Spending your time wishing you could be at the beach is a habit that takes a toll; instead of filling your days with ultimately exhausting and nonproductive daydreaming, why not put your energy to good use by actually planning a luxurious and rewarding trip? Stress deserves to be no part of this equation, so keep up the momentum you’ve begun; Villa Catalina Isles combined with the feeling of rewarding yourself with a long-awaited trip equals a getaway that’s worth the anticipation.
"The Cape" is known for its network of canals as well as fantastic beaches and a general atmosphere of unhurried celebration. Oktoberfest in the fall and the famous Red, White & Boom fourth of July festivities are a couple of high-profile events to plan your trip around, but any time would be a good time to move into Villa Catalina Isles for a week or two. Make a plan that includes day trips, fishing, shopping and swimming or just see where the breeze takes you as you wander along Cape Coral Parkway or float through the waterways.
Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach are close by, and even the Florida Keys are within reach.A nice long visit will acquaint you with historic homes (Edison and Ford spent time here), nature preserves and the uncommon allure of convenient canal access (like Villa Catalina Isles only a few Cape Coral rentals boost off of easy Gulf access). In case members of your group need further convincing, don’t forget to mention Sun Splash Family Waterpark, Eagle Skate Park and beach opportunities galore. Now is the time to trade the dream for your holidays in this luxury accommodation.
But let's start in Cape Coral:
The location of Villa Catalina Isles in the Caloosahatchee District leaves nothing to be desired. Just 1 mile from the town center and the Cape Coral Bridge connecting it to Fort Myers, you can quickly reach every location worth seeing here.
There are two main axes in the town itself that are worth mentioning and are always points of reference for you: DEL PRADO BLVD. (from north to south) & CAPE CORAL PKWY. (from west to east).
On both streets you will find stores and grocery stores (PUBLIX, WALMART, ALDI) as well as all kinds of small businesses, such as gas stations, small businesses, galleries, fast food and restaurants. South of Cape Coral Pkwy. is the HISTORICAL District from 1958.
Drive straight ahead from our street along CORONADO PkWY, always straight - then you will reach CAPE CORAL BEACH, Yacht Club and THE BOATHOUSE & TIKI GRILL www.theboathouseusa.com. Great location, relaxed people, great bar, good food, perfect for sunsets!!!! Always well attended, packed - bring your own parking space!
Nice to see and nice to be is MARINA VILLAGE with its large yacht basin and stores, bars - A drink at Nauti Mermaid is always right, Marker 92 serves good food (a little more refined than elsewhere). (15 min. drive)
The RUMRUNNERs Restaurant www.rumrunners.cc , the FATHOMS BAR and the Crazy Fishermen Houses can be found in CAPE HARBOUR, a little further west. www.capeharbor.net (15 min drive).
To the north of the city is MATLACHA, an 'old' artists' village that was badly destroyed by Hurricane IAN in September 2022 - even the road was completely gone. Take Pine Island Road to the west to get there. Gulf Coast Kayak offers guided SUP tours through the mangroves in Matlacha at weekends - highly recommended! In Matlacha there were/are again? Galleries and bars. Reconstruction is underway, I don't have the current offer today (January 2024). (30 min. drive).
The onward journey to Pine Island is only worthwhile for a visit to ST. JAMES CITY in the south of the island or BOKEELIA in the far north. (50 min. drive)
TIP: From PINELAND in the north of the island there is a ferry boat to CABBAGE KEY, a small, nice island with a good restaurant!!! www.cabbagekey.com/dining/ Nice to see and nice to be - the owner once assured me that there must be $200,000 hanging from the ceilings and walls. Worth seeing!!! Even if you rent a boat, CABBAGE KEY is outside the valid insurance coverage of the boat rental companies. The waters there are shallow and not without pitfalls. So take the official boat from Pine Island if you want to go there. (50 min. drive to the boat, day trip)
FORT MYERS (30 min. drive)
Take the Cape Coral Bridge to FORT MYERS. The Historical District on the CALOOSAHATCHEE RIVER with its old buildings, stores, bars, theaters and restaurants is actually only worth seeing.
But there is also something new! The LUMINARY and the OXBOW at the marina.
