Easy Does It: Cycling in Paradise
They say that cyclists see more of the world than anyone else. Then it’s no wonder with so much natural beauty in Fort Myers that cyclists feel more of their trip as well here. There’s the steady breeze while coasting the endless shoreline. The rhythm of two tires rolling across wooden boardwalks. The intrepid thrill of exploring what’s around every palm tree and watching the gentle waves rise along the Gulf of Mexico. Bikes are one of the most laid-back ways to enjoy the Fort Myers area, and one of the most inviting. Here are three places to start seeing and feeling more on your next visit.
Sanibel is well known for its more than 25 miles of paved multi-use bike trails that thread throughout the island. At Lighthouse Park Beach, pedal the gravel path and loop around the timeless lighthouse or head to the Sanibel Fishing Pier for views of the Sanibel Causeway. Head west along Periwinkle Way and its endless stretches of shopping and restaurants like Island Cow or MudBugs Cajun Kitchen. After a bite, find your very own strip of sand and stretch out at Gulfside City Park Beach. For an animal adventure, enter J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge and cruise Wildlife Drive on your bike. This 4-mile paved route meanders through expansive tide pools large enough to attract countless local and migratory birds, and other wildlife like mangrove tree crabs, turtles and the occasional sunbathing alligator.
Lovers Key State Park
At Lovers Key State Park, roll along 5-miles of multi-use trails, including Black Island Trail through the shade of this coastal hammock and stop at scenic overlooks of the estuary. Manatees often play here and dolphins come to fish, so a quick rest on the benches is a must. Continue on the service road toward the north beach and look for the small sign for Eagle Trail. Follow the twists and turns on this path through the estuary and keep an eye out for mighty eagles and ospreys circling overhead. Bike rentals are available on-site at the gift shop in parking lot 1 or, of course, bring your own.
Across the Gasparilla Island Toll Bridge, the cozy village of Boca Grande is fun to explore and easy to get around on two wheels. The Boca Grande Bike Path stretches the length of this Gulf Coast barrier island as a 6-mile paved trail. Take your pick of beautiful overlooks of Gasparilla Sound along the way. Follow Gulf Boulevard south straight to Gasparilla Island State Park, where you will find the island’s historic lighthouse and museum with displays on the island's history. While the use of the trail is free, the causeway crossing and sites along the way (like the State Park) charge fees. Feel free to bring your own bike or rent one from Gasparilla Adventures on Boca Grande.
Start with these local suggestions, or feel free to keep exploring. Two wheels are a great way to keep you going in Fort Myers. Learn more about biking on our islands to help get you on your way here.