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Latest update: December 2016

Big Hickory Island...

Kayaking on the Great Calusa Blueway in S.W. Florida

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

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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Big Hickory Island... Comments and Photos

Estero Blvd. runs down the middle of the island and is the only land access. The paddling launches are located along the road, with the beaches only reachable by water. Paddling on the Bay can be windy and rough. The Estero Bay estuary with its thick seagrass bed create one of the best place to see dolphins, birds and manatee (when the water is warm). Off Big Hickory Pass, paddle along the mangrove trail.

Big Hickory Island

Big Hickory Island’s Gulf side beaches are accessible only by boat, we launched across from the water tower and paddled along the channel to the beach, and then toward Bonita Beach on Little Hickory Island. We didn't paddle into the mangrove this trip, though.


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