of Southwest Florida
by Jim and Cynthia Tunstall
|Much of Florida used to be a tangled swamp.|
Collier Seminole State Park
Artifacts noting the final campaigns of the Second Seminole War are displayed, including a replica of a blockhouse used by US forces and local defenders during that era. One of the "walking dredges" used to build the Tamiami Trail during the 1920s is on exhibit.
Kiwanis Park on Donora Street at Victoria Ave, has a jogging/fitness trail, a self-guided nature trail, and a lakeside Audubon trail. Also picnic facilities. It s open daily, sunrise-9.
Residents and guests of North Captiva most often get around via golf cart. The trails make for good hiking along paths covering several miles that lead to preserved state park land.
On Cayo Costa, six trails cover five miles at the island's wooded north end. Cabbage Key provides a short, marked nature trail, perfect for walking off lunch.
Three miles of trails loop through the woods at Calusa Nature Center, 3450 Ortiz Ave, 25-3435 Admission to the trails is included in the price of museum. See our story about the Calusa Indians.
Ft. Myers Beach
Bowditch Point Regional Park, at the north end of Estero Blvd 339-3300, and Carl Johnson County Park 432-2000, sponsor Full Moon Madness night hikes along their nature trails.
The best hiking trail on the islands takes you along four miles of natural habitat at Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation at 3333 Sanibel-Captiva Rd, 472-2329.
Five miles of hiking trails intertwine with pine flatwoods and oak and palm hammock terrain at the edge of Corkscrew Marsh on Corkscrew Rd, 332-7771. The trails are open free to the public daily during daylight hours. Free guided tours are offered the second Saturday of every month.
For directions, call Florida
Any time you venture into a state forest (not a state park) or conservation area there's a chance of encountering hunters. Call or write in advance for hunting seasons as well as a detailed booklet on the districtís properties (P.O. Box 1429, Palatka, FL 32178-1429).