Renting a Kayak in Fort Myers Beach is, at least in my opinion, one of the things in the must-do category. You don’t need any experience kayaking to go have a good time paddling around the bay side of the island, experiencing the natural beauty and seeing the sea life. And for those of you worried about deep water, that’s really not a problem as many spots are so shallow you can stand up should you fall out of the kayak – and I think you’d have to be trying extra hard to tip the kayak.
Dolphin and manatee sightings are frequent, and in many cases you will be only a few feet away from them as they move through the water.
Word of caution for first-timers, remember the wind and current can change quickly. It’s usually not stormy, but when you’re paddling with the current you can move away from your launch point a lot faster than it takes to come back, so save plenty of energy for the return trip.
The two bay-side kayak rental companies I know of are:
North end @ Bowditch Point Park:
Calusa Ghost Tours – I believe their rate is a flat $15 per hour. You’ll want to confirm that though, as I am going from memory and sometimes that fails me.
Putting in at Bowditch Point Park allows you to explore the bay side of Estero Island, head through the canals around San Carlos Island, and on calm days head around the north end point to the Gulf side.
South end @ Lovers Key State Park:
Nature Recreation Management – The rates from their web site are as follows:
- Single Kayak – half day – $38
- Tandem Kayak – half day – $58
- Canoe for 1 to 2 persons – $47
- Canoe for 3 to 4 persons – $56
Lovers Key State Park offers plenty of exploration, and they have 2 options on locations to launch. On the back bay, or in the middle of the park proper. However, getting into the park does require paying for entry, and renting from the back bay side at the boat launch does allow you to save a few dollars. Supposedly there is a spot on Lovers Key where there are alligators (I have only heard rumors and seen a picture of a no-swimming sign) so make sure you ask the rental company about it, and do stay away from this area if such exists.
On the Beach:
Every time I walk down the beach between the pier and Lani Kai, I see a number of rental kayaks just waiting for someone to take them out. I haven’t ever asked for rates or looked into who actually rents these kayaks but I would think they could be had for a smilar rate of $15/hour like up at Bowditch point. If someone has details about these places, I’d love to hear from you in the comments.