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.
NATURE OF THE AREA
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.
HISTORY OF THE AREA
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.
Canoeing and kayaking are very popular throughout the inner waterways and in Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
Trout, redfish, snook and tarpon are caught seasonally. Castnetting for mullet in the bay is a popular activity.
DAY USE AREA
Two playgrounds, picnic shelters, grills and restroom facilities are available at the Lovers Key State Park Bayside Park. The park is located on Estero Blvd 1 mile north of the main park entrance. Pavillions are available to rent for Weddings, reunions, company picnics and parties. Contact Nature Recreation Management at (239)765-7788.
The Bayside four acre addition provides opportunities to visitors for recreation and relaxation. This state-of-the-art facility offers two playgrounds, nine pavilions, grills, volleyball court, restroom facilities and an additional field for flying kites and playing.
Several picnic areas are set throughout the park. On the beach, the inner waterways or the backwaters of Estero Bay, you will be able to find the right spot to enjoy a picnic. Many of the picnic areas are equipped with grills and trash receptacles.
The Black Island Trail is 2.5 miles of hiking or biking adventure through a maritime hammock along the canal banks of Black Island. There are a total of 8 miles of trails within the park including the beach.
Enjoy over 5 miles of bike trails including the Black Island Trail through a maritime hammock. Trail maps are available showing many interesting places and observation points along the trail. Bring in your own bicycles or rent them at our concession located in the main parking lot. For rental information, contact the park concessionaire at(239)765-7788.
With over 2 ? miles of shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico, Lovers Key State Park has some of the best shelling opportunities on the Lee Island Coast. Just remember that the taking of live shells is prohibited.
Lovers Key is located at 8700 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach. The park boundaries are Big Carlos Pass and New Pass. We are 10.5 miles west of I75 on exit 116.