Rotonda West sits near the Gulf of Mexico, in southwest Florida, between Sarasota and Fort Myers. It’s a great place for those who enjoy the warm weather and the outdoors. 30 miles (48 km) of ponds, lakes, and canals make their way through the city, offering plenty of opportunities to enjoy the water. There are beaches, parks, wildlife, and five golf courses to explore.
If you can already see yourself swimming in the sea, catching some rays on the beach, and enjoying the wildlife in the parks, take a look at our list of the top things to do in and near Rotonda West. Don’t forget your sunblock!
1. Rotonda Community Park and Preserve
Keeping your little ones entertained will not be a difficult task at Rotonda West. Take them out for a leisurely walk and let them frolick the playground at Rotonda Community Park and Preserve. In fact, bring your entire family too for a bountiful picnic at the pavilion. Bike trails and barbecue grills are scattered all over the park, along with picnic tables and tennis courts. This may not be the most touristy thing you can do in the city, but it sure is a great way to bring your family together!
Rotonda Community Park and Preserve
Address: 100 Rotonda Blvd E, Rotonda West, FL 33947, United States
2. Amberjack Environmental Park
Brighten up your trip to Rotonda by exploring the wonderful Amberjack Environmental Park, a 225-acre (91-hectare) preserve located in Cape Haze peninsula. Oak scrub and flatwood habitats fill the park, and some of the plants are myrtle oaks, wiregrass, palmetto, and slash pine. In the dry habitats of Amberjack live indigo snakes, tortoises, and Florida mouse. Kids will surely be amused by these peculiar animals, so bring them by! You’ll squeeze an easy workout too when you walk the trails of Amberjack.
Amberjack Environmental Park
Address: 6450 Gasparilla Pines Blvd., Rotonda, FL 33947
3. Rotonda Golf and Country Club
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
Can’t think of what to do in Rotonda? To try your shot at a hole in one, head to the Rotonda Golf and Country Club. With five courses to choose from, there are opportunities for golfers of all levels to play. Booking a slot on the course is easily done online. Visitors to the club say the greens are well kept and that the staff are friendly. They’re challenging but easy to navigate, and there’s plenty to see along the way.
Ever seen a lynx or an alligator while golfing? Well, now’s your chance! There’s plenty of wildlife that frequent the courses, making this an exciting spot to play a round, while you’re in the Rotonda West area.
Rotonda Golf and Country Club
Address: 100 Rotonda Cir, Rotonda West, FL 33947, USA
Website: Rotonda Golf and Country Club
4. Phoenix Rising Kayak Tour
If you’d like to explore this part of southwest Florida by water, booking a kayak tour is a great option. Phoenix Rising offers eight different tours to choose from, in the area. The tour times and prices vary, and you can get a discount if you bring your own kayak. Choose the Woolverton Trail tour, to kayak through a maze of tunnels carved from the mangrove forest. You’ll see a pelican rookery, dolphin hunting grounds, and if the waters are warm enough, the Florida Manatee.
There’s an Early Riser Breakfast Tour, for the early birds. Departing an hour before sunrise, you’ll paddle through Gasparilla Sound and watch the wildlife greet the morning sun. You’ll end the tour by paddling to Waterside Grill for breakfast. Night owls will want to try the Sunset Serenity tour. On Gasparilla Sound, you’ll watch birds coming home to roost, with the pinks and yellows of the sunset all around you. Reviews hint at a champagne toast at the end of this tour!
Phoenix Rising Kayak Tour
Address: Various meet points in southwest Florida depending on tour.
Website: Phoenix Rising Kayak Tour
5. Little Gasparilla Island
Little Gasparilla Island is a tropical barrier island, just north of Gasparilla Island. It is connected to Don Pedro Island in the north and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Following a hurricane in the 1960s, which destroyed the island’s bridge, residents decided they liked it better without one. Now, the island is only accessible by boat or water taxi.
Little Gasparilla Island offers seven miles (11 km) of beach to explore. In the summer, sea turtles nest and lay their eggs in the warm sand. Shelling and hunting for prehistoric shark teeth are popular activities on the island. Docks offer the opportunity to bring out your fishing pole. This beach near Rotonda West is the perfect place to enjoy cool tropical breezes in the summer and the warmth of the sun in the winter.
6. Don Pedro Island State Park
Don Pedro Island is accessible only by boat or ferry and the 230-acre (93.1-hectare) State Park is a great space to enjoy the outdoors. The park boasts mangrove forests, dunes, and beaches, making Don Pedro Island a great spot for sunbathing, swimming, fishing, and kayaking. Hiking is another popular activity here and there are guided nature walks available.
