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Parks & Recreation


Ecotourism has been an established concept since the mid-1980s. The popularity represents a change in tourists’ sensitivity and awareness of the environment and an increased desire to explore natural environments.  Some common forms of eco-tourism and environmental recreation in Cape Coral are listed below. Click on any of the links below for more details on that topic and/or scroll down to view all general information. 

     * Bird Watching
     * Fishing
     * Kayaking
     * Nature/Walking Trails
     * Wildlife Viewing
Eco bird
Typically, ecotourism focuses on socially responsible travel, personal growth, and environmental sustainability. It also involves travel to places where flora and wildlife are the primary attractions and usually involves visiting fragile, pristine, and relatively undisturbed natural areas. The City of Cape Coral is fortunate to have several nature parks and areas where people can observe a variety of creatures and plant life in their natural environments. The most popular locations for these types of activities include:

Rotary Park & Environmental Center - This 97-acre park is included as part of "The Great Florida Birding Trail" and is the home base for Cape Coral's environmental recreation program.

Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve - This 365-acre park features a walking trail and boardwalk, a visitor center, and a Veterans Memorial area, and it is home to various birds and other species year-round.

Sirenia Vista Park - This park features an observation deck for viewing manatees at certain times of the year, a fishing area, and a kayak launch that provides public access to the Calusa Blueway through Matlacha. 

Part of the Great Florida Birding TrailRotary Park has a rugged trail that is less than one mile long and passes through uplands & salt marshes. Possible wildlife sightings include gopher tortoises, alligators, snakes, and a large variety of wading & migratory birds. At times, sections of this trail may be underwater, particularly during the rainy season, so visitors should wear appropriate footwear.

Also at Rotary Park is a trail known as the Glover Bight Trail. This is a boardwalk, so it is wheelchair accessible. It passes through mangrove wetlands and ends at Glover Bight; however, parts of this trail are closed due to damage from Hurricane Ian. Glover Bight is a broad area of oyster bars & shallow flats that is a good area to view wading birds, especially during low tide. Both trails have observation towers that people can climb to get a bird’s eye view of the area. A good time of day to come to the park is early in the morning. Walk quietly for the best chance to see wildlife. Please keep in mind these are nature trails so no running, biking, or dogs are permitted on the trails.

Rotary Bird Sightings
The following is a list of bird species that have been spotted at Rotary Park. You can also check out the latest bird alerts at If you would like to add your sightings to the list, please e-mail the information to

Common Moorhen Great Egret Wood Stork Red-bellied Woodpecker
American Wigeon Snowy Egret Greater Yellowlegs Downey Woodpecker
Mottled Duck Cattle Egret Lesser Yellowlegs Pileated Woodpecker
Pied-billed Grebe Double-crested Comorant   White Ibis Common Ground-Dove
Blue-winged Teal Anhinga Osprey Mourning Dove
Green-winged Teal Little Blue Heron Red-shouldered Hawk Palm Warbler
Roseate Spoonbill Great Blue Heron Bald Eagle Prairie Warbler
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher Tri-colored Heron Turkey Vulture Yellow-rumped Warbler
Great Crested Flycatcher  Northern Cardinal Black Vulture Gray Catbird
Reddish Egret Northern Mockingbird Eastern Phoebe Common Grackle
Common Gallinule Laughing Gull Yellow-throated Warbler   Brown Thrasher
American Coot Belted Kingfisher White Pelican Purple Martin

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Fishing is a popular sport that provides people with an opportunity to relax, get away from everyday stresses, spend time with family and friends, and enjoy the great outdoors. With Florida being the “Fishing Capital of the World,” and laying claim to more anglers than any other state (2.8 million), it is no wonder that residents and visitors alike are often looking for places to fish in Cape Coral!

With its vast canal system and convenient location on the banks of the Caloosahatchee River, Cape Coral offers several fishing opportunities for both freshwater and saltwater activity; however, it is important that people be aware of, and adhere to Florida fishing license requirements and laws prior to dropping their lines in the water in order to avoid potential citations.

The best source of information for current fishing rules and regulations, license fees, exemptions, measurements, seasons, species, and other “fish facts” both for saltwater and freshwater fishing is the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) website at

The State Legislature sets fishing license fees and exemptions, as well as penalties for violating fish and wildlife conservation laws. Recreational licenses and permits for residents and nonresidents are available at county tax collectors' offices, and from subagents, such as sporting goods stores or other retailers selling hunting or fishing equipment. Licenses may also be obtained over the telephone by dialing toll-free, 1-888 FISH FLORIDA (347-4356), or online at For additional recreational licensing information, visit or call your local county tax collector office.

