Museums, Parks + Top Sites

BY September 1, 2023
Revs Institute
A must-visit for car enthusiasts, Naples’ Revs Institute houses Miles Collier’s prized collection, with more than 100 historically significant automobiles, built from 1896 to 1995. (Photo Courtesy Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention Visitors Bureau)

From historic homes to public green spaces to swamp safaris, the region offers visitors a nearly endless itinerary. We’ve narrowed down some of the best ways to spend a perfect day in paradise.
Call or check organizations’ websites for the latest information.




Port Charlotte/Punta Gorda


Babcock Ranch Eco-Tours

8502 FL-31, Punta Gorda, (800) 500-5583. View wildlife on a 90-minute buggy tour (reservations required) and walking tours through Babcock Ranch Preserve.


Bayshore Live Oak Park

23157 Bayshore Road, Port Charlotte, (941) 627-1628. This park has access to the coastline, trails and fishing piers.


Cape Haze Pioneer Trail

Starts at the parking lot at 1688 Gasparilla Road, Port Charlotte, (941) 681-3742. Trail spans nearly 8 miles along former rail lines.


Centennial Park

1185 Centennial Blvd., Port Charlotte, (941) 235-5000.Indoor and outdoor sporting opportunities like basketball, pickleball and soccer.


Charlotte Harbor Environmental Center

10941 Burnt Store Road, Punta Gorda, (941) 575-5435. This nonprofit manages environmentally sensitive lands while providing educational programs and nature trails for all.


Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park

12301 Burnt Store Road, Punta Gorda, (941) 575-5816. This 46,000-acre park is composed of islands and lands surrounding Charlotte Harbor.


Fishermen’s Village

1200 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda, (941) 639-8721. The shopping, entertainment and resort complex overlooking Charlotte Harbor includes a full-service marina, waterside suites and more than 30 shops and restaurants.


Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb Wildlife Management Area

29200 Tuckers Grade, Punta Gorda, (863) 648-3200. Florida’s oldest wildlife management area protects 80,772 acres southeast of Punta Gorda.


Gilchrist Park

400 W. Retta Esplanade, Punta Gorda, (941) 575-3324. Eleven acres of greenspace allow for picnics, tennis, fishing and community events.


Harbour Heights Park

27420 Voyageur Drive, Punta Gorda, (941) 681-3742. BBQ grills, pickleball courts, and boat ramps fill this waterside park.


Larry Taylor Kiwanis Park

501 Donora St., Punta Gorda, (941) 627-1074. Wooded walking trails, picnic areas and play areas abound.


Military Heritage Museum

900 West Marion Ave., Punta Gorda, (941) 575-9002. Here honors all who serve, from the Revolutionary War through modern conflicts, across all military branches. More than 20,000 artifacts, veteran guides, flight simulators and live performances.


Octagon Wildlife Sanctuary

41660 Horseshoe Road, Punta Gorda, (239) 543-1130. Wildlife rescue/rehabilitation; has guided tours.


Ollie’s Pond Park

18235 Avon Ave., Port Charlotte, (941) 627-1074. Park is great for bird watching and play.


Peace River Botanical & Sculpture Gardens

5827 Riverside Drive, Punta Gorda, (941) 621-8299. Waterfront gardens showcase sculptures and botanicals.


Peace River Wildlife Center

3400 Ponce de Leon Parkway, Punta Gorda, (941) 637-3830. Wildlife education/rehabilitation center with small animals and birds.


Ponce De Leon Park

3400 Ponce de Leon Parkway, Punta Gorda, (941) 575-5041. A beach, mangrove boardwalk and wildlife center overlook Charlotte Harbor.


Port Charlotte Beach Park

4500 Harbor Blvd., (941) 235-5000. Scenic waterfront space with picnic tables, boat ramps, basketball and tennis courts and a dog park.


Revs Institute

2500 Horseshoe Drive S., (239) 687-7387. Houses historically significant, rare and vintage automobiles.


Spring Lake Park

3520 Lake View Blvd., Port Charlotte, (941) 627-1074. This preserve allows for water entry via boat ramp and kayak or canoe; nature trails and picnic tables.


