Canoeing & Kayaking
The area's slow-moving rivers and quiet, island-speckled inland waters are fine for canoe and kayak adventures; you'll visit with birds and manatees along the way. Two popular local venues are the winding waterways around Pine Island west of town and the Estero River south of Fort Myers. The Estero River route is an official Florida canoe trail and leads 3.5 miles from U.S. 41 to Estero Bay, which is itself a state aquatic preserve. The whole trail is part of the 190-mile Great Calusa Blueway (www.calusablueway.com). Near the mouth of the river lies Mound Key State Archaeological Park, one of the largest Calusa shell middens. Scholars believe that this mostly artificial island dates back some 2,000 years and was the capital of the Calusa chief who ruled all of South Florida when the Spanish arrived. There's no park ranger on the Key, but signs explain its history.
Koreshan State Historic Site, a half-mile south of the bridge at the intersection of U.S. 41 and Corkscrew Road (tel. 239/992-0311), has canoe rentals. Less than a mile from the site, at the Estero River bridge, Estero River Tackle & Canoe Outfitters, 20991 S. Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41), Estero (tel. 239/992-4050; www.esteroriveroutfitters.com), offers guided historic and nature tours (call for schedule and prices) and rents canoes and kayaks from 7am to 5pm for $17 to $50 a day. Open daily from 7am to 6pm. Boats must be back by 5pm.
Tropic Star Cruises, based at Pineland Marina, 3921 Waterfront Dr., Pineland on Pine Island (tel. 239/283-0015; www.tropicstarcruises.com), rents kayaks and has guided tours over 18 miles of paddling trails. Rentals cost $40 a day for single-seaters, $50 for doubles. Call for schedules and prices of guided tours. The company also has a ferry service to Cayo Costa State Park, where it rents kayaks.
Golf & Tennis
For an excellent rundown of Southwest Florida golf courses, pick up a free copy of Golfer's Guide, available at the visitor centers and many hotel lobbies, as well as online at www.golfersguide.com. Don't forget that you can call Tee Times USA (tel. 800/374-8633 or 888/465-3356; www.teetimesusa.com) to book starting times at Florida courses.
Although it looks like an exclusive private enclave, the Fort Myers Country Club, McGregor Boulevard at Hill Avenue (tel. 239/321-7489; www.cityftmyers.com/Attractions/FortMyersCountryClub/tabid/115/Default.aspx), is a municipal course. Designed in 1917 by Donald Ross, it's flat and uninteresting by today's standards, but it's right in town. A steak-and-seafood restaurant now occupies the fine old clubhouse. The municipal course is the more challenging Eastwood Golf Club, on Ortiz Avenue between Colonial Boulevard and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Boulevard (tel. 239/321-7487; www.cityftmyers.com/attractions/golf/eastwood.aspx), in the eastern suburbs. Eastwood received a major renovation in 2007. Greens fees at both courses range from $25 to $45. Nonresidents must book tee times 24 hours in advance.
Other area courses open to the public include a signature Jack Nicklaus, Audubon-certified, standalone course, Old Corkscrew Golf Course (tel. 239/949-4700), just east of I-75 off Corkscrew Road. Over in Bonita Springs is the Raptor Bay Golf Club (tel. 239/390-4600), a par 71, 18-hole course measuring 6,702 yards.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.