Alva mostly still looks the way Southwest Florida did before tourism bloomed. Life is slower out there and many residents have horses and other livestock and Spanish moss hangs heavily from the old trees. It is the oldest settlement in Lee County and has the oldest church in the county, built in 1926. The town also had the first library in Southwest Florida, which today serves as the Alva Historical Museum.
Alva was founded in 1887 and located along the Caloosahatchee River on State Road 80 about 11 miles west of LaBelle. It was named by the first settler, Captain Peter Nelson, after a flower that grows in his native Denmark.
The Caloosahatchee Regional Park offers visitors a different side of Southwest Florida, with amenities that include kayaking, bird watching, scenic hiking, mountain biking, horse riding trails, picnic pavilions and tent campsites. The park, parts of which border the Calooshatchee River, is open 12 months a year from 8 a.m. to sunset. It provides habitat for several protected species. Annual events include a Trail Run, Adventure Triathlon and a Bluegrass Festival. The park is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.