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Family kayaking

Experience Southwest Florida Through Your Kids’ Eyes

There are generations of families that think of Southwest Florida as their happy place and look forward to making new memories here every year. If you’re considering the Fort Myers area for your next family vacation, discover all the enriching activities and fun things to do together.

With days filled with sunshine and new adventures, you can expect smiles galore in every family photo. But you may not even think about taking pictures because you’ll be too busy living in the moment. Miles of park trails and beaches give you room to roam. Hands-on museums and interpretative hikes offer educational perspectives wrapped in fun.

Some of our top spots for families:

Miniature train rides make Lakes Regional Park a perfect place for little ones to have big-time fun. With 279 acres to explore in this Fort Myers oasis, you can wander paved and unpaved walking paths and rent a bike or boat to go deeper into the park. Stroll through the park and enjoy community murals, a Children’s Garden and an 18-acre Fragrance Garden. Take in views from the water on a kayak, pedal boat or swan boat, or just sit back under the shade for a picnic surrounded by nature.

Get close to unique flora and fauna at J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island. This 7,600-acre nature park is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States and is home to 245 bird species. Paddle, hike or drive through this lush landscape and join interpretive guides who know how to engage with kids and adults alike.

Everyone around you will shout for joy when you spot playful marine life in action. Take a guided boat cruise where your captain will share their intimate knowledge of the area. Choose from any number of boating excursions: wildlife tours that showcase the area’s majestic birds and marine life; a day of dolphin watching followed by a visit to a secluded beach to collect seashells; or a late-afternoon cruise that sails around the waterways and Gulf of Mexico to find just the right spot to catch the sunset.


Set a course for fun at the Shell Factory & Nature Park in North Fort Myers. Bumper boats, life-size dinosaur models and tons of cool animal pens keep families engaged for hours.

Grab your bathing suits and spend a day at SunSplash Waterpark in Cape Coral, an all-ages place to splash and play. In this Cape Coral treasure, you can speed down water slides from gentle to high intensity, tube down a lazy river and battle it out at Pirate’s Cove.

Unleash your inner scientist at IMAG History & Science Center in downtown Fort Myers. Southwest Florida’s natural history is connected to STEM education through exhibits like the Stingray Bay Touch Tank, an interactive weather hall and building playgrounds.

From zoology to astronomy, Calusa Nature Center & Planetarium in Fort Myers is a true oasis in the Southwest Florida hammocks and wetlands. Take a stroll to learn about rescued wildlife and then turn your eyes toward the heavens for a look at the stars.

However you like to spend time with your loved ones, you’ll find fresh adventures in and around Fort Myers.