Halfway between Fort Myers and Naples, Estero is a community that grew up around the Estero River, which flows into Estero Bay. It is no longer the tangled jungle of vegetation it was when Cyrus Teed started his utopian community along the river at Koreshan, but it still has small pockets of “Old Florida” along the river, as well as access to large swaths of public land preserving where the waters meet the bay.
Nearby: Fort Myers, Naples, Sanibel Island
Trails and Parks in Estero
- Barefoot Beach Preserve - In a hidden corner of Collier County, Barefoot Beach Preserve provides immersion in nature at a beauty spot along two miles of natural shoreline on the Gulf of Mexico just north of Wiggins Pass.
- Black Island Trail - At Lovers Key State Park, head to the north end of the island to explore the Black Island Trail. Shared with mountain bikers, the trail system at Black Island consists of two separate loops linked by an unpaved service road.
- Estero Bay Preserve State Park - Providing a buffer between the heavily developed Gulf Coast between Fort Myers and Estero and the delicate estuaries that serve as nurseries for the aquatic life of the region, Estero Bay Preserve State Park encompasses ten miles of shoreline along Estero Bay.
- Estero Scrub Preserve State Park - A tough hike when it's wet, Estero Scrub Preserve State Park has several loops through wet flatwoods and tidal marshes along the rim of Estero Bay
- Koreshan State Park - When Dr. Cyrus Teed founded a commune along the banks of the Estero River in 1894, he envisioned a utopia in the tropics. Koreshan State Park preserves that slice of history.
- Lovers Key State Park - With a name straight out of tourist fantasies of 1950s Florida, Lovers Key State Park is a series of slim barrier islands between Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, just south of Fort Myers Beach.
- Mound Key Archaeological State Park - Launch your kayak from either Koreshan Historic State Park or Lovers Key State Park for a paddle into Estero Bay to see Mound Key, a significant Calusa archaeological site that is now its own state park.
- Hiking to Happahatchee (12/5/2011) - A conservationist and a Floridian who truly made a difference for Florida, Ellen Peterson, founded Florida's Sierra Club chapter in the 1970s and fought to keep Fisheating Creek open to paddlers. She leaves behind a sterling legacy for our state.