Visit Lovers Key State Park

Key State Park - An island paradise with many moods, habitats and recreational opportunities.

The Carl E. Johnson State Park on Lovers Key is an idyllic destination to visit no matter the season—and it’s easy to reach with a wide range of activities for everyone in your group.

With 1,616 acres providing 2.5 miles of undeveloped beachfront and back bays, the state park consists of a group of barrier islands situated between Fort Myers Beach and Bonita Springs. Black Island has over five miles of multiuse trails for hiking and bicycling. Anglers and boaters can launch their vessels from the park's boat ramp. The park's concession offers kayak tours, as well as bicycle, canoe, kayak and SUP rentals. 

When Lovers Key was accessible only by boat, it was said that only lovers traveled to the island to enjoy its remote and solitary beach.  A haven for wildlife, the islands and their waters are home to West Indian manatees, bottlenose dolphins, roseate spoonbills, marsh rabbits, and bald eagles. Here you will find deserted beaches, clear waters and weather-beaten trees with interesting shapes. Occasionally, small boats of people enjoying a picnic on the beach are anchored along the shore.

The beach is unique in Southwest Florida, as it is secluded on an outer island that is two islands away from the main road, Estero Boulevard.  The two mile long beach is accessible by boardwalk or tram and is popular for shelling, swimming, picnicking, and sunbathing. The tram gives visitors views of the mangrove estuary habitat that draws much wildlife. It loops every 15 minutes between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. from the parking area inside the main park entrance to the shoreline.  

Near the covered tram shelter at the beach, there is a shower house and gazebo often rented for weddings or family reunions. 

The south beach features Hurricane Charley’s Hideaway, a bamboo-covered snack shack that serves soft drinks, hotdogs, hamburgers, chips and ice cream. Here, you can also rent beach chairs and umbrellas, and purchase sundries, such as towels, sunscreen, toys and sunglasses.

You can come for the beach or go hiking, biking, fishing, picnicking, birding, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding. Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget your camera!

Plan your Key State Park visit

Here is the information you need to plan your trip:

Lovers Key/Carl E. Johnson State Park

When: 8 a.m.-sundown daily (bait shop and boat ramp open at 6:30 a.m.)
Cost: $8 per vehicle (2-8 people); $4 single-occupant vehicle; $2 pedestrian or bicyclist

Getting to the Lovers Key/Carl E. Johnson State Park

By car: 8700 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach
By boat: The four islands of the park are located between Big Carlos Pass and New Pass.
By public transit: Lee Tran offers bus service to Lovers Key on Route 400 (Beach Trolley) from the north and Route 150 from Bonita Springs. The bus stop is almost a half-mile walk from the beach tram pickup, so pack light and rent items such as beach chairs. For Lee Tran details: Lee Tran.
Suggested beach equipment: Beach chair or blanket, sunscreen, sun hat, insect repellent, picnic cooler, camera, refillable water bottle
Ranger’s station: 239-463-4588
Beach equipment, boat and bike rentals and guided tours: 239-765-7788 or Lovers Key Adventures.
Bait shop: 239-463-5990
Details: Check website or call for off-season specials, special events and guided nature walks. Lovers Key State Park