The tiny community of Matlacha may be small in size but it’s definitely larger than life when it comes to character. Found just off Cape Coral, the unincorporated village is known for its friendly vibe and for exuding a generous amount of appeal.
With only about 750 residents, three bridges lead to Matlacha, though until about 90 years ago the only way to get there was by water. Visitors to this old fishing village are in for a real treat, though, as the island community is home to a unique collection of boutiques, galleries, restaurants and more.
You’ll find an eclectic mix of shops in this brightly hued village, selling everything from handcrafted pottery and jewelry to sculptures and paintings. Though the community is small it’s not difficult to find a great place to eat either, with most options including fresh fish and seafood along with some live music sometimes on the menu. One of the most popular is Bert’s Bar and Grill, a place that dishes up waterside dining with a friendly atmosphere.
As well there’s also the Museum of the Islands, a place to explore the history of Matlacha plus nearby Pine and Little Pine islands. For a unique stay, try out the Bridgewater Inn, a fanciful location with a wraparound porch, ideal for spotting dolphins and manatees. Other options include rental cottages that back up to the Matlacha Pass Aquatic Preserve.
If you want to get out on the water you can always grab a rental and canoe or kayak around the Great Calusa Blueway trail. You’ll also find boat tours with transport to nearby beaches.
While you won’t find the typical chain restaurants and retailers in Matlacha you will find a quaint location that’s overflowing with Old Florida appeal. From fishing to paddling, fresh fish to eclectic shops, you’ll find it all when you explore the whimsical selections of Matlacha.