Set on the Gulf of Mexico, in the Sunshine State of Florida, lies the beautiful Lovers Key State Park, a perfect, private destination for those who seek adventure and romance. If you’re looking for an escapade that promotes mental clarity and a sense of tranquility, then check out this beautiful state park.
Consisting of several barrier islands off the west coast, Lovers Key State Park is located southeast of Fort Myers Beach. Plenty of activities await you, whether want to chill on the beach, hit the trails, or go for a paddle, so grab your beach gear and head on down!
What to see & do
There are plenty of things to keep you entertained whether you’re a beach bum who wants to work on your tan or an active hiker that wants to hit the trails. With 1,616 acres, Lovers Key State Park is just one of the barrier islands with three other islands making up the park: Black Island, Inner Key, and Long Key.
Chill-out on the beach
Talk about beautiful beaches! Lovers Key Beach is a 2.5-mile-long stretch of paradise that’s slowly become a romantics’ dream for out-of-this-world, secluded, beautiful beach-side weddings.
True to its namesake, this beautiful, secluded island has become a popular space for couples to watch the stunning sunset together.
You can access the south beach using the boardwalk or the wheelchair-accessible tram, a unique way to get to the beach whilst enjoying the panoramic views. This tram service also rocks if you’re lugging around water gear like SUP boards or a kayak.
This pristine beach itself is only about a half a mile out from the gift shop so go for a stroll and hit its warm waters. Once on the beach, chill out on one of the many beach lounges and enjoy the beauty of the ocean, or feel the soft, powdery, white sands beneath your feet.
A wide variety of shells map the shore with some of the best shells being found on this island. From swimming to sunbathing, or simply lazing in the sun, there’s no better way to enjoy a beach day.
Hit the trails
Lazing on the beach not for you? Perhaps you have a love for twigs and creepy crawlies. Does listening to the sound of nature vibrating with wildlife float your boat?
With five miles of trails, go hiking, biking, or jogging and enjoy some physical stimulation surrounded by verdant forest. All trails are multi-use, so watch for bike traffic!
The Black Island Trail is a popular, 2.6-mile loop trail that will take about an hour to finish. Breathe deeply, enjoy some fresh, clean air and work those leg muscles of yours!
Paddle the waterways
If you prefer to be on the water and not in the water, enjoy the challenging forks and splits along the bending river, and paddle the waterways by kayak or canoe.
Plenty of Florida’s indigenous marine life thrive in Lovers Key State Park and if you’re lucky, you can spot West Indian manatees during high tide! Lovers Key is listed among the top 15 places for spotting these peaceful creatures.
If you’re going fishing, expect to catch some snook, trout, or barracuda. There is also a pond where you can find alligators, so some caution is needed.
A boat ramp makes Estero Bay and the Gulf of Mexico easily accessible so you can spend the day exploring the islands around Lovers Key Park.
This island was once only accessible by boat, so go for a paddle and do it the old-fashioned way!
Lovers Key Adventures and Events provide rentals for several awesome toys such as kayaks, canoes, pedal boats, SUPs, and bikes.
Ask to go on a guided tour to a Mound Key, a nearby Calusa Indian site, and they’ll happily take you.
Check out the wildlife
Lovers Key State Park is home to many species of coastal birds and butterflies. Observe the fauna and flora as you hike and bike through verdant, rich forests, and if you’re lucky, spot a bald eagle! The seas are teeming with a wide variety of fish, and even bottlenose dolphins and manatees!
There are also bird-watching guides for beginners offered throughout the year. Lovers Key State Park is well known to birders all over the world as it’s home to massive bald eagles and ospreys.
There’s also a butterfly garden you can check out as you get lost in a sea of burgundy, pink, and sapphire, surrounded by fresh, dazzling flowers.
Visit the Discovery Center
This newly-constructed Discovery Center was opened last year, boasting a 2,100 sq. ft. exhibition hall. Here you’ll find a display of what to expect on the island so you get the most value out of your time.
The Discovery Center also educates visitors on the history of the island and the importance of conservation – something essential to the island itself.
The Community Room also conducts classes, programs, and holds events, while The Nature Nook is a small gift shop showcasing works from local artists, books, wall art, pottery, handmade jewelry, and other knick-knacks.
How to get there
Getting there is a walk in the park! This charming island is set between four barrier islands near Fort Myers Beach.
Located over the bridge on the exit of 116 Bonita Road, the park entrance can be accessed at 8700 Estero Blvd. Once you’ve reached Estero Blvd, drive south past the busy Fort Myers Beach and leave the crowds behind, and you’ll shortly reach the white sands of Lovers Key State Park.
Entrance fees vary between $2 and $8 depending on the number of people and the vehicle. The south end of the beach is accessible by tram, featuring a large gazebo, restrooms, and a picnic area, and the north end is accessed by Big Carlos Pass. Cross the bridges in the middle to access a secluded, facility-free area of the beach.