What’s New This Year at the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival?

Aside

A new relay race! The CaluSUP Fun Race for canoeists, kayakers and SUPers who pair up with pals for a relay competition on the Sanibel Causeway on Nov. 4, the final day of the event.

The event kicks off with a captain’s meeting at 11:15 a.m. at Causeway Island A, 19500 Sanibel Causeway Road, which is the main festival site. Festival attendees can easily watch; the race course is just off the beach.

People can bring their own paddlecraft, borrow a friend’s boat or board, or rent from one of the vendors on site. (Advanced reservations are recommended.)The race can be done with up to three people per team and only one canoe, kayak or SUP. The course is one-third of a mile. In honor of Lee County’s 125th anniversary, the format will be 1-2-5 – as in one lap, two laps and five laps around the oval course. People can put their novice paddler in the first lap and take it from there. Racers will pass a baton that is a piece of recycled PVC pipe sporting an animal puppet.

The cost is $5 per team of up to three people, with proceeds going to the festival’s signature non-profit partner, CROW (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife). You can pre-pay online and print out the receipt at www.crowclinic.org/calusa_blueway/index.php. Or you can pay at the event. All registration forms will be completed on site race day. See the race map at www.calusabluewaypaddlingfestival.com and click on “activities” and then “canoe / kayak/ SUP race.”

The event is being coordinated by the SWFL SUP Club and Lee County Parks & Recreation with support from the Sanibel-Captiva Power Squadron.

Get complete festival details at www.calusabluewaypaddlingfestival.com. Festival hours on the Sanibel Causeway way are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2, and Saturday, Nov. 3, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 4. Admission is $5; kids 12 and younger are free. Race questions can be directed to Lee County Parks & Recreation Senior Supervisor Vicki Little at (239) 229-0649.

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Proceeds benefit CROW

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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.

Ten Great Reasons to Visit Fort Myers Beach, Florida

If you long for a vacation that consists of beaches, water sports, nature, history and culture, then Fort Myers Beach is just what you’re looking for.

Warm Climate

Fort Myers Beach enjoys a warm climate almost year round. The weather is mild with plenty of sunshine and cool breezes. Although January is typically the coolest month, the average high is 75°F, making Fort Myers Beach the perfect destination year round.

Enjoy the Beach

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that no trip to Fort Myers Beach would be complete without spending some time on the beach. Have a barbecue, go for a swim or just grab a good book and relax in the sand. The choice is yours!

Go Golfing

Florida is known for its wide variety of golf courses, and Lee County is no exception. With no cold season, the courses are open year round, but are less crowded in the warmer summer months of May to October. Nearby Fort Myers boasts many golf courses, but if you prefer, you don’t even have to leave Fort Myers Beach: The 18-hole “Bay Beach” course at the Fort Myers Beach Golf Club facility features 3,091 yards of golf from the longest tees for a par of 60.

Ride a Bike

With warm weather year round and a plethora of safe bike paths, local residents and visitors alike love to ride bikes in Fort Myers Beach. Rent a bike or bring your own and explore the many gems in and around Fort Myers Beach.

Go Birdwatching

Fort Myers Beach is a very popular tourist destination, but also provides excellent habitat for many species of birds throughout the area. Nearby Lovers Key State Park attracts American white pelicans, black-bellied plovers, rose-breasted grosbeaks and other colorful birds.

Go Fishing

Fort Myers Beach is well known for its plentiful fishing opportunities. This is the destination for a relaxing day on the water, whether you are a beginner who is new to fishing, or an experienced angler catching grouper, snapper, mackerel and cobia for dinner.

Try a New Watersport

If you’ve never tried Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) or kayaking, Fort Myers Beach is a great place to experience these for the first time. The calm Gulf waters and abundance of wildlife make this a must-do on your next trip to Fort Myers Beach.Cocoplum Beach House - things to do

Go Shopping

Come prepared for some great shopping. There are plenty of unique gift and souvenir shops in Fort Myers Beach, but if you’re looking to do some serious shopping, don’t miss nearby Tanger Outlet Mall and Miromar Factory Outlet Stores.

Spend a Night on the Town

After you’ve enjoyed the gorgeous sunset in Fort Myers Beach, the fun is far from over. Dozens of mouth-watering restaurants and thrilling bars and clubs make for an unforgettable evening in this city.

Great Accommodations

As a tourism destination, there are countless accommodation options in Fort Myers Beach. There are plenty of choices for every possible price range and budget. Whether you’re getting away for a romantic weekend or a family vacation, Fort Myers Beach has just what you’re looking for.

With these ten great reasons to visit Fort Myers Beach, Florida, what are you waiting for? Make Fort Myers Beach your next vacation destination. You’ll be glad you did!