BOWDITCH POINT PARK
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50 Estero Blvd.
Fort Myers Beach, FL
33931

Lee Coffee
239-707-0584
acoffee@leegov.com

Free Guided Walks
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Hours

7 a.m. to dusk, seven days a week.

Information

Parking Fees: $2/hr. Payment is accepted in coins, bills, as well as most major credit cards. Please note that NO change is given or provided. Maximum vehicle length 20 feet, no trailer or vehicle trailer parking is permitted.

*Lee County Annual Parking Stickers are accepted at this location.

Bowditch Point Regional Park is 17-acres that is located at the northern tip of Estero Island. It is actually a dual-use facility in which approximately seven acres are a developed park for passive recreational use and the remaining 10-acres are a restoration/preserve area. This serene location, which encompasses the entire end of the island, offers a choice of settings to fulfill your needs. The backbay offers quiet waters, peaceful surroundings and a close up look of vessels entering and exiting the bay. The park area features tables and grills, available on a first come first serve basis, in a shaded tropical setting sure to please any picnicker.

The gulf front is more active while still providing a relaxed atmosphere for walkers, swimmers and sunbathers. Walking trails, through the restoration/preserve area, carry you through varied environments and offers an excellent opportunity for bird watching while being highlighted by panoramic views of Estero Bay. This is one of the first beaches Lee County Parks & Recreation made accessible for individuals with disabilities from parking area to the Gulf of Mexico. There is also an accessible boat dock.

Free day docks open for boaters at Bowditch Point. The docks feature 10 slips for boats up to 28-feet in length and a paddlecraft launch onto the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. There is no overnight dockage, and no fishing is permitted from the docks.

Bowditch Point Park is a designated Great Florida Birding Trail site. For more information, maps and guides please visit the Great Florida Birding Trail.

Notice: A SALTWATER FISHING LICENSE IS STILL REQUIRED FOR FLORIDA RESIDENTS WHO SALTWATER FISH FROM SHORE. HOWEVER THERE IS NO FEE FOR RESIDENTS.

History
Bowditch Point Park was the only undeveloped property left on Estero Island that had shoreline on both the Gulf of Mexico and the back-bay (also known as Matanzas Pass). It was named after Nathaniel Bowditch, who was responsible for the perfection of celestial navigation that is still utilized to this day. It had little utilization, other than being used for spoil piles, which is the material that is removed (dredged) from the sea floor in order to make navigable channels for vessel use. This use led to it having the highest land elevation point on the island, 22 feet above sea level.

In the early 1970's there was an attempt made to develop it and in order to sell viable building sites, a seawall was installed. In places some of this wall is still visible and is now, quite some distance from the water. This was due accretion (tidal and wave actions) and over the years, the deposited sand, built up the land, which in turn would be taken over by vegetation, and that process repeating itself which continues on to this day.

The County purchased the 17-acre facility in December of 1987. In 1992 ground was broken and it was developed for passive recreational use with the official "Grand Opening" in February 1994. It only had 10 accessible parking spaces with emphasis placed on a "Park & Ride" program for general public use. The facility remained without much change until 2002, at that time; the rest of the park was cleared of exotics, replanted with native vegetation and saw the addition of 75 parking spaces. Along with the addition of a butterfly gardens, trails and benches, placed not only for convenience, but with optimal views as well. A viewing area with an amphitheater style seating arrangement for enjoying the vistas of Sanibel Island, Gulf of Mexico, San Carlos Bay, Bunche Beach, Punta Rassa, and of course, the beautiful sunsets. In 2009 Bowditch Point Park received a Commercial Beautification Award.