Beaches, parks and recreation centers abound on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel
Filling the time between each beautiful sunset is easily done on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel. Miles of pristine shorelines and an abundance of parks and recreation centers create opportunities for fun and leisure. See for yourself why southwest Florida tops the nation’s list of favorite destinations for the variety of outstanding outdoor activities.
Bowman’s Beach (239) 472-6397
Gulf-side on Bowman’s Beach Road on Sanibel Island, Bowman’s Beach is a county-owned and operated beach and picnic area. Parking fee of $4 per hour.
Sanibel Lighthouse 1 Periwinkle Way (239) 472-6397
Located on Sanibel Island’s southern tip, view the picturesque 100-plus-year-old lighthouse while enjoying a picnic, strolling on the beach or fishing from the pier. Parking available, $4 per hour (multi-space machine).
Turner Beach (239) 472-6397
Situated between Sanibel & Captiva islands, this beautiful beach is prime shelling territory and an excellent vantage point for West Coast sunsets. Parking is limited, $4 per hour. Level ground handicapped parking; no handicapped restrooms available.
Gulfside Park (239) 472-6397
Located off Casa Ybel Road on Sanibel Island, this beach offers swimming, picnicking and restrooms. Parking available, $4 per hour (multi-space machine).
Blind Pass (239) 472-6397
Located off Sanibel-Captiva Road on the West end of Island, this city owned and maintained beach offers the perfect shelling experience. Parking is limited, $4 per hour.
Lovers Key State Park 8700 Estero Blvd. (239) 765-7788
Located between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach on S.R. 865 (Estero Blvd.), this romantic state park is both visually impressive and environmentally progressive. Activities include 2-1/2 miles of white sand beaches, world-class shelling, swimming, bridge and backbay fishing, bird watching and excursions to observe loggerhead sea turtles during active periods, as well as bottlenose dolphins and endangered West Indian manatees. Canoe and kayak explorations of miles of waterways lead to several uninhabited islands through the park. A 100-seat, turn-of-the-century beachfront pavilion is available for weddings, lectures and special events. Handicapped accessible. Entrance fee is $4 for a single occupied vehicle, $8 for up to eight people in one vehicle, and $2 per person for walk-ins and bicyclists.
Bowditch Point Regional Park 50 Estero Blvd. (239) 229-1610
Located on the northern tip of Estero Island, this 17-acre park offers everything to make your day at the beach complete. A boardwalk leads to picnic areas and the beach. Stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the bay, the park’s amenities include a bathhouse and changing rooms, a "village deck" for group gatherings and a covered waiting area for trolley service. Onsite parking is available behind the bathhouse and includes handicapped access parking. Park free at the Main Street lot, and hop a trolley for 50 cents (call Lee Tran at (239) 533-8726). Or, park at the park for $2 an hour.
Lynn Hall Memorial Park 950 Estero Blvd. (239) 229-1610
Located in the northern section of Estero Island in the Times Square shopping, dining, and entertainment district next to the fishing pier, this county-operated park provides the perfect setting for family outings. Picnic tables, restrooms, showers, barbecue grills, and a playground are available to visitors. Parking fee is $2 per hour, handicapped accessible.
Matanzas Pass Wilderness Preserve 199 Bay Rd. (239) 229-1610
Overlooking Estero Bay off of School Street, this preserve features more than 56 acres of unspoiled live Oak Hammock and 4,000-feet of mangrove shoreline to explore by elevated boardwalk. Limited free parking.
Mound Key Estero, FL. (239) 992-0311
Just northeast of the southern tip of Fort Myers Beach, this island, like so many in the Fort Myers/Sanibel area, was constructed from shells deposited by the Calusa Indians more than 2,000 years ago. Accessible by boat only.
Lakes Regional Park 7330 Gladiolus Drive (239) 533-7575
Lakes Park offers 279 acres of Florida foliage. Visitors can enjoy freshwater swimming in the summer, canoeing, paddle-boating, fishing, an observation tower, exercise course, picnic tables with barbecue grills, a concession stand, shower facilities, and 2-1/2 miles of paved nature trails for jogging, biking and walking. Recent additions to the park include a zero-depth-water Play(spray)-ground and rock climbing wall. Other amenities include a fragrance garden for the visually impaired and a 1-1/2-mile miniature train ride through the back section of the park. There is a $2 per person fee to ride the train. Parking fee is $1 per hour, $5 for the day. Park hours are 7am-dusk daily.
Centennial Park 2100 Edwards Drive (239) 321-7524
Along the Caloosahatchee River in downtown Fort Myers, this scenic park has 8 acres of playgrounds and picnic areas with an entertainment pavilion and fishing pier. Special events and concerts take place year-round. Free parking in area.
