Matlacha, Florida

Matlacha is a small census-designated place located in the northwestern portion of Lee County on the Gulf Coast of Florida, United States. Pronounced as “Mat-La-Shay,” the name Matlacha means “Big Warrior” in Seminole. This “Old Florida” fishing village forms a part of the “Cape Coral-Fort Myers, Florida Metropolitan Statistical Area.” Matlacha is home to several traditional Floridian cottages, island boutiques, seafood restaurants, and colorful art galleries. 

Geography And Climate Of Matlacha

Aerial view of Matlacha, Florida
An aerial view of the historic Florida town Matlacha. 

Matlacha covers a total area of 1.78 sq. km, of which 1.26 sq. km is occupied by water, and 0.52 sq. km is occupied by land. Matlacha is situated at a narrow point in Matlacha Pass on the West Island and Porpoise Point Island. The Matlacha Pass is a tidal waterway that separates the large Pine Island and the Little Pine Island from the mainland. Across the Matlacha Pass, the census-designated place of Matlacha Isles-Matlacha Shores borders Matlacha in the northeast. The Southwest Pine Island Road crosses the Matlacha Pass and leads about 5km in the southwest direction to the Pine Island Center and about 19km in the northeastern direction through the city of Cape Coral into North Fort Myers

July is the warmest month in Matlacha, having an average high temperature of 33.27°C, while January is the coolest month having an average low temperature of 11.1°C. With 266 sunny days per year, Matlacha receives an average of 53 inches of annual rainfall.   

The Population And Economy Of Matlacha

A small seafood market in Matlacha, Florida
A small seafood market in Matlacha, Florida. Editorial credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

As per the latest census, Matlacha is home to 537 inhabitants with a median age of 65.8. The population has decreased from the previous census, which showed Matlacha was home to 735 residents. The largest ethnic groups in Matlacha include the Non-Hispanic White, representing 93.9% of Matlacha’s population, followed by the Hispanic White at 3.72%, Asians at 1.3%, and two and more races at 1.12%. 

The median household income in Matlacha as of 2019 is $48,750, while the median property value is $287,000. The economy of Matlacha employs about 201 people in various large industries like Finance & Insurance, Health Care & Social Assistance, and Professional, Scientific & Technical Services. 

Tourist Attractions In And Around Matlacha

Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens

Leoma Lovegrove Art Gallery & Gardens in Matlacha, Florida
Leoma Lovegrove Art Gallery & Gardens in Matlacha, Florida. Editorial credit: Felix Mizioznikov / Shutterstock.com

Situated at the heart of Matlacha Island, Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens is one of the most colorful and popular destinations in Southwest Florida. Owned by renowned artist Leoma Lovegrove, the Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens serves as her international headquarters and showcases her original art. The botanical garden features many plants indigenous to Florida and Matlacha Island and provides views of the calm waters of the Matlacha Pass. 

WildChild Art Gallery

Established in 2000 by renowned artist Peggy McTeague, WildChild Art Gallery is a contemporary art gallery located in a historic fishing cottage at the heart of Matlacha, Florida. In WildChild Art Gallery, people get to view the creations of a diverse group of artists and get to experience art in all its forms. For more than ten years in a row, the WildChild Art gallery has been voted as one of the best art galleries in Pine Island and Matlacha. 

The Museum of Islands (MOTI)

The Museum of Islands is a small museum located in the unincorporated community of Pine Island Center. Housed in a former library building, the museum displays several fishing artifacts besides household items, antique pioneer tools, shells, etc., that tell the visitors stories about the history of Pine Island. 

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