The Getaway
Best Things to Do in Matlacha, FL

Matlacha, a hidden gem nestled between Cape Coral and Pine Island on Florida's Gulf Coast, is a place where time seems to dance to the rhythm of the waves. Born from the dredging of oyster beds nearly a century ago, this man-made marvel has transformed into a vibrant tapestry of art, culture, and coastal charm. Imagine a place where every corner bursts with color, where art isn't just confined to galleries but spills onto the streets, painting a vivid picture of the community's soul.

It's not just the art that'll capture your heart. Matlacha's fishing heritage runs deep, echoing tales of old fishermen and their legendary catches. The waters here aren't just blue; they tell stories, whispering secrets of the past and promises of tomorrow. And if you're lucky, you might just catch a glimpse of dolphins playfully chasing the horizon or the sun casting golden hues over the "World's Fishing-est Bridge."

So, if you're yearning for an escape that's a little off the beaten path, where life's a bit slower, and the days are a tad brighter, Matlacha's the place to be. It's more than just a destination; it's an experience, a journey into a world where every moment is painted in vibrant hues, where every day's a celebration, and where memories last a lifetime. Dive into the magic of Matlacha, and discover a slice of paradise that's as unique as it is unforgettable.

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01 Go fishing amidst the magic of Matlacha Pass

Nestled amidst a backdrop of mangrove forests and bathed in the golden glow of stunning sunsets, Matlacha Pass is more than just a fishing spot—it's an experience. The shallow waters here are teeming with a diverse array of fish species, from the elusive redfish to the vibrant snook. And if you're not a seasoned angler, fret not. The area boasts a plethora of fishing charters and seasoned guides ready to introduce you to the joys of fishing. With the warm climate blessing the region, fishing isn't just a pastime; it's a year-round adventure waiting to be embarked upon. The gentle lapping of the waves, the distant call of seabirds, and the thrill of the catch make every moment here a memory in the making.

fishing in the lake Prapass Pulsub / Getty Images

02 Discover the hues of Leoma Lovegrove Gallery and Gardens

Step into a world where every brushstroke tells a story at the Lovegrove Gallery and Gardens. Home to Leoma Lovegrove, an impressionist-expressionist painter of international acclaim, this gallery is a riot of colors. Reflecting the vibrant local culture of the area, her paintings are a visual treat. But the allure doesn't end there. Wander through the gardens, and you'll find yourself amidst a verdant paradise where nature and artistry blend seamlessly, making it one of Florida's most enchanting destinations. Every corner of this place whispers tales of inspiration, from the rustling leaves to the vibrant canvases that adorn the walls.

03 Embark on an aquatic adventure with Top Slot Fishing Charters

Dive deep into the heart of Southwest Florida's aquatic wonders with Top Slot Fishing Charters. Guided by the experienced Captain Dayron Plana, this isn't just about casting a line; it's about immersing oneself in the rich fishing culture of the region. Whether you're a first-timer or a seasoned pro, the charter promises a journey filled with excitement, discovery, and memories that'll be etched in your heart forever. The shimmering waters, the camaraderie on the boat, and the thrill of the chase make every trip an unforgettable saga of adventure and bonding.

04 Unravel nature's secrets with Gulf Coast Kayak

The serene waters of Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve beckon, and there's no better way to explore them than with Gulf Coast Kayak. Offering guided tours, this family-owned gem lets you delve into the heart of scenic waterways, mangroves, and coastal wonders. Since its inception in 1992, it has become a beacon for nature enthusiasts, promising a journey filled with bird sightings, marine life encounters, and the gentle lull of nature. As you paddle through the calm waters, every ripple tells a story, and every breeze carries tales of the land and sea.

Peaceful kayak tour in a beautiful mountain lake. ArtistGNDphotography / Getty Images

05 Savor coastal flavors at Miceli's Restaurant

Perched gracefully along Matlacha's waterfront, Miceli's Restaurant is a culinary haven. Offering a delightful blend of Italian and American dishes, every meal here is a symphony of flavors. But it's not just about the food. With daily live music and entertainment, coupled with breathtaking views, dining here becomes an experience—a melody of tastes, sights, and sounds. The ambiance, with its rustic charm and coastal vibes, sets the perfect stage for a meal that's as much about the journey as it is about the flavors.

