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...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...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...Read More

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

    Nature Preserve/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...Read More

  • 5. Sun Splash Family Waterpark

    Amusement Park/Water Park

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

  • 8. Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium


    Get a look at Florida's native animals and habitats. Boardwalks and trails lead through subtropical wetlands, a birds-of-prey aviary, and a...Read More

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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...Read More

  • 11. 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...Read More

  • 12. 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...Read More

  • 13. 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...Read More

  • 14. 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...Read More

  • 15. 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...Read More

  • 16. 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

  • 17. Lynn Hall Memorial Park

    City 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...Read More

  • 18. Manatee Park

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

    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...Read More

  • 19. 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

  • 20. Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center

    Nature Preserve/Wildlife Refuge

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

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