By: Deanna Walker
I moved to SWFL (Southwest Florida) in 2009 from Snellville, GA just outside of Atlanta. I was born and raised in Snellville but lucky for me my family traveled a lot. Our go to summer vacation spot was Captiva Island. These vacations are what started my love for SWFL. My family loved everything about Captiva… The shells, the sunsets, the weather, the wildlife and the LAID BACK atmosphere. Moving to Florida was always on my to do list so when the opportunity came we JUMPED! While I’d love to call Captiva Island home it was out of our price range so we were happy to settle in Cape Coral which is only 45 minutes away. When we left Georgia in March 2009 we packed our moving truck during a BLIZZARD!! When we arrived in Cape Coral it was a beautiful 80 degrees and sunny. I knew then that we’d be happy here. Our first winter was amazing, we got to wear shorts and flip flops everyday, never worried about freezing temps in the mornings or icy roads. But the weather isn’t the only reason to love SWFL.
SWFL has so much to do. Not only are the beaches always open you can almost always find a free event to go to on the weekends. We LOVE the Pirate Festival on Fort Myers Beach in October. My daughter won the kids costume contest in 2010. Here she is with some of the other pirates attending the festival. It’s always a great time.
Some other fun events are Bike Night in Cape Coral 4 times a year. They have a live band and hundreds of motorcycles lining the streets in downtown Cape Coral. Peace Day in the park is another fun yearly event for the family. We also have Christmas Boat Parades, other holiday parades, and the Edison Festival of Lights parade which is a must see.
SWFL is one of the few places that you’ll still find a laid back atmosphere. We don’t have a “big city” here like many other popular areas of Florida. You’ll find many local restaurants and shops here that will give you that small town feeling.
One of my other FAVORITE things about SWFL is the location. We are far enough from the “big cities” to avoid the traffic, congestion and crime that comes with being near a big city BUT close enough to visit. It only takes us 2-3 hours to get to Tampa, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale or Miami. There is so much to do in these cities that we love to visit for quick weekend trips. We are also only a 4 hour drive to the upper Florida Keys. Which we’ve made our home away from home. Talk about laid back!! We truly love it there.
If I talked about ALL the things to do in SWFL I would end up writing a book but here are some other fun things to do.
- walking nature trails
- water parks
- wild life refuges
And just so much more…