The 10 Best Things to do Good for a Rainy Day in Southwest Gulf Coast, Southwest Gulf Coast

May 22, 2022 Christa Meece

Florida’s Southwest Gulf Coast contains a constellation of enticing coastal gems. Stunning beaches, including Ft. Myers Beach, Tigertail Beach and Pensacola Beach, fringe the Gulf, down the I-75 from Tampa to Naples. Sanibel Island’s shelling attracts thousands. Cape Coral’s waters are paradise for flyfishing. Golfers adore spectacular courses in Marco Island and Naples. Glorious sunny days and deliciously warm turquoise waters beckon in this often overlooked corner of the Sunshine State.

1. Sanibel and Captiva Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center

1159 Causeway Blvd, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3709 +1 239-472-1080 [email protected] http://www.sanibel-captiva.org
Excellent
82%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
1%
Terrible
0%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 893 reviews

Sanibel and Captiva Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center is your official source when visiting our beautiful islands. Stop in for information on lodging, restaurants, activities, shopping, attractions, and much more!

Reviewed By Erfurt - Jupiter, United States

it is located very conveniently, as soon you get off the causeway bridge on the right hand side, a very modern facility, knowledgeable , friendly staff, the Lady on duty took her time to answer my question, very much appreciated. A good place to get Information.

2. Naples Historical Society's Historic Palm Cottage

137 12th Avenue South, Naples, FL 34106 +1 239-261-8164 [email protected] http://www.napleshistoricalsociety.org
Excellent
83%
Good
15%
Satisfactory
2%
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Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 349 reviews

Naples Historical Society's Historic Palm Cottage

Naples Historical Society's Historic Palm Cottage is Naples oldest house (1895) and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Open for house tours and historic district walking tours.

Reviewed By RSaari

We loved the Palm Cottage tour. The tour guide was knowledgeable and gave us an amazing presentation about the early days of Naples Florida.

3. Siesta Key Rum

2212 Industrial Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34234-3120 +1 941-702-8143 http://www.SiestaKeyRum.com/
Excellent
88%
Good
10%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
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5.0 based on 831 reviews

Siesta Key Rum

At our Sarasota, Florida distillery our spirits are hand-crafted from start to finish in small batches using only the finest ingredients and hands-on distillation in a copper pot still. Our distillery is open for free tours and tastings. You must pre-register on our website or by phone to attend tours. Our gift shop/tasting room is open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 5 and Sunday from 12 to 5.

Reviewed By chrisbangs2019

Daniel from XO took us to Siesta Key Rum Distillery and various points of interest around Sarasota. The distillery is a very friendly, informative and well-run tour with a great tasting room and loads of funny anecdotes and stories. Daniel took us through town to a number of historical buildings and had wonderful stories to share of the people and times that built Sarasota.

4. Fort Myers Beach Public Library

2755 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931-3504 +1 239-765-8162 http://www.fmb.lib.fl.us/
Excellent
82%
Good
14%
Satisfactory
2%
Poor
0%
Terrible
2%
Overall Ratings

5.0 based on 208 reviews

Fort Myers Beach Public Library

Reviewed By 103GaryW

To our surprise, this beautiful library turned out to be a great resource for both our learning and entertainment during our recent travel introduction of FMB. These were one hour+ programs focused on archeology, history and dolphin population relevant to the area. The speakers were all well informed, professional and interesting speakers.

5. Revs Institute

2500 Horseshoe Dr S, Naples, FL 34104-6119 +1 239-687-7387 [email protected] https://revsinstitute.org/
Excellent
94%
Good
5%
Satisfactory
1%
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5.0 based on 664 reviews

Revs Institute

Revs Institute® is now open with limited capacity. Tickets must be purchased online for specific dates/times in advance. No telephone orders or walk-up visitors can be accommodated. Face coverings are mandatory. Revs Institute is dedicated to the study of the automobile past, present and future. Revs Institute offers visitors an exceptional opportunity to view over 100 of the most influential automobiles of our time. Many of the cars are unique or exceptionally rare, and each meets rigid standards of historical, technical, aesthetic or social significance. To enhance the visitor experience, specially designed interactive displays and artifact showcases are presented within four themed galleries. They include unique items from the extensive Revs Institute library and archives. Revs Institute is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. For information, visit revsinstitute.org.

Reviewed By 410ChrisM410 - Virginia Beach, United States

Amazing collection to see, overwhelming amount of fabulous vehicles from all eras, and an education in the history of the automobile and racing, and some of the development of the Naples area. Really fun museum if you are at all excited by sports cars, or have children who are.

6. Alligator Bay Distillers

25522 Marion Ave, Punta Gorda, FL 33950-4644 +1 941-347-8419 [email protected] http://www.alligatorbaydistillers.com
Excellent
91%
Good
9%
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5.0 based on 145 reviews

Alligator Bay Distillers

Florida handcrafted microdistillery aiming to produce quality cane-to-bottle and grain-to-bottle spirits. Located in beautiful Punta Gorda, FL, our Floridian rums are produced using 100% Florida cane molasses sourced from local sugar mills.

