The West Coast of Southern Florida is just vibrant with water sports. Well known for its beaches, shells, fishing, and kayaking, Fort Myers and Sanibel Island are at the heart of that and serve as the gateway to San Carlos Bay en route to the Gulf of Mexico. This complicated network of islands and inlets is just ripe for kayaking and paddleboarding. Kayaking the Causeway Islands of Fort Myers and Sanibel Island offers a great introduction to the paddling opportunities in this area of the Gulf of Mexico.
Causeway Islands Parks Location
- Address: 19931 Sanibel Causeway Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
- Where: On the road (SR/CR 867) from Fort Myers to Sanibel Island
- Directions: When heading West from Fort Myers, you’ll go through a Toll Booth to cross over to Sanibel Island. You will cross over two islands en route to Sanibel. Pull off the road onto either island.
Facts and Information about Causeway Islands ParkThese two Islands were created as a way to connect Fort Myers with Sanibel Island. In the process the D.O.T. did a great thing in making them very convenient and recreational areas.
- Names of The Islands: Island A and Island B
- Size: The combined size of these islands is 10 acres.
- Island A Amenities: There are no facilities at Island A.
- Island B Amenities: Restrooms, drinking fountains, and picnic tables.
- Toll: $6 leaving Fort Meyers
Kayaking from Causeway Islands Park
Launching from either Island A or Island B is a matter of personal preference and based on where you wish to explore. Take a few minutes to check out both islands. Pull off and walk around and find your preferred launch site. Its very easy to park and unload very close to water’s edge.
I recommend paddling on the north side of the Causeway Islands. This will keep you within the protected waters of the Pine Island Sound rather than out into the exposed Gulf of Mexico. You’ll notice other Islands to explore, but don’t be fooled as these mangrove islands don’t have any footing but are simply a network of trees. Of course, the larger islands such as Sanibel and St. James City has places to get out.
Tides between Fort Myers and Sanibel Island
This whole area is shallow water and is tidal. At low tide you will probably be able to stand, even way out. You can also visually see the white sands of sand bars and shell mounds. Of course there are channels for boats all through here, so there will be deeper spots.
The current is swift through the bridges of the Sanibel Causeway. Therefore stay out of these openings except to just pass through as needed. You’ll also notice that the tides change which can complicate your return back to the islands of Causeway Islands Park. In a kayak this just means you’ll have to paddle a bit harder. In a paddleboard, it can make it feel nearly impossible to paddle the board back to your car depending on the direction of the tide. For times like this, kneel down and paddle. Proper trip planning can help you avoid these tidal situations.
Sea Life You’ll See While Kayaking in Fort Myers and Sanibel Island
As the waters are shallow and relatively clear, you’ll see tons of sea-life. Manatee and turtles are common in these waters. Fish can be viewed darting under your kayak or paddleboard. Its quite common for them to jump all around you and schools of bait fish can be seen on the surface of the water.
Of course, all of the vibrant fish action brings the larger predators in for feeding. Among the shark sightings are bull sharks, tiger sharks, hammerheads and bonnet heads just to name a few. Dolphins also swim in schools all over this area, especially at higher tides. Paddle boarding in this areawill certainly improve your chances of experiencing all that this trip has to offer.