Starry Night Florida

3357 Edgehill Terrace, Port Charlotte, (239) 641-1257. Experts point out stars, galaxies and constellations on this night tour.


Tippecanoe II Mitigation Area

16259 Joppa Ave., Port Charlotte, (941) 613-3220. South of Tippecanoe Environmental Park, this area is for the conservation of gopher tortoise and Florida scrub jay.






Historic Smallwood Store: Ole Indian Trading Post & Museum

360 Mamie St., (239) 695-2989. The once-isolated trading post, placed on the National Register of Historic Places, is now a museum.




Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours

30999 Tamiami Trail E., (239) 695-3377. Run by an Everglades guide whose great-grandfather built one of the first commercial airboats, Captain Mitch’s focuses on private marshland tours.


Donna Fiala Eagle Lakes Community Park

11565 Tamiami Trail E., (239) 252-3527. Has a new aquatic complex with a heated pool, plus a fitness center, walking trail and fields.


“The Original” Everglades City Airboat Tours

907 DuPont St., (239) 695-2400. Capt. Josh Minton is a fourth-generation Everglades guide leading these exciting swamp tours.


Everglades Day Safari

(239) 472-1559. All-day excursion from the Ten Thousand Islands’ backwaters to the Everglades’ swamps. Pickup locations throughout SWFL.


Everglades National Park Gulf Coast Visitor Center

815 Oyster Bar Lane, (305) 242-7700. Explore the Glades by canoe/kayak or walking trails; camp overnight. Visitors’ center has exhibits.


Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park

137 Coast Line Drive, Copeland, (239) 695-4593. About 20 miles long and 5 miles wide, the swamp is home to the world’s only bald cypress-royal palm forest.


Jungle Erv’s Airboat Tours

804 Collier Ave., (877) 695-2820. Guided tours of marine and estuarine environments.


Museum Of The Everglades

105 Broadway Ave. W., (239) 252-5026. Free admission; shares story of 2,000 years of human habitation in the Western Glades and the building of Tamiami Trail across swampland.


Speedy’s Airboat Tours

621 Begonia St., Part of the Everglades Jack’s family, Speedy’s airboat tours offer exclusive trips to the Glades.


Veterans Community Park

1895 Veterans Park Drive, (239) 252-4682. Dog-friendly park with well-lit ball fields and courts, a playground and a covered rink and pavilions.




Ann Olesky Park

6001 Lake Trafford Road, (239) 252-8811. Featuring a 200-foot pier, boat ramp and access to Lake Trafford, this park is great for fishing.


Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

12085 SR 29 South, (239) 657-8001. In the Fakahatchee Strand of the Big Cypress Swamp, this area protects the habitat for the endangered Florida panther.


Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch

1215 Roberts Ave. W., (239) 252-2611. The 15-acre living history museum tells the story of cattle ranching in SWFL.


Lake Trafford Marina – Airboats & Alligators

6001 Lake Trafford Road, (239) 657-2214. Airboat rides and boat tours through the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed.


Seminole Casino Hotel

506 S. First St., (239) 658-1313. Gaming machines, live-action poker and table games present.


Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge

12085 SR 29 South, (239) 657-8001. View mangrove, marsh, and tropical hardwood hammock habitats in this protected area.




Breakwater Adventures

149 S Barfield Drive, (305) 902-4772. Private boat tours through the Ten Thousand Islands; see dolphins, manatees and wading birds. Wakeboard and shell on islands accessible only by boat.


Briggs Nature Center

401 Shell Island Road, (239) 394-0514. Access to virtually untouched beaches, parks and preserves.


Florida Adventures & Rentals

Rose Marina, 951 Bald Eagle Drive, (239) 348-5551. Take a dolphin tour by boat or on a jet ski.


