The Florida Gulf Coast is a perfect spring getaway. From ice cream at Nokomis Grove, Atlanta Braves spring training baseball in North Port, the fountain of youth at Warm Mineral Springs, and beautiful sunsets at Sharky’s on the Pier, the Gulf Coast has it all.
Sadly, Nokomis Grove has permanently closed
Warm Mineral Springs
Some say this is the Fountain of Youth. Others come to soak in the warm mineral water that is believed to heal ailments. Warm, low oxygen water flows up to the surface, where it mixes with cooler water creating a spring around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Swimmers generally float on the surface and can typically only see about 8-10 feet down, but occasionally rainstorms will clear the water making visibility much deeper. The main cavern goes down around 200 feet.
Note: animal and human remains have been found at the bottom, and Paleo-Indians buried dead along the walls of the cavern.
Sharky's on the Pier
One of my favorite things about Florida are the beach bars. And Sharky’s on the Pier is one of the best on the gulf coast. In fact, Sharky’s has been named the best beach bar in all of Florida several times. Take a lunchbreak from the beach, grab dinner and drinks at sunset, or stay later for the live music. Their retail store also rents beach chairs, umbrellas, boogie boards, and more to help make it a great day at the beach. If you prefer air conditioning, they have plenty of indoor seating, or you can sit on the deck overlooking the beach and fishing pier. But of course, the tiki bar is the best spot if you just want cocktails. You can find Sharky’s menu here.
They have also expanded by opening Fins next door, which they label as a more “polished casual” where they serve sushi, seafood, and premium cuts of meat.
Tampa Bay Rays Spring Training: Charlotte Sports Park
Florida is the home of the MLB Grapefruit League spring training. Many teams are located on the gulf coast, including the local Tampa Bay Rays who play at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte. The baseball stadium is located less than an hour north of Fort Myers. The general admission tickets allow you to sit anywhere, but my favorite seats are at the outfield tiki bar.