Blake Walsh

15 Best Things To Do in Estero, FL

  • Published 2022/08/04

Estero is a village that exudes natural charms, beautiful attractions, and leisure activities you can enjoy with the family.

With Naples to the south and Fort Myers to the north, this village in Lee County, Florida, lies along the Gulf Coast.

It’s a census-designated place and part of the Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Estero gained fame for its abundant citrus orchards in its early days.

It became incorporated in 2014.

It’s home to the famous Hertz Arena, which hosts ECHL ice hockey games for the Florida Everblades throughout the year.

The village also serves as a relaxing destination with the famous Mound Key, picturesque Estero Bay, and calming beaches nearby.

Discover the best things to do in Estero below.

Go for Outdoor Adventures at Koreshan State Park

Planetary Court at Koreshan State Park

SunflowerMomma /

The Koreshan State Park is a historic park that features the lives and homes of the Koreshan Unity.

Dr. Cyrus R. Teed founded this unique religious group.

This 200-acre state park contains refurbished historic buildings the Koreshans built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The last members of the religious colony transferred the site to Florida in 1961.

In 1976, the National Register of Historic Places added it to the record.

Discover a wide range of flowering trees and plant species the Koreshans imported from all over the world.

Check out the false monkey puzzle tree, sausage trees, and Japanese bamboo.

Cars kept for display in vintage car exhibition at Koreshan State Park

SunflowerMomma /

Catch the weekly farmers market with local vendors and guided historical tours.

The park offers nature trails for light hikes and large areas for overnight camp.

Enjoy a picnic by the Estero River or view wildlife like bobcats, gray foxes, gopher tortoises, river otters, and alligators.

Likewise, go birdwatching to spot bald eagles red-shouldered hawks, swallow-tailed kites, and northern bobwhites.

You can explore the river areas on a boat, canoe, or kayak and fish for a day’s catch.

Spend the day at the Koreshan State Park!

Boardwalk over the Estero River at Koreshan State Park

Katey Gee /

Discover Culture and History at the Estero Historical Society

Go back in time and view displays highlighting the village history at Estero Historical Society.

You’ll find the 1906 Hall-Hanson-Collier home, a donation from the College of Life Foundation.

Likewise, you can check out the 1904 single-room Estero Creek Schoolhouse.

Step inside these buildings decorated with antique furnishings and view permanent and rotating themed exhibits.

Volunteer docents gladly assist you during the guided tours.

Drop by the Museum Gift Shop to find books about Estero, artworks, toys, household and decorative items, crafts, and jewelry made by local artists and crafters.

You can also purchase fruit jams and mango chutney made locally with recipes by Campbell’s Canning Factory.

Learn more about the town with the Estero Historical Society!

Admire Contemporary Arts at the Aldo Castillo Gallery

The Aldo Castillo Gallery is where art enthusiasts can feast their eyes on modern themes.

Aldo Castillo, a Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame recipient, charitable fund-raiser, and human rights activist founded the gallery.

The gallery is one of the world’s leading contemporary art galleries.

Admire an array of paintings, drawings, works on paper, photography, and various sculptures, arts, and media installations.

All these represent Latin American, contemporary, and international artists like Lluis Barba, James Guadalupe, Lorna Marsh, and Shelley Lake.

You can also purchase art pieces at the Aldo Castillo Gallery.

Go for a Shopping Spree at Coconut Point

Signage of Coconut Point

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Enjoy shopping and dining with your family at Coconut Point.

This picturesque outdoor shopping mall features over a hundred popular brand stores amid lakes with a lovely boardwalk.

Choose from a wide selection of apparel, jewelry, and gadgets to sporting goods at different price ranges.

Satisfy your taste buds with plenty of outdoor dining options like South Fork Grille, Amfora Mediterranean Restaurant, El Nido Modern Mexican, and Joe’s Fresh Catch.

Catch movie premieres at the cinema, and your little ones have loads of fun at the play area.

Bring the family to Coconut Point!

Play like a Pro at Old Corkscrew Golf Course

Spend a day for a tee game at Old Corkscrew Golf Course.

This 18-hole world-class championship course is the only one in Southwest Florida that Jack Nicklaus designed.