Frank E. Mackle Park

1361 Andalusia Terrace, (239) 642-0575. Enjoy bocce, shuffleboard and basketball at this dog-friendly park.


Marco Island Historical Museum

180 S. Heathwood Drive, (239) 252-1440. View permanent exhibits, such as life-size dioramas of a Calusa Indian village and traveling exhibits.


Otter Mound Preserve

1831 Addison Court, (239) 252-2960. In the residential Indian Hills area, this 2.45-acre preserve has trails and info on the archeological and historical aspects of the property.




Artis—Naples, The Baker Museum

5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., (239) 597-1900. The 30,000-square-foot museum has 15 galleries, a permanent collection that includes Dale Chihuly and changing exhibitions.


Baker Park

50 Riverside Circle, (239) 213-7120. Stretches across 15 acres with a playground, dog park and trails that connect to the Gordon River Greenway.


Bird Gardens of Naples

1060 Purple Martin Drive, (813) 841-1911. Educates on the welfare of nearly 200 captive birds and the conservation of wild species.


Cambier Park

755 Eighth Ave. S., (239) 213-3058. A popular, 12-acre park known for its bandshell that hosts live music.


Capri Paddlecraft Park

1295 Capri Blvd., (239) 530-5940. This paddling launch site offers remote access to mangroves and wildlife.


Collier Museum at Government Center

3331 Tamiami Trail E., (239) 252-8476. Five-acre property highlights the county’s history, archaeology and development; indoor and outdoor exhibits.


Collier-Seminole State Park

20200 Tamiami Trail E., (239) 394-3397. Canoe rentals, a boat ramp, plus electric and water hookup for campsites.


Conservancy of Southwest Florida

1495 Smith Preserve Way, (239) 262-0304. It’s expanded to educate on local wildlife and habitats. Nature trails, boat tours and kayak rentals are available.


Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary & Blair Audubon Visitor Center

375 Sanctuary Road W., (239) 348-9151. Tour this 2.25-mile boardwalk through an ancient cypress forest, or stroll around solo.


CREW (Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed)

Four locations throughout SWFL. (239) 657-2253. Encompasses 60,000 acres, nearly 30 miles of trails and primitive campsites requiring a special license.


Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

11135 Gulf Shore Drive, (239) 597-6196. Access the Cocohatchee River and the Gulf of Mexico through this park, as well as a hard-bottom reef.


East Naples Community Park

3500 Thomasson Drive, (239) 252-4414. Offers a play area, soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts.


The Edge Johnny Nocera Skate Park

1600 Fleischmann Blvd., (239) 213-3020. This 40,000-square-foot skating and biking facility is in Fleischmann Park; for beginner and advanced levels.


Everglades Excursions

1010 Sixth Ave. S., (239) 262-7300. Tours depart from Naples or Marco Island on these narrated full- or half-day trips aboard an air-conditioned safari wagon.


Fred W. Coyle Freedom Park

1515 Golden Gate Parkway, (239) 252-4062. This 50-acre park features a 5-acre lake, 3,500 feet of boardwalk, walking trails and a visitors’ center.


Golden Gate Community Park

3300 Santa Barbara Blvd., (239) 252-6128. Has a heated pool, children’s activity pool, open and closed slides and diving boards.


Golisano Children’s Museum Of Naples (CMON)

15080 Livingston Road, (239) 514-0084. Fosters play-filled learning; exhibits teach kids about the Glades, far-flung destinations, science and more. 


Gordon River Greenway Park

1596 Golden Gate Parkway and 1590 Goodlette Road, (239) 252-4000. Features a paved trail and boardwalk with water access along the Gordon River.


Historic Palm Cottage

137 12th Ave. S., (239) 261-8164. Built in 1895, the oldest home in Naples has been restored to its original condition.


Holocaust Museum & Cohen Education Center

975 Imperial Golf Course Blvd., Suite 108, 263-9200. Teaches the history and lessons of the Holocaust through the stories of survivors and liberators.


Manatee Sightseeing & Wildlife Adventures

525 Newport Drive, (239) 642-8818. View manatees, Everglades’ waterfowl, gators, dolphins and bull sharks on this boat tour.


