About Lovers Key State Park
Often listed as one of the state’s top beaches by various travel television shows, Lovers Key was a popular courting site for young couples prior to the construction of the Bonita Beach Causeway. Couples would often boat to the island and picnic. Nowadays, Lovers Key is an undeveloped barrier island with a mostly native landscape and plenty to offer outdoor enthusiasts. Park rangers give regular guided tours and teach everything from cast net throwing to birding. Dogs are allowed in the park on a leash, but are not allowed on the beach itself.
There is something adventurous about stepping foot on an island. These days, the causeways that link our chain of barrier islands together make it easy to forget that one is disconnected from the mainland by a significant body of water. Lovers Key, in its natural shape-shifting form, is remnant of a time when adventurers sought excitement by disconnecting from the mainland.
Pros: Wide and long beach with plenty of space for secluded sunbathing, even in season. Bike and hiking trails are available. Sheltered paddling for canoeing and kayaking. Great area for wade fishing. Restroom and vending facilities as well as tram services to and from the beach.
Cons: Bugs can dominate outings during summer months and on warm evenings during the winter.
Likely visitors: People wanting to spend a day on a natural island that’s also easy to access.
Getting there: Heading north on Highway 41, make a left on Bonita Beach Road, which turns into Hickory Boulevard, then Estero Boulevard. From Estero Boulevard, look for the park entrance on the left.
Parking: $8 entrance fee per vehicle (2-8 persons), $4 for single occupant vehicle and $3 per bicyclist or walker
Facilities: There are restrooms, showers and picnic tables.
Hours: 8 a.m. - sunset
Other details: There are boardwalks, fishing and bait supplies, nature trails, tram rides to the beach, canoe and kayak rentals, an observation area, a volleyball net and a gazebo.