Fishing Locations in Cape Coral
Below is a list of approved fishing locations within Cape Coral's parks and the hours that people are permitted to fish:

Park Location Hours
Bernice Braden Park Shoreline & Under Bridge   24 hours
Four Freedoms Park Seawall Area 24 hours
Four Mile Cove Eco Preserve Two Piers Daylight only  
Horton Park & Boat Ramp River Shoreline 24 hours
Jaycee Park Shoreline Daylight only
Lake Kennedy Park Two Small Piers Daylight only
Rosen Park Seawall Area 24 hours
Seahawk Park (Lake Argosy) Around Lake Daylight only
Sirenia Vista Park Shoreline Daylight only
Yacht Club Community Park Fishing Pier 24 hours

Angler’s Code of Ethics
While fishing can be relaxing and fun, please adhere to the following code of ethics (provided by the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Committee) to be respectful of the environment and to help make the sport more enjoyable for yourself and those who come after you:

  • Support conservation efforts
  • Practice effective catch-and-release of fish that are unwanted or prohibited to retain
  • Don’t pollute; Recycle and dispose of trash and monofilament
  • Practice safe angling and boating, including hook awareness and use of personal flotation devices (PFDs);
  • Learn and obey fishing and boating rules and regulations, and purchase the appropriate licenses
  • Respect other anglers’ and boaters’ rights
  • Respect property owners’ rights and do not trespass
  • Share fishing knowledge and skills with others
  • Don’t release live bait into waters or spread exotic plants and fish
  • Promote ethical sport fishing and encourage others to reconnect on the water
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With so much water in and around Cape Coral, kayaking is a popular activity locals and visitors enjoy. While the Kayak Shack at Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve remains closed due to damage from Hurricane Ian, for those who have their own kayak (or canoe) and wish to explore the area on their own, there are several parks located in Cape Coral where people are permitted to launch their vessels from. These locations include:

  • BMX Boat Ramp – Launches into Shelburne Canal, which connects with several freshwater canals and Alhambra Lake, Lake Kennedy, and Saratoga Lake.
  • Burnt Store Boat Ramp – Launches into Rosemary Canal (saltwater), which connects with several canals and leads to Matlacha Pass
  • Chantry Canal / Rosen Park – Launches into Chantry Canal (saltwater), which connects with the Caloosahatchee River north of the mid-point bridge
  • Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve – This launch is located adjacent to the Kayak Shack and allows Kayakers to access the various creeks located within the preserve and Four Mile Cove, located on the Caloosahatchee River (saltwater) just north of the mid-point bridge. Within Four Mile Cove, floating kayak docks have been constructed to provide people with places to rest or use as weather shelters.
  • Horton Park Boat Ramp – Launches into Everest Canal (saltwater), which connects with the Caloosahatchee River just south of the mid-point bridge
  • Saratoga Lake Park - Kayakers can use the ADA accessible kayak ramp to launch their vessel to access Lake Saratoga and Lake Kennedy (freshwater)
  • Seahawk Park – Kayakers and boaters are permitted to use the ramp located on the north side of Argosy Lake (freshwater)  
  • Yacht Club Boat Ramp – Launches into Redfish Cove (saltwater), which is a part of the Caloosahatchee River
There is no parking fee at any of these locations unless a boat trailer is used, in which case the Boat Trailer Parking Program fee applies.

Also located in Cape Coral and the surrounding areas is the popular Great Calusa Blueway, which encompasses three distinct regions of the Gulf of Mexico coast, ranging from open waters to sheltered mangrove creeks.

--> Click here to get more information on the Great Calusa Blueway, including maps & tips

Prior to kayaking, canoeing or boating, it is recommended that people familiarize themselves with boating safety and etiquette. This information can be obtained through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary at (239) 549-1027. Some special rules apply to kayak fishing, so those who wish to enjoy this sport should visit the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) website at for current regulations.