Naples Botanical Garden

4820 Bayshore Drive, (239) 643-7275. Features 170 acres of preserves, gardens, lakes, trails, exhibition space, a cafe and gift shop.


Naples Depot Museum

1051 Fifth Ave. S., (239) 252-8419. Set in a historic passenger train station, the museum allows visitors to trace the evolution of local transportation. Temporarily Closed.


Naples Preserve

1690 Tamiami Trail N., (239) 261-4290. See Florida’s ecology with the 0.4-mile self-guided tour. There is an elevated boardwalk and nature center.


Naples Train Museum

401 10th St. S., (239) 262-1776. Trains with rides for kids and educational exhibits for adults. Re-opening mid-October.


Naples Trolley Tours

1010 Sixth Ave. S., (239) 262-7300. This narrated trolley tour covers 100-plus points of interest.


Naples Zoo At Caribbean Gardens

1590 Goodlette-Frank Road, (239) 262-5409. Daily activities include Meet the Keeper, giraffe feedings and primate expedition cruises.


NGALA Wildlife Preserve

2755 Inez Road, (239) 353-3572. Sign up for small-group excursions with animal encounters; doubles as a venue for social functions.


North Collier Regional Park

15000 Livingston Road, (239) 252-4000. Experience a Calusa fossil dig play area for children, interactive playground, Sun-N-Fun Lagoon water park and a preserve area.


Paradise Coast Sports Complex

3940 City Gate Blvd. N., Naples, (239) 252-4386. Features pro-level synthetic turf field for soccer, lacrosse and football events. Plus, a public gym area and restaurant.


Pelican Bay Community Park

764 Vanderbilt Beach Road, (239) 598-3025. Lakeside; courts for tennis, basketball, and bocce; playgrounds; picnic tables and walking paths.


Picayune Strand State Forest

2121 52nd Ave. S.E., (239) 348-7557. One of 37 state forests in Florida, this 78,000-acre forest consists mostly of wet pine flatwoods, cypress swamps and wet prairies.


Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

300 Tower Road, (239) 530-5972. Offers camping, shelling, birdwatching and an environmental learning center with exhibits and nature art.


Salt Island Seaplanes

Naples Airport/Naples Aviation Private Terminal,160 Aviation Way, or Marco Executive Airport, 2005 Mainsail Drive, (239) 263-7258. Book a seaplane to the Keys, The Ten Thousand Islands and other locales. Flying season: Oct-Apr.


Shy Wolf Sanctuary Education & Experience Center

1161 27th St. N.W, Golden Gate, (855) 749-9653. This 17-acre private facility is home to wolves, a cougar, a North American bobcat, fox species, prairie dogs and Florida gopher tortoises. Educational programs and therapeutic animal encounters. By appointment.


Sugden Regional Park

4284 Avalon Drive, (239) 252-4000. Paddle boats, picnic areas, walking paths and a freshwater beach allow you to enjoy this 60-acre lake.


The Naples Museum of Military History

580 Terminal Drive, (239) 241-1697. In the Naples Airport, this museum showcases historical artifacts and memorabilia from the military.


Wild Florida Ecotours

25000 Tamiami Trail E.,  (239) 218-5852. Book an eco-tour of the Ten Thousand Islands and the Glades or a light tackle, inshore and offshore fishing trip.




Big Cypress National Preserve

33100 Tamiami Trail E., (239) 695-2000. Just 50 miles east of Naples, the 729,000-acre preserve includes cypress swamp, mangroves, sawgrass prairies and freshwater rivers.


Clyde Butcher Big Cypress Gallery

52388 Tamiami Trail E., (239) 695-2428. See the photographer’s Everglades photos; the gallery also offers swamp eco-tours, photo safaris and cottage and bungalow rentals.


H.P. Williams Roadside Park

12580 Turner River Road, (239) 695-2000. This 200-meter boardwalk has views of the cypress swamp and a waterway home to wildlife.


Ochopee Post Office

38000 Tamiami Trail E., (239) 695-2099. Learn about delivering mail on a 170-mile route in the swamp at the country’s smallest post office.


