If you are not interested in crowds then keep driving south away from times square where you will find numerous beach parking areas along Estero Drive. This is were you can gain some space between beach towels, shovels and buckets. Lovers Key State Park is about an 8 mile drive south from the Fort Myers Beach Fishing Pier. It is one of four barrier islands and was listed as one of the top ten beaches in the U.S. Lovers Key Park has bay side and ocean side property. The park has a boat ramp and also offers kayak, canoe, and bike rentals. Most of the time we park at the first island of Lovers Key. You pull off the road, bumpy bump over some rough patches and onto a dirt area where people are parked. Most locals come here to fish from the beach and under the bridge. Here you can also walk all the way to the end of Lovers Key Beach and back, but it is a very long walk. We have done this a couple of times and both times we probably passed about ten people. However, if you want to look more civilized then drive to the official Lovers Key State Park headquarters and parking lot where you can take a tram around the state park.
The atmosphere around Times Square is lively with people walking around either fully clothed or in bathing suits. There are regular street performers, souvenir shops, outdoor dining as well as ice cream and pizza parlors. And to watch all the excitement just sit down anywhere to take it all in. Make sure you have your camera ready. There is always music playing in the area either coming from a boom box or the oceanfront grill. There is a volleyball net usually set up and plenty of beach to kick around a ball. Our two great memories at the pier are the sunsets and fireworks. There are beautiful skies with loads of color during sunsets which provide a terrific backdrop for a family picture. Another one of our favorite experiences was a Fourth of July firework display. The beach was crowded, the parking lot was at capacity and so were the streets, people everywhere, cops too, but I can't wait to do it again. The fireworks are shot off the end of the pier and when you look up to see them explode, if feels as if they are right on top of you. I actually had to give my neck a rest from time to time from looking up for so long.
The Lee County Trolley has a stop at Times Square and it runs along the beaches on Estero Boulevard with many stops. You can carry all of your beach stuff and fishing gear on the trolley too. There are a lot of marinas that offer boat rentals and fishing charters. This area of the Gulf Coast is well know for big game fishing in calm seas. Since you won't be surfing here you can rent jet skis instead or go parasailing.
Above: Picture of brown pelican on fishing pier in Fort Myers Beach. Pelicans and seagulls are all over the pier. They may seem brave but they are more scared of you than you should be of them even though they have a hook at the end of their bill. However, if you have a fish in your hands then the pelican's bravery scale goes up a few notches. Dog beach is a great place to visit even if you don't have a dog.
Towards the end of the day people start gathering around the beach and boardwalk just waiting to see the spectacular sunset of Fort Myers Beach. I think I have close to a hundred pictures of the sunsets and constantly changing sky of each day.
The following came from my old rv website RVforSaleGuide.com and contains more info on Florida's beaches.
Fort Myers Beach - vacation hotels, condo rentals, information. Fort Myers Beach Pier is a popular family destination with a full day of activities including fishing, volleyball, restaurants, and shopping. You have to pay to park, either metered or $6 and up per day. Relax in the quiet ocean waters of the Gulf of Mexico while listening to island music from a local restaurant and bar. Stroll along the many shops near and around the Pier taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of South Florida. There is no RV parking in Fort Myers Beach. We parked our RV at Lovers Key and on some days four miles south at Dog Beach. There is an RV park in Fort Myers Beach called the Red Coconut. They fill up quickly and I believe there is a waiting list in the winter. The terrific thing is that they have a few spots directly on the beach...paradise baby.
Lovers Key State Park is listed as one of the top 10 beaches in the United States. Lovers Key is one of four barrier islands. It offers boating, fishing, swimming, and shelling. Seasonally caught fish are trout, redfish, snook, and tarpon. Lovers Key State Park has parking on the bay side and ocean side. We parked our RV at Lovers Key State Park ocean side which is a dirt parking lot. It is home to West Indian manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, marsh rabbits, and bald eagles. The beach is two miles long and is accessible by boardwalk or tram. It is popular for shelling, swimming, picnicking, and sunbathing. Black Island has over five miles of trails for hiking and bicycling. You can launch your boat from the park's boat ramp from the bay side. The park's concession offers boat and fishing tours, as well as bicycle, canoe, and kayak rentals.
