Bowditch Point Park, Fort Myers Beach

#3 of 10 in Parks in Fort Myers Beach
Park · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
It is actually a dual use facility in which approx. 7 acres are a developed park for passive recreational use and the remaining 10 acres 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 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 LCPR made accessible for individuals with disabilities from parking area to the Gulf of Mexico. There is also an accessible Boat dock.

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.

There is access to over 75 parking spaces within the park at two dollar ($2.00) per hour. Payment accepted in nickels, dimes, quarters, one dollar coins, one & five dollar bills and credit cards however, 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 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.
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Bowditch Point Park reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
726 reviews
  • We LOVED spending an afternoon on the beach at Bowditch Point Park. It was not very crowded and the $2/hour parking fee was extremely reasonable. And the bathrooms were really nice!  more »
  • Beautiful, quite, serene place to walk around! Clean showers and bathrooms if coming off the peaceful beach! Nature at its finest!  more »
  • Great place if you're craving the beach but want to avoid the drunk party crowd that usually inhabits Fort Myers Beach. The parking lot is medium sized, however most people don't realize there's a beach here so it's usually not too busy. It's a great place to anchor your boat and ride the waves or cast the pole. Definitely bring bug spray though! Even during mid day the "No See 'ems" are out and about.
  • Bowditch Point Beach is only about a mile up from Estero Island's Fort Myers Beach on the island's northern tip. You would never know it, though. The main street dead-ends at Bowditch Point's parking lot. Park, then continue on foot following the trail through the trees and around a few bends and suddenly you're at this secluded-beach gem. We found countless pristine shells, various species of starfish, sand dollars, horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, clams, etc., and a pod of dolphins played within feet of us for 15-20 minutes. Bowditch Point Beach is never crowded and even though it's a short walk from the bustle of Ft. Myers Beach, it always feels secluded and peaceful.

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