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Lovers Key

State Park

Immediately south of Estero Island, better known as Fort Myers Beach, are four small islands that form Lovers Key State Park. Lovers Key, formerly known as Carl E. Johnson Park, a Lee County facility, is 1,616 acres of Gulf of Mexico beaches; backwater canals and lagoons; and trails. Canoes and kayaks are rented on the grounds or you can bring your own and launch it at one of the canoe launch sites on the grounds. Larger watercraft can be set in the water at the park's free boat ramp on the bay side of the park. Access to this park is from the north through Fort Myers Beach or south through Bonita Beach and entrance fees are minimal.  

Before Hurricane Charley (August, 2004) Lovers Key was a group of wilderness islands. Tall Australian Pines and tangles of Mangroves dominated the landscape. Strolling the beach was all but impossible except for the most able-bodied; the mangroves and underbrush extended in some places to the gulf shoreline. Damage to the horticulture and loss of beach sand was so extensive from Hurricane Charley that cleanup and beach restoration was necessary. The barrier island of Lovers Key, with the removal of most of the trees and bushes, is now a wide, sandy shell-strewn beach with little of the natural flavor that formerly characterized it. However, it provides about 2 miles of sun-drenched sand on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. New native plantings of grass and vines along the beach should eventually support sand retention. The remaining islands of Inner Key, Long Key and Black Island sustained less damage and are much the same.

Lovers Key has a good complement of facilities including outdoor showers, restrooms, picnic tables and parking. Kayakers and canoers  have miles of intersecting waterways to explore in the backbay areas and shoreline fishermen have access to some of the best waters in Southwest Florida. Wildlife seekers and birders have exceptional viewing and photographing opportunities. Among the many species, Alligators, Dolphins and Manatees have been reported as well as large wading birds such as Roseate Spoonbills, Great Blue Herons,  Osprey and an abundance of shorebirds. Sunsets, favored by all, are resplendent on the Key.

 

 

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ARTICLES

 

Lovers Key Beach umbrella - Lovers Key State Park

Beach umbrella at Lovers Key

 

Lovers Key Beach looking north at Fort Myers Beach

Lovers Key Beach

 

Lovers Key view of Bonita Beach on horizon

Lovers Key view of Bonita Beach

 

 

 

 

 

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