Visit LUMINARY for a drink with a view on the 12th floor in the terrace bar www.luminaryhotel.com/taste/beacon-social-drinkery/beacon-social-drinkery/
OXBOW is best in the evening for waterfront dining on Hendry Street. www.oxbowfortmyers.com Worth it!!!
There are nice stores for strolling and shopping in the old town. Restaurants are concentrated on FIRST STREET, from Ford's Garage to Ziggy's - everything is there.
An absolute must in Fort Myers is Edison and Ford's Winter Homes with laboratory and of course a visit to Manatee Park in North Ft. Myers.
To the islands:
Just after the Cape Coral Bridge, turn right onto the McGREGOR BLVD. Head towards FORT MYERS BEACH, SANIBEL ISLAND and CAPTIVA ISLAND.
The 3 islands were badly hit by Hurricane IAN in September 2022 - see for yourself, many things have reopened. The beaches certainly have! On SANIBEL BOWMAN'S BEACH and LIGHTHOUSE BEACH, on CAPTIVA the beach at THE MUCKY DUCK - nice location for food, drinks & relaxing. Visit the Wildlife Refuge Ding Darling on Sanibel Island. Don't miss out on the islands, it's definitely worth it.
FT. MYERS BEACH is almost broken. I'm curious to see what will happen there and when.
From Ft. Myers Beach you can drive all the way down the barrier island until you can't go any further. A very nice alternative route in the direction of MIROMAR OUTLETS and NAPLES. In ESTERO Beach, we recommend the FRESH CATCH BISTRO!!! www.freshcatchbistro.com/
Super beautiful beaches on the way south: LOVERS KEY BEACH & BAREFOOT BEACH.
To the south, in the direction of NAPLES, Fort Myers now stretches as far as Estero and Bonita Springs. Lots of commerce and usually unexpectedly one or two nice shopping malls along the S41 (South TAMIAMI TRAIL): COCONUT POINT is large with nice stores and a Apple Store
www.simon.com/mall/coconut-point (30 min. drive)
MIROMAR OUTLETS, my favorite! Brand outlet with good prices all year round. From the S41, turn left onto Corkscrew Road until you reach the I75 freeway. www.miromaroutlets.com/ (40 min drive)
History interested? Koreshan Village. An old settlement where you can see how the first settlers lived, just off the S41.
www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/koreshan-state-park/experiences-amenities (30 min drive).
NAPLES (60 min drive)
Continue south on 41 to the NAPLES CENTRE, Historical Site junction. Here 41 turns left at a right angle towards Miami.
You are now on Fifth Ave. South, THE shopping street with great stores and restaurants. Park right at the beginning and take a stroll.
Walk or drive on to 3rd Street and turn left. After a while you will see the only and best Italian restaurant in Florida on the right: CAMPIELLO RISTORANTE & BAR www.campiellonaples.com Highly recommended, we go there a few times every year. RESERVATIONS ARE ADVISABLE, EVEN AT LUNCHTIME !!!! There are also some nice stores on 3rd Street.
The next cross street is 12th Ave. which leads directly to NAPLES PIER and NAPLES Beach.
In the evening, I recommend the restaurant THE DOCK AT CRAYTON COVE. Head east on 12th Ave (from the pier) and you'll come straight to it. Sea food is particularly good here! www.dockcraytoncove.com/
Even further south off the 41 is MARCO ISLAND, the EVERGLADES (1.5 hour drive) and the LOOP ROAD (2 hour drive).
MARCO ISLAND is a kind of Martha's Vinyard. We recommend TIGERTAIL BEACH in the north.
Here you can wade through the lagoon to the offshore dune island with your swimming bags on your shoulders - and you'll be almost alone on the beach. Well worth it.
EVERGLADES and the famous boat tours are close by in the direction of MIAMI. Continue along the S41, the providers are signposted. You can find names on the web.
The best way to experience the Everglades without a boat is via LOOP ROAD Scienic Drive - take your time for the tour - pace yourself and keep your eyes open!