Manatee Park 10901 S.R. 80 (239) 690-5030
Visitors can observe the endangered West Indian manatees in their non-captive habitat from three observation decks during the winter months of November through March. The Eco-Tourium Gift Shop is open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in season, interpretive naturalists are on site, and kayak rentals are available during "Manatee Season." Facilities on the 17-acre Orange River site stay open year-round for picnicking, fishing and canoeing. Nature-lovers host ongoing educational programs. Hours are dawn to dusk. Handicapped accessible. Parking fee of $2 per hour December - March & $1 per hour April - November, or $5 for the day.
Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve 7751 Penzance Blvd. (239) 533-7550
Visitors can journey through this 2,200-acre wetland ecosystem on a mile-long boardwalk trail, where southwest Florida's diverse plant and wildlife are found. See subtropical ferns and bromeliads. Watch wading birds such as herons, egrets, ibis and anhingas. Open daily April through September, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., October through March, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free guided walks daily, January through March at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. and April, November and December at 9:30 a.m., as well as Wednesdays and every fourth Saturday of the month May through October, 9:30 a.m. Handicapped accessible. Parking fee of $1 per hour ($5 max).
Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park 17890 S.R. 80 (239) 229-4134
This 1,020-acre wildlife preserve consists of a variety of habitats including palmetto-oak scrub, pine flatwoods and seasonal wetlands. Offers views of scenic creek from trail and overlook areas. This ecosystem supports threatened scrub jay and gopher tortoises. Site includes rustic restrooms, canoe/kayak landing, fishing deck and more than 5 miles of walking trails. Open daily 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Limited parking available for $1 an hour, $5 for the day.
Bonita Beach Park 27950 Hickory Blvd. (239) 949-4615
Located between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs, this 4-acre pristine beachfront park features a boardwalk to protect the sea oats, sand dunes and coastal vegetation surrounding a gazebo and eight picnic shelters. Bathrooms, changing rooms and outdoor showers front parking areas with handicapped access. Parking is $2 per hour.
Bonita Springs Recreation Center 26740 Pine Ave. (239) 992-2556
Located at West Terry Street and Pine Avenue, this park is the hub of recreation in Bonita Springs. Its 60 acres offer picnicking, a playground, sports fields, a 7-acre lake, library and community pool. The recreation center is open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Koreshan State Historic Site 3800 Corkscrew Rd. (239) 992-0311
At the Koreshan State Historic Site, the curious find only remnants of a religious sect, which practiced communal living and equal rights of women long before the concept was popular. Visitors can tour the buildings and property where the Koreshans envisioned their perfect city and enjoy a picnic lunch on the picturesque grounds. Camping and canoeing are available. Located off of U.S. 41 in Estero. Open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. An entry fee of $5.00 per vehicle for up to eight people and $2.00 for each additional person, $4.00 single occupant vehicle.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary 375 Sanctuary Rd. (239) 348-9151
This 11,000-acre wilderness sanctuary, operated by the National Audubon Society, offers visitors a 2-1/4 mile boardwalk through pinelands, wet prairies, hammocks, and cypress ponds. The sanctuary contains the country's largest remaining stand of virgin bald cypress with its 500-year-old trees being among the oldest in eastern North America. Large populations of rare wood storks, as well as a number of wild orchid species can be found during the winter months. Admission is $14 for adults, $6 for college students, $4 for children ages 6 to 18, free for children younger than 6. Open daily, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Lake Kennedy Senior Center 400 Santa Barbara Blvd. (239) 574-0575
Lake Kennedy Park features picnic facilities, a playground, boat ramp, fishing, boardwalk, restrooms and a senior citizens center. Adjacent to Sun Splash Family Waterpark.
R.C. Seahawk Park 1030 N.W. 28th St. (239) 573-3128
The R.C. Seahawk Park is a developed facility for radio-controlled model airplanes, gliders and boats. Meets are held every weekend.
Veterans Memorial Park 4140 Coronado Pkwy. (239) 573-3128
Veterans’ Memorial Park features basketball, shuffleboard and boccie courts, playground, picnic tables, an open pavilion and restrooms.
Four Freedoms Park 4818 Tarpon Ct. (239) 574-0804
Four Freedoms Park is on Bimini Basin and has a recreation center, playground, amphitheater, picnic area and fishing.
Jaycee Park 4125 S.E. 20th Pl. (239) 573-3128
Located at the end of Beach Parkway, Jaycee Park offers a magnificent view of the Caloosahatchee River. The park has a quarter-mile jogging track and eight exercise stations, two picnic pavilions with tables and grills, shade trees and restrooms.
Jason Verdow Memorial Park 801 S.E. 27th St. (239) 242-3488
This park features three lighted Little League fields with bleachers, restrooms, picnic tables and a playground.
Pelican Soccer Complex 4020 SW 2nd Ct. (239) 242-3488
This 14 acre complex is home of the Cape Coral Cyclone Youth Soccer program for ages 5 to 18, a part of the Cape Coral Soccer Association. The park features four lighted soccer fields, a concession stand, restrooms, and two playgrounds for children ages three to twelve.
BMX Park 1410 S.W. 6th Pl. (239) 458-1943
The park offers a bicycle moto-cross track and a softball complex with three lighted fields.
