15 Free Things to Do in Lehigh Acres, FL

15 Free Things to Do in Lehigh Acres, FL


Lehigh Acres is a sizable unincorporated community in Lee County, Florida.

It’s right next to the city of Fort Myers, which makes it a popular residential area for locals who want to be away from the hustle and bustle.

Because it’s primarily residential, there are not a lot of tourist hotspots here that will break the bank; most of its best areas are parks and nature preserves.

Still, if you’re visiting Lehigh Acres, you’d be surprised at the little secrets this community has, which are also free.

It’s also an excellent place for accommodation if you want to save up while enjoying quick access to the more touristy cities in Southwest Florida.

Here are free things to do in Lehigh Acres, Florida:

See Southwest Florida Wildlife at Harns Marsh

An egret at Harns Marsh
jo Crebbin / Shutterstock.com

Harns Marsh is one of the best tourist destinations near Lehigh Acres, boasting around 140 species of wildlife.

Located in Fort Myers, Florida, Harns Marsh was a former farmland that became home to all sorts of wildlife after being converted into a stormwater facility in the 1980s.

Some wildlife you can spot here includes the world-famous Florida alligators and herons, swamphens, sandhill cranes, egrets, and limpkins.

You can get some fishing done in Harns Marsh as well.

Just avoid the alligators!

Harns Marsh is not a park, so there won’t be any amenities or facilities here.

The lack of conveniences could be a bonus for wildlife enthusiasts looking for rugged outdoor exploration.

You can find the marsh nine minutes from Lehigh Acres.

Take a Swim at Lehigh Acres Park

Lehigh Acres Park is one of the most recognizable attractions in the community, located along 5th Street in the heart of Lehigh Acres.

Thanks to its sprawling outdoor amenities, there’s a lot to do at Lehigh Acres Park, like tennis, baseball, and football.

However, perhaps the best-known amenity here is their community pool, a great way to cool down amid the Florida heat.

The pool is on the large side, making it an excellent place for adults to get some laps done, even if it’s pretty busy.

Besides the pool, there’s also a playground, which is excellent for younger children.

As the embodiment of the peacefulness of Lehigh Acres, this community park is a great place to relax and get some exercise out of the way.

Trek along Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park

While they both sound similar, Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park should not be confused with Lehigh Acres Park.

Unlike the former, which was designed to be a community park, Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park is meant to immerse you in flora and fauna of the area.

Various plants, flowers, and small animals, like birds and mammals, live along this park’s nature trail.

Throughout your loop, there are several information boards that you can read which comprehensively discuss local flora and fauna.

Besides wildlife watching, you can bring your dog here and do picnics as they have pavilions and a playground.

Lehigh Acres Trailhead Park is along David Avenue, west of Lehigh Acres Park.

Drive along Homestead Road

Homestead Road is one of Lehigh Acres’s main thoroughfares, and the area that connects to Ashlar Avenue is a place you might want to check out.

This portion of Homestead Road is one of the busier urban districts of Lehigh Acres, home to various shops, restaurants, and all sorts of establishments essential to your trip.

Whether you want to find a good meal or explore the community’s urban district, Homestead Road has a lot in store for you.

Some notable places in this area are Bealls Outlet, Vision Ace Hardware, Publix Supermarket, and Lehigh Flea Market.

Local restaurants are also within walking distance, so explore this district in Lehigh Acres.

Play Sports at Veterans Park

A little to the south of Homestead Road corner Ashlar Avenue lies perhaps the most visited attraction in Lehigh Acres: Veterans Park.

Like Lehigh Acres Park, Veterans Park is another community park, this time taking its game to a different level.

There are many unique things to do here, most prominently rock climbing and skateboarding.

It has a rock-climbing wall and a mini skate park.

Veterans Park also has a dog park, which is an excellent addition if you want to unleash your pet for a couple of hours.

Besides, Veterans Park has many sporting amenities, such as tennis and basketball courts, soccer fields, and a splash pad for kids.

The Actual Barefoot Lake is one of the most underrated spots in Lee County and a hidden gem in the southern area of Lehigh Acres.

Found along Meadow Road, The Actual Barefoot Lake is a scenic and tranquil spot where you can enjoy a mini lake that captures Lehigh Acres’s simplicity.

While you can read a book and enjoy some quiet time, the lake is also home to a good number of fish, making it an ideal place to cast your line.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can swim at the Actual Barefoot Lake or go boating if you have a personal kayak or canoe.

As one of the best places to relax and appreciate a slow day, the Actual Barefoot Lake is a fantastic addition to your itinerary.

See the Able Canal

The Able Canal is perhaps the most prominent body of water in Lehigh Acres, stretching for several mines throughout the community.

In 2022, the Lee County government has begun working on a walking trail to let tourists and locals cross the Able Canal from Lehigh Acres Park to Harns Marsh.

However, you won’t have to wait for this walkway to finish to view this long and beautiful canal.

Many spots in Lehigh Acres give you sweeping views of Able Canal, but you can view it best along the Lee Boulevard corner of Williams Avenue.

While seeing Able Canal is free, you can accentuate the experience by checking out some of the restaurants and cafes in the area.

There’s a lot of varied plant life surrounding the preserve, so it’s an ideal habitat for all sorts of small animals.

While fishing and paddling are encouraged, the Frank Mann Preserve does not allow camping, so better take a day trip.

