Kayaking Southwest Florida

by Eric Lindner

Southwest Florida offers a variety of outdoor activities. Kayaking the area provides a first- hand vantage point of the unmatched beauty of our aquatic ecosystems. There are such diverse paddles available ranging from pristine beaches, mangrove swamps, freshwater rivers and creeks, the adventures seem endless. Not only does kayaking provide a direct connection with nature it is an effective, low impact workout that is excellent for your core and upper body.

I would like to highlight a beautiful short day paddle that only takes half a day. Lovers Key to Mound Key Archaeological State Park in Estero Bay is just under a 5 mile round trip paddle. The launch for this trip begins at Carl E. Johnson boat ramp directly across from Lovers Key State Park. The bay is very scenic with numerous opportunities for viewing birds and other wildlife like manatee and dolphin. By paddling the suggested route two unique views of the islands of the bay can be experienced.

Paddling route from Lovers Key to Mound Key

Paddling route from Lovers Key to Mound Key

The halfway point of the trip is Mound Key. Believed to be the capital of the Calusa Indians, the island’s shell mounds reach heights of 30 feet. The self-guided hiking trail starts at the northwest and southeast sides of the island under canopies of cabbage palms and gumbo limbo trees. The top of the mound provides a scenic view of the bay. This provides an excellent opportunity to stretch your legs before the return trip.

Estero Bay Scenic View

Estero Bay Scenic View

Exit from Mound Key looking south

Exit from Mound Key looking south

About the author: Eric Lindner is an avid kayaker with 
extensive knowledge of Florida's ecosystems.
Graduated University of Florida: Environmental Sciences
Owner/operator: www.ecopaddlesportz.com

Tapa Hop 2014 – Sold Out (but some tickets may still be found)

Fort Myers Beach 2014 Tapa Hop credit: http://fortmyersbeachtapahop.com/

If you don’t already have tickets, please note that the website says they are sold out — however, they also have a waiting list for unsold tickets and cancellations. Click here for more information.

It’s Tapa Hop time!  Fort Myers Beach’s yearly pub crawl features trolley transportation to six great area restaurants, each providing appetizer items or ‘tapas’ included in the price for the event.  The event will also include raffle prizes, grand prizes and a poker run. Don’t miss out on the fun!

Name: TAPA HOP 2014
Date: September 23, 2014
Time: 4:30 PM9:00 PM

This years participating restaurants are:

Skye’s Mexican and More
Pinchers Beach Bar and Grill
Island View Restaurant
Matanzas on the Bay
Castaway’s Bar and Grill
Junkanoo on the Beach
Nemo’s on the Beach

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

On Your Mark, Get Set … Marathon in Ft. Myers Beach!

bb9abd_cc14d7b6d9974eee93ce03d8d358b759.png_srz_p_300_120_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_png_srzFort Myers 2014 Marathon, Half Marathon & 5K

This year’s Ft. Myers Marathon presented by Ted Todd Insurance and Publix will be run Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014, starting at 7am at the Pinchers Marina Restaurant on West First Street in downtown Ft. Myers.

The course will weave through McGregor corridor neighborhoods and cross over the Caloosohatchee Bridge to North Fort Myers, then cross back over the Edison Bridge through the River district and across the Edison Bridge spans again before finishing the last mile through downtown and West First to Pinchers Marina.

This year’s event will also partner with Pinchers, including all participants in the inaugural “Stonecrab Festival” which will take place November 7-9 on the marina and restaurant property adjacent to the Edison and Ford Winter Estates.

The marathon course will be comprised of over 11 miles of running through shaded neighborhoods, plus 6 miles over water via four bridge crossings. The half marathon has two bridge crossings and will cover approximately 6 miles of neighborhood trails.

One new segment to this year’s event is a five person Corporate Relay Challenge that will benefit the Kids for Kids foundation with Golisano Children’s Hospital. Each member will run a 5 mile or greater leg of the course with the best five overall times winning the competition.

