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Deliciously Southwest Florida: Recipes to Enjoy on Vacation

Are you dreaming of a sunny escape without leaving the comfort of your Airbnb? Look no further than Southwest Florida! Staying at an Airbnb offers the cozy, home-like environment you love, with the flexibility to choose unique and charming accommodations. Enjoy personalized spaces, local insights from your host, and often more privacy and amenities than traditional hotels.

Whether you're a local seeking a weekend retreat or a traveler yearning for a taste of paradise, Southwest Florida provides the perfect setting for a rejuvenating staycation.

Don't miss out on how we keep it casual while on vacation! From mouthwatering recipes to exhilarating activities, this guide, curated with a laid-back vibe, is your ticket to an unforgettable staycation experience.

Keep reading for all the details!

1. Indulge in Tropical Delights

Craving a culinary adventure in your kitchen? Try these delectable recipes inspired by Southwest Florida's vibrant flavors:

Sun-Kissed Key Lime Pie

No visit to Florida is complete without savoring a slice of Key Lime Pie. Tangy, sweet, and refreshing, this iconic dessert captures the essence of the Sunshine State.

Prep Time: 14 minutes

Refrigeration time: 3 hours

Total Time: 3 hours 14 minutes

Servings : 8


  • 16 ounces cream cheese (I used 2 8 ounce blocks, softened at room temperature)

  • 14 ounces sweetened condensed milk (1 can)

  • 1/3 cup lime juice (2 large limes was enough for me, but get some extras just in case)

  • zest of 1 lime divided (leave 1/3 for garnish)

  • graham cracker crust (10-inch, store bought)


  1. Add softened cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice and 2/3 of the lime zest to a  large mixing bowl, and beat on high until smooth and creamy (about 4 minutes).

  2. Transfer to a graham cracker crust.

  3. Sprinkle reserved lime zest in top, and refrigerate until filling is set, about 3 to 4 hours.

  4. Serve chilled, and garnish with extra lime slices, if desired.


Island Breeze Chili Lime Shrimp

Transport yourself to a tropical paradise with crispy and succulent Chili- Lime Shrimp. Perfect for a laid-back evening or a beach-themed dinner party.



  • 1 pound shrimp peeled and deveined

  • ¼ cup lime juice plus zest of one lime

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 cloves garlic cloves pressed

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon cumin

  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt

  • ¼ cup freshly chopped cilantro for serving

  • 1 lime cut into wedges, for serving


  • In a large bowl, whisk together the lime juice, lime zest, olive oil, garlic, chili powder, cumin, and salt. Add the uncooked shrimp to the marinade, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

  • Add shrimp to a large heated pan over medium heat, and cook until pink and opaque.

  • Or, for an extra touch of summer flair, place shrimp on skewers and grill until perfectly charred and flavorful.

  • Remove from heat and stir in cilantro. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

To complement chili lime shrimp and maintain a tropical vibe, here are a few recipes you can serve alongside:

Mango Avocado Salsa


  • 1 ripe mango, diced

  • 1 avocado, diced

  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped

  • 1 jalapeño, finely chopped (optional)

  • Juice of 1 lime

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the mango, avocado, red onion, and jalapeño.

  2. Drizzle with lime juice and toss gently to combine.

  3. Add cilantro, salt, and pepper, mixing well.

  4. Serve immediately or chill for 30 minutes for flavors to meld.


Coconut Rice


  • 1 cup jasmine rice

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Rinse the rice under cold water until the water runs clear.

  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the coconut milk, water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil.

  3. Add the rice, stir, reduce the heat to low, and cover.

  4. Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid is absorbed.

  5. Fluff with a fork before serving.


Grilled Pineapple


  • 1 pineapple, peeled, cored, and sliced into rings

  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon melted butter

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat.

  2. In a small bowl, mix the brown sugar, melted butter, and cinnamon.

  3. Brush the pineapple slices with the mixture on both sides.

  4. Grill the pineapple for 2-3 minutes per side, or until grill marks appear and the pineapple is caramelized.

  5. Serve warm.

Here are two drink recipes for you: a refreshing tropical non-alcoholic drink and a simple alcoholic one.