Shealys Skunk Ape Research Headquarters

40904 Tamiami Trail E., (239) 695-2275. Florida’s version of Bigfoot’s headquarters; it holds live animal exhibits, a gift shop and campground.


Wooten’s Everglades Airboat Tours

32330 Tamiami Trail E., (239) 420-9124. Take an airboat or swamp-buggy tour through the Glades and Big Cypress National Preserve. Features gator shows and an animal sanctuary.






Caloosahatchee Regional Park

19130 N. River Road,  (239) 694-0398. Riverside park offers nature and horseback riding trails, a rugged mountain biking course, camping and kayaking.


Hickey Creek Mitigation Park

17980 Palm Beach Blvd., (239) 229-0522. More than 800 acres of wildlife preserve with 5 miles of trails, fishing docks and picnic areas.


Boca Grande


Boca Grande Historical Society & History Center

170 Park Ave., (941) 964-1600. Hosts exhibitions, archival collections and a bookstore.


Gasparilla Island State Park

880 Belcher Road, (941) 964-0375. Swim, snorkel, fish and picnic on these beaches. Park features the Boca Grande Lighthouse, built in 1890. Closed in August.


Bonita Springs


The Wonder Gardens

27180 Old 41 Road, (239) 992-2591. Historic botanical garden home to rescued birds and reptiles; offers lorikeet encounters and yoga with flamingos.


Farmer Mike’s U Pick

26031 Morton Ave., (239) 498-4576. The 100-acre sustainable family farm offers fresh fruits, veggies and flowers; field trips during season.


Riverside Park

10450 Reynolds St., (239) 992-2556. Home to the historic Liles Hotel, artist cottages, and a bandshell—plus events.


Cape Coral


Cape Coral Museum Of History

544 Cultural Park Blvd., (239) 772-7037. Exhibits and programs dedicated to preservation; guided tours required.


Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve

2500 S.E. 24th St., (239) 549-4606. Includes 365 acres of mangroves and 6,600 feet of trails. Kayak rentals available seasonally.


Four Freedoms Park

4818 Tarpon Court, (239) 574-0804. The 3.2-acre park overlooks Bimini Basin; features playgrounds, shaded picnic tables, beach access and large grassy area.


Gator Mike’s Family Fun Park

35 N.E. Pine Island Road, (239) 574-4386. Features an aerial ropes obstacle course, 600-foot zip line, 19-hole miniature golf course, an arcade, go-kart tracks, ropes and a virtual reality arena.


Rotary Park

5505 Rose Garden Road, (239) 549-4606. Multiple trails; views of flower gardens, wildlife observation towers and a 4,200-square-foot environmental center.


Sunsplash Family Waterpark

400 W. Lake Kennedy Drive, (239) 574-0558. The 14-acre water park has high-speed slides, a river ride and a 457-foot Electric Slide.




Estero Community Park

9200 Corkscrew Palms Blvd., (239) 533-1470. A 55-acre site with an amphitheater, lighted playground, dog park, golf course, pavilions.


Hertz Arena Public Skating

11000 Everblades Parkway, (239) 948-7825, ext. 1306. Daily public skating sessions for all ages.


Koreshan State Park

3800 Corkscrew Road, (239) 992-0311. Historic site; campgrounds, picnic areas, playground, boat landing and trails.


Mound Key Archaeological State Park

3800 Corkscrew Road, (239) 992-0311. Access the park only by boat or paddle from Koreshan or Lovers Key State Parks. No onsite facilities.


Fort Myers


Burroughs Home & Gardens

2505 First St., (239) 337-9505. Authentic 1900s home; docent-led tours.


Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium

3450 Ortiz Ave., (239) 275-3435. Visit the trails, museum, butterfly and Audubon aviaries and planetarium. Evening hikes and movies.


Edison and Ford Winter Estates

2350 McGregor Blvd., (239) 334-7419. Tour the homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Onsite laboratory, gardens and museum.