J. Chandler-Burton Memorial Park 1502 N.E. 3rd Terrace (239) 573-3127
This park is the home of Cape Coral Little League Girls Softball. The park has one tennis court, a basketball court, three lighted playing fields, picnic tables, barbecue grills, playground equipment and restrooms.
Guiffrida Park 1044 N.E. 4th St. (239) 573-3128
Guiffrida Park has barbecue grills, picnic tables, two covered pavilions and a playground.
Caloosa Park 610 Del Prado Blvd. (239) 242-3490
Caloosa Park offers a track, two lighted football fields and restrooms.
Storm Football Park 2602 Chiquita Blvd S. (239) 573-3128
Storm Football Park offers three lighted football fields, restrooms and picnic tables.
Koza/Saladino Park 301 S. W. 30th Terrace (239) 242-3488
Koza/Saladino Park offers four lighted little league baseball fields with bleachers, restrooms and picnic tables.
Four Mile Cove Ecological Area East end of SE 23 Terrace (239) 549-4606
Four-Mile Cove Ecological Area is a 365-acre saltwater wetland preserve at the end of Southeast 23rd Terrace, just behind the Coralwood Mall, along the Caloosahatchee River and Midpoint Bridge. Amenities include a 4,200-foot boardwalk trail through a mangrove forest, a visitor center with restrooms and picnic area, and a canoe launch at Horton Park. Open daily from 8 a.m. to sunset. Free parking.
Matlacha Community Park and Boat Ramp 4577 Pine Island Rd. (239) 283-4110
This park’s community buildings complement sheltered picnic tables, restrooms, a double boat ramp and benches. Drive north from Fort Myers to S.R. 78, turn left and proceed 13 miles, turn left again at the next street past the Island Super Market.
Cayo Costa Island State Preserve (941) 964-0375
Cayo Costa is a delightfully secluded island that is great for camping, swimming, shelling and fishing. Primitive cabins are available for overnight stays. Accessible only by boat.
Phillips Community Park 5675 Sesame Dr., Bokeelia (239) 357-5443
Phillips Park features play areas, athletic fields, picnic areas and a swimming pool. The Pine Island Library is located across the street. Free parking.
Gasparilla Island State Park (941) 964-0375
To find this park, take U.S. 41 to Murdock. Turn left on 776 and then again on 771 to the Boca Grande Causeway ($6 toll) to the four-way stop, then turn right. There is a $3 honor fee to enter. Once there, enjoy a delightful Gulf beach equipped with picnic tables, barbecue grills and restrooms.
Boca Grande Community Center 131 First Street W. (941) 964-2564
The center has picnic areas, playgrounds, multi-purpose courts and an active community recreation center.
Boca Grande Lighthouse Park 880 Belcher Rd. (941) 964-0375
Picnic in the shadow of a maritime landmark. The Boca Grande Lighthouse, built in 1890, overlooks the Gulf of Mexico and is the perfect spot to observe boat traffic and fishing expeditions. Swimming is not recommended here because of the strong current. Open November through May seven days a week, June through October five days a week, Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission of $3 per vehicle covers parking and $2 for pedestrians, bicyclists and extra passengers.
Caloosahatchee Regional Park 18500 North River Road, Alva (239) 694-0398
This park features 768 acres of pine flatwoods, scrub oak, cypress swamps and oak hammocks. Crossing through them, you'll find over 20 miles of hiking, mountain biking and equestrian trails. The north side of the park is designated for mountain biking and horseback riding. The south side of the park has hiking trails, fishing pier, a floating dock and the primitive campground. Primitive camping sites for families and groups are available, along with equestrian sites for people with horses. Kayaking and fishing are available along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River. Covered pavilions are available for group use or special events. Parking - $1 per hour/$5 per day, year-round. Bring exact change.
Nalle Grade Park 8350 Nalle Grade (239) 533-7200
Near the Lee County Civic Center, Nalle Grade Park offers shelter and picnic tables. Free parking.
Hancock Park Tennis Center (Donaldson Park) 2211 Hancock Bridge Parkway (239) 281-0126
Hancock Park has four baseball diamonds, one football field, five tennis courts, a tennis wall, a playground and restrooms. Free parking.
Lehigh Community Park North 1400 West 5th St. (239) 369-1521
Located off of Lee Boulevard across from the Able Canal, the Lehigh Community Park features picnic tables, a playground, baseball diamonds, tennis courts and a swimming pool. Accessible by West 5th Street. Open daily year-round, dusk to dawn. Free parking.
Lehigh Acres Senior Center 219 Plaza Dr. (239) 369-5355
The Senior Center has educational courses, entertainment, crafts and horseshoe pits.
Lehigh Veterans Community Park 55 Homestead Rd. (239) 369-1521
This park has a lake, playground equipment, skateboard facility, picnic areas and a beautiful lodge, a dog park, complete with kitchen and restrooms, available for rental. Free parking.