Why Visit Cape Coral, Florida?
If you love the water, Cape Coral, Florida is the place for you. Sunny days, water access and proximity to the Gulf of Mexico are the main attractions of this tropical community.
With more canals than Venice, Italy, over 300 days of sunshine each year and 200+ rental homes available – you can select the season and accommodations that are perfect for you.
The city is located on the Caloosahatchee River, America’s healthiest fresh water estuary. Many vacation homes offer excellent access to both the river and Gulf – just out the back door.
The city has its own beach on the Caloosahatchee River that my family really enjoys. Many guests also enjoy the white sand beaches of the Gulf of Mexico nearby. Ft. Myers Beach is a busy, activity oriented community with shopping, restaurants, jet skis and parasailing that attracts thousands of college students every spring break. Sanibel Island has pristine beaches known for the amazing shells that can be collected when the tide goes out. It is a favorite for those who enjoy a more leisurely pace. Captiva is more remote and known for gorgeous sunsets that draw applause from the onlookers. There are also beaches on “boater’s only” islands in the area.
Burrowing Owls, Manatees, Dolphins
Southwest Florida is home to some unique wildlife . . . and it can be in your yard! We have seen manatees and dolphins in the canals at our home and there are burrowing owls on the block. If you relax, sit back and watch, you can see amazing nature on parade.
Affordable rental homes with private swimming pools on the water
If you have never stayed in a rental home before; this is the place to try it. Choose from the hundreds of vacation homes on the water with their own swimming pool and dock. Some even come with their own boat!
Cape Coral is the fourth safest city of its size in Florida according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It is also the safest Florida city for motorists according to Allstate as reported by CBS4 News in May of 2006. Also in 1996, it was ranked the 6th Best Place to Live in the United States by CNN Money Magazine.
Cape Coral, Florida is the perfect place to come and RELAX.
Cape Coral Yacht Club Beach
5819 Driftwood Pkwy, Cape Coral, FL 33904, (239) 574-0806
Cape Coral, Florida has its own beach at the Cape Coral Yacht Club Community Park in southeast Cape Coral. Our three boys really enjoy this beach. It is a short boat ride or drive with the beach and a playground at the end. What more could a kid want?
I like it because I just have to pack towels, sunscreen and beach toys. We can grab a quick meal from Betty and the friendly staff at K C’s River Stop – the snack shop/fuel dock/bait shop there that serves burgers and such for lunch or dinner.
Located directly on the Caloosahatchee River, the park maintains a landscaped beach with playground equipment, BBQ grills, bathrooms and a fishing pier. There are also free racquetball courts, shuffleboard courts, horseshoe pits, and public boat ramp.
The Cape Coral Yacht Club Beach is also a great place to watch the sunset. The first Wednesday of every month from 4 to 7 p.m. the city hosts a “Sunset Celebration on the Pier”, featuring live music and arts and craft vendors.
If you plan to eat at K C’s during this event, get there early as it does get very busy. One night we did not get there early, so instead ordered pizza delivered to us on the beach by Paradise Pizza. Everyone around us was jealous. Make sure you have a cell phone with you or the delivery driver will never find you in the crush!
Watch out for the seagulls if you eat on the beach. My mother once had a seagull steal a Hogbody’s chicken wing right out of her hand. Boy, was she surprised! Eating at the tables on K C’s patio offers a measure of protection from such bird thievery as they have special wires protecting their patio.
Keep your eyes peeled for the flock of green parakeets that roost there during certain seasons, they won’t steal your lunch, but they are beautiful and noisy!
There is free public parking as well as public dockage beyond the fuel docks at K C’s River Stop. If you plan to use the dockage, be sure to bring bumpers to protect your boat from the cement seawall.
The Cape Coral Yacht Club also has a fee based public swimming pool and tennis courts. The tennis pros offer group lessons for all ages that you can just pay to attend at your convenience. Contact them at 239-574-0808 for days, times and rates. Swimming pool information can be obtained by calling 542-3903.
Boating directions: Take the main channel on the Caloosahatchee to unlighted daybeacon #78. You will see the long fishing pier – this is your destination. Approximately 40 yards southwest of #78 (so midway between #78 and #78A) enter the channel that runs parallel to Redfish point. You will pass between channel markers #1 and #2, #3 and #4 before you reach the fishing pier which will be on your port (left) side as you proceed toward the signs for the fuel dock. (Do not be distracted by the channel markers leading to private docks!) Just past the fuel dock there is a cement sea wall with cleats where you can tie up your boat.
Cape Coral Shopping
I am not much of a shopper myself – but many of our guests enjoy the following Cape Coral shopping options:
The Edison Mall, just across the bridge in Ft. Myers, is where thelocals shop. You can find out more at their website.
There are Tanger factory outlet stores on the drive to Sanibel that manyvisitor’s enjoy. We go there for the Big Dog Shop and sunglasses.
There are quirky shops at Cape Harbor by the Rumrunners restaurant, so if you boat there for lunch, walk over to their quaint street of shops. We look but never buy at these stores as they are a bit pricey.
There is a huge, amazing pedestrian mall called the Gulf Coast Town Center. I have been there a number of times to shop the Outdoor World Bass Pro shop for fishing and marine supplies, there much larger than West Marine, with better prices. One of our favorite restaurants P.F. Changs is located here as well. Sure P.F. Chang’s is a corporate owned chain restaurant but they have great Asian fusion food at very reasonable prices. One evening the place was hopping – had an open air band and everything. Go to the “Sales & Events” link to find out what is scheduled during your visit.