Fort Myers Skatium

2250 Broadway, (239) 321-7509. In-line and ice skating; skates available for rent. Plus, a gym and fitness center.


Hammond Stadium/Lee County Sports Complex

14100 Six Mile Cypress Parkway, (239) 533-7695. Hosts Minnesota Twins spring training games, plus the minor league Fort Myers Mighty Mussels.


IMAG History & Science Center

2000 Cranford Ave., (239) 243-0043. Children’s center has hands-on exhibits about weather, water and animals.


JetBlue Park

11500 Fenway S. Drive, (239) 226-4700. Spring training and player development complex for the Boston Red Sox; daily tours and events.


Lakes Park

7330 Gladiolus Drive, (239) 533-7575. Water playground, nature trails, mini-train rides, bike and boat rentals, picnic sites, concessions and Wi-Fi. Rent pavilions.


Lee Civic Center

11831 Bayshore Road, (239) 543-8368. Hosts concerts, trade shows, expos, rodeos, company picnics and fairs.


Manatee Park

10901 Palm Beach Blvd., (239) 690-5030. Features picnic areas, fishing on the Orange River and native plant habitats.



5531 Six Mile Commercial Court, (239) 323-4653. Tiger Woods-designed mini-golf complex has two 18-hole putting courses.


Shell Factory & Nature Park

16554 N. Cleveland Ave., (239) 995-2141. Shopping, dining, a nature park, botanical garden and amusement rides.


Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center

2301 First St., (239) 333-1933. Features art exhibits and holds concerts, galas and art experiences for all.


Friends of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

7751 Penzance Blvd., on the Six Mile Cypress Parkway, (239) 533-7557. Boardwalk, picnic areas and interpretive center.


Sky Zone

9370 Dynasty Drive, (239) 344-8244. Trampolines, zip line, warrior course and bouldering wall.



2095 Andrea Lane, (239) 482-7789. Renovated roller rink includes snack bar and game area.


Wild Turkey Strand Preserve

11901 Rod and Gun Club Road, (239) 707-3325. Includes part of the former Buckingham Army Airfield, a World War II-era training base.


Fort Myers Beach


Estero Island Historic Cottage & Nature Center

161 Bay Road,  (239) 463-0435. Celebrates Fort Myers Beach’s history.


Mound House

451 Connecticut St., (239) 765-0865. Preserves the town’s oldest standing home and an ancient Calusa shell mound. Kayak tours; native gardens. Underground exhibit closed for repairs.


Ostego Bay Foundation Marine Science Center

718 Fisherman’s Wharf, San Carlos Island, (239) 490-4993. Touch tanks and interactive exhibits. Temporarily closed.


Pine Island


Museum of The Islands

5728 Sesame Drive, Bokeelia, (239) 283-1525. Teaches island culture through artifacts and artwork.


Calusa Heritage Trail

13810 Waterfront Drive, Bokeelia, (239) 283-2157. Archaeological site; learn about Calusa culture. Temporarily closed.


Sanibel Island


Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

3075 Sanibel Captiva Road, (239) 395-2233. Shell exhibits and aquariums. Temporarily closed.


BIG ARTS Sanibel Island

900 Dunlop Road, (239) 395-0900. Hosts performances, fine art shows, films and educational programs.


Cabbage Key

At channel marker 60 on the Intracoastal Waterway, (239) 283-2278. Built on a Calusa Indian shell mound accessible by boat; has a restaurant, bar and inn.


J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

1 Wildlife Drive, (239) 472-1100. See a mangrove forest, wetlands and West Indian hardwood hammock. Rent bikes, canoes and kayaks to tour the site.


Sanibel Historical Museum & Village

950 Dunlop Road, (239) 472-4648. Tour eight restored buildings, some date back to the 1800s. Re-opening mid-October.


Sanibel Lighthouse

112 Periwinkle Way, (239) 472-1080. Visit the lighthouse, first lit in 1884.


Sanibel Sea School

455 Periwinkle Way, (239) 472-8585. Programs for all. Main campus re-opening this fall; limited programs in satellite locations.  

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