Tropical Non-Alcoholic Drink: Pineapple Coconut Cooler


  • 1 cup pineapple juice

  • 1/2 cup coconut water

  • 1/4 cup orange juice

  • 1 tablespoon lime juice

  • Ice cubes

  • Pineapple slices and mint leaves for garnish


  1. In a large pitcher, combine the pineapple juice, coconut water, orange juice, and lime juice.

  2. Stir well until all the ingredients are mixed.

  3. Fill glasses with ice cubes.

  4. Pour the mixture over the ice.

  5. Garnish with pineapple slices and mint leaves.

  6. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Mango Margarita


  • 2 ounces tequila

  • 1 ounce lime juice (freshly squeezed)

  • 1 ounce triple sec (such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier)

  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen mango chunks

  • 1 teaspoon agave syrup or simple syrup (optional, for added sweetness)

  • Salt or Tajín for rimming the glass (optional)

  • Lime wedge and mango slice for garnish

  • Ice cubes


  1. If you prefer a salted rim, rub the lime wedge around the rim of a glass. Dip the rim into a small plate of salt or Tajín to coat it.

  2. In a blender, combine the mango chunks, tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and agave syrup or simple syrup if using.

  3. Blend until smooth.

  4. Fill the prepared glass with ice cubes.

  5. Pour the mango mixture over the ice.

  6. Garnish with a lime wedge and a mango slice.

  7. Serve and enjoy!


2. Embrace Outdoor Adventures

Ready to explore the natural beauty of Southwest Florida? Dive into these exciting activities that will elevate your staycation experience:

Paddle your way through the tranquil waters of the mangrove forests. Encounter native wildlife, including dolphins and manatees, as you immerse yourself in the region's breathtaking biodiversity.

Pack a picnic basket and head to the beach for a mesmerizing sunset. Let the soothing sound of the waves and the warm ocean breeze create the perfect ambiance for a romantic evening.

Beach Sunset Picnic Basket with Local Delicacies

  1. Local Cheeses and Charcuterie: A selection of local cheeses, cured meats, and crackers. Include some honey or local jams for added flavor.

  2. Fresh Seafood Salad: A light salad made with local seafood, such as shrimp, crab, or fish, mixed with fresh greens, avocado, and a citrus vinaigrette.

  3. Artisan Bread: A loaf of crusty, freshly baked artisan bread from a local bakery. Perfect for pairing with cheeses and spreads.

  4. Fruit Platter: A mix of locally sourced fruits like berries, apples, peaches, and grapes.

  5. Local Pastries: Include a variety of local pastries or desserts, such as fruit tarts, cookies, or hand pies.

  6. Farm-Fresh Veggies and Dip: Sliced local vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes with a homemade dip like hummus or ranch.

  7. Marinated Olives: A jar of marinated olives from a local deli or market, adding a touch of Mediterranean flavor.

  8. Cold Cuts Sandwiches: Sandwiches made with local cold cuts, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, and cheese, all on fresh rolls or baguettes.

  9. Seasonal Salad: A salad made with seasonal, local produce. For example, a mixed greens salad with strawberries, goat cheese, and candied pecans.

  10. Local Beverages: A selection of local drinks, such as craft beers, local wines, or refreshing iced tea made with local ingredients.

  11. Chilled Soup: A flask of chilled gazpacho or cucumber soup, made with local vegetables, perfect for a refreshing start.

  12. Local Cheese Tarts: Mini tarts made with local cheeses and herbs, easy to pack and delicious to eat.

  13. Homemade Scones: Freshly baked scones with local clotted cream and jam.

  14. Pickled Veggies: A jar of locally made pickled vegetables, adding a tangy and crunchy element to your picnic.

  15. Lemonade or Fruit Punch: Refreshing lemonade or a fruit punch made with local fruits, perfect for sipping as you watch the sunset.

This combination of local delicacies will support local businesses and provide a delightful and memorable culinary experience as you enjoy the sunset at the beach.

Unwinding in Southwest Florida has never been more enticing! Whether you're lounging by the pool with a refreshing Key Lime Pie or exploring the wonders of the region's natural landscapes, your staycation promises to be a memorable retreat. So pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and embark on a memorable staycation in Southwest Florida!

For more travel inspiration and tips, visit our Wandering Tourists blog. Don't forget to check out our Family Adventure Guide to Southwest Florida for additional insights!



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