Lovers Key State Park: Chosen as Top 5 Romantic Beach in Florida by USA Today

beach, Florida, romantic

Lovers Key State Park
photo credit: floridastateparks.org

For years, Lovers Key was accessible only by boat and it was said that only lovers traveled to the island to enjoy its remote and solitary beach. Today, it is one of four barrier islands that make up this state park. A haven for wildlife, the islands and their waters are home to West Indian manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, marsh rabbits, and bald eagles. The two mile long beach is accessible by boardwalk or tram and is popular for shelling, swimming, picnicking, and sunbathing. Black Island has over five miles of multi-use trails for hiking and bicycling. Anglers 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. Located on County Road 865 between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Beach in Lee County.

Click here to see the rest of USA Today’s top 5 most romantic beach picks.

Lovers Key State Park
8700 Estero Boulevard
Fort Myers Beach, Florida 33931
(239) 463-4588
Park GPS coordinates: N 26° 23.578 W 81° 52.063

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Kids’ 4th of July Fishing Tournament

Don’t miss this fun event sponsored by Ostego Bay Foundation, held annually the weekend before the Fourth of July. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and kids and their families can fish from shore from 9 a.m. to noon. There’s free lunch for everyone. More than 150 kids ages 3 to 15 participate; prizes will be awarded, including for most fish, heaviest fish, and longest fish. Cut bait is provided; participants must bring their own poles (one pole and hook per child) and any other bait they wish to use.

Ft Myers Beach

Kids Fishing Tournament – June 9, 2013

Location :

704 Fisherman’s Wharf
Bonita Bill’s Waterfront Café
Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931

Phone: (239) 463-2588

Event Date: Jun 29, 2013

Event Price: Free Admission

2nd Annual Doc Ford’s “Ding” Darling Tarpon Tournament

Don’t miss it! Mark your calendars for tournament day, May 4, 2013.

The J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is the location of the first recorded Tarpon caught and it is fitting that the Friends of the Refuge hosts a Tarpon tournament to benefit the refuge and its work in protecting the wildlife on land in the water.

Doc Ford’s, with locations on both Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach, Florida, sponsors the tournament to support the J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge through the “Ding’ Darling Wildlife Society-Friends of the Refuge (DDWS).

For more info, check out the event’s website: http://dingdarlingtarpontourney.squarespace.com/.

 

 

 

The End of an Era – The Caloosa Grande Finale

Fort Myers Beach, Ft. Myers BeachThe final tournament in the Caloosa Tournament Series will take place November 2-3 in Ft. Myers Beach. After 23 years, the Grande Finale marks the end of the annual Caloosa Fishing Tournament Series — forever. There is no qualification…the field will be limited to 50 paid teams…no exceptions. As of this writing, only 31 spots remain. This fishing tournament offers a high pay-out (Tournament Purse – $10,000 – GUARANTEED), open bars, high end gear and fantastic food at a great location and the last chance to celebrate 23 great years. For more information, or to sign up, visit the Caloosa Tournament’s website.

Florida Anglers To Raise Funds for a Worthy Cause in Ft. Myers Beach

events / things to do in Ft. Myers Beach

2011 Tournament Winners (photo credit: filletandrelease4hospice.com)

The 8th Annual Fillet and Release Fishing Tournament will take place on Saturday, September 15, 2012, from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., in Fort Myers Beach, Florida. It is a one-day, inshore fishing tournament designed to benefit the non-profit organization, Hope Hospice, which operates in several counties throughout Florida including Lee and Hendry.

The event will have a cash pay out of $7,050 based on a 30 boat entry. Tournament team members as well as everyone that gives a donation to Hope Hospice at the event will have an opportunity to meet and have photos with the Jagerettes.

charity fishing event

Fillet and Release for Hospice Fishing Tournament

Angling teams (4 anglers per team max) interested in participating in the charity fishing tournament will need to preregister, remit a $250 team entry fee and attend a pre-tournament meeting. An entry form and additional tournament details are available on the event’s website.