06 Relish local vibes at Blue Dog Bar and Grill

Tucked away in a cozy corner of Matlacha is the Blue Dog Bar and Grill, a place where every meal feels like a hearty embrace. Sourcing ingredients from local artisans, this eatery is a testament to the rich culinary heritage of Pine Island and Southwest Florida. With a warm ambiance, friendly staff, and dishes that are a labor of love, it's a place where memories are made, one meal at a time. The laughter, the clinking of glasses, and the aroma of freshly cooked meals make this place a haven for food lovers and storytellers alike.

07 Find tranquility at Bat House Park

Overlooking serene waters and managed by the dedicated Lee County Parks and Recreation Department, Bat House Park is a slice of paradise. Named after its iconic "bat house," this park is a haven for fishing enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. However, a note of caution: the park has been temporarily closed due to Hurricane Ian, so it's always wise to check before planning a visit. But even from afar, the park's beauty, with its lush greenery and tranquil waters, promises a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

08 Discover island treasures at Matlacha Menagerie

Seeking unique gifts with a touch of island magic? Matlacha Menagerie is your destination. From local art to handcrafted jewelry, every item here tells a story. Despite facing challenges from Hurricane Ian, the shop has risen like a phoenix, continuing its legacy of serving guests with passion and dedication. Every artifact, every trinket, and every artwork here is a testament to the island's rich culture and the indomitable spirit of its people.

09 Navigate the waters with Mangrove Paddling Company

Set sail on a journey of discovery with the Mangrove Paddling Company. Located at the heart of Olde Fish House Marina, this company offers a plethora of water excursions. Whether you're kayaking through serene mangroves or paddleboarding across channels, every moment promises a new revelation. The gentle sway of the waters, the distant chirping of birds, and the vast expanse of nature stretching as far as the eye can see make every trip a soulful retreat.

Full Length Of Man On Paddle Board In Sea During Sunset unit-d / Getty Images

10 Dive into history at Bert's Pine Bay Gallery

Bert's Pine Bay Gallery and Gifts is more than just a store—it's a journey through time. Overlooking the majestic Matlacha Pass, this historic cottage is a treasure trove of art, literature, and memories. From sunset views to unique finds, it's a place where the past and present converge. Every artifact, every painting, and every trinket here whispers tales of yesteryears, making it a must-visit for history buffs and art lovers alike.

11 Experience waterfront dining at Yucatan Waterfront Bar and Grill

Perched on the edge of the Gulf of Mexico, the Yucatan Bar and Grill is a culinary paradise. Offering a blend of island-inspired dishes and refreshing beverages, it's a place where every meal is a celebration. Though currently closed due to Hurricane Ian, the restaurant promises to return, bringing with it the flavors and vibes that have made it a local favorite. The gentle lapping of the waves, the mesmerizing sunset views, and the aroma of freshly cooked meals promise an experience that's as sensory as it is savory.

12 Taste the ocean at Olde Fish House Marina

Step into a world where the ocean's bounty is celebrated daily at the Olde Fish House Marina. With fresh seafood straight from the dock, this place is a testament to Matlacha's rich fishing heritage. From art to entertainment, it's a place where the ocean's tales come alive. The rustic charm, the lively ambiance, and the promise of a meal that's as fresh as the morning dew make it a must-visit for every traveler.

13 Revel in nature's beauty at Matlacha Community Park

Matlacha Community Park is where nature's wonders unfold. From fishing to kayaking, it's a place where every moment is a tryst with nature. With walking paths, picnic spots, and a children's playground, it's a haven for families and nature enthusiasts alike. The gentle rustling of the leaves, the distant call of birds, and the serene waters create a symphony of nature that promises peace and tranquility.

Happy senior woman reading book on park bench Hero Images Inc / Getty Images

14 Adorn yourself at Traders Hitching Post

For those with a penchant for elegance, Traders Hitching Post is a must-visit. Specializing in handcrafted jewelry, this store is a blend of tradition and artistry. From necklaces to earrings, every piece here is a work of art. The intricate designs, the shimmering stones, and the promise of a piece that's as unique as you make it a haven for jewelry lovers.

15 Indulge your sweet tooth at CW Fudge Factory

End your Matlacha journey on a sweet note at the CW Fudge Factory. From homemade fudge to hand-dipped chocolates, it's a place where sweet dreams come true. With a plethora of candies, jams, and jellies, it's a treat for the senses. The aroma of freshly made fudge, the colorful displays, and the promise of a treat that's as delightful as a sunny day make it a must-visit for every traveler.

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