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Lovers Key State Park: Gorgeous Beaches in a Natural Paradise

Lover's Key Sate Park's beach is filled with seashells.

Lover’s Key Sate Park’s beach is filled with seashells. Here my two guys are wading in the water looking for some good ones. Photo: Dee Rico Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Located between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach The Lover’s Key Carl E. Johnson State Park is made up of four barrier islands, Lovers’ Key, Black Island, Inner and Long Key along with several islets.  One the top three most visited parks in Florida Lover’s Key has something for everyone from beautiful beaches and  nature trails to kayaking and fishing.

Beach, Nature Watching and Other Activities

The park is a natural preserve filled with wildlife and it is home to manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, ospreys and bald eagles in addition to thousands of migratory wading birds, shorebirds and other waterfowl in season.  Black Island has more than five miles of nature trails, ideal for hiking, biking or walking.

Our family looking for manatees

Our family looking for manatees on the bridge that takes you to the beach. . Photo: Dee Rico Photography. All Rights Reserved.

A gorgeous white-sand beach  stretches for 2 ½ miles and is popular for  swimming, shelling and sunbathing. We take the kids and have a picnic on the beach and  enjoy watching countless wading birds and the occasional bottlenose dolphin or manatee. A courtesy tram is available to the south beach where a gazebo, restroom and picnic area are located you can also take a short walk over two bridges to reach the mid portion of the beach, which is left natural, with no facilities.

photo credit: Kenneth Cole Schneider via photopin cc

Roseate Spoonbill. photo credit: Kenneth Cole Schneider via photopin cc

On the park’s bay side, across the road from the beach entrance there is an area with playgrounds and a picnic area. Lover’s Key is also a favorite place for fishing.  Angles and boaters can launch their vessels from the park’s boat ramp.  The park’s concession offers kayak tours, as well as bicycle, canoe and kayak rentals or you sign up for a free excursion to learn fishing and nature photography.  You can find out what is going on at Lover’s Key on the Friends of Lover’s Key website where volunteers organize everything from kayak excursions and wading trips to 5K races and nature talks.

Our Experience

The beach can get crowded on weekends and in season specially close to where the tram leaves you or close to the where you reach it by bridge.  On weekdays, and even early in the morning on weekends you will pretty much have the beach all to yourself and it will be easier to find great shells and observe wading birds.  We have seen dolphins quite a few times and sometimes really close to the beach as well as great blue herons and lots of pelicans and alcatraz and it’s always easier to see them in the morning.

The beach is sometimes completely covered with seashells, specially near the water. This is wonderful for shelling but not that great for bare feet.  We always bring water shoes for the kids so they can get in and out of the water without hurting their feet on the shells when they are coming out and I would not recommend taking a long walk on the beach barefoot so you’d better bring some beach shoes you can get wet.

Since this is a natural preserves the mosquitoes and noseeums can get really bad specially in the trails and if you are away from the shoreline.  Check the weather to see if it’s mosquito season and don’t forget to bring your bug spray.

Location

8700 Estero Blvd  Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

Hours

The park is open from 8:00 a.m. until sundown, 365 days a year.

Fees

  • $8.00 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.
  • $4.00 Single Occupant Vehicle.
  • $2.00 Pedestrians, bicyclists, extra passengers, passengers in vehicle with holder of Annual Individual Entrance Pass.
A great find while shelling on the beach at Lover's Key. Photo: Dee Rico Photography. All rights reserved.

A great find while shelling on the beach at Lover’s Key. Photo: Dee Rico Photography. All rights reserved.

More Information

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About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula is a freelance writer, translator & marketer. She started her writing & publishing career as the editor of Bebé y Mamá, the first parenting magazine in Guatemala. She is the founder of www.GrowingUpBilingual.com and www.365thingsswfl.com and writes articles in Spanish and English for both magazines and the web on subjects ranging from travel and food to parenting and bilingualism. She enjoys traveling, good food and is always in search of new things to do and in Southwest Florida.

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  1. Jenn

    What a beautiful beach! I’ve never heard of it but I would love to check it out!
    Jenn recently posted…Making bathtime fun with Kiss Naturals #ReviewMy Profile

  2. Anna at Mama Writes

    We live on the SW coast of Florida and like the beaches here, but we really love the beaches over on your side and try to visit as often as we can!
    Anna at Mama Writes recently posted…Inspirational Photo Monday: Castle on a Peaceful LakeMy Profile

  3. Brie Snyder

    I’ve never been to Key State Park , but that sounds and looks wonderful. It is very cheap!
    Brie Snyder recently posted…Suave Naturals Review & The new Shine Suite with Argan Oils!My Profile

  4. Liberty Boblett

    Every time I come to this site, I long to return to Florida! :) It is such an amazing state, and I love vacationing there!
    Liberty Boblett recently posted…Newman’s Own GiveawayMy Profile

    1. Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

      So it’s working… come back Liberty, come back! Florida is calling. 😉

  1. 25 Favorite Beaches in the U S for a Family Vacation - Kids are a Trip

    […] Things to Do In Southwest Florida has many recommendations, including: Lovers Key State Park, La Costa Island, and Sanibel Island Lighthouse Beach. They all look […]

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