Located on Florida's Gulf Coast, Fort Myers offers its own great beaches as well as being surrounded by some 100 barrier and coastal islands to explore. The shelling is stupendous, and the nearby Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum is inspirational. The Great Calusa Blueway offers 40 miles of canoe and kayak trails.Before bridges connected Estero Island to the mainland, Fort Myers Beach, was a 7-mile stretch of coastline known for its shallow water, no undertow and little else. These days, the safe beaches remain, along with family-friendly resorts, charming Gulf-side seafood restaurants and nightlife that gets going just after yet another immaculate sunset. Where this island really shines is in the various recreation possibilities outdoor enthusiasts enjoy like Lovers Key State Park, where back bays and mangrove forests make for great kayaking and wildlife watching.
Bowditch Park is 17 acres that is located at the northern tip of Estero Island. It is actually a dual use facility in which approx. 7 acres are a developed park for passive recreational use and the remaining 10 acres a restoration/preserve area.
The gulf front is more active while still providing a relaxed atmosphere for walkers, swimmers and sunbathers. Walking trails, through the preserve area, carry you through varied environments and offers an excellent opportunity for bird watching while being highlighted by panoramic views of Estero Bay.
The park area also features tables and grills, available on a first come first served basis, in a shaded tropical setting sure to please any picnicker. A concession area offers visitors a place to rest, a variety of food items, gifts and souvenirs. Restroom and changing facilities are available as well.
For years, Lovers Key was accessible only by boat and it was said that only lovers traveled to the island to enjoy its remote and solitary beach. Today, it is one of four barrier islands that make up this state park. A haven for wildlife, the islands and their waters are home to West Indian Manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, marsh rabbits, and bald eagles. The two mile long beach is accessible by boardwalk or tram and is popular for shelling, swimming, picnicking and sunbathing. Black island has over five miles of multiuse trails for hiking and bicycling. Anglers and boaters can launch their vessels from the park’s boat ramp. The park’s concession offers kayak tours, as well bicycle, canoe, kayak, paddleboard, beach chair and umbrella rentals.