Much to love in southwest Florida

SHERYL NANCE-NASH | 5/16/2019, 6:33 p.m.
When people think Florida, Orlando or Miami often come to mind. But there’s a whole lot more to the Sunshine ...
South Seas Island Resort

With a name like Lovers Key State Park you expect romance. Couples will get what they seek at this special spot in Fort Myers Beach. There’s a two-mile beach, a forest for hiking, narrow waterways for whispering sweet nothings while kayaking. The bald eagles, dolphins, and marsh rabbits add to the idyllic atmosphere.

Downtown Fort Myers’ River District is where you’ll find the Butterfly Estates in Gardner’s Park. Immerse yourself in the beautiful butterflies and tropical plants in this 3,600 square foot glass botanical conservatory. Another plus, there will likely also be musical entertainment and exhibits showcasing local artists’ talent.

What is it about manatees that warms the heart? Manatee Park in Fort Myers is the place for getting your manatee fix in a non-captive, natural environment. If you like, picnic there, explore native plant and butterfly gardens, or rent a kayak or canoe to enjoy on the Orange River. This family-friendly attraction charges no admission.

The Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve in Fort Myers is over 3,500 acres of wetland ecosystem with a boardwalk trail and Interpretive Center. The cypress slough catches and slowly filters rainwater on its way towards Estero Bay. The preserve is home to otters, alligators, turtles, wading birds, and more. You’ll find them any time of year. But the migrating birds and butterflies only come for the winter.

If you’re in town on the first Friday of the month, make your way to the River District for the Art Walk. It’s free and fun. Visit galleries that spotlight local artists’ work and host receptions. Meet artists, enjoy street musicians, bands, food and more.