Lakes Regional Park is an ideal spot for getting a healthy dose of exercise and fresh air in Fort Myers, Florida. Located on the bay with more than 150 acres (61 hectares) of man-made lakes, this park offers birdwatching, a miniature railroad, playgrounds, gardens, and 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) of trails for hiking and biking.
This large park includes several activities for families and fitness enthusiasts, including nature trails, lakes—you can rent bikes and boats—and gardens. For children, there are two playgrounds and water parks, plus a miniature train ride and railroad museum. There are plenty of picnicking areas, and there are also concessions with meals and snacks. Lakes Regional Park is also part of the Great Florida Birding Trail.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This park offers fantastic activities for families and nature lovers.
- Wi-Fi is available in the public areas.
- Only non-motorized boats are allowed.
- Visitors may fish in the lake with the proper license.
- Dogs are not allowed at this park.
- Swimming is not allowed in the lake.
How to Get There
Lakes Regional Park is located on Gladiolus Drive in Fort Myers, Florida. You’ll find ample parking on-site for a paid day pass. From downtown Fort Myers, head south on U.S. 41 S (Tamiami Trail) to Gladiolus Drive and turn right. The nearest bus stop is S. Cleveland Avenue at Gladiolus, about a 15-minute walk away.
When to Get There
The park is open daily from 7am to dusk, and there are events throughout the week. The Wednesday Farmers’ Market, a popular destination for locals, runs October through April. Children’s programming is held frequently, too, including Story Time in the Children’s Garden, and themed train rides for Easter and Christmas. The first Saturday of the month, birders can partake in a Lakes Park Walking Tour with Bird Patrol.
Making the Lake
The park’s lake began its life in the 1960s as a man-made lake at a rock quarry. Its fresh water is a combination of groundwater, surface water runoff, and rain. Over time, this became a popular spot for a variety of wildlife, including American alligators, egrets, herons, and other birds.