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Six Great Hikes Around Fort Myers

Sometimes, the best moments of your vacation are in the simplest settings. In the Fort Myers area, great hikes are within close reach and yet allow you to feel like you’re a world away. Reconnect with nature, your loved ones and yourself on these six gratifying local hikes.

Caloosahatchee Creeks Preserve, North Fort Myers

Set against the banks of the Caloosahatchee River, multiple trails cross through sparkling wetlands and loop around upland forests, tall ferns and scrubby flatwoods. The most dog-friendly trail is the 1-mile Sweetbay Trail on the east side of the preserve where it’s easy to cool off under shady spots and break for a picnic. Look for wildlife on your walk along the boardwalks and primitive trails; you are even more likely to hear songbirds and see woodland birds flitting overhead.

Galt Preserve, St. James City, Pine Island

Spanning an impressive 265 acres, Galt Preserve has four distinctive hiking trails that encompass a dozen habitats like mangrove swamps and mesic flatwoods. The East Trail takes you through nearly 2 miles of pine flatwoods while the Phil Buchanan Memorial Trail is just over a mile and features boardwalks and a fishing pier. Bring your binoculars to look for nesting bald eagles, along with a variety of wading birds and alligators.

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J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel Island

While the entirety of this wildlife refuge is worth a visit, pay particular attention to the Bailey Tract off of Tarpon Bay Road. Amid refreshing sea breezes, marked trails take you through wetlands and hardwood hammock habitats highlighted by interpretive signs about the wildlife and plants that live in these unique ecosystems. 

Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, Cape Coral

This 365-acre jewel takes you right through a forest of mangroves along the Caloosahatchee River. The 1.25-mile nature trail and boardwalk offer a quiet, easy stroll showing off herons, egrets, and other wading and migratory birds. The preserve is also a launch point for kayaking or canoeing along the waterways winding through the dense mangroves.

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Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, Fort Myers 

North of the popular boardwalk, this section of the preserve welcomes hikers, trail runners and horseback riders. Cross through pine flatwoods, oak hammocks and cypress swamps while taking in views of colorful wildflowers, large wading birds and birds of prey.

Telegraph Creek Preserve, Alva

For more experienced hikers, this expansive preserve is a wildlife wonderland that is a critical habitat for threatened species like the Florida scrub jay and the gopher tortoise. The western trail is open for both hiking and horseback riding, while the hiking-only eastern trail opens out to the adjacent Bob Janes Preserve. Just about a mile west from here you can also launch a kayak into Telegraph Creek, a tributary of the Caloosahatchee River that’s part of the famed Great Calusa Blueway.

Stretch your legs and soak up the sun on these great Florida hikes in and around Fort Myers. Find more wildlife walks and nature walks right here.