Visitors to Fort Myers
are spoilt for choice when it comes to nature and wildlife, with numerous spectacular State Parks and pristine beaches to enjoy. This beautiful area of Florida’s Gulf Coast
has nature and wildlife for all to enjoy!
Fort Myers is well known for its breathtaking beaches, subtropical climate, beautiful sunsets, idyllic nature, exotic wildlife, laid-back tempo, deep history and vibrant culture. The area is a firm family favourite holiday destination. It is one of Florida’s most pristine and idyllic areas of natural beauty. Visitors to the region can experience nature and wildlife in almost every setting - observe birds flying overhead, dolphins frolicking in the surf, manatees bathing in the warm waters and alligators skulking through the wetlands. The area is world famous for its shelling opportunities, and with miles upon miles of Gulf Coast beachfront you’ll have endless enjoyment searching for the most beautiful shells.
Become at One With Nature & Wildlife
Fort Myers is blessed with the warm Floridian climate, with it brings wildlife and nature to the region that is completely unique. The Fort Myers area is home to hundreds of beaches and nature preserves that are teeming with wildlife from pelicans and herons to dolphins and manatees. The Fort Myers area is committed to maintaining and preserving the natural environment of its surroundings, with vast areas of this land preserved as State Parks.
The Fort Myers region is home to some of the most beautiful Nature Parks and Preserves in the whole of Florida. Each of these are unique in their own way, and make for the perfect day out for all to enjoy! Here are a few of our favourite for you to visit.
Six Mile Cypress Slough PreserveSix Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
is located in western Fort Myers, just off the Six Mile Cypress Parkway. This 3,400 acre wetland is teeming with wildlife, the almost ‘Jurassic Park’ esque ecosystem is home to an assortment of wildlife from alligators, turtles, fish, otters, snakes and a variety of bird species. The park is home to a one mile boardwalk that allows visitors to experience the wonders of Florida’s nature without getting wet.
The boardwalk travels through South Florida’s iconic Cypress swamps, providing guests with the chance to observe the wildlife and admire the beautiful plants, trees and flowers - this park showcases Florida in its beautiful natural state. Visitors can visit the park throughout the day and enjoy a relaxing yet exciting stroll through the Cypress swamps. Guided walks are available with naturalist volunteers who provide information on the environment and its exotic inhabitants.
If you’re a nature lover who is planning a trip to the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, we recommend visiting in the late afternoon as at dusk hundreds of birds return to their nests, including kingfishers, egrets and ospreys - ideal for bird lovers. This preserve is a wonderful spot that highlights the natural beauty of Southwest Florida. This natural oasis in the Fort Myers area allows visitors to escape from the world to enjoy a stroll and observe beautiful wildlife.
J.N "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge
Nature lovers should head to Sanibel Island, where the J.N “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge
is situated. This wildlife refuge is comprised of 7,600 acres and is teeming with wildlife, it is home to over 245 different species of birds, 35 mammal species and 60 different types of reptiles. This refuge offers visitors the chance to walk, drive, bike or kayak through to experience the exotic nature and wildlife.
The refuge is a designated area that is designed to protect and enhance the beautiful nature and wildlife of Sanibel Island. It is a great tucked away refuge that offers fascinating nature and a wonderful opportunity to experience the wildlife in their natural habitat. Throughout the park you can see pelicans at sunset, alligators bathing in the sunshine and birds flying overhead.
Visitors should start their trip at the excellent visitor centre, where knowledgeable guides can inform you on the history of the Refuge and the animals that reside there. The wildlife drive through the park is good fun, however if you really want to experience the refuge then you should get out of your car and explore the hiking, biking and kayaking trails - sightings of exotic birds, alligators and a variety of wildlife is guaranteed. Guided tours of the refuge via tram, walking and kayak are extremely popular, as the friendly and informative guides provide you with knowledge of the refuge and secret hidden spots that you wouldn’t otherwise experience. All in all this wildlife refuge is a wonderful day out for people of all ages to enjoy.
If you’re a nature lover on the hunt for Manatees, then you’ll find that Manatee Park
is the perfect place to visit. Situated just north of Fort Myers on the Caloosahatchee River, across from the Florida Power and Light Company this park is home to hundreds of Manatees during the winter months.
The reason for this is that this non-captive water refuge is kept warm during the winter months from the heat produced by the Florida Power and Light Company. This warmth attracts manatees during December, January and February when the water temperatures in the Gulf are below 68F. The manatees travel up the Caloosahatchee River and take refuge in the warm waters in Manatee Park.
This park is a great place to spend an afternoon with the family. Spend your day watching the manatees off the observation pier, visiting the butterfly garden, paddling in the warm waters or rent a kayak to explore the area. There are also volunteers that provide informational talks on the manatees, that are also known as sea cows to some.
Caloosahatchee Regional Park
Located in North Fort Myers is the ideal location, spend your day hiking, mountain biking or horse riding along the many trails. This 786 acre regional park provides the perfect outdoor escape along the Caloosahatchee River. This park is great for adventurers that want to combine nature and fun. Kayaking is also available to those who love the water, take a scenic and exciting tour upstream to Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park that consists of 862 acres of idyllic nature.
Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park
This park is situated north of Fort Myers, the creek itself is a tributary of the Caloosahatchee River. This park is the ideal destination for those who want to escape reality for the day and enjoy a quiet, remote park. It is a hidden gem for those who love the great outdoors.