Keep a lookout for the local fauna, including West Indian manatees, tortoises, bald eagles, and Loggerhead turtles. There’s a water taxi service which can bring you to other nearby islands if you’d like to continue exploring the beaches of Southwest Florida.
Don Pedro Island State Park
Address: 8450 Placida Rd, Placida, FL 33946, USA
Website: Don Pedro Island State Park
7. Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Park
The Cape Haze Pioneer Trail is an 8-mile (12.9-km) trail, running along a former railroad corridor. It’s a popular spot to bike, walk, and run. There’s even a historic bunkhouse, previously owned and used by the railway company, which can be viewed along the trail. Trail users love taking in the wildlife while on their bike ride or run. You can see bald eagles, tortoises, racoons, bobcats, and rabbits.
Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Park
Address: 1688 Gasparilla Rd, Port Charlotte, FL 33981, USA
Website: Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Park
8. Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park
Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park spans 46,000 acres (18,615 hectares) and is composed of islands and land. The third largest State Park in Florida, it offers plenty of opportunities to hike its trails and paddle in its waters. There’s much wildlife to be observed here, including mangrove forests, marshes, and the pine flatwoods. You can also catch glimpses of birds, manatees, and dolphins, as much of the park is shallow water.
Kayaking or canoeing is an excellent way to explore the park. There are trail systems winding through the park, perfect for following in a canoe. There are also pedestrians walkthroughs and three marked trails, for those who prefer to explore the park on foot.
Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park
Address: 12301 Burnt Store Rd, Punta Gorda, FL 33955, USA
Website: Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park
9. Lemon Bay Aquatic Preserve
Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing
Lemon Bay is one of five Charlotte Harbor Aquatic Preserves in Florida. Long, narrow, and shallow, the bay covers over 7,200 acres (2,913 hectares). Flowing into the preserve are two Gulf passes and seven tributaries. This creates diversity in the preserve, including mangroves, marsh grass, and seagrass meadows. 150 bird species, 100 invertebrate species, and 200 fish species call Lemon Bay home.
So, what’s there to do at Lemon Bay? Fishing, kayaking, birding, wading, beachcombing, and boating are all popular pastimes at the preserve. The preserve also has a park, which offers educational classes, guided walks, and has a butterfly garden.
Lemon Bay Aquatic Preserve
Address: Englewood, FL 34223, United States
Website: Lemon Bay Aquatic Preserve
10. Ann Dever Regional Park
If you like to walk, Ann Dever Regional Park is a good place to go. With three miles (4.8 km) of trails to explore, it’s a pleasant area to spend a couple of hours. The trails run through pine woods, providing a shady respite from the warm Florida sun. In addition to walking trails, the park has a picnic pavilion, a heated pool, a skate park, ball fields, and a playground. It’s a great place to take the family!
Ann Dever Regional Park
Address: 6791 San Casa Dr, Englewood, FL 34224, USA
Website: Ann Dever Regional Park
11. Englewood Drum Circle
Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account
One of the fun things to do in Rotonda is watching the sun set while dancing and drumming your heart out. Every Sunday, people meet at Englewood Beach with drums and hula hoops, one hour before sunset. African, Brazilian, and belly dance beats are played, and you’re welcome to drum along, even if you’re not familiar with the music. What a lively way to watch the sunset!
Englewood Drum Circle
Address: Englewood Beach, FL, USA
Website: Englewood Drum Circle
Flora and fauna in Florida
The area in and around Rotonda West offers myriad ways of enjoying the great outdoors. Whether you’d like to paddle through a state park, look for wildlife while on a hike, or enjoy the sun and sand of island life, these Rotonda tourist attractions have it all. So book your trip, and make sure your bag is packed with a swimsuit, sunblock, and a beach towel.
Frequently asked question about things to do in Rotonda West, Florida
1. What are the best outdoor activities in Rotonda West?
Rotonda and its nearby areas offer plenty of outdoor activities. Take a tour of Amberjack Environmental Park and you may possibly meet a family of scrub jays! For nearby outdoor activities, go fishing and sunbathing at Don Pedro Island State Park.
2. What are the top attractions to visit in Rotonda West?
Some of the most beloved attractions to visit in and near Rotonda West are Little Gasparilla Island, Englewood Drum Circle, Cape Haze Pioneer Trail Park, and Lemon Bay Aquatic Preserve.
3. What are the most popular things to do in Rotonda West with kids and family?
One of the popular things to do with kids and family in and near Rotonda West is taking them for an excursion at Rotonda Community Park and Preserve. For things to do nearby, kayak the mangrove tunnels with Phoenix Rising and explore Ann Dever Regional Park.
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