If you’re heading to the west coast of Florida, you should schedule some extra time to explore the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail. Running along the shores of Fort Myers and Sanibel Island, paddlers can enjoy spectacular views of the area’s nature preserves from the warm Gulf waters of Estero Bay.
Dotted with mangroves that provide sanctuary for over 300 species of birds as well as multitudes of sea and animal life, including — if you’re lucky — manatees and dolphins, the area is a Nature Lover’s Paradise and a haven for those who long for a little slow travel. Numerous outfitters in the area offer guided trips, but for independent travelers, there are abundant rentals and launch areas; trail maps and GPS coordinates are also available.
Finally, if you’re interested, the Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival runs October through November.