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Latest update: Dec. 2016

Estero Bay and River Paddling Trail... Paddling on the Great Calusa Blueway

The Estero Bay and River Designated Paddling Trail runs 9 miles between Koreshan State Park and Lovers Key State Park. The paddling trail starts on the Estero River at Koreshan State Park, continues past historic Mound Key, across Estero Bay to Lovers Key. The trail is part of the Estero Bay portion of the 190-mile Great Calusa Blueway between Ft. Myers and Bonita Beach. (Detailed map and photos below.)

paddle Great Calusa Blueway, kayak, canoe

Distance: Varies; 9 miles from Koreshan State Park to Lovers Key
Location: Lee County (Estero, south of Ft. Myers)
Difficulty: Moderate
Tidal: Yes
Launch points: Koreshan State Park, Lovers Key State Park (See map)
Nearby points of interest: Fort Myers, Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Edison and Ford Winter Homes, Mound Key Archaeological State Park

Rentals/Outfitters/Tours:

Koreshan State Park  (rentals)

Lovers Key State Park  (rentals, tours)

Estero River Outfitters  (rentals, sales)

Eco Paddlesportz of Southwest Florida  (rentals)

Adventures Kayaking  (rentals, tours)

Support and Advocacy:

Estero Bay Buddies

Friends of Lovers Key State Park

Estero Bay and River Paddling Trail... Comments and Photos

Varied paddling - from blackwater river to hardwood hammock to mangrove swamps to open bay to estuaries at Lovers Key. Upstream on the Estero River 1-2 miles from Koreshan State Park is an easy paddle Downstream gives way to wind, tide, open water and motorboats on Estero Bay. Lovers Key provides a tranquil 2.5 mile mangrove-protected waterway.


Koreshan State Park

Koreshan State Park was originally founded in 1894 by Cyrus Reed Teed as a religious community (Koreshan Unity) which believed that the entire universe existed within a giant, hollow sphere. Family members deeded the land to the state in 1961. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976, 11 of the original buildings remain. The park includes a campground, picnic area, playground, canoe/kayak rental, and hiking trails.


Lovers Key

Lovers Key State Park is a 700-acre park comprised of four islands, canals and lagoons. A prime wildlife and bird watching location, the park includes picnic facilities, 5-mile bicycle trail, bicycle and canoe/kayak rentals, fishing, and a 2.5 mile beach.


Birdwatching at Lovers Key

Great for birdwatching!


Mound Key

Mound Key Archaeological State Park in Estero Bay is accessible only by boat. There are no facilities, a hiking trail has interpretative markers. The 30-foot mounds (the tallest point in Lee County) are remnants of the Calusa Indians who inhabited the site 2000 years ago.

paddling Lovers Key, Great Calusa Blueway, kayak, canoe

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