We recently did a three night "staycation" in Matlacha, Pine Island. One of the many wonderful things about living in Cape Coral/SW Florida is there are so many different locales within a short driving distance that you don't have to go too far to experience a totally different vibe from your usual surroundings.
While in Matlacha we decided to venture over to St. James City which is at the southern end of Pine Island. St. James offers a completely different feel from Cape Coral. No stop lights, no highways but you will you'll find an abundance of lush mature tropical vegetation, and a general laid back, island atmosphere.
We stopped into Woody's Waterside (3051 Stringfellow Rd) for lunch and a drink and enjoyed ourselves so much we returned the next day. Both times we sat outside under the huge tiki hut which is right on the water. There was a cool island breeze blowing through the coconut palms that line the edge of the property. The views were beautiful and relaxing. Boaters were coming and going from the restaurant's docks. Some live music added to the ambiance and it was easy to imagine that we were sitting somewhere in the Caribbean!
If you haven't been to St. James City I recommend taking the ride out there and for sure stop in at Woody's for a cold one and a bite.