This upland ecosystem is one of Lee County’s largest regional parks covering roughly 862 acres of land consisting of a variety of plant species such as pine flatwoods, marshes, cypress swamps and palmetto-oak scrub. The park is home to a variety of wildlife such as gopher tortoises, Florida scrub-jays, Eastern indigo snakes, otters, alligators and occasionally manatees. The park offers guests the chance to explore its three scenic hiking routes that wind for five miles throughout the vegetation, however ensure that you bring your walking boots and appropriate clothing as these trials can often be muddy. Hickey’s Creek is the perfect place for those who want to relax in the park, enjoy paddling, fishing or picnicking in this picturesque spot.
Located south of Fort Myers, just inland from Estero Bay. This park is infact a preserved historic site of a unique religious community. the Koreshan Unity Settlement, as well as being a Florida state park preserved for its beautiful nature. The Park is a great place for visitors to experience history and nature entwined with one another. This fascinating historic site is extremely well preserved and the buildings are beautiful, it is a great spot to experience a trip back in time.
Visitors to the park can also enjoy an array of activities that make the most of the beautiful natural surroundings, including: camping, fishing, picnicking, boating, hiking, canoeing and wildlife viewing. Guests can rent canoes and explore the beautiful scenery, park and Estero River. Wildlife found in the park includes gopher tortoises, bobcats, alligators, otters and a variety of bird species. It is a great place to spend time learning about the history of the area as well as admiring the natural beauty.
Lovers Key State Park
If you are searching for a beachfront national park then look no further than Lover’s Key State Park, here you can spend your day sunning, strolling along the 2.5 mile beach, bird watching, kayaking, fishing and hiking on the pristine white beaches and beyond. The untouched beauty of Lover’s Key Park is comprised of 712 acres and is a coastal paradise, it features four barrier islands; Lovers Key, Inner Key, Long Key and Black Island. The State Park is a protected region and is home to a variety of bird species, manatees, dolphins and marsh rabbits.
For child friendly locations check out the Lakes Regional Park - featuring a freshwater lake, playgrounds, biking and walking routes and water-feature playgrounds this park is an oasis in the city of Fort Myers. Lynn Hall Memorial Park is a beachfront park that provides all the recreational features to create the ultimate beach day out - including playgrounds, picnic shelters, fishing piers and child sized waves.
Spend Your Days Admiring the Ocean
Fort Myers and its surrounding areas are home to some of America’s most breathtaking beaches and coastline. This prime waterfront position means that for residents and visitors alike - the Ocean is on your front door step. There are miles and miles of Gulf Coast shoreline for you to admire and explore. Spend your days searching for sea life in the ocean, enjoying the watersports, admiring the spectacular sunsets or simply frolicking in the warm Gulf waters. Life in the Fort Myers region is spent enjoying and exploiting the beautiful ocean surroundings.
Florida’s Southwest coast is home to diverse and unique wildlife, these animals are some of the worlds most beautiful and captivating creatures. The warm Gulf waters surrounding the Fort Myers region are filled with dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, whales and an abundance of fish. Bottlenose dolphins are a popular feature in the Fort Myers region, they can be found frolicking in the warm waters close to the shore and in the Estero Bay waterway in particular. The coast and waterways in the area are also filled with West Indian manatees, these friendly creatures are constantly seeking warm water to bask in.
Through the months of May to October sea turtles are also a popular sight on the beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, as they lay their eggs. Take a trip to the beaches for your chance to spot these eggs hatching and baby sea turtles making their way to the sea, this is a sight that you’ll never forget - however ensure that you don’t disturb the journey of these majestic creatures.
Beach Nature Lovers
For nature lovers that enjoy nothing more than spending their days relaxing on a pristine white sand beaches, Fort Myers and the surrounding areas are the perfect destination for you. Here you can spend your time experiencing the beauty of the Gulf of Mexico. Spend your days swimming in the warm waters, and due to the sheltered environment waves are scarce, making the shores of Fort Myers the perfect location to soak or float in the waters for all ages. If swimming isn’t for you, the beaches are world renowned as some of the best for shelling in the world. Spend quality time with your friends and family exploring the beaches and observing the beautiful variety of shells on the shores.
Fort Myers Watersports
The Fort Myers and surrounding areas are the perfect locations to give watersports a go, whether it is kayaking, sailing, diving or boating. Diving in the Gulf of Mexico is incredible, the warm waters attract a huge variety of fish species. This combined with the shipwrecks and reefs create a technicolor rainbow of marine life. For those nature lovers who would rather stay above water, the Fort Myers & Sanibel region is perfect for kayakers. There is access to 190 miles of kayak and canoe trails, the Great Calusa Blueway paddling trail meanders through bays, rivers, backwaters and the Gulf coast of Southwest Florida. These trails provide kayakers with the chance to see dolphins and manatees in the open water and mangroves.
Fishing is a very popular pastime in Fort Myers for locals and visitors alike. The unique combination of freshwater and saltwater in this region creates fantastic fishing conditions. During the spring fish such as the tarpon and grouper are found in large numbers, the region has been coined “The Tarpon Capital of the World”. Throughout the rest of the year catches include snapper and redfish. The best fishing spots include Matlacha Bridge (the ‘fishingest bridge in the US’), Lighthouse Pier on Sanibel Island, Hickey’s Creek Mitigation Park and Fort Myers Beach Pier. However whether you are at one of these locations or simply surf fishing you are bound to get a catch.
If you are seeking to experience the true natural beauty that Florida has to offer, take a trip to Fort Myers. Here you can experience idyllic nature and fantastic wildlife everywhere and anywhere. The Nature Parks & Preserves are some of Florida’s most pristine and treasured areas.