Sunshine-filled days, cooling off on your own private boat on the water, exploring the mangroves and other natural wonders of Southwest Florida—it’s a typical picture of the summer in Cape Coral, and visitors this time of year will find there’s plenty to do! The summer brings those deliciously warm days, and the snowbirds have headed back home, meaning that there are fewer crowds and more opportunities to experience all the things that make Cape Coral a coveted vacation destination. Rent kayaks to explore the city’s canals at your own leisure, spend afternoons lounging out by your vacation home pool, and take the evening to discover the local culinary scene—when you come to Cape Coral for the summer, the possibilities are truly limitless! For those who like to plan ahead, we’ve compiled the ultimate summer guide to Cape Coral, so you can easily have an unforgettable summer vacation that will keep you coming back year after year!
Discover Local Beaches and The Gulf Coast
Of course, the water is one of the main reasons people are drawn to Cape Coral, but there’s more than just the canals and river! Cape Coral itself is home to a few beaches, and you’ll find the gorgeous tropical beaches of Sanibel Island are only about a 40-minute drive away depending on where you’re coming from. We’ve highlighted some of the best beaches both in Cape Coral and on the Gulf Coast below!
Yacht Club Public Beach
This beach is our most popular in Cape Coral, and sits near the southeastern tip of the city, facing the flowing waters of the Caloosahatchee River. The complex also hosts a community pool, pier, boat ramp, tennis courts, and a marina.
**PLEASE NOTE the Yacht Club Community Park will be closed April 2022 for renovations, but the nearby restaurant, The Boathouse, will be open and offers similar views!
Four Freedoms Beach
This is another beach local to Cape Coral, that you’ll find at the Four Freedoms Park. Here you can bring the kids to enjoy the playground or sit on the sand and take in the views of the boats on Bimini Basin, the lake the park faces. It’s a great place for an afternoon picnic or to watch the sunset!
Lighthouse Beach Park—Sanibel Island
If you make the drive to Sanibel Island, you certainly won’t regret it. As soon as you cross the causeway over to the island, you’ll be able to make your way over to Lighthouse Beach Park—your passengers might even be able to see it on the ride over the causeway! Besides stunning beaches, this beautiful park offers up a charming historic lighthouse, a public fishing pier, a picnic and BBQ area, and showers.
Bowman’s Beach—Sanibel Island
Another popular beach on Sanibel Island, Bowman’s beach is well-known amongst dedicated “shellers” or sea-shell hunters. The Gulf currents run in such a way that tons of unique shells turn up on Sanibel Island beaches. Take a swim in between combing the beach for treasures and eat lunch at the picnic area. It’s always a good idea to leave for the island early and make a day trip out of it to maximize your beach time!
Explore Cape Coral Nature Preserves
Visitors to Cape Coral will find a wealth of nearby nature preserves to discover, from walking trails to areas where you can kayak. From mornings looking to spot wildlife to sunset strolls in nature, these preserves have plenty to offer those wanting to connect with Southwest Florida’s unique environment of wetlands and mangroves.
Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve
You’ll find this preserve right in east Cape Coral, right along the Caloosahatchee River. Spend an early morning walking the trail across the boardwalks that take you through the dense forest or take an afternoon kayak trip through the mangroves—there’s a visitor’s center, and even seasonal kayak rentals if you don’t have your own!
Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve
This is the preserve that runs alongside the west of Cape Coral, offering protected waterways full of mangrove islands and wildlife. There are limits to where you can go, but a reputable tour company such as Gulf Coast Kayaks will be able to either take you on a tour or advise where you can adventure on your own!
Pine Island Conservation Area
You’ll find Pine Island to the west of Cape Coral, a laid-back destination with lots of fishing opportunities as well as kayaking and canoeing. The conservation area offers up seven miles of trails that bird watchers will love, as well as kayak access to the marshland. In addition, there are several areas on the island you can visit for some wildlife watching, such as the Galt Preserve.
J N Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge—Sanibel Island
This preserve gets an honorable mention as it’s on Sanibel Island, but it’s perfect to tack onto a beach trip or even for a day all on its own! You can spot hundreds of species of birds, explore trails, and fish. There’s also an educational center and options like tram tours of the refuge.
Spend an Afternoon in Cape Coral Museums
At times you might find you need a break from the summer heat, which makes for a perfect time to visit some of our local museums in Cape Coral and nearby Fort Meyers. We’ve compiled a list of noteworthy stops and popular museums below!
Cape Coral Historical Society Museum
This museum is a tribute to the local history of Cape Coral. Learn how the city was created and designed to be a waterfront wonderland and discover the stories behind the vision for the town and how it came to be. It’s a great place to pick up a souvenir at the gift shop, and they also have museum gardens, such as the rose garden and butterfly garden.