Reviewed By MNDoodles - Stillwater, United States

If you enjoy exceptional rum and a great business success story, be sure to visit Alligator Bay Distillery. The owner, and distilling expert, gave us a fascinating tour of the facility and described the rum making process in detail. He started the company 5 years ago and his dedication has already yielded a number of prestigious awards. We sampled and purchased the spiced rum which was incredibly smooth with notes of cardamom and ginger...delicious. They produce several flavored rums. This spot is well worth a visit to learn about rum making, to sample and buy, and to celebrate a young man’s entrepreneurial success story.

7. The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

3075 Sanibel Captiva Rd, Sanibel Island, FL 33957-3111 +1 239-395-2233 [email protected] http://www.shellmuseum.org/
Excellent
63%
Good
26%
Satisfactory
9%
Poor
2%
Terrible
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1,607 reviews

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is the only museum in the U.S. devoted entirely to shells and mollusks, and one of the best things to do on Sanibel Island. It features more than 30 engaging exhibits of stunning shells, showcasing some of the largest and rarest shell specimens in the world, including the goliath conch, lightning whelk and Atlantic trumpet triton, as well as common Southwest Florida shells, fossil shells and more. New in March 2020, “Beyond Shells: The Mysterious World of Mollusks” adds the live animals that create shells to its must-see experiences. New aquariums include live octopuses, giant clams, nautilus, nudibranchs and gastropods, and two 15-foot-long touch tanks let young visitors get their hands wet. For a perfect Sanibel experience, fun daily beach walks can be reserved, and the nonprofit museum’s scientists also conduct research with local mollusk species.

Reviewed By invertpaleo - New York City, United States

This has always been an amazing museum, and now it has many aquariums with live mollusks in them, and the live mollusks are fascinating to see! There are mollusks with shells like the Junonia (yes a live Junonia!), and ones without a shell like the octopus, the cuttlefish, and the seahares. If you like shells, you will love this place -- the only national shell museum. Sanibel is all about shells, so even if you are not shell-crazy, you may find this museum of interest because it covers so many shell-related topics. It is a little expensive but it offers so much for the price!

8. The Ringling

5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243-2161 +1 941-359-5700 [email protected] https://www.ringling.org/
Excellent
77%
Good
18%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 7,113 reviews

The Ringling

The Ringling is located in Sarasota, Florida and preserves the legacy of John and Mable Ringling. It is home to the State Art Museum of Florida, the historic Ca' d'Zan Mansion, Bayfront Gardens, the Art Library, two Circus Museums, and the Historic Asolo Theater. The grounds and gardens are free to visit, and the Museum of Art offers free admission on Mondays.

Reviewed By jbwhitehouse - Dallas, United States

The Circus Museum is closed for renovations as are an art gallery. The new Kotter-Koville Glass Museum is at the entrance to Ringling and is free to view. It has beautiful and diverse glass pieces; worth a visit. Admission--free with NARM, MARP, and ROAM memberships--provides admission to the fantastic Tibbals Learning Center, the grounds around Ca'd'Zen, and the truly outstanding and extensive art museum. Additional fees are charged to view Ca'd'Zen for the first floor or other floors. It used to be free to do a self-guiding of first floor and a fairly reasonable charge for two other floors. Now there is a high price, which is understandable when considering the very costly upkeep of the property. Still such high prices exclude this family. Ringling is for all ages and necessitates hours to enjoy.

9. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236-1004 +1 941-388-4441 http://mote.org
Excellent
64%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
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Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 4,257 reviews

Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium

Located at the Mote Marine Laboratory, this is home to a 135,000 gallon outdoor shark tank and many other marine species.

Reviewed By AtypicalTraverlers - Durham, United States

We went with our 8 and 11 yr olds on a quiet Friday and were very impressed . Lots of content for the pre-tween crowd. Highlights were the boat tour, preserved Giant squid (!), baby shark touch tank and (like many of the otter reviewers) the otters. I loved that the exhibits were very focused on the local ecosystem - not a grab bag of random cool aquatic creatures like some other aquariums we'd visited. Its a legit research lab and it was great seeing real science in action. We added the boat tour which was well worth it - our guide (Martha I think?) was a working biologist with great knowledge and light-hearted funny presentation . Saw some manatees, blue herons, dwarf sea horse (awww), pufferfish, sea squirts. All around fascinating and worthwhile. The volunteers/staff stood out to me as well. We came away learning additional cool facts and details from quite a few of the staff.

10. Fishermen's Village

1200 W Retta Esplanade #57a, Punta Gorda, FL 33950-5325 +1 800-639-0020 [email protected] http://www.fishville.com/
Excellent
51%
Good
35%
Satisfactory
11%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 2,257 reviews

Fishermen's Village

Fishermen's Village Waterfront Mall, Resort, and Marina offers something for everyone. Shopping, dining, live entertainment, and water adventures await locals and travelers. With over 30 boutique shops and 5 different restaurants, you are sure to find something that pleases you and your family.

Reviewed By 934mickieg

This is a must stop if you're in the Punta Gorda area. Located right on the bay with lots of unique shops and wonderful restaurants! We liked it so much we came back 3 times during our 5 day stay. Each restaurants food was wonderful and service was top notch! Will definitely come back next time we're in town!

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