Go Fishing at Frank Mann Preserve

Located along Joel Boulevard by the northeastern corner of Lehigh Acres, Frank Mann Preserve is a rustic spot to do some fishing or a bit of nature exploration.

The preserve is stunning, especially on a clear day, boasting clear waters that glisten under the intense Florida sunlight.

Likewise, the preserve is open from dawn to dusk.

There are three primary things that Frank Mann Preserve offers: wildlife viewing, paddling, and fishing.

Spend the day outdoors at this preserve!

Spot the Alligators at Charlie R. Mathney Park

Located on Joel Boulevard corner East 6th Street, Charlie R. Mathney Park is an excellent alternative to Harns Marsh.

You can try spotting alligators there without doing a rugged outdoor excursion.

The park features a small pond that connects to the George Canal, another body of water that runs across Lehigh Acres.

Because of this, several migratory birds make their way to Charlie R. Mathney Park, along with alligators.

It’s important to note that your chances of spotting one here are much slimmer than at Harns Marsh.

That might be good news for some visitors who want to picnic and take a breather, as this park is also great for those activities.

Wander Jim Fleming Ecological Park

Jim Fleming Ecological Park is another public park with a nice boardwalk where you can appreciate the small ponds.

Like the other nature spots in Lehigh Acres, Jim Fleming Ecological Park is known for its varied flora that thrives because of Florida’s temperate climate.

The boardwalk is a delight to walk across; it is an excellent spot for nature photography if you find the right angles.

Jim Fleming Ecological Park is one of the more secluded parks in the area.

It draws only a few visitors, so this is an excellent place to spend some alone time.

The park is conveniently located within the urban district of Lehigh Acres, along Lee Boulevard.

Other Free Things to Do Nearby

See the Manatees at Manatee Park

Manatee sculpture at Manatee Park
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Manatee Park is one of the most-visited attractions in Lee County.

It’s a public park that gives you access to the Orange River, home to herds of manatees.

The park is near a power plant that warms the Orange River, attracting manatees to its waters during cold seasons.

Swimming manatees at Manatee Park
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Besides seeing the manatees, you can explore its walking trails with various fun installations.

These installations contain ecological information about manatees, alligators, and other local flora and fauna.

You can find Manatee Park in Fort Myers, Florida, 23 minutes from Lehigh Acres.

Manatees at Manatee Park
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

View the Caloosahatchee Wildlife National Refuge

Across Manatee Park lies the Caloosahatchee Wildlife National Refuge, an eye-popping natural preserve in North Fort Myers, Florida, 15 minutes from Lehigh Acres.

This wildlife refuge is a small island-like mangrove forest in the middle of the Caloosahatchee River, another great body of water connecting to the Orange River.

While you can’t enter the area as it’s a wildlife sanctuary, you can drive along the long and winding Interstate 75 across the Orange River to see the expanse for free.

It’s a simple activity popular among tourists, as the views of the river and the mangrove island are a sight to behold.

If you plan to get a closer look, you can find public areas along the Caloosahatchee River where you can spot marine wildlife like dolphins and iguanas.

Check out the Caloosahatchee Wildlife National Refuge!

Tour the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

The waters of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
Jim Schwabel / Shutterstock.com

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is a 23-minute car ride from Lehigh Acres to Fort Myers City.

As a free-to-enter public preserve managed by Lee County Parks and Recreation, Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is one of the most beautiful attractions in Southwest Florida.

It’s well-known for its extensive boardwalk that lets you traverse the area’s wetlands, home to various wildlife such as alligators and birds.

Alligator at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
Amanda Feltz / Shutterstock.com

You can find some of the most majestic local trees in this place, most of which you can spot up close thanks to its boardwalk.

Thanks to the wildlife you can encounter up close, this preserve is a must-visit for wildlife photographers.

Birds at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
Thomas Reville / Shutterstock.com

Buckingham Community Park is only a 17-minute drive from Lehigh Acres to the neighboring community of Fort Myers.

It’s a great park known for its soccer and baseball fields.

This park hosts plenty of baseball games, so if you’re lucky, you can sit back and watch a game.

Besides that, the park is a relaxing way to walk with your dog.

The Buckingham Community Park also has various walking trails, including playground facilities for smaller children.

Cool Down at Edison Mall

Exterior of Edison Mall
qwesy qwesy, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Lehigh Acres doesn’t have a large shopping center.

However, Edison Mall at Fort Myers may be a great addition to your travel plans; it’s only 26 minutes from Lehigh Acres.

This is a large mall in Fort Myers that dates back to 1965.

Edison Mall has many classic American retail shops like Macy’s, JCPenney, and Dillards.

The aesthetic and overall vibe of Edison Mall is lively but relaxing at the same time, capturing that Florida summer feeling.

Beyond its sprawling retail stores, they have an excellent food court if you’re looking for a quick but delicious meal.

The fully enclosed indoor Edison Mall is a great way to check out one of the oldest shopping centers in Southwest Florida for free.

Final Thoughts

While Lehigh Acres isn’t necessarily a tourist hotspot, it makes up for it with its various public parks and nature preserves that you can all explore for free.

There’s a lot to do in Lee County.

You can begin your adventure budget-friendly with this list of free things to do in Lehigh Acres, Florida.

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