IMAG History and Science Center—Fort Meyers
This family-friendly science museum is a great place to take the kids for the day, or for those craving a bit of a scientific adventure! Located just over highway 41 in Fort Meyers, this museum is easily accessible from Cape Coral and offers over 60 exhibits, including a Living Lab, home to a variety of sea creatures, and a “Hands on Hall” where the kids can play an assortment of puzzles and games.
Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum—Sanibel Island
This museum is worth noting, as you can incorporate it into your excursions to Sanibel Island and learn a bit about the famous local pastime of shell hunting! This space features a variety of local shells, and a hands-on discovery space for kids.
Local Eateries Perfect for a Break from the Summer Heat
When you want to relax and grab a bite to eat, there’s several places in Cape Coral that are great for a bit of a reprieve from the warm summer temps. From waterside spots to local brewhouses, you have a variety to choose from when you’re vacationing in the summer!
The Boathouse Tiki Bar and Grill
This spot is first up on the list, as it sits right along the Caloosahatchee River, and can be accessed by canals local to the Caloosahatchee area. They have a dock where you can park your watercraft, meaning you can arrive by boat or kayak! Featuring a lively open-air bar, as well as drink specials and a daily breakfast menu, this is one spot not to be missed.
Big Storm Brewing Company
If you’re a lover of craft brews, a visit to this local brewhouse is a must! Offering a selection of their own brews, you can find options like the Bromosa, a tangerine IPA, or their Tropic Pressure golden ale. You can even sample their signature Cape Coral IPA. Offering a spacious patio with fans, as well as a food menu, it’s a fantastic spot to kickback for the afternoon!
Wicked Dolphin Rum Distillery
Calling all rum lovers, and even those who have only dabbled in spirits—regardless of whether or not you’re a rum connoisseur, you’ll enjoy a late afternoon of tastings at this local distillery. This is booked by tour only, so you’ll want to reserve your spot ahead of time. You even get to sample new rums they’re working on! Tours are available Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Cork Soakers Deck & Wine Bar
This local spot can be found just off Cape Coral Parkway and offers a casually elegant setting featuring live music. Enjoy apps like deviled eggs and bacon wrapped shrimp and sit back while you sip on a glass of wine or a local brew. They also offer patio seating, with landscaping offering up plenty of palms, and an outdoor bar with TVs.
Summer Family Fun in Cape Coral
Of course, when you’re coming to Cape Coral with the family, you’re going to be looking for some family-friendly activities. While some of these activities might be more enjoyed by kids, some of these are also great choices for those looking for something unique to do while visiting Cape Coral!
Tom Allen Memorial Butterfly House
You’ll find this Cape Coral treasure at Rotary Park, which also offers a beautiful nature walking trail. Here you’ll find lots of butterfly native to Florida, as well as classic migratory species. You can take a free guided tour on Friday and Saturday at 10:30 AM and 12:00 PM. You might even spot a hungry caterpillar or two!
Sun Splash Family Waterpark
This is a great way to have some fun in the water without making the journey out to a swimmable beach! This popular park opens for the summer season and features countless water slides, a play area for smaller children, and a lazy river that you can float down for hours. You can even purchase a very affordable seasonal pass that will include early entry to the park and 20% off food and beverages!
Gator Mike’s Family Fun Park
This local amusement park features tons of attractions to keep the kids entertained during the day, or early evening when the park lights up for the night. Play an exciting round of miniature golf or practice your swing in their batting cages. Other attractions include climbing ropes, ziplines, go-karts, paintball, and an arcade! Kids can even make a wax mold of their hand or try out virtual reality games. If you need something to do with the kids or want to play a game of mini golf for a cute date night, this is the place to check out!
Take a Family Cruise to Tour the Gulf or Reserve a Fishing Charter
From tours on the Gulf Coast to excursions on the Caloosahatchee River, it’s always a great idea to explore the area by boat. There are local companies that offer departure from Cape Coral, such as the Banana Bay Tour Company, or splurge for a private excursion with a local charter. For those who love a bit of adventure, you can hire a local fishing charter to take you out to sea!
Explore Cape Corals Canals
It goes without saying that this is one of the number one pastimes in Cape Coral, and you might even find your vacation rental has a private boat dock or kayaks available for your use. If not, you can always rent a boat locally, and there are several kayak rental companies such as Cape Coral Kayak and Grab N Go Kayaks.
Reserve Your Summer Vacation Home in Cape Coral Today!
At Vacanza Rentals, we have years of experience in the Cape Coral vacation rental industry, and know the area well, from the best canal front neighborhoods to properties that will allow you to get out to the gulf. As locals, we have roots in the area and are always willing to offer our own personal suggestions on how to best enjoy your time in Cape Coral. We offer our guests a premium experience, from our professional cleaning to our friendly team that can answer any questions you might have. If you’re ready to book the ultimate summer vacation in Cape Coral, FL, then give us a call today!