Another large factory outlet mall is just south of Gulf Coast Town Center off I-75 is Miromar Outlets which has over 140 top design and brand name outlet stores.
The closest shopping mall to Bayside is the Coralwood Mall. We go to movie theater and Chinese restaurant there sometimes – although the restaurant is marginal. It is a neighborhood mall, rather than a tourist mall, and offers pretty limited selection. Bealls sometimes has good sales. DO NOT eat at the Cape Crab & Steakhouse in this mall, the service and food have been miserable every time we have tried it.
The market right next door to Oragami, our favorite area sushi restaurant is very interesting and eclectic. My children can spend hours in there just looking and looking. They have some very unique Florida items and we occasional purchase items from this store.
Cape Coral Restaurant Guide
Local restaurants in Cape Coral, Florida – and anywhere – can be a delicious adventure or a disappointing waste of money. My family has experienced both types of dining and we want to help you enjoy your time in our city and avoid the mistakes we have made.
This is a guide to where we have found consistently good food and friendly service in Cape Coral and the surrounding areas. With three young boys in our family, we pay particular attention to kid friendly restaurants. We typically enjoy the quieter restaurants or those with more exotic menus by ourselves on date night and that is noted in the review.
While people in Cape Coral enjoy going out for great food, they value their comfort equally – if not more. Shorts and sandals are okay in restaurants everywhere.
Honestly, if you are looking for fine dining . . . go someplace other than southwest Florida. While the Veranda in Ft. Myers, Florida and the Turtle Club in Naples offer excellent meals in beautiful settings, I still wouldn’t call it haute cuisine.
Our bald friend did have to take off his ball cap at the Veranda . . . but other than that it looked to us like the wait staff was more dressed up than the guests!
Like every American city, Cape Coral has its share of chain and franchise restaurants. If you want a standard product at a known cost, you can always play it safe and dine at one of these establishments. Dave & I are particularly fond of Outback Steakhouse and Macaroni Grill on 41/Cleveland Avenue in Ft. Myers.
K C’s River Stop
5819 Driftwood Pkwy, Cape Coral, FL 33904, (239) 549-5699
K C’s River Stop is the only Cape Coral restaurant at the Yacht Club Beach – so we’re glad it’s good! The beach and K C’s is a boating or driving destination in Cape Coral for fun, sun, fuel, bait and food.
My family has been eating at K C’s River Stop for the past seven years and we enjoy it every time. It’s beach food . . . with or without the sand as you choose.
You can take your meal to the beach or eat it on their patio tables. They have the usual snack shop fare – burgers, dogs, nachos, shrimp, fries, sodas and beer. My boys like the kids menu and are diligent eaters here to get the candy and popsicles for dessert at the end of their meal.
We used to eat on the beach ‘cuz the boys hated to interrupt their play, but the seagulls have gotten pretty bold and somebody’s hotdog was always getting dumped in the sand. So now, I usually play with the kids on the beach while my husband goes up to K C’s patio orders the food and secures a table for us. When the food’s ready he either calls on the cell phone or just yells (classy, huh?) for everyone to come on up and eat. If you don’t have a cell phone and plan to use the our yell method, make sure to set up your beach things close to the fishing pier and K C’s patio.
Betty and her friendly staff run a great snack shop with consistently good beach food. If you are spending a day at the Cape Coral Yacht Club beach, be sure to try it.
Anthony’s On The Gulf
3040 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931, (239) 463-2600
Our favorite places to order seafood are Anthony’s, Snug Harbor and the Matanzas Inn on Ft. Myers Beach. There is a outdoor bar- like restaurant on Ft. Myers Beach too called Smokin Oyster Bar that our friends from Denver couldn’t get enough of and we enjoy.
Red’s Fresh Seafood House
10880 Stringfellow Rd, Bokeelia, FL 33922, (239) 283-4412
We tried Red’s once after we moved to Key West (fresh seafood Mecca – here for two years while my husband attends nursing school) and weren’t impressed – but we are admittedly spoiled and our guests really do rave about that one. The Prawnbroker is another one our guests love – but we didn’t like the atmosphere the one time we tried it– seemed too much like a New York hustle to us – like they were trying to turn the tables and just wanted us out of there. Granted, we went during the busy season, but still – it wasn’t cheap enough to tolerate that treatment.
(239) 945-7755, 1027 Cape Coral Pkwy E, Cape Coral, FL.
Tasty Mexican fare (our family’s favorite in the area), but there can be a long wait on weekends and they won’t seat incomplete parties. You can call ahead and put your name on the waiting list . . . unless there is a hurricane coming, and then, for some reason, they suspend the call ahead option – go figure.
(239) 415-4424, 5220 Big Pine Way, Fort Myers, FL.
If there is such a thing as “upscale Mexican food”, you will find it at Cantina Laredo. This restaurant is a delicious escape from the bright Florida sun with its dark, cool interior. The wait staff prepares a mean guacamole right at your table that is to die for. The sampler platter is also pretty amazing, too. We haven’t actually had anything we didn’t like at this restaurant. We have never taken our children here – although we have seen children there; we just like to enjoy the mellow, quiet atmosphere alone. It’s a great place to go before catching a movie as it is right next to the Bell Tower AMC 20 theatre.