So many things that make Lovers Key State Park so lovable: A 2.5 mile beach lined with natural vegetation that is perfect for swimming, beachcombing and bird watching, and mangrove-lined waterways that attract both manatees and kayakers.
This out-of-the-way destination reminds us of artsy waterfront towns like Key West and Cedar Key. West of Fort Myers, Matlacha is a colorful collection of little wooden houses surrounded by good saltwater-kayak trails. Artists love this funky little village.
A fascinating kayak destination: Mound Key Archaeological State Park, an uninhabited island accessible only by boat near Fort Myers Beach. The ceremonial center of the Calusa people, Mound Key is one of a kind and is surrounding by waters full of wildlife.
Sanibel is more famous for its beaches and seashells, but it’s a great place to explore by bike. With more than 25 miles of bicycle trails, Sanibel’s hidden beaches, pioneer cemetery and quiet shady neighborhoods open up to you.
With a beautiful beach, free pier, beach-side restaurants and a lively downtown, this is a classic beach town. It’s frozen in time while it awaits redevelopment.
The Calusa Blueway is a 190-mile long paddling trail through the Gulf Coast waters around Fort Myers. It’s not designed to be through-paddled, but it IS designed to be Florida’s best kayak trail. You can get free maps of the various paddling trails sent to you.
Between Lake Okeechobee and Fort Myers, a stretch of the Caloosahatchee River offers a taste of Old Florida — small towns, rivers ideal for kayaking and good public campgrounds.
Sanibel and Captive are kayak paradise, with waters full of fish, dolphins, manatees, ospreys, pelicans, herons — even otters. Here’s a guide to where and how to explore by kayak.