An excellent all day adventure for the family is to rent a kayak or stand up paddleboard for the very popular Lovers Keys inner waterways, in the Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Lovers Key mangrove lined waterways are a great place to spot manatees and to launch your kayak to Mound Key State Archaeology Site, an island reachable only by boat and built by Calusa Indians starting 2,000 years ago. The preferable way to reach the mound is by kayak. The Living waters of Estero Bay support habitats of sea grass beds, mangrove islands, salt marshes, tidal flats and oyster bars. Occasionally the playful dolphins will interact with your kayak. Launching is at the southern end of Fort Myers Beach.
It is truly a unique old Florida feel with amazing palmetto prairies and beautiful pine flatwoods. This meandering creek runs South from Babcock Ranch with an eventual destination of the Caloosahatchee River. As you kayak you may see the Native American Alligators and Otter that inhabit these waters, or one of the exotic animals that come to the creek from the preserve that borders the creek. The 6 mile shaded creek starts out approximately 50 ft wide and narrows to 20 ft with numerous turns and sand bars around the bends. The launch site for this adventure is in Alva. Stand up paddleboard is not recommended.
This is a living ecosystem that includes sandy beaches, Mangrove forests, salt flats and contains a wide variety of wildlife for viewing. The photographic opportunities are abundant, from the flora & fauna, to fantastic sunsets making your kayak or stand up paddleboard adventure a memorable one. The protected nature of this shoreline allows a kayak to cruise up to a mile off the beach. Several nearby tidal creeks, including Terrapin Creek, are well worth exploring. Fishing is allowed throughout the park and catches might include mangrove snapper, mullet, sheepshead, snook and seatrout. Bunche Beach launch is before the Sanibel Causeway in Fort Myers.
Your trip will begin at Manatee Park, Fort Myers FL. The Orange River is part of the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trailand a tributary of the Caloosahatchee River that begins as a narrow mangrove tunnel. During winter months a kayak adventure may include encountering numerous manatee that tend to congregate near the FPL warm water discharges. Kayak upstream (exiting left from mangrove tunnel) will lead to a scenic paddle with numerous opportunities for wildlife sightings. Round trip to the Orange River Road bridge is approximately 6 miles. Manatee Park offers picnic tables, a fishing pier, and is promoting educational awareness of the endangered manatees.
This is a great location to launch a kayak or stand up paddleboard, as it provides easy access to both the Gulf of Mexico and the Estero Bay. A short paddle through a mangrove tunnel leads to a protected channel. Pelican Island is approximately a 1/2 mile paddle to the Gulf Shore. This area of Estero Bay is a great place to put in a stand up paddleboard. If you wish to venture into the gulf, which is the south end of Pelican Island then kayak rentals are recommended. It is a secluded and beautiful beach, with a pristine shoreline that provides opportunities for swimming, sunning, shelling, bird-watching and fishing. Pack a picnic and enjoy the day.The launch site is not far from Bonita Springs or Fort Myers Beach.
A delightful kayak trip under a canopy of oaks and pines, narrowing into a twisted cypress-lined creek as it gets too shallow to paddle near its headwaters. The tea-colored water is clear and the bottom is sandy at spots, allowing visibility to see fish, turtles and, if you’re lucky, manatees. It is lined with old trees that form a shady canopy much of the way. Our suggested route begins at the Bonita Nature Place, Bonita Spings, FL and take out is at the Imperial River Boat Ramp, (27551 S Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs, FL 34134) approximately 5 miles. The Stand up paddlebaord rentals are launched from Riverside Park, Bonita Springs.
Due to its scenic and historic qualities, the Estero River is a section of the Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. Once home to the Koreshan settlers in the late 1800's - early 1900's, the Estero River runs east to west into the Estero Bay. Two prominent historic sites can be accessed when renting our kayak or paddleboard for this river, Koreshan State Historic Site and Mound Key. Home to an occasional alligator, you are more likely to see an abundance of birds feeding and nesting in the lush vegetation along the shoreline. To extend your kayak adventure we recommend you visit the Korehan State Historic Site, Estero FL.
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