Looking for the best fun things to do in Englewood FL – we have you covered!
Hidden along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico is a little oasis called Englewood, FL. Located about ½ way between Tampa and Fort Myers, Englewood is easy to find and even harder to leave. We should know – we first visited friends here in 2017 and by 2020 we had moved here full-time. We love that Englewood doesn’t get the crowds of the major tourist cities but still has many of the same amenities.
Located on Lemon Bay and split between Charlotte and Sarasota Counties, Englewood has around 15,000 full-time residents. Flights to the area can be found via the nearby Sarasota-Bradenton airport, as well as from the major international airports in Tampa and Fort Myers.
Englewood boasts a number of great, locally owned shops for food and drinks, and very few national chains are found in the area. Since Florida is the Sunshine State, there are nearly unlimited options for outdoor activities.
Keep reading for the best attractions directly in Englewood and also the best things to do near Englewood.
30 Best Things to do in Englewood Florida
Food, Drink & Shopping
Drinks at Snooks Bayside & Tiki Bar
Tucked into a little corner of town and right on Lemon Bay, Snooks has a classic old Florida vibe. This spot is most popular on weekend nights when they have live music, but it’s also a popular place for boaters to tie up, take a break, and have some lunch.
The marina where Snook’s is located also has rental boats available for ½ day or longer if you’d like to get out on the water.
Organic Tapas at Vino Loco
Located right in the heart of downtown Englewood, Vino Loco is a great place to enjoy organic, natural cuisine often sourced from local producers.
Wine is available by the glass or by the bottle for you to enjoy with your meal. They even have a retail wine shop attached to the restaurant so you can take home a bottle of your new favorite varietal. Vino Loco is open for lunch during the week and brunch on the weekends, along with their dinner service.
Bloody Marys at Blue Pineapple Bistro
Just down Dearborn Street from Vino Loco is the Blue Pineapple Bistro. Open only for breakfast and lunch, the menu has typical American favorites infused with flavors of the Gulf. Possibly the most impressive items on the menu are the Bloody Marys, which can be a meal unto themselves.
Along with the usual accompaniments like celery, olives, and pickles, these also include your choice of cheeseburger sliders, grilled cheese, various fried foods, & antipasto. If you order one of these colossal drinks, be prepared to have strangers come over and ask if they can take a picture!
Lattes at Culture Coffee
There are a few coffee shops in Englewood, and one of the town’s favorites is Culture Coffee.
This cute little shop is right in the heart of downtown and has both indoor and outdoor seating. If you’re not into tea or coffee, Culture also offers several flavors of ice cream and other specialty drinks. Often, local musicians will set up on the outdoor patio and play.
Shop the weekly Olde Englewood Village Farmers Market
Every Thursday during the Winter season there is a Farmer’s Market held right on Dearborn Street in downtown Englewood. Dozens of local vendors are present each week selling a variety of foods as well as non-edible items.
There are booths offering seafood, meats, cheeses, bread, pickles, and much more. Not to mention a variety of ready to eat items from food trucks and carts if you need lunch while you browse. Local artisan and craftsmen offer everything from garden décor to handmade candles. Several musicians can be heard playing and singing throughout the market to keep shoppers entertained. One of the best things to do around Englewood.
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The Grouper Reuben at The Lighthouse Grill
Located right on the Bay and with tables that overlook the water, The Lighthouse Grill at Stump Pass is a great location to enjoy a meal while watching the sunset.
Grouper is a fish local to the Gulf of Mexico and is a very popular menu item all over Southwest Florida. One of the best and most unique ways to eat it is on the Grouper Reuben sandwich. Instead of the typical corned beef, a piece of fried grouper is paired with sauerkraut, Russian dressing and swiss cheese. Other popular menu items include the peel and eat Gulf shrimp (available hot or cold) and of course the key lime pie!
Waterfront Mimosas at Magnolias on the Bay
New to Englewood in 2022, this waterfront restaurant can be found on Manasota Key just blocks from Englewood Beach. With a self-described cozy, coffee shop vibe by day and intimate fine dining in the evenings, Magnolias has something for just about everyone.
Offering beer and wine choices as well as a full bar, there are a plethora of fun drink options to go along with your bayside meal. Magnolias also sell items like chicken salad by the quart, so it can be easily taken over to the beach and enjoyed later.
Ride the Ferry to Rum Bay Restaurant
Attached to a resort on Palm Island is the Rum Bay Restaurant. The semi-exclusive island is only accessible by a ferry boat or water taxi.
Vehicles can be ferried over if needed, or golf carts are available to rent from the island marina. The extensive menu ranges from burgers and ribs to island inspired dishes like shrimp and pineapple fajitas. Book a stay overnight at the resort, or just go over for a day trip to explore the island.
Fun & Games
Night Golf at the Cove of Rotunda
If you’re a golfer, there are quite a few courses to choose from in the Englewood area. You can have a fun and reasonably priced round at almost any of them.
