Part of Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park, Alligator Creek has two loop trails where freshwater and saltwater habitats meet, enabling you to explore a variety of coastal habitats in less than three miles.
Fort Myers and its surrounding coastal communities have a lot to offer for outdoor recreation, thanks to an aggressive natural lands program in Lee County that has protected large drainages into the estuaries along the coast and inland.
At Babcock Wilderness Adventures – a popular ecotourism attraction east of Punta Gorda – the Ecotour Trail is a no-cost option to getting your feet wet on an exploration of wet flatwoods habitats along a well-maintained trail through the palmetto prairie.
Following old forest roads, the purple-blazed loop of the Footprints Trail through the heart of Babcock Ranch, a vast prairie punctuated by cypress strands, provides a simple introduction to this often-squishy ecosystem.
Where’s the best place on Sanibel to look for sea shells? It all depends on recent currents and storm deposits. We found a bountiful shell bank at Blind Pass Beach, where Sanibel and Captiva meet.
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.
East of Fort Myers, 768-acre Caloosahatchee Regional Park provides an outdoor escape along the Caloosahatchee River with a campground and loop trails for hikers and bicyclists
Offshore from Boca Grande and Pine Island, Cayo Costa State Park is tough to get to but the 6.5 miles of trails and many more miles of beaches will be yours to roam
To spend a day or a weekend on your own deserted island? Heaven. This is one of the tougher and costlier state parks to get to, but well worth it. Solitude is guaranteed. Miles and miles of lonely Gulf of Mexico beaches are yours to roam.
Where the Peace and Myakka Rivers meet, Charlotte Harbor covers more than five square miles, with the Charlotte County Blueway Trails providing paddlers access.
Explore the northwestern boundary of Corkscrew Marsh – one corner of a massive conservation area surrounding Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and protecting the watershed feeding the swamp – on a series of trails that traverses through pine flatwoods, oak hammocks, and palm hammocks.