  • 4. J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

    More than half of Sanibel is occupied by the subtly beautiful 6,300 acres of wetlands and jungly mangrove forests named after a conservation-minded Pulitzer prize–winning...Read More

  • 5. Sun Splash Family Waterpark

    Head here to cool off when summer swelters. Nearly two dozen wet and dry attractions include 10 thrill waterslides; the Sand Dollar Walk, where you...Read More

  • 6. Alison Hagerup Beach Park

    Once called Captiva Beach, this park is acclaimed as one of the nation's most romantic beaches for its fabulous sunsets—the best view on Sanibel and...Read More

  • 7. Babcock Wilderness Adventures

    To see what Florida looked like centuries ago, visit Babcock's Crescent B Ranch, northeast of Fort Myers. During the 90-minute swamp-buggy-style excursion you ride in...Read More

  • 8. City of Naples Beach

    There's something here for everyone just west of the 3rd Street South shopping area, but what gets the most attention by far is the historic...Read More

  • 9. Collier Museum at Government Center

    To get a feel for local history, stroll the nicely presented indoor vignettes and traveling exhibits and outdoor parklike displays at this newly expanded museum....Read More

  • 10. Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center

    If you’re looking to connect with nature, this is the place, regardless of age. Take a 45-minute electric boat tour (ages two-plus) along the Gordon...Read More

  • 11. ECHO Global Farm Tours & Nursery

    ECHO is an international Christian nonprofit striving to end world hunger via creative farming. A 90-minute tour of its working farm is honestly fascinating; it...Read More

  • 12. Everglades Wonder Gardens

    Opened in 1936 by two retired moonshiners from Detroit, the Everglades Wonder Gardens was one of the first roadside attractions in the state and remained...Read More

  • 13. Golisano Children's Museum of Naples

    This bright, cheery 30,000-square-foot ode to playful learning has 12 state-of-the-art permanent galleries that do not disappoint. Kids of many ages and abilities (exhibits were...Read More

  • 14. Gulfside Park Preserve

    The beach is quiet, safe from strong currents, and good for solitude, bird-watching, and shell-finding. There are restrooms, and long stretches to stroll. The white...Read More

  • 15. Lowdermilk Park

    Do you prefer your beach loud and active with a big dose of good old-fashioned fun? Kids running around in the surf, volleyballers hitting the...Read More

  • 16. Lynn Hall Memorial Park

    At the 17-acre park in the commercial northern part of Estero Island, the wide, sandy shore slopes gradually into the usually tranquil and warm Gulf...Read More

  • 17. Manatee Park

    Here you may glimpse Florida's most famous, yet often hard to spot, marine mammal. When Gulf waters drop to 68°F or below—usually from November to...Read More

  • 18. Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

    The lush 44-acre zoo got its start as a botanical garden in 1919 and has since drawn visitors curious to see lions, cheetahs, bears, leopards,...Read More

  • 19. Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center

    In the midst of 110,000-acre Rookery Bay National Marine Estuary, the center dramatically interprets the Everglades environment and local history with interactive models, aquariums, an...Read More

  • 20. Sanibel–Captiva Conservation Foundation

    For a quiet walk to watch for inhabitants of Sanibel's interior wetlands, follow some or all of the 4½ miles of interlocking walking trails here...Read More

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