But for something unique, try playing a round of night golf at the Cove of Rotunda Golf Center. Offered between 6pm-10pm in the months from November to April, the Cove lights up the back nine for a completely different golfing experience.
Cycling the city from Bikes and Boards
Sure it’s possible to drive everywhere you want to go in Englewood, but if you want to really see the town you could rent bicycles from Bikes and Boards.
From touring Dearborn Street’s shops and restaurants to riding from beach to beach on Manasota Key, there are lots of options for scenic rides in Englewood. A short drive from Englewood is the Cape Haze Pioneer Trail, a converted railroad trail that travels through the scrub and allows for nearly 10 miles of easy, off-road riding.
Underwater views from Glass Bottom Rentals
If you’ve ever wanted to have a window into the waters that surround Southwest Florida, then Glass Bottom Rentals has your solution. They offer kayaks made of see-through materials that allow you to view the underwater sea-life as you paddle around the bay.
Florida Manatees, dolphins and turtles are all common sights for those who strike out on their own or who choose a guided tour.
Play Pickleball at the Englewood Sports Complex
Pickleball is quickly becoming one of the most popular sports in Southwest Florida. Pickleball is similar to tennis and played on a slightly smaller court. It has aspects of both badminton and table tennis.
Tournaments are held throughout the year, like the Cupid Classic held each February at the Englewood Sports Complex. The Sports Complex is just outside of town and has multiple courts in addition to softball and soccer fields. There is a recreation center on site in case of inclement weather.
Fly high with Parasail Englewood
If you really want to see Englewood, why not view it from above? Parasail Englewood gives customers the chance to cruise the shoreline at a height of 500 feet while safely harnessed to a speed boat.
“Flights” last around 10 minutes but the memories made that day will last for a lifetime. Waterproof cameras are permitted on the ride for taking your own pictures, or the company sells a photo package if you’d prefer to leave the photography to the pros.
Deep Sea Fishing with Manasota Key Outfitters
The Gulf of Mexico is teeming with wildlife and there is no shortage of captains who would love to take your group out for a day of fishing. One of the highest rated in the Englewood area is Manasota Key Outfitters.
Grouper, snapper, snook and tarpon are all catchable during their appropriate seasons. Trips can vary greatly in length and cost, depending on the season and which types of fish you are after. When you return to the dock, the crew will fillet and package your catch so it is easy to take it with you to share with your friends.
Play on Lemon Bay with rentals from Beach Road Watersports
Just before the drawbridge that goes from Englewood over to Manasota Key you’ll find Beach Road Watersports. They have a wide array of watercraft for rent, both with motors and without.
Pontoon boats, kayaks, paddleboards and wave runners are all available options, so choose your craft and pick a day to play on the Bay. Beach Road Watersports also offers dolphin watching tours and sunset cruises if you prefer to let them do the driving.
Daily Beach Yoga from Loving Light Yoga
Each morning on Englewood Beach, a small crowd of dedicated yogis gather together to welcome the day. Loving Light Yoga puts on this class every day of the year, including holidays!
The best part is the price – they only ask for a donation from those who participate to help cover the cost of their fees and equipment. In addition to the morning yoga group, Loving Light often holds special evening classes during full moons. All are welcome to attend the classes, with or without making a donation.
Go for a Swim at Ann and Chuck Dever Regional Park
With over 50 acres for active use, the Ann and Chuck Dever Regional Park has something to offer almost everyone. The huge outdoor swimming pool with diving board is a great place for kids to play and is even heated if it’s a little cool outside.
Besides the pool, the park has extensive walking/hiking trails, a community garden, and a multi-purpose gymnasium. Parking is free, but there is a daily drop-in fee for non-members.
Best Beaches near Englewood
Englewood Beach is the closest beach to downtown. This is also the busiest of the three beaches on Manasota Key. Parking here is not free but is quite inexpensive compared to many other places.
Public restrooms are available and plenty of outdoor showers are located right by the parking lots so one can wash off sand before getting in the car. When supplies run low and your group gets hungry or thirsty, there are several restaurants and bars located right across the road from the beach. Bring your own beach chairs and umbrellas, or they can be rented from The Beach Guy who has a stand near the main pavilion.
Blind Pass Beach
Approximately 3 miles straight up the road from Englewood Beach is Blind Pass Beach. This is the least popular beach on the key, and also has the fewest facilities. Public restrooms are available. Parking here is free, and the parking lot is quite extensive.
Near the road you’ll find the Duisburg trail, a short easy walking trail that offers an alternative for those who want something other than just sand and sun. A kayak launch can be found on the Bay side of the parking lot, and manatees are often found in the protected warm Bay waters.
There are no restaurants or other businesses nearby so be sure to pack the car with supplies to last all day.
Manasota Key Beach
This is the northernmost beach on Manasota Key and is very popular for shark tooth hunters. They even have thousands of sharks’ teeth embedded in the concrete sidewalk leading to the main building that houses the public restrooms.
