What to do in Lovers Key State Recreation Area

Made up of Black Island, Lovers Key, Inner and Long Key, this 712-acre area features canals and tidal lagoons fringed with mangroves, which support an array of fish and other aquatic animals. Although the park has been disturbed in the past by dredge and fill activities and the invasion of nonnative plants, today the area provides habitat for numerous animals.

Lovers Key State Recreation Area has been the site of day use entertainment for generations. Today, the expansive entrance is often the site of seasonal outdoor festivals.

Once dredged for development, the unsuccessful business venture left behind a serpentine maze of waterway enjoyed by canoeists, kayakers, bird-watchers, and others. This is a favorite area for the West Indian manatees and for a wide variety of birdlife including osprey, herons, egrets, roseate spoonbills, and more.

The 2.5-mile beach draws millions of visitors annually. Concession areas, several picnic groves, a large round pavilion used for special occasions, and popular passenger trams carry folks through a tropical habitat of sea grapes, white mangroves, buttonwood, and sabal palms. The tram roads are easily hiked and biked, but an element of nostalgia is present with longtime visitors. The trams run every 10 minutes between the beach and tram pavilion, which is located at the end of the second huge parking area.

Recreational activities offered at Lovers State Recreation Area include boating, fishing, swimming and shelling. Trout, redfish, snook and tarpon are caught seasonally. Castnetting for mullet in the bay is a popular activity.

A boat ramp is available for access to adjacent Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. A canoe launch is also available. This canoe launch is the terminus of the 7-mile Estero River Canoe Trail that begins in Koreshan State Historic Site.

Beach related activities such as shelling and hiking are encouraged in the park; however, swimming in the canals is prohibited. Florida law also prohibits the collection of live shells or collecting of artifacts on state-owned land.

To preserve the scenic beauty and the ecology, fences and warning signs have not been installed in some areas of the park. Caution and close supervision of children is required while visiting these areas.

The park is located on the east side of Route 865 between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach in Lee County.

The climate in southern Florida is subtropical, with mild winters and hot, wet summers. It is not unusual for temperatures to exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit with averages reaching above 83 degrees Fahrenheit (above 29 Celsius). Winters are mild and dry with temperatures averaging above 64 degrees Fahrenheit (above 18 Celsius). Yearly precipitation for the southwest area is more than 56 inches. Lightweight clothing for hot temperatures is suggested. Long sleeves, pants, sturdy shoes and bug repellent are recommended if hiking.

8700 Estero Boulevard
Ft. Myers, FL 33931

Phone: 941-463-4588

  • Lovers Key State Recreation Area Travel Q&A