From Cape Coral to the north
Take the DEL PRADO BLVD. from here north to the PINE ISLAND ROAD on the right until you reach the S41, North Tamiami Trail. Go left to the north. Drive along the Peace River to PUNTA GORDA. Before the bridge, turn left to FISHERMEN'S VILLAGE. Old fishing harbor with nice stores - nice to see.
There are two routes - one to speed - one to see:
1. Speed. Further north, away from the coast, take I75 (freeway). After the Peace River, after a few miles you will come to MYAKKA RIVER STATE PARK, one of the most beautiful national parks in FL!!! Pure WILDLIFE and a treetop trail. Worth seeing, a MUST!!!
2. See. Further north, along the coast, stay on the S41.
For BOCA GRANDE, drive to Murdock, turn left onto S776 towards El Jobean, Englewood, Placida.
BOCA GRANDE is beautiful! Fine beaches, bars etc. Historic lighthouse and the unique BANYAN STREET, the last street in the state with only Banyan Trees!
The S41 in Murdock further north will take you to VENICE and SIESTA KEY. VENICE is historic and very beautiful! Good restaurants, nice to stroll around.
SIESTA KEY is the beach with the world's finest and whitest sand!!!
After a few miles you are in SARASOTA.
Here it is worth visiting the old town, the RINGLING MUSEUM OF ART and CA' D'ZAN, the summer home of the Ringling circus empire and, if you are interested, the SARASOTA CLASSIC CAR MUSEUM.
There are several fantastic destinations in the vicinity of Villa Catalina Isles:
Jaycee Park to the east, ideal for jogging from the house.
The SunSplash Family Waterpark on Santa Barbara Blvd. is fun for the whole family.
About 2.5 hours away are Bush Gardens, Ybor City in Tampa and the Marine Aquarium in Clearwater.
Fort Myers, Southwest Florida International Airport
Orlando International Airport
Fort Lauderdale International Airport
Cape Coral Down Town
Fort Myers Down Town
Cape Coral Beach
Fort Myers Beach
25 to 45 Minutes
Sanibel & Captiva Beaches
30 to 60 Minutes
Next Tennis Court
Next Golf Course
Things to Do
Are you a nature lover? Beach bum? Photographer? Fisherman? Water sports enthusiast? No matter your hobby or interest, Cape Coral is one of the most uncrowded and affordable Florida destinations. Best of all, there are plenty of free things to do in Cape Coral, so you can have a relaxing tropical Florida vacation without breaking the bank. Experience Nature Like You've Never Seen it Before
Florida 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 theJ. 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 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. There is a small fee to travel the course by car.
SUP in Matlacha Operating since 1992, Gulf Coast Kayakhas a 20 years+ reputation in the community. We had lots of fun several times paddling together with Jim, our trainer and coach. Contact (239) 283-1125 for a great leaded SUP experiance.
Another stunning natural location is theMatlacha 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 harmless creatures in the water. 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 the car.
Cape Coral Golf
Cape Coral is located right on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. The temperate weather allows for ideal conditions for golfing. Priding itself on the best golfing, Florida is home to world class, world famous courses. If you are visiting Florida, make sure to check out some of the best-of courses available in the Cape Coral area.
Live like a Local
Another variety of free things to do in Cape Coral can be found at Yacht Club Community Park. The most popular feature of the family-friendly Yacht Club Community Park is the public beach. Take a stroll on the beach. 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. Spend a day visiting some of Cape Coral's local shops. Just outside Cape Coral is the Shell Factory, a shopping/activity complex that has a gigantic collection of shells, coral, and shell-themed novelties, gifts, and jewelery.
Villa Catalina Isles provides you with a fully equipped kitchen at your disposal. Cook yourself a fresh Florida seafood dinner. Extra credit goes to those travelers who can catch their own meal. Fishing is available the Villas boat dock, at Four Freedom Park, Bernice Braden ParkandHorton Park, while Four Mile Cove Eco Preserve, Jaycee Park, Sirenia Vista, and Glover Bight at Rotary Park all offer sunrise-to-sunset fishing hours. There is also lake fishing around the shore of Lake Argosy.Many guests fish from the Villas boat dock!
The Perfect Gulf Vacation
Cape Coral is also home of all kind of 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.