Experience Nature Like You've Never Seen It BeforeFlorida hosts one of the most unique ecosystems in the United States, and Cape Coral is surrounded by stunning natural parks and nature preserves. None is more famous than the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge. This refuge, located on nearby Sanibel Island, is the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the nation.
The "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is known all over the world for its incredible migratory bird populations. While the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is one of the most popular free things to do in Cape Coral, Florida for any visitor, it is truly a must-see for bird watchers or nature photographers. Fishing, hiking, canoeing, kayaking, and informational nature programs are all also available at the refuge.
Another stunning natural location is the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve. In addition to spectacular waterfront vistas, this nearby location offers hiking and paddling trails in addition to plenty of recreational fishing and crabbing spots.
The whole family will love a trip out to Manatee Park, where both families and nature photographers alike can get a look at the elusive wild manatees. Your best chances of seeing a dozen or more wild manatees is to go when the Gulf water temperatures are relatively low. Be forewarned that, although park admission is completely free, there is a small fee to park on the premises.
A wide variety of free things to do in Cape Coral, Florida can be found at Yacht Club Community Park. The most popular feature of the family-friendly Yacht Club Community Park is the public beach located on premises. Take a stroll on the beach and hunt for shells. Bring the whole family and spend a day playing in the sand or swimming in the surf. A community pool is also located within the park.
Live Like a Local
Spend a day visiting some of Cape Coral's local shops. Just outside Cape Coral is the Shell Factory, a massive shopping/activity complex that has a gigantic collection of shells, coral, and shell-themed novelties, gifts, and jewelery.
If you're lucky enough to be staying at a Cape Coral vacation rental instead of a crowded and cramped hotel, you'll most likely have your own kitchen at your disposal. Take advantage of that sparkling kitchen and cook yourself a fresh Florida seafood dinner. Extra credit goes to those travelers who can catch their own dinners. 24-hour fishing is available at Four Freedom Park, Bernice Braden Park, and Horton Park, while Four Mile Cove Eco Preserve, Jaycee Park, Sirenia Vista, and Glover Bight at Rotary Par k all offer sunrise-to-sunset fishing hours. There is also lake fishing around the shore of Lake Argosy.
Cape Coral is also home to plenty of locally-owned restaurants, attractions, and water sports. Go fishing with the family or spend all week in a hammock. Whatever you choose to do in Cape Coral, it's sure to be one of the most unique and memorable vacations you'll ever have.
The Perfect Gulf Vacation
Other great options for Florida beach vacations include Destin, featuring some of the finest beaches around.