As you may be able to notice in my previous blog posts, I LOVE NATURE PRESERVES! I geek out every time I learn of a new area to go walking/hiking and Florida is filled with them. One of my favorite’s in the state is the Four Mile Cove (AKA: Four Mile Island) located in Cape Coral.
This is a beautiful walk full of mangroves and swamps which lead to a lookout at the ocean. You can spend a few hours snapping photos and reading each placard along the trails that describe the different trees and wildlife you may see while holding hands with your beau.
This is a must see, hidden gem in Cape Coral. It is also where the Iwo Jima monument is located. The monument and entrance to the nature preserve is visible from Veterans Memorial Bridge, but the entrance is actually a short drive through the rural area before jumping on the bridge going towards Fort Myers from Cape Coral.
At the end of the day, stop by Ford’s Garage (Cape Coral or Ft. Myers location). It’s a great place to have a drink, cool off, and enjoy a really cool atmosphere with some great food! Try the T-Bird burger, my favorite!
Largo, FL is a town that gets very busy in the winter time due to its high retiree percentage. Many of these locals come to Largo in the winter to get away from their home up North where it’s cold and frigid. Due to this fact, there are a lot of places here that aren’t necessarily made for tourists. Which can be a great thing if you are looking to get away from all of that. There are plenty of things to do here and nearby that only the locals may know of, so pay attention and you can visit this area and pretend your one of them! There are plenty of small, locally owned motels in Largo as well as rentals. Since many of these homes are vacation homes, they will be filled in the winter and open to rent come the summer months.
Before you go exploring the town, grab some breakfast at Peter’s Family Restaurant. Great food and portions for a great, low price! Peter, the owner, is usually working so be sure to say hello to him and maybe ask him or the friendly workers for some advice on where to go and see. They will be happy to recommend some places.
A beautiful park to visit, a hidden gem in Largo, is Largo Central Park Nature Preserve. It has paved and wooden walkways that will take you around the edge of the park and cut through the middle. If you walk the perimeter of the park on the paved walkway, it will take you about 45 minutes and there are signs along the way that will educate you on the nature and wildlife surrounding you. This is a perfect place to go bird watching or look for some river otters. You can do a short 5-10 minute walk around the pond on the wooden walkway where you can see birds, turtles, and fish as shown below.
You will be surrounded by electrical grids so don’t mind the humming! The paths are built for both pedestrians and bikers, so whichever you prefer, its bound to be a nice, relaxing time.
Be sure to hike up the lookout tower to get a beautiful view of the creek and see if you can spot any river otters. This creek also allows you to take your loved one on a romantic canoe/kayak tour if you have one or can find a place nearby to rent one and take with. Behind the lookout tower, there are more wooden boarded trails for you to cut through the wooded area and hopefully see some more wildlife and beautiful Spanish moss, my favorite!
Sanibel Island is a very romantic place where you can get back to your Islander self. If your staying on the island, you may take a drive or a bike ride to Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. You can spend hours there slowly riding through the park, stopping every so often to see the wonderful wildlife Sanibel Island has to offer. There are some trails where you can pull over and take a stroll as well as an overlook tour for those perfect photographs.
Afterwards, you will probably be hungry! Stop by Blue Giraffe Island Dining restaurant for lunch or dinner. Be sure to try their chicken or a dish with key lime aioli sauce. It’s amazing and I’ve been trying to figure out this recipe to duplicate it for so long now!
On your way back to your place, stop into Jerry’s Grocery Store. This place is worth visiting just for the Key Lime Pie and the couple shops that are connected to the building to get some souvenirs. Be sure to say hello to the birds. Caesar is my favorite!