Two of the most popular outdoor activities here in Southwest Florida are boating and going to beaches. Cape Coral's primary beach is located within the Yacht Club Community Park; however, this beach is currently closed due to damage sustained from Hurricane Ian. Cape Coral also has a sunbathing only beach located at Four Freedoms Park on the banks of Bimini Basin.
The City of Cape Coral boasts more than 400 miles of canals, many of which have direct access to the Caloosahatchee River and the Gulf of Mexico. The City's waterways are overseen by the Parks Recreation Department’s Marine Services Division and can be accessed through the use of five improved public boat ramps:
- BMX Boat Ramp (freshwater access)
- Burnt Store Boat Ramp
- Horton Park Boat Ramp
- Rosen Park
- Yacht Club Boat Ramp
When using Passport Parking, boaters are reminded to:
- Pay for parking BEFORE launching your vessel. Cape Coral Park Rangers & Law Enforcement personnel patrol the five park locations daily and must issue violation tickets to any vehicles/trailers that do not pay the daily fee or have a current resident or commercial decal.
- Enter the tow vehicle license plate number, NOT the trailer plate number.
- When entering payment information, enter the applicable zone number of the boat ramp location:
- BMX: 1960
- Burnt Store: 1961
- Horton Park: 1958
- Rosen Park: 1959
- Yacht Club: 1957 (Closed due to damage sustained from Hurricane Ian.)
Annual Permit (Cape Coral residents only): $75 plus tax (valid for one year from the month/year that the permit was purchased).
Annual permits may be purchased or renewed online or by visiting the Parks & Recreation counter in City Hall (239-573-3128) or the Yacht Basin Marina (239-574-0809).
• Payment via cash, card, or check
• Drivers license and vehicle registration
• Proof of Cape Coral residency (i.e. local utility bill) w/ corresponding name and address
Commercial Permit (Cape Coral businesses only): $100 plus tax for the primary tow vehicle (valid for one year from the month/year that the permit was purchased). Additional tow vehicle permits are $50 plus tax. Commercial permits apply to for-profit businesses, based in Cape Coral, which provide guide services, boat trips, construction, and other services on the water.
Permits must be affixed on the outside of the back window or the back bumper of the tow vehicle on the left side (driver's side).
Commercial Paddle Sport Outfitter Permit
Permit and agreement with the city is required for paddle sports outfitters to be able to use Cape Coral launch sites for delivery of kayaks or SUP’s for use. Paddle Sport Outfitter application, proof of business license, and insurance are required to obtain approval for use. $100 per month for seasonal operations, or $1,000 per year for annual operations. For details on which parks are available or how to become an approved paddle sport outfitter please email email@example.com.
Unimproved freshwater boat ramps are overseen by the City; they are open to the public and do not require a daily parking fee. Most of these sites are unpaved with limited parking and no restrooms or other amenities.
The Chiquita Boat Lock is not operational due to damage sustained from Hurricane Ian. The lock is in the open position so that boaters may pass.
Prior to operating a vessel, a boating Safety Course is required by the State of Florida for all persons born on or after January 1, 1988. Violation of these provisions is a misdemeanor of the second degree. Before going boating, particularly in a new environment, it is always a good idea to take a refresher course on Boating Rules and Safety and familiarize yourself with local waterways.
Boating safety courses near you and information on saltwater and freshwater boating regulations:
- Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
- Lee County Government – Boating Information
- United States Coast Guard Auxiliary
- United States Power Squadron
- Boating Courses
- A Boater's Guide to the Federal Requirements for Recreational Boats
Boat Ramp Etiquette
Our boat ramps are popular with locals and visitors alike and can become unnecessarily congested when boaters aren’t proactive about preparation. Boat ramps should be kept clear except when actively launching or retrieving your boat. The boat ramp is not an appropriate place to load your boat or prepare it for the water.
- Prepare your vessel away from the boat ramp and verify the following:
- Required safety equipment and the vessel registration card are on board
- Trailer coupler and ball hitch are connected, and trailer lights unplugged
- Battery, motor, and angle of the drive unit in good condition
- Drain plug firmly in place
Quickly move the towing vehicle so others can access the ramp.
When returning from your voyage, dock the vessel at a courtesy dock until the tow vehicle is in place. Use at least two experienced people to retrieve your boat. Secure the safety chain and the winch at the bow to remove your vessel from the water. Then move to the staging area to finish unloading and securing the vessel to the trailer.
For general information about Cape Coral Parks and Recreation, call (239) 573-3128. Or if you encounter an issue in a Cape Coral park, please contact the Cape Coral Police Department's non-emergency line at (239) 574-3223.