The fairways span 7,400 yards at par 72 and meet the highest standard for design and maintenance.

Play hours of golf with surrounding scenic nature with towering oak, pines, cypress trees, prairie grass, and wetlands.

The course is also a certified Audubon International Silver Signature Sanctuary, with a top rating from Golf Magazine.

Check out the Old Corkscrew Golf Course gift shop for top-quality golf apparel, accessories, and merchandise brands.

Take a Moment to Reflect at the Happehatchee Center

Give yourself a moment of relaxing solitude at the Happehatchee Center.

This private retreat has existed since the early 1970s as a spiritual center and nature preserve under a non-profit organization.

The name comes from the Native American word for “happy river.”

It sits next to the Koreshan State Historic Site on a 4.5-acre forest and spans almost 150 feet on the borders of the Estero River.

Aside from outdoor activities, the center also offers wellness programs such as yoga, tai chi, and Ayurveda.

You can also learn organic and sustainable agriculture courses like aquaponics and composting.

Take some time for yourself at the Happehatchee Center.

Watch Action-Packed Hockey Games at Hertz Arena

Top view of Hertz Arena

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Watch exciting ice hockey games at the Hertz Arena, the official home of the Florida Everblades ECHL hockey team.

The multipurpose arena opened in 1998; it has changed names from Everblades Arena and Germain Arena.

Hertz Arena hosts games for the Florida Everblades during the year and regular seasons for the indoor football team, the Florida Tarpons.

Enjoy dining with your family at the concessions and try the Key West low-carb portable or the Italian sausage & peppers.

During arena events, you can also have a fun night at the Breakaway Sports Pub.

Grab the food and drink specials, happy hour, and pizza specials.

Yellow color Hertz car parked at Hertz Arena

EQRoy /

Meet the Everblades at the Pub during their home games on Friday nights and take a picture.

Ask them for autographs, too, if you like.

You can also catch live concerts and shows at the arena with schedules available on their website.

Have unique fun with public skating sessions at the Recreational Rinks and party with a disco ball, laser shows, and popular tunes.

Aside from being an events venue, Hertz Arena also offers figure skating and hockey lessons and classes for kids, youths, and adults.

Enjoy Leisure Activities at Estero Community Park

The 60-acre Estero Community Park offers a lot of fun recreation for your family.

The outdoor park is open to the public, while the indoor community center is open for a minimal fee.

Have a fun picnic, set up the grills for a barbecue, or opt for food at the park concession.

Take your dog for a walk or let them roam in the off-leash K-9 Corral Dog Park.

There’s plenty of space for little ones to run around in the playground.

You can enjoy strolling or jogging around the park, watching some birds, or fishing.

The park also offers sports facilities like a swimming pool, beach volleyball, pickleball, and basketball courts.

Otherwise, go to the Estero Community Park’s football and soccer fields, bocce, and an 18-hole disc golf course.

Catch World-Class Productions at Gulfshore Opera

You’ll surely give a standing ovation after seeing Gulfshore Opera’s excellent grand productions.

Catch these operas at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center and the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall.

You’ll get full-scale performances from recognized directors and featuring premier soloists and artists.

The Gulfshore Opera orchestra and chorus should give you soulful and enthralling shows each time.

Some of their memorable concerts include GO Cabaret, Songs of Love, The Gulfshore Tenors, Passionate Puccini, and many more.

Indulge your classier side by going to the Gulfshore Opera!

Learn the Story of Mound Key Archaeological State Park

Mound Key Archaeological State Park lies on Estero Bay near the river opening.

Mound Key was an important ceremonial site for the Calusa Indians during the attempted Spanish colonization of Southwest Florida in the 1500s.

Likewise, many people believe Mound Key was also the tribe’s capital, Calos.

The National Register of Historic Places added Mound Key to the record in 1970.

You can only access the island by boat from Lovers Key State Park and the Koreshan State Historic Site.

You’ll find abundant mounds dotted around mangrove trees and plenty of fish bones, pottery, and shell heaps.

Most of these items are over 30 feet above the bay waters.

Take a look at the interpretative displays on the trails while you cross the island to learn about the history of Mound Key Archaeological State Park.

