Cape Coral

Let life float on by.

All due respect to Venice, Italy, but no other city boasts more canals than Cape Coral. Known as "The Cape" by locals, this easygoing waterfront community is naturally big on the boating lifestyle. Off the water, a variety of restaurants, stores and kid-friendly attractions help make the biggest city in Lee County feel accessible and well rounded. Be sure to visit Sun Splash Family Waterpark or Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, where a series of boardwalks let visitors meander through mangrove habitats without disturbing the wildlife.

Cape Coral Community

"Nature lovers will want to explore Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, where a boardwalk takes visitors through a mangrove habitat."

From humble beginnings as a loose collection of cattle-ranching, logging and fishing communities, Cape Coral came into its own in the late 1950s. The Rosen brothers, developers who saw the potential for an easygoing, waterfront lifestyle in Southwest Florida, created communities with canals to cater to the boating lifestyle. Celebrities were brought in to tout the benefits of "the Cape," as it's known by the locals.

Today, this largely bedroom community for nearby Fort Myers offers a lively strip of restaurants and stores along Cape Coral Parkway, and an array of activities for kids including Sun Splash Family Waterpark, Mike Greenwell’s Family Fun Park and the brand new, 27,000-sq.-ft. Eagle Skate Park.

Nature lovers will want to explore Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, where a boardwalk takes visitors through a mangrove habitat. And don't miss the creature Cape Coral's famous for: the burrowing owl, which can be seen day and night throughout the community.

Cape Coral Quick Trips

"Cape Coral Quick Trips"

Go Splash!: Luckily, summer lasts a long time in these parts, and kids can enjoy the thrill slides and the Main Stream River Tube Ride at Sun Splash Family Waterpark (239-574-0558) in Cape Coral seven months out of the year.

Look for Fins and Snouts: Each day brings new surprises when you set sail on a nature cruise. Some tours cast seine nets to introduce visitors to tiny creatures from the sea. Others go in search of dolphins, manatees and birds where they live.

Follow Ancient Trails: Paddle your way from one end of the county to the other along the Great Calusa Blueway (239-461-7400), a marked and GPS-plotted waterway trail named for a native tribe that covers 190 miles.

Captain Your Own Destiny: Or at least your own salty, exciting day riding the waves: Rent a powerboat from one of the local marinas. Explore secluded beaches, visit uninhabited islands and cast for your fantasy fish.

Get Racy: Compete or watch at the Strausser BMX (Bicycle Moto-Cross) Sports Complex (239-458-1943), Cape Coral. For less extreme entertainment, there are picnic grounds, a playground, three lighted softball fields and a sand volleyball court.

Escape the Urban: Leave city noise behind for Cape Coral’s little corner of wilderness – Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve (239-574-7395), where a boardwalk and nature trail take you into undisturbed habitat.

Picnic with the Locals: A local secret, the Cape Coral Yacht Club Community Park (239-574-0806) has all of the ingredients for a day of family fun: picnic shelters, a beach, a swimming pool, shuffleboard, outdoor racquetball courts and a fishing pier.

Go To Bat for Your Kids: Greenwell’s Bat-A-Ball & Family Fun Park (239-574-4386) in Cape Coral – named after the city’s favorite sports son, ex-Red Sox player Mike Greenwell – is a funland of batting cages, miniature golf, a paintball park, videogames and go-cart tracks.

See a Burrowing Owl’s Home: Learn all about rose gardens, Cracker-style houses and burrowing owls at Cape Coral Historical Museum (239-772-7037).

A Day in Cape Coral & North Fort Myers

"Spend a day – or more – in North Fort Myers and Cape Coral, and you’ll discover an old-time roadside attraction packed with fun for the family."

Taking a break from the beach? Pack the kids in the rental car and make a beeline for The Shell Factory & Nature Park, a sprawling, old-time roadside attraction in North Fort Myers. More than 5 million shells from near and far, and in all sizes, fill the Shell Factory itself. There’s even a rare shell section for collectors.

Jewelry, amusement games, a Money Museum and a Christmas-themed store round out the offerings. There are bumper boats, a restaurant, The Nature Park, mini golf and gemstone and fossil mining to keep the kiddies occupied.

Head down Cape Coral Parkway for a Mexican lunch at Iguana Mia, then on to the impressive Sun Splash Family Waterpark in Cape Coral, open from March through September. A quarter-mile-long pool snakes its way past water slides built for every level of excitement. There’s even a toddler area for the wee ones.

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    “Great place!” - Reviewer

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    “Really cool!” - Florida

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