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Latest update: December 2016

Big Hickory Island...

Kayaking along Florida's Great Calusa Blueway

Big Hickory Island is part of the Estero Bay portion of the 190-mile Great Calusa Blueway near Bonita Springs. Other than a private beach club at the north end, there is no development on the island, it is composed of the Big Hickory Island Preserve. Purchased for the preservation of environmentally sensitive land, its beaches, mangrove swamps and mangrove islands provide important habitat for birds and other wildlife. Padding is popular and varied - around Estero Bay, in the mangrove, or to the Gulf beaches (which are only reachable by boat). (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Big Hickory, Great Calusa Blueway, kayak, canoe

Paddling Map - Great Calusa Blueway,
Big Hickory Island

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Distance: Varied
Location: Lee County (Bonita Springs)
Difficulty: Moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: South launch at Big Hickory Pass, middle launch at the Water Tower, north launch at New Pass (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Bonita Springs, Big Hickory Island Preserve, Barefoot Beach Preserve Park, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Everglades Wonder Gardens


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  1. Paddling at Big Hickory Island
    - Big Hickory Island
  2. More Information and Resources

Paddling at Big Hickory Island... Comments and Photos

Estero Blvd. runs down the middle of the Island and is the only land access. 3 paddling launches are located along the road, with the beaches only reachable by water. Paddling on the open Bay is subject to wind and tide. When the weather is suitable, the Estero Bay estuary with its thick grass beds create is a prime area to see dolphins, birds, and at times manatee (when the water is warm).

Big Hickory Island

Big Hickory Island’s Gulf side beaches are accessible only by boat, we used the middle launch (across from water tower) and paddled along a channel to beachside, the secluded south tip of Bonita Beach on Little Hickory Island. It was mostly a beach trip on this day. There is additional mangrove trail on the bay side, which is best reached from the Island's north or south launches.

More Information and Resources

Nearby Paddling:

Great Calusa Blueway Overview - more paddling options along the Blueway
See FL South Region for more paddling

Related Resources:

Lee County Visitor Bureau: Explore Estero Bay
Lee County - Big Hickory Island Preserve (.pdf)

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