Parking at Manasota Key Beach is free, and there is often quite a bit of competition for open spots during the peak season. You’ll want to pack and bring your own food and drinks here as well, as there are no restaurants or businesses nearby.
Boca Grande Beaches
Just a short drive from Englewood is the causeway bridge that leads to Boca Grande Island. The 6 mile long island is an upscale vacation area, with plenty of options for fine food and drink.
There is a fee per vehicle to cross the bridge (even bicycle riders are required to pay a small fee), but the views as you cross the water themselves are worth the price of admission. Once over the bridge, there are several public parking areas where you can access the beaches.
One of the beaches is even dog friendly – which is a rare thing to find in the area. Make sure you visit the Gasparilla Lighthouse for a great photo opportunity, especially if you happen to still be in the area around sunset.
Outdoors & Nature
Seagrass Wading Trip at Cedar Point Park
This free guided tour takes participants out wading into the seagrass beds of Lemon Bay. A naturalist instructs and demonstrates how to use a small net to capture (and eventually release) a variety of small organisms that live within the beds.
The animals that can be found range from shrimp and crabs to small fish and even seahorses! Closed toe shoes and a sense of adventure are required, but everything else is provided by the guide.
Dive for Sharks’ Teeth with Aquanutz Dive Charters
Collectors from all over come to Southwest Florida to hunt for seashells and sharks’ teeth. While plenty of them can be found on the beaches, the best specimens are found by divers.
Even prehistoric megalodon teeth have been found in local waters. Divers must be certified, but no other permits are required. Dives often fill up months in advance, so it is advisable to call and reserve your space ASAP.
Watch the Sun Set at Bay Heights Park
Southwest Florida sees some of the most amazing sunsets anywhere. One of the best places we like to watch the sun go down is Bay Heights Park.
This quiet little park has public restrooms, plenty of parking, and even a public boat/kayak launch. Sit at one of the picnic tables or on the seawall and watch the sun disappear into the Bay. After the sun sets, journey over to one of the nearby restaurants for dinner or dessert to cap off the day.
One of the best things to do at night in Englewood.
Hike the trails at Oyster Creek Environmental Park
With over 2 miles of interconnected trials, Oyster Creek Environmental Park is a quiet and scenic place to hike. Park users have the chance to see mangroves, slash pines and other plants native to Southwest Florida.
Gopher tortoises and alligators are native to the area, and the odds are good that you’ll see one or both of them during a visit. The park’s trails connect to neighboring parks and neighborhoods, giving options for longer hikes if desired. Bikes and pets are also allowed on the trails, and the shade from the pines gives a break from the intense southern sun.
Birdwatching at Lemon Bay Park
Even if you’re not a budding amateur ornithologist, the variety of birds that can be seen all around Englewood can be quite impressive.
A great place to see many birds in their natural habitat is at Lemon Bay Park and Environmental Center. Bald eagles, pelicans, osprey, herons, owls and more all call the area their home. The extensive network of nature paths and boardwalks around the park give visitors the opportunity to see dolphins and manatees playing in the Bay as well. The park is completely dog friendly, but no bikes are allowed on the trails.
Tour the Englewood History Museum
For a unique view into Englewood’s past, visit the history museum inside the Lampp House. The house itself was built by one of the area’s founding families and holds cases of historical items from the town’s past.
Volunteer docents are present to explain the significance of the various artifacts and tell stories about Olde Englewood. Narrated golf cart tours to historical areas around town are offered twice weekly during the tourist season for a fee.
See YouTube’s Danny Duncan
Internet celebrity Danny Duncan has his home base right in downtown Englewood and is often seen filming videos around town. Danny became YouTube famous by posting prank videos and has millions of subscribers.
His office on Dearborn Street features a faux ice cream cart where fans can purchase his uniquely branded merchandise. In addition to his online presence, Danny is known around town for his philanthropic efforts to preserve historic Englewood and assist local families with financial difficulties.
Take in a concert at Englewood’s on Dearborn
Besides being a great spot for dinner, Englewood’s on Dearborn has weekly concerts featuring live blues bands.
The outdoor concert venue behind the restaurant is a fun spot to listen to some great music and enjoy the beautiful evening temperatures. If a spot isn’t available outback, the music can easily be heard from the seats on their front patio as well.
See also: Things to do in Port Charlotte
Classic cars at the Cruise-in on Dearborn
On the first Saturday of every month, car enthusiasts from all over gather on Englewood’s Dearborn Street. Over 100 antique and modern automobiles are present each week so owners can show off their rides. The variety of cars is nearly endless, from classic Studebakers to amped-up Maseratis. The Cruise-in is quite a social event, and onlookers pack the streets to see the cars and talk with the owners. Admission to the event is free.
As you can see, there is a wide range of options for fun in and around Englewood, Florida! I hope you find something on this list that fits your mood. Englewood is a great little town, and if you come for a visit then the chances are you’ll find yourself being drawn back to this area time and time again.