For additional information and sponsorship information, contact Larry Baldwin at (941) 416-1838 or Larry@eidentracing.com

Fort Myers Marathon – Ft. Myers Beach Marathon

Working Waterfront Tour Wednesdays

Ft. Myers Beach Waterfront Tour

Shrimp Boats
photo credit: ostegobay.org

Did you know that the Fort Myers Beach Shrimping fleet is the largest commercial fishing fleet in the Gulf of Mexico? Shrimping, known as “Pink Gold”, contributes millions of dollars to our economy.

Here is your chance to learn first hand about the Commercial Fishing Industry.

Ostego Bay Foundation Marine Science Center offers a Three-Hour Guided Tour. The Tour includes a 1 1/2 hour guided visit at the Science Center includes a history of the industry and area ecosystems with many exhibits. The Tour continues with a visit to the commercial fishing industry docks, including Erickson & Jensen Supply House, Trico Shrimp loading dock and Beach Seafood. See how the boats are unloaded, the trawl doors are built, the shrimp nets are hand-sewn, the seafood is processed, and other important factors used in this unique industry. Bring your camera for a memorable experience!  Click for the Waterfront tour schedule.

When: Every Wednesday morning in season.

Cost: $15.00 per adult; $10.00 for children over 6 years of age.

Call for reservations: (239) 765-8101.

Deck the Hulls … Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade

fmbxmasboatCome enjoy some Christmas spirit at the Annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade! Last year we had nearly 30 boats participating and this year promises to be even more exciting.  The parade will pass by such establishments as Big Game Waterfront Grill, Parrot Key Caribbean Grill, Matanzas, Nervous Nellies, Doc Fords and Bonita Bills where you can kick back and enjoy the fun. Don’t forget to vote for the People’s Choice Award.

Name: 25th Annual Fort Myers Beach Christmas Boat Parade

Date: December 7, 2013

Time: 6:00 PM8:00 PM

But why not get in on the fun and enter or boat or host a house party along the route?  Prizes will be awarded for the best boats and house parties.  The cost to enter a non-sponsored boat or house party is $25 and a sponsored boat or house party is $50.  Prizes will be awarded for the best boats and house parties!  Click here for more information.

This event is brought to you by the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce.

Christmas, Fort Myers Beach, boat, parade

photo credit: Fort Myers Beach Chamber


Grab Your Passport and Get Ready to Shuffle!

Ft. Myers Beach sandsculpting

Sand Shuffle 2013 – Ft. Myers Beach

As part of the Annual Sand Sculpting Championship at Ft. Myers Beach, Florida, event organizers have added the new “Sand Shuffle,” a passport program with 5 participating locations throughout the area including: Seminole Casino of Immokalee, Edison & Ford Winter Estates, DiamondHead Resort, Fish-Tale Marina and the Wyndham Garden Hotel Fort Myers Beach. Prior to the event, each location will have a two ton of sand sculpture sculpted by one of the participating artists. When visitors arrive at each location, they can get their passport stamped at the designated area. They are also encouraged to take photos with the Sand Sculptures and share on Facebook and Instagram at #sandshuffle.

Kids can also take part in the Sand Shuffle Scavenger Hunt. With each sculpture there is a question to answer. Once visitors have visited at least three of the five sand sculptures and had their passport stamped or scavenger hunt question answered correctly, they’ll be eligible to enter the drawings for great prize giveaways from our participating Sand Shuffle Partners. To enter, completed passports can be brought to the main entrance of the 2013 American Sand Sculpting Championships held November 22 to December 1, 2013.

Get your passport at participating locations:


Fort Myers Beach sand sculpting event

Grab Your Passport

6890 Estero Blvd, Ft. Myers, FL ph: (239) 463-5711
www.wyndhamgarden.com  www.pincherscrabshack.com


7205 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL ph: (239) 463-3600


2000 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers beach, FL ph: (239) 765-7654


506 South 1st Street, Immokalee, FL ph: (800) 218-0007


2350 McGregor Blvd, Fort Myers, FL ph: (239) 334-7419


For more information about the 2013 Sand Shuffle, visit the event website.