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If you are looking to get some exercise while taking in the scenery and enjoying nature, Cape Coral Parks and Recreation offers multiple locations where you can have an enjoyable outdoor adventure.  The below parks are open from sunrise to 9:00 p.m. daily. (Click on the park name(s) to view amenities and get directions):

  • Jaycee Park – This popular park, located along the banks of the scenic Caloosahatchee River, has a mostly shaded 3/10 mile paved walking path along the river, where visitors can spot birds and various marine life. 
  • Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve – This large nature park has a 6600’ nature trail and boardwalk plus two observation piers.  Since this is a nature preserve, no running, bikes, dogs, skating or rollerblading is permitted.  Wildlife sightings are possible, keeping in mind that being slow and quiet will improve your chances of seeing wildlife behaving naturally in their environment.  Guided and special hikes are available several times during the year. See the current Parks & Recreation program guide for details.  
  • Rotary Park - Part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, Rotary Park has a rugged trail that is less than one mile long and passes through uplands & salt marshes.  During the rainy season, be advised that parts of the trail may be underwater, so be sure to wear appropriate footwear.  Since this is a nature trail, no running, biking, or dogs are permitted on the trail.  Wildlife sightings are also possible here, but the secret is to come early and walk quietly for the best chance to see creatures in their environment.
    • Glover Bight - Glover Bight Trail is a 3/10 mile boardwalk trail located within Rotary Park, which is wheelchair accessible; however, it remains partially closed due to damage from Hurricane Ian.
  • Saratoga Lake Park - This five-acre neighborhood park has a 3/10 mile paved walking path around it to enjoy a beautiful lake view and resident burrowing owls.
  • Sirenia Vista Park - This 8-acre environmental park, with a paved walking path around the perimeter, is a great place to enjoy viewing manatees, especially in the cooler months, as well as various birds and marine life. 
  • Yellow Fever Creek Preserve - Totaling 535 acres, the Yellow Fever Creek property is part of a partnership with Lee County. The City's 2018 GO Bond referendum includes Yellow Fever Creek Preserve, which will eventually be a fantastic nature preserve with plans for hiking and equestrian trails, primitive campsites, and a visitor center. Undeveloped & not yet open to the public. To view future site plans, visit the Lee County Conservation 20/20 website.
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The subtropical climate of Southwest Florida allows for an incredible variety of wildlife, such as exotic birds, alligators, manatees, and dolphins, to name a few. Pick up a copy of "The Nature of Cape Coral" Wildlife Viewing Map and/or see below for a list of Cape Coral locations where wildlife can be viewed in their natural environments:

  • Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve:  SE 23rd Terrace
    As one of the largest nature preserves in Cape Coral, Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve encompasses 365 acres of wildness that are home to various flora, fauna, and wildlife.
    • Resident Wildlife:  Wading birds, migrant songbirds, waterfowl, gopher tortoises, dolphins, various reptiles, and amphibians.
  • Rotary Park Environmental Center: 5505 Rose Garden Road, (239) 549-4606
    This park, which is set on 97 acres of natural beauty, is considered the “Great Florida Birding Site."  As part of the Florida Birding Trail, birdwatching is an extremely popular activity at Rotary Park.
    • Resident Wildlife: Wading birds, raptors, migrant songbirds, butterflies, foxes, and other mammals.
  • Sirenia Vista Park: Ceitus Parkway & Old Burnt Store Road
    • Resident Wildlife:  Manatees abundant November – February, occasionally the rest of the year.
  • Veterans Park: 4140 Coronado Parkway
    • Resident Wildlife Burrowing Owls
  • Yellow Fever Creek: 3115 Del Prado Boulevard North
    • Resident Wildlife: Wading birds, migratory birds, gopher tortoises, bobcats, coyotes, foxes

Please be advised that there is proper etiquette to follow when viewing wildlife:

  • Observe posted rules for safe distances while viewing wildlife.
  • Getting close enough to an animal to make it react is too close, and you should back away immediately.
  • You may approach as close as 33 ft to an owl’s burrow but must remain 150 feet from an eagle’s nest.
  • Please DO NOT feed the wildlife!
  • There are stiff penalties for wildlife harassment, especially for threatened species.
  •  Wildlife is best enjoyed when one is quietly observing their natural behavior.
If you are interested in helping with wildlife conservation, the Cape Coral Friends of Wildlife volunteer group is a great way to get involved. Please visit their website: for more information, or for more details about wildlife viewing in Cape Coral, please contact the Environmental Recreation staff at Rotary Park - (239) 549-4606.

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For more information on environmental recreation programs and opportunities in Cape Coral, contact Rotary Park at (239) 549-4606. 

If you encounter an issue in one of Cape Coral's parks, please contact the Cape Coral Police Department's non-emergency line at (239) 574-3223.