News from the Friends of Lovers Key State Park
March 27, 2017 - Nautical Flea Market & Boat Show
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Top 10 things to do at Lovers Key State Park

by Bill Schroeder, FOLKS Staff Writer

Rated as one of the top attractions in Southwest Florida, Lovers Key State Park is teeming with things to do. After you pay the entrance fee and obtain a trail guide at the Ranger Station, proceed to the first parking lot (Lot no. 1), which is just a short way ahead.

Photo of Lovers Keys' exquisite beach by Jason Helle.

Lot no. 1 is a good place for:

1. A walk to the beach. From the tram stop it is a 300 yard walk crossing two bridges with great views of the waters of the park and mangrove vegetation. You are almost guaranteed to see interesting birds here and perhaps dolphins under the bridges. The beach you will reach here is unspoiled, but does not have any facilities.

2. A tram ride to the beach. If you don’t feel like walking to the beach, wait at the tram stop. Trams run every 15 minutes for the 1/2 mile ride to the beach, over bridges spanning the inland waters of the park. If you are carrying beach chairs, umbrellas and coolers, the volunteer tram driver will put those items in the back of the pickup truck that pulls the tram. The beachside tram stop has bathrooms, a snack bar, a chair and umbrella rental stand and even WIFI.

3. Doing a little shopping. Lot no. 1 is home to the Lovers Key Adventure Gift Shop. Here you can buy snacks, souvenirs and bait, and also rent kayaks, paddleboards, canoes and bicycles . There are also guided paddle tours available. On many days, volunteers sell FOLKS tee-shirts, tanks, and hats at the tram stop. Proceeds from these sales support park programs and equipment, as well as raise funds for the park’s future Visitor/Education Center.

A little farther on the park road, is Lot no. 2. Here you can:

4. Study butterflies. Just off the parking lot is a Butterfly Garden with vegetation intentionally planted to attract butterflies and placards identifying many species you may see.

5. Go hiking. The trailhead for the park’s most popular trail, the Black Island Trail, starts here. This is a beautiful 2.6 mile loop trail. If you don’t have the time for the whole hike, there are well-marked shortcuts of 1.2, 1.8 and 2.