LOVERS KEY STATE PARK
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 boat and fishing tours, as well as bicycle, canoe, and kayak rentals. For tour reservations, call (239)765-7788. Located on County Road 865 between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach in Lee County.
Florida state parks are open from 8 a.m. until sundown 365 days a year.
Lovers Key is one of the best birding areas in South West Florida. You may also encounter Bottlenose Dolphin or West Indian Manatees while in the park.
Lovers Key State Park is made up of 4 barrier islands, Black Island, Long Key, Inner Key and Lovers Key. These islands were slated for development in the 1960?s and 70?s and were highly disturbed in preparation of development. Mangrove wetlands were altered to uplands by dredging a canal system through Black Island. After acquisition by the State of Florida in 1983 and a merger with Carl E. Johnson County Park on the southern end in 1996, these islands have now become Lovers Key State Park with 1616 total acres. This has been a long-term project creating a partnership between the State of Florida, Lee County Government, Lee Island Coast Tourist Development Council and many local citizens and communities. Local legend hints that Black Island got its name from a Pirate by the name of Black Augustus who had been captured by authorities and later escaped, making this his home for the remainder of his life.
There are several artesian wells located on Black Island, providing a source of fresh water. From the early 1900?s up until the late 1950?s, fish camps were set up in many areas of Black Island. These were abandoned when thoughts of development began. The State of Florida is now in the process of restoring the islands to their natural plant communities by removing the exotic vegetation and allowing native plants to return or be planted. This has created a multi use facility including over 2 miles of beachfront on the Gulf of Mexico with fantastic shelling and breathtaking sunsets, several miles of hiking/biking trails through a maritime hammock, canoeing and kayaking on the inner waterways and several picnic areas throughout the park.
Nature Recreation Management is the new concessionaire for Lovers Key State Park. This new visitor service provider offers kayak, canoe and bike rentals. Food, Beverage as well as delicious ice cream is now available.
Swimming is a popular activity in the Gulf and the park boasts 2 1/2 miles of excellent beachfront.
Lovers Key is a 2 1/2 mile stretch of beautiful beach. It was selected as the #4 beach in Florida by the Travel Channel. A courtesy tram is available to the south beach where a gazebo, restroom, and picnic area are located. A beautiful walk over 2 bridges takes you to the mid portion of the beach, left natural with no facilities. The north beach is accessible through the north honor gate at Big Carlos Pass. We suggest exploring all three areas of the beach and discover their unique attributes.
Trout, redfish, snook and tarpon are caught seasonally. Castnetting for mullet in the bay is a popular activity.
Canoeing and kayaking are very popular throughout the inner waterways and in Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.