Gulf Coast of Florida Travel Guide

Happy Monday! I went on a mother/daughter trip to Florida to visit my aunt and uncle who live there. We were there for five days and we did so many great things. I feel like I got some insider tips, since we have family who live there and knew all the best places. I LOVED the area. It felt like being in a tropical paradise, while still being in the continental United States. Our first full day we went to Fisherman's Village, which is an area full of fun shops and restaurants. We shopped, and had lunch at Captain's Table, which was I think my favorite restaurant of the whole trip. Beautiful views of the Bay and amazing seafood. In the afternoon, we went to Boca Grande, and Lighthouse Beach. What a beautiful beach, and I will never forget that first time swimming in the Gulf, feeling the warm but refreshing water, and watching the pelicans on the broken pier in the water. 

The next day we drove about an hour to the Naples Zoo and it was so amazing! It is a nice small zoo, doesn't require a full day, but we saw so many great animals and heard some zoo keeper talks about the animals too. Afterwards we had dinner at Hurricane Charlie's in Boca Grande. Great views, food, and drinks. 
Our Third full day we drove to Sanibel and Captiva Island, and it was probably my favorite thing we did, what a stunning place. It felt like being transported to the Caribbean with the pastel homes and turquoise water. We started off by going to the National Shell museum, which was super cool. They have some sea life, a touch tank, and of course lots of shells. I actually learned a lot, and it made finding shells on the beach even cooler. Next we drove onto Captiva Island, and had lunch at the Bubble Room. It is filled with cool (and sometimes creepy) memorabilia and vintage toys, and it was fun to walk through. The food and drinks were also really great. Then we spent the day on two beautiful beaches. First was Bowman's Beach. We spent a long time playing in the big waves. It was a wonderful afternoon. We finished the day at Lighthouse Beach as afternoon slipped into evening, and found some amazing shells to bring home. We also saw a small stingray swimming in the water which was cool. This beach was wonderfully shallow and just wonderful to relax at. The lighthouse was also really cool. I was definitely a little sad driving off the island, it was a beautiful day. We finished the day with drinks and woodfire pizza at TT's Tiki in Punta Gorda. 

Our last full day we drove into Venice to watch the Pelicans on the Jetty, and then we drove to Englewood Beach and spent the day playing in the waves before having drinks and lunch at Sandbar Tiki across the street. In the evening we went on a sunset cruise that left from Fisherman's Village in Punta Gorda. It was a wonderful day. 

 It was so wonderful to spend time with my mom, and my aunt and uncle who I haven't seen in person in many years! 

Also, if you live in the Buffalo area, I HIGHLY recommend flying Allegiant Airlines out of Niagara Falls to Punta Gorda if you plan to travel to the Gulf Coast of Florida. It was affordable, and so easy as well. Definitely something I will do again when we had back. 

My traveling is done for the summer, and I am looking forward to just relaxing at home for the remainder of the summer. I hope everyone has a great week!