See Creative Pieces at COCO Art Gallery

Located at Coconut Point Mall, the COCO Art Gallery features beautiful visual art pieces from local artists.

The gallery hosts year-round exhibitions providing space for artist members of affiliate organizations of the Art Council of Southwest Florida.

It has welcomed art lovers to its 7,000-square feet space for over ten years.

They also change the displays monthly, so visitors have something new to see each time.

Admire various creations, from paintings to photography, glass, clay, ceramics, wood, jewelry, and more.

You can also purchase these artworks as unique gifts or something to add to your collections.

Indulge your creative side at the COCO Art Gallery.

View Wildlife and Vegetation at Estero Bay Preserve State Park

Tall trees at Estero Bay Preserve State Park

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Estero Bay Preserve State Park is Florida’s first aquatic nature reserve.

The 10,000-acre state park comprises inlets and islands along Estero Bay’s ten-mile area.

Hike the numerous rugged trails and uplands to discover the lush vegetation and wildlife like fiddler crabs, gopher tortoises, and bald eagles.

You’ll also spot the old Seaboard Air Line Railway, a significant point of interest in the park.

Enjoy other activities like boating, canoeing, fishing, and bicycling.

Head to Wrinkler Point, where you can trek the unspoiled coastal marshes.

Stay at the hammocks and observation decks to view wading birds and waterfowl.

Explore the Estero Bay Preserve State Park to your hearts’ content!

Other Things to Do Nearby

Have a Relaxing Swim at Bonita Beach

Mangrooves on Bonita Beach shore

lunamarina /

There’s no better way to enjoy Estero than heading off to welcoming beach areas like Bonita Beach.

This 2.5-mile shoreline is a perfect place if you want to avoid the crowd.

You can find it in nearby Bonita Beach, 18 minutes from Estero.

It also has plenty of natural vegetation, so you’ll enjoy spotting birds and beachcombing.

Pristine blue water at Bonita Beach

Jo Morris /

Dip your toes into its sparkling waters and set up your beach towels on the sandy shores.

For a fun time with your four-legged friend, you can bring them to the Dog Beach Park, one of the state’s off-leash beach areas.

The secluded location and shallow waters make this attraction one of the best pet-friendly beaches you can visit.

Have Unstoppable Fun at Congo River Golf

Head out to Congo River Golf in Bonita Springs, Florida, for endless fun of miniature golf with the whole family.

It’s only eight minutes from Estero.

Take the challenge and swing those clubs through giant waterfalls, rocky mountains, caves, and rainforests.

Kids can even feed the gators and grab exclusive photo opportunities.

Go for the Congo River Mining experience and find fossils, gemstones, and arrowheads using your mining materials.

After some activities at the safari, you can play in the arcade rooms with rows of classic games like air hockey, racing, and basketball.

Let your little ones try more adventures with the Exploration Game at Safari Headquarters, find artifacts, and get back to headquarters for a prize.

Bring everyone to Congo River Golf!

Enjoy the Waters at Lovers Key State Park

Colorful sunset at Lovers Key State Park

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The 712-acre Lovers Key State Park lies in Fort Myers Beach, Florida, 25 minutes from Estero.

Developers initially planned to build luxury condominiums on the site.

However, they donated the lands to the state to preserve the beaches and forest mangroves.

The park stays true to its name of being a popular romantic location and picturesque beach wedding venue.

Scenic view of Lovers Key State Park

Billy McDonald /

Plunge into the calm waters or hop on a kayak or canoe to discover tranquil canals and lagoons nearby.

You’ll spot wildlife like West Indian manatees, dolphins, and marsh rabbits.

You might also spot shorebird species like osprey, bald eagles, roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, and American kestrel.

Hike or ride a bike on Black Island’s multi-use trails and meet warblers, woodpeckers, hawks, and owls in the area.

Then have a picnic at the pavilion and picnic areas.

Bring a date to Lovers Key State Park!

Boardwalk leading to Lovers Key State Park

SunflowerMomma /

Final Thoughts

Estero is where you can enjoy both fantastic nature locations and unique local attractions.

The village is near scenic beaches, keys, and picturesque state parks that offer an array of activities for the whole family.

You’ll have plenty to enjoy on your trip.

Book your trip today and try the best things to do in Estero!

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