Living in Southwest Florida, residents understand that tourists are a necessary part of the economy. However, oftentimes locals find themselves needing to blow off a little steam only to be met by throngs of people vacationing along the pristine beaches of the area. If you are in need of a little relaxation, you don't have to fight crowds to have a little fun around Fort Myers and Estero. Some of the most relaxing "off the beaten path" things to do in Southwest Florida are right outside of your back door.
1. Kayak the Estero River
While the crowds flock to the beaches, many people forget that there are beautiful areas further inland. One of the best places to see the rest of Florida is the Estero River. Located on the Tamiami Trail, Estero River Outfitters offers affordable kayak rentals allowing adventurous paddlers the chance to wander down the Estero River with turtles and birds in a serene environment. Stand Up Paddleboards and canoes are also available affording adventurers a chance to get a little sun, a little exercise, and a little relaxation all in one trip.
2. Hit a Hidden Beach Gem
While people flock from everywhere in Florida to see the white sands of Naples, locals know that some of the best beaches in Southwest Florida are found in Bowditch Beach Park, one of the area's first handicap accessible beaches in the area. Known for its fine, white sand and quiet atmosphere, Bowditch Beach Park is on the northern end of Estero Island with water on three sides. An ideal place to set a chair and watch the sunset, you will not find endless rows of t-shirt shops and tons of tourists in this hidden beach gem.
3. Take a Class or See a Show at the Alliance for the Arts
Located in Ft. Meyers, Alliance for the Arts is the hub of all things cultural in Southwest Florida. From oil painting classes to outdoor bluegrass festivals, the Alliance has something for every taste, interest, schedule, or budget. From a theater offering more than 100 performances in a year to an amphitheater where outdoor movies and concerts are a regular occurrence, the Alliance believes that the best stress relief can be found in the arts, including free yoga on Saturdays and a weekly Green market.
For visitors, Southwest Florida is a bit of paradise, enjoyed from the tourist destinations. However, residents know that the true gems are found just off the beaten path where true stress relief can begin.