Cape Coral is directly West of Ft. Myers, in Lee County Florida. Since it is a "cape" two points of entry are by bridge. There are four points of entry into Cape Coral Florida: 1. Veteran's Memorial Parkway Bridge 2. Cape Coral Parkway Bridge (both bridges have a toll, the toll is reduced by 50% if you have a LeeWay transponder and are enrolled in the discount program. In fact, with the discount, the toll is as little as 25 cents during off peak times). 3. Pine Island Parkway/ Bayshore Dr. from North Ft. Myers which is a free alternative. 4. Get into the NW Cape via Burnt Store Rd., from Punta Gorda, in Charlotte County.
If you are flying you will likely either fly in by Tampa International Airport or Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW).
Santa Barbara Boulevard divides the city into east and west, while Hancock Bridge Parkway (east of Santa Barbara) and Embers Parkway (west of Santa Barbara) divide the city into north and south. Thoroughfares going east to west are: Pine Island Parkway, Veterans Memorial Parkway, Cape Coral Parkway, and El Dorado Dr (listed from northernmost to southernmost). The North and South are Del Prado, Santa Barbara, and Chiquita (taken from easternmost to westernmost). The Cape is large and flat, areas are laid out far from one another; driving is a must. Cape Coral is the 2nd largest city in Florida by square mileage, so expect things to be spread out. The southernmost tip has the largest concentration of businesses and homes. A bike lane is provided and can be a handy way to navigate the SE and SW portions if you're inclined to be in those residential only areas.
If travelling by bus, regional operator Leetran provides an acceptable service with departures at least every hour. Fares are $1.50 with day and week passes available.
- Cape Coral Yacht Club Park.
Multiple beach accesses are one of this community's strong points. This includes typical beach/tourist activities on Ft. Myers Beach, nature trails and sea kayaking opportunities on Black Island in Lovers Key State park, and sunsets from Captiva's uniquely West facing beach (a tourist must).
Go boating; Cape Coral has more canals than any other city in the world except Venice, Italy.
- 1 Sun Splash Family Waterpark.
- 2 Cayo Costa State Park. 8AM to sunset. Located on La Costa Island, which is directly south of Boca Grande, Florida, 12 miles (19 km) west of Cape Coral and just north of Sanibel and Captiva Islands. The park is accessible only by charter boat, private boat or ferry. Among the wildlife that can be seen at the park are manatees, dolphins, and an assortment of birds. Amenities include boat slips, beaches, hiking trails, picnic pavilions, 12 primitive camping cabins and bath house/restrooms. The park offers a small nature center/gift shop with nature exhibits as well as items for sale. The park has the following available for purchase: ice, sun lotion, bug spray, t-shirts, hats, bird keys, shell keys, and postcards. Cayo Costa has bikes available for half-day and full-day rentals.
Shopping opportunities abound in nearby Fort Myers including the Tangers Outlet Mall. For unique opportunities there are multiple quirky and bohemian opportunities on Sanibel and Captiva which have boutiques and shops. For an enjoyable shopping experience spend time on Sanibel's Perriwinkle Way or for a mall experience go to the Edison Mall (SW Florida's largest) in Fort Myers.
A number of small restaurants may be found anywhere in the Cape.
- Iguana Mia's Mexican Restaurant.
- Burt's Bar on Matlacha on your way to Pine Island. An extremely unique old Florida Bar and Restaurant. Make sure to read the story about the Bar's past on the back of their menus. They often have live music and specials.
- 1 Ariani Restaurant, 1529 SE 15th Terrace, ☏ . For authentic Northern Italian cuisine a top restaurant in Southwest Florida. Chef Dario Zuljani actively visits with guests and the ambience is very open and friendly. Great selection of wines.
Chains are also popping up around Cape Coral including: Ruby Tuesdays and Jason's Deli off Santa Barbara and Houlihans on Cape Coral Parkway.
But for the best SW Florida experience try to stick to the local hang-outs like:
- La Parilla Steak House Some of the best steak on the planet can be found at La Parilla. This is an authentic Argentinian Steak house with an authentic Argentinian chef. The Chimichurri is outstanding.
- Leaping Lizards The ambiance is pure SW Florida and the grouper sandwich is outstanding.
- Oasis on Lafayette, 850 Lafayette Street. This restaurant offers both an outdoor terrace and fine dining indoors. The Palm Tree chicken, pan-seared chicken breast topped with prosciutto, asparagus, provolone and sun dried tomatoes is scrumptious!
Coffee Haus:The Coffee Haus, 2323 S Del Prado at the Coralwood Plaza. A very nice place to enjoy the best coffee in town. They also offer delicious freshly made sandwiches and salads, bakery, German cakes, iced and frozen coffee drinks. Here you can enjoy a very relaxing atmosphere. The Coffee Haus offers internet access and wireless. Additionally you can have business meetings here and order special caterings.
- Beatnik Coffee The quintessential local hang-out. Great coffee, good pastries, fun staff, and nightly events. Thursday's Open mike is one of the best in the area.
Many more dining options can be found along Cleveland Ave. which is a short drive (15 min.) away in Fort Myers.
- Top Notch Coffee & Eatery, 1722-1 Del Prado Blvd, ☏ . 7-4 M-F 8-1 Sa; closed Su. Family-owned business known in the press as "The Cheers of Coffee.". 1.99-8.00.
- Sanibel Island
- Captiva Island
- Fort Myers Beach
- Lovers Key - Lovers Key State Park
- Pine Island
- Cabbage Key (short boat ride required)
- Bonita Springs Beach