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.
Fees: $4-5 per vehicle
Open: 8 AM until sunset daily
Leashed pets welcome, except on main beach. Dog beach provided south along Estero Blvd at New Pass.
An attempt at development was nipped in the bud after canals and channels were carved out of Black Island, which now serves as a recreational playground with hiking and biking trails that loop back on themselves.
The beach is a slender strand but it goes on for quite some distance, affording easy access to the shallow waters of the Gulf on a sun-drenched, shell-strewn ribbon of sand with a view of Sanibel Island. In fact, this is one of the best spots for shelling without heading out to Sanibel.
Beach access to provided by a tram that loops around and drops off at two points along the beach – or you walk along the paved trail to admire the wading birds in the shallow mangrove-lined channels.
South of the main gate, a small recreation area on the opposite side of the highway provides a playground, picnic area, and a kayak launch for paddlers headed for the wilds of Mound Key in Estero Bay.
Also outside the main gate, a dog beach is provided on the Gulf side of Estero Blvd to allow dog lovers to let their best friends play in the surf.
Explore the park
- 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.
- 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.