No License? No Problem! Sept. 1 is License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day in Florida

Fort Myers Beach fishing

Greater Amberjack Catch (Photo credit: myfwc.com)

Sept. 1 is a license-free saltwater fishing day in Florida. This year, it not only falls on a holiday weekend, but is during the popular spiny lobster and bay scallop seasons. Florida is known as the “Fishing Capital of the World” due to its abundant resources, combined with responsible freshwater and saltwater fish management. Florida residents and visitors can experience the joy of saltwater fishing and many will discover a healthy sport they can enjoy for a lifetime.  Don’t miss this opportunity to to share the fun, excitement and togetherness of a fishing trip with the entire family or introduce friends to the sport, even if they don’t have a fishing license.

Popular Shore Fishing Locations near Fort Myers Beach:

  • Sanibel Causeway – Head North on San Carlos Blvd off the North end of Fort Myers Beach, and turn left onto Summerlin Road, following the signs to Sanibel. Once passed the toll booth ($6 toll, but covers in and out) there are a number of places to stop on the causeway islands. One of the islands also includes restroom facilities.
  • Punta Rassa area – Just before the Sanibel Causeway toll booth there is an exit on the right to Punta Rassa. If you take this exit there is a boat launch area where you can park, and go fishing under the causeway bridge. Also on the south side of the road when you are heading back from Punta Rassa, just after the toll booth there is a wide shoulder where people park to go fishing on the south side of the road. This is also a popular spot for camping and kite boarding.
  • Pier on Fort Myers Beach – The pier in downtown Fort Myers Beach is usually a very popular spot for fishing. Head to Times Square and walk out the pier to the end. There is a small convenience store located on the pier.
  • South End Bridge – If you follow Estero Blvd all the way south as you are about to leave the island, you will most likely see people standing on the bridge fishing over the side. This spot almost always has people fishing from it.
  • Lovers Key State Park – Just drive a bit further south from the South End Bridge and you’ll be on Lovers Key. There are plenty of spots to park for free, including near the boat ramp and you can wade in to the bay side very easily. There is a sign about alligators at Lovers Key, so keep that in mind.
  • Beach Spots – Almost any spot on the beach will do. You’ll no doubt want to stay away from a crowd of people in the water as they can spook the fish and get in your way, so near the downtown area is usually not the best spot. It seems that between the beach and the sandbars that exist in a number of spots along the beach are popular, due to increased fish activity. Mid-island, near Cocoplum Beach House, is usually a very quiet stretch of beach.

All other bag limit, season and size restrictions apply on these dates. To make your fishing day successful, check out MyFWC.com/Fishing for fishing tips, locations and rules.Visit MyFWC.com and click on “Calendar” to learn more about boating-safety events during National Fishing and Boating Week and year-round.

Get Your Paddles Ready!

kayak fishing

Get ready to welcome Fall with the most exciting paddling festival in the country. This year’s Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival dates are November 1st to the 4th.

An annual event since 2006, the popular paddling festival has offered races, seminars, guided trips, a fishing tournament, demonstrations, a photo contest, and social events to kayakers. This year’s festival will include stand-up paddleboard (SUP) activities, on-water instruction, and a canoe and kayak film festival. Also, the festival will offer a race to commemorate the 125th anniversary of Lee County, Florida.Florida kayak and SUP festival

Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival 2012

Photo credit: swflsupclub.org/

The festival serves to highlight the Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, a 190-mile marked-and-meandering saltwater trail that spans the coast and inland rivers along the beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel. It includes saltwater mangrove trails and inland rivers that access the saltwater trails.

The event was selected as a Top 20 Event for 2012 by the Southeast Tourism Society. The festival is coordinated by Lee County Parks & Recreation, which reported attendance for the 2011 festival from 20 states, Canada and Great Britain.

Festival details are available at www.CalusaBluewayPaddlingFestival.com and also on Facebook and Twitter. For trail information, visit www.CalusaBlueway.com.