By  Mike Miller  Updated February 22, 2023

Alva, Florida Things To Do, Lodging, Dining, & Real Estate At End Of Article

Alva is a quiet town on the Calooshatchee River.  It's about 11  miles east of I-75 on State Road 80 between Fort Myers and LaBelle

People who live in Alva say it is more than a place: it is a state of mind.

Vintage Postcard Bridge at AlvaVintage Postcard Bridge at Alva

Take Exit 141 and head east on State Road 80 toward LaBelle. After about 11 miles you will come to a little crossroads called Alva.

A convenience store on the north side of the highway is your landmark.

Bridge over the Okeechobee Waterway at Alva, FloridaBridge over the Okeechobee Waterway (Caloosahatchee River) at Alva, Florida

Turn left at the flashing light and cross the bridge over the Caloosahatchee River. Turn right on Pearl Street, and you are in the heart of Alva Florida.

History of Alva, Florida

A lot of people assume the town got it's name for a famous nearby winter resident: Thomas Alva Edison. This is not the case, however.

A sea captain from Denmark named Peter Nelson came up with the name. He bought a large tract of land and laid out the original village in the late 1800's.  He admired a small white flower that grew in the area.

It turned out our sea captain was also a botanist, and he recognized the flower as The Alva Flower, also known as sabatia brevifolia Rafinesque.

Captain Nelson named his little Florida town for the Alva Flower.

The Alva flowerThe Alva flower

The first bridge across the Caloosahatchee was built at Alva in 1903. It became quite a busy little town, with a couple of hotels and several houses.

Like many Florida towns of that era, it's life revolved around the river, small farms, and cultivation of citrus.

Poster of the Alva Packing CompanyPoster of the Alva Packing Company

I first noticed Alva while crossing Florida on the Okeechobee Waterway

A friend and I were moving my sailboat from Coconut Grove to Punta Gorda.  The Okeechobee Waterway connects the east and west coasts of Florida.

The Caloosahatchee River is the western part of this connection.

Rialto Harbour in Alva FloridaThe Former Rialto Harbor in Alva

An Alva Place That Used To Be

After a long day on the river, we passed under the Alva drawbridge toward the end of the afternoon. We spent the next couple of nights at Rialto Harbor, 2 miles west of the Alva Bridge.

It was more than a marina; it was an Old Florida experience.

The family who owned Rialto Harbor lived on the property.  In addition to a few boat slips, they had an Old Florida style cottage for rent.  The grounds were plush with many plants and animals including a horse.

They were friendly folks, and built a campfire each night for everybody to sit around and tell stories.

The guest cottage was beautiful and would be perfect for a couple or family who wants to spend a few days there in Old Florida.

Sadly, Rialto Harbor is no longer open for business, but the memories remain.

Alva United Methodist ChurchAlva United Methodist Church

There is no shopping district in Alva, but it does have a nice little church.   

You have to admire a Florida town whose museum is open only one day a week.

There is a nice boat launching area and parking lot just east of the church. This is a very busy place on winter weekends. 

This entire stretch of the Caloosahatchee River could use a few more boat launching locations.

The homes in Alva are simple and modest with the exception of a few large new houses on the river.

The biggest building in town is a nearby elementary school. There is a nice clean adult mobile home community called Oak Park Mobile Home Village at the end of Pearl Street.

The entire area around Alva enjoys large oak trees with lots of hanging moss. Alva doesn't quite fit in as one of the Florida ghost towns that are fun to visit. After all, people still live here.

But it certainly is quiet. I recommend Alva as a place to relax and watch the boats go by.

For a good place to camp or visit while visiting Alva, try this park:

  • Caloosahatchee Regional Park 19130 North River Road Alva, FL 33920 Phone: (239) 533-7275

This wonderful park is on the river and has an extensive network of nature trails and mountain biking trails.


Alva Library and Museum
21420 Pearl St, Alva, FL 33920 | (239) 822-4596

The Alva Museum, housed in the historic Alva Library, offers a glimpse into the rich history of this charming town. We enjoy the collection of artifacts and photographs that tell the story of Alva’s past, from its pioneer days to the present.

The museum is run by passionate local historians who are always eager to share stories and insights about the area’s heritage.

Alva Country Diner
21200 Palm Beach Blvd, Alva, FL 33920 | (239) 728-3366

Alva Country Diner is a favorite spot for locals and visitors alike, known for its hearty breakfasts and home-style meals. We love the friendly service and the cozy atmosphere that makes you feel right at home.

The diner’s menu features classic American dishes, and their homemade pies are a must-try. It’s a cash only restaurant and doesn’t accept reservations, so plan ahead.

Hickey Creek Wildlife and Environmental Area
17980 Palm Beach Blvd, Alva, FL 33920 | (239) 229-0522

Hickey's Creek Mitigation Park is an excellent place for nature lovers to explore Florida’s natural habitats. We enjoy hiking along the well-marked trails that offer beautiful views of Hickey's Creek and its surrounding areas.

The park is also a great spot for bird watching, with many species of birds making their home in this protected area. Restrooms are available.

Telegraph Creek Paddle Trail
Launch at Caloosahatchee Reg. Park, 19130 N River Rd, Alva, FL 33920 | (239) 533-7275

The Telegraph Creek Paddle Trail is an adventurous way to explore the waters of Alva. We love paddling through this peaceful creek, surrounded by lush vegetation and wildlife.

The trail is suitable for both beginners and experienced kayakers, offering a serene escape into nature.

Alva Scrub Preserve
2891 Goggin Rd, Alva, FL 33920 | (239) 533-7275

Alva Scrub Preserve is a hidden gem where visitors can enjoy the unspoiled beauty of Florida’s scrub habitat. We enjoy walking the trails and spotting the diverse wildlife, including gopher tortoises and various bird species including great-horned owls.

A Florida Panther has occasionally been sighted here. The preserve is particularly beautiful during the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom.

Alva Community Center & Park
21471 N River Rd, Alva, FL 33920 | (239) 533-7275

The Alva Community Center is the heart of the community, hosting events and activities that bring locals and visitors together. We enjoy attending the various community markets, arts and crafts shows, and holiday celebrations held here.

The center also offers a range of recreational facilities, including tennis courts and playgrounds. Leashed dogs are welcome.

River Hall Country Club
3500 River Hall Pkwy, Alva, FL 33920 | (239) 313-4653

River Hall Country Club offers a top-notch golfing experience with its beautifully designed course that challenges all levels of golfers.

Guests love the picturesque setting and the excellent facilities, including a pro shop and a comfortable clubhouse where you can relax after a round of golf.

W.P. Franklin North Campground
17850 N Franklin Lock Rd, Alva, FL 33920 | (239) 694-8770

W.P. Franklin North Campground is located along the Caloosahatchee River and is a wonderful place for camping and water activities.

We enjoy the waterfront sites that offer spectacular views and the chance to go boating or fishing right from your campsite. The campground is well-maintained with great amenities for campers.

The 29 RV sites and 8 boat sites are equipped with 50 amp electric and water hookups. A boat ramp, fishing pier and trailer dump station are conveniently onsite.

Alva Garden Club
21420 Pearl St, Alva, FL 33920 | (239) 728-3174

The Alva Garden Club is a lovely spot for those interested in gardening and horticulture. We enjoy the workshops and events that focus on gardening practices suitable for Florida’s climate. The club’s garden is a beautiful place to learn about native plants and how to care for them effectively.

Visitors appreciate the knowledge and passion of the club members. Their annual plant sale and strawberry shortcake sale is usually held in March at the nearby Methodist church.






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