Traveling to Southwest Florida with the kiddos?

If you’re looking for some unique Southwest Florida activities that are fun for the whole family, you’re in the right place.

In this blog you’ll find the best family-friendly attractions in SW Florida. We promise, you will love these activities just as much as your little ones.

Whether you’re visiting the southwest side of the Sunshine State or you live here and you’re looking for something new and interesting to do, we’ve got you covered in this blog.

Top 10 Family-Friendly Attractions in Southwest Florida

Keep reading to find the best attractions and activities in SW Florida. How many of these are you and your family going to check off your list?

#1. Hit the Beach in SW Florida

Sunset seen from Fort Myers Beach, Florida

If you’re planning a trip to Florida, the beach is probably top of mind — and with good reason! Southwest Florida boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, and you’ll want to write home about our SWFL sunsets.

Pack a cooler, bring your umbrella, and don’t forget the sandcastle toys. Keep reading to discover some of our favorite beaches in Southwest Florida.

  • Fort Myers Beach: With miles of white sandy beach, a fishing pier and plenty of restaurants to feed the whole family, Fort Myers Beach is a great stop on your family vacation. Plus, there are tons of excursions available to you right from the water. From dolphin cruises to parasailing, family-friendly adventure abounds on Fort Myers Beach.
  • The Beaches of Sanibel & Captiva Island: If you’re looking for natural beauty and lots of marine life, Sanibel-Captiva is the right beach destination for you. From sea turtles on Captiva Island to world renowned shelling on Sanibel, you and the kids will never get bored of what our SWFL islands have to offer.
  • Lovers Key Beach: Don’t be fooled by the name – Lovers Key is a great beach for family fun. Just south of Fort Myers Beach, Lovers Key is a Florida State Park that features the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the back bay waters on the other. With on-site concessions and kayak rentals available to you, you can choose to relax on the beach or kayak with the manatees in the peaceful lagoons.

Want to learn more about the best beaches in Southwest Florida? Read: The Top 5 Best Beaches on Sanibel & Captiva Islands.

#2. Experience Wild Florida at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

The Mangroves at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Located on Sanibel Island, the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is a must-visit for any nature lover. Complete with an educational visitor center and lots of stops for walking and sightseeing along the way, you and your family will love exploring this slice of natural Florida.

With four miles of paved roadway and lots of gravel trails to extend your adventure, you can choose to walk, bike, drive or take a trolley tour through the refuge. Keep an eye out for wildlife like manatees, alligators, river otters, roseate spoonbills, white pelicans and much more.

Read more: Top 10 Must Do’s on Sanibel & Captiva (Even If You’re Local)

#3. Take a Swamp Buggy Tour at Babcock Ranch in Punta Gorda, FL

Visit Babcock Ranch to see Florida wildlife from the comfort and safety of a swamp buggy. Your 90-minute tour takes you through 14,000 acres of pasture and preserve full of birds, boar, gators, wild turkeys, deer and more. You will learn about Florida history while experiencing many different ecosystems.

After your tour, be sure to stop by the Gator Shack Restaurant for some of the best BBQ and southern style food you’ve ever had!

#4. Explore the Everglades Wonder Gardens in Bonita Springs, FL

Wander through the beautiful botanical garden and see 300+ Florida birds, reptiles and animals of all kinds. As a wildlife refuge, the Everglades Wonder Gardens rescues and rehabilitates non-releasable animals. During your visit, you’ll see alligators, pythons, flamingos, macaws and more.

Whether you want to explore the grounds on your own or opt for a guided tour and animal encounters, the whole family will be in awe at the beauty that the Wonder Gardens have to offer.

#5. Learn About Marine Life at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

Cayo Costa Shells
A Shell Mound seen from Cayo Costa in Southwest Florida

If your kids love looking for shells on our Southwest Florida beaches, they will enjoy this interactive and educational museum dedicated to shells and mollusks.

Located on Sanibel Island, the Shell Museum is the perfect activity for a rainy day in Southwest Florida. Inside the museum, kids can get hands-on with mollusks, participate in a scavenger hunt and even see a Giant Pacific Octopus. Don’t miss the only museum in the country that is solely devoted to seashells.

#6. Celebrate Christmas Every Day at the Bubble Room on Captiva Island

The Bubble Room on Captiva Island is very colorful, eclectic and fun for the whole family

While you’re on Sanibel & Captiva Islands, you won’t regret a stop at the Bubble Room, an iconic Captiva Island destination. With Christmas decorations galore, your kids will love the sensory overload at this world-famous Southwest Florida restaurant.

If there’s ever a time to let them eat cake, it’s at the Bubble Room. Whether you choose an original recipe like Orange Crunch or go for classic Red Velvet, you can’t go wrong with a giant slice of cake from Captiva’s favorite family-friendly dining experience.

#7. Tour the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, FL

If you have a young scientist, botanist or historian in the family, the Edison & Ford Winter Estates is the place for you. During your visit, you will experience Old Florida and see where Thomas Edison and Henry Ford lived. Take a walk through the gardens and enjoy the beautiful riverfront views from the historic homes.

Complete with a historical museum and a botanic research laboratory that boasts the title of the only National Historic Chemical Landmark in the state of Florida, there is a lot to learn and explore at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

#8. Practice Your Swing at the Brand New Topgolf in SWFL

Topgolf is a sure-fire win for the whole family. At the brand-new Topgolf Fort Myers location, you and your family will enjoy state-of-the-art technology and endless entertainment.

With 70+ climate-controlled hitting bays and 200+ HDTVs, boredom simply doesn’t exist at Topgolf. Plus, there’s a full-service bar and restaurant that will keep you and your family well-fed while you have lots of fun.

#9. Meet Farm Animals & Drink Craft Beer at Southern Fresh Farms

Petting Zoo in Southwest Florida

There is something for everyone at this Fort Myers farm attraction. Your kids can feed the farm animals at Southern Fresh Farms while you enjoy an ice-cold craft beer from Crazy Dingo Brewery. What could possibly be better than that?

Get the full experience by visiting over the weekend when you can enjoy live music and food truck fare. Don’t forget to shop around for the freshest produce you’ll find in Fort Myers.

#10. Spend the Day at Gator Mike’s Family Fun Park in Cape Coral

The name says it all: Gator Mike’s Family Fun Park is full of activities and attractions the whole family will love. From go-karts and ziplines to batting cages and arcades, there is no shortage of fun at this family-friendly attraction in Cape Coral, Florida.

Wondering if there’s food? Good news! We received word that the popular pizza franchise Mellow Mushroom will be making its debut at Gator Mike’s very soon.

Keep the Fun Going All Year Long

Every Day is a Beach Day When You Live in Southwest Florida

Make Your Move to Southwest Florida!

Did your family love your visit to Southwest Florida, and now you don’t want to leave?

Look for property with McMurray & Members of Royal Shell Real Estate. As SWFL realtors who were born and raised in the area, we know all the best places to raise a family in SW Florida. 

Even if you’re just thinking about buying a home in Southwest Florida, we’re happy to get your questions answered and find the best fit for your family. Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 239-850-7888.

Click here to view our available properties in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Sanibel, Captiva Island & more.