So we just got back from Fort Myers Beach on Estero Island for the summer visiting the best beaches and stuff to do in Florida and writing the Vanabode - traveling the US on $20 a day book. We rented a condo for a month on Bay Beach Lane which is across Big Carlos Pass bridge just north of Lover's Key. All the condos on Bay Beach Lane are adjacent to Fort Myers Beach Golf Club and all have boat slips with views of the water and some having views of sunrises and sunsets. We walked to the beach from our condo a few times but because of the condos location along Estero Island we had to walk across the road to a grassy trail which ends on a wide sandy path. From there you walk through lagoon water and a beach forest of mangrove trees and sea grapes in the Estero Lagoon area to get to the ocean. This is great for nature lovers and especially bird watchers. But if you are carrying sunbathing and beach activity stuff and little ones trailing along then you might not be too thrilled. However, I would still recommend our location because it was quiet at night when you want it to be and the residents and renters around us were respectful, you know what I mean. If you want a party atmosphere day and night then stay closer to Times Square.
The beach trolley runs both ways on Estero Boulevard with many stops along the way. You can carry all of your beach stuff and fishing stuff on the trolley too. Jason and I used this county transit system a few times to go from Doc's Beach House Bonita Springs Beach to Times Square. It saved us from paying to park and from the frustration of finding parking in the peak of the day. Times Square is the mecca of Fort Myers Beach scene with shopping, souvenirs stores, restaurants, street entertainment, and just a totally fun hangout. We highly recommend watching the 4th of July fireworks from Times Square. They shoot them from the end of the pier which is only 600 feet from land. Our necks were cramping and stiff from looking up for so long. Seriously, they go off practically right over you. Absolutely, positively, without a doubt the best 4th of July fireworks fun we have ever had. But it took us two hours to get back to our condo because every Lee County resident knows of this awesomeness too.
Jason's thoughts - Kids will love the abundance of ice cream shops, live music, over the ocean pier fishing, jet ski rentals, boats beaching on the sand, volleyball, crowds of young people, magicians,
dog walkers, and general higher activity level of the Pier portion of Fort Myers Beach. Worth seeing, always the most crowded portion and parking is a 100 yards from the water. Expensive rentals and limited
availability during the high season. Good memories here with our children Sarah, Joshua and Benjamin. Lovers Key is DEFINETLY worth seeing, take a nice long walk up to two hours one way, much more secluded,
and almost as pristine as Playalinda. The ocean beach is full of sting rays, live shells, starfish, living coral, crustaceans, small to medium
size fish, and urchins. Walk carefully.
"I don't want to go to the mall with these takelongers" jokes Josh about Jason dropping him at the mall to meet his mom.
Kelly's thoughts - Well, my favorite beaches are on the east coast of Florida because I surf and there is absolutely no surfing on the west coast of Florida. I did enjoy the difference of the west coast though, mostly because of the abundance of shells. I also found a nice running path, that story follows:
From the RV, Jason dropped me off in Fort Myers Beach whenever I said "OK stop here". I was all decked out with sun glasses, visor, sun block, my (can't leave home without
it) Garmin, water and Cliff Shot. I had a terrific long run from Fort Myers Beach to Dog Beach in Bonita Springs. I started running on the flat sandy beach about four miles to the Holiday Inn. From the
beach I ran towards the Holiday Inn to a trail that runs along Estero Lagoon which is a famous bird watchers paradise. The grassy, sandy trail goes past condos and houses. When it ended I crossed Estero
Blvd. to the sidewalk running over Big San Carlos Pass Bridge, past Lovers Key, and over Little San Carlos Pass Bridge. Then I ran through the stiff grass along the bay side of Fort Myers Beach into Bonita
Springs to Dog Beach. This is where I met up with Jason and the kids at the RV. The total run is 8 miles and I did this run three times. The last time I thought, this is the best long run I have ever had
and this is the last time I will be doing this for this trip...sad.
"Curry up" said Kelly after meeting friends from India.
Travel Info - Head west off I-75 x 131 Daniels Road. Follow signs to Fort Myers Beach. Estero Blvd. is the two lane road that runs along the beach. It is very congested from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. on Estero Blvd. going north leaving Fort Myers Beach. It can take up to two hours to travel five miles during this heavy traffic period. So, roll down the windows, put the top down on the convertible and enjoy the ocean breeze, island pace, and Florida sun. Map location of Fort Myers Beach. It's hard to resist not filling your SD card or taking rolls of film trying to capture the beauty of the west coast sunsets on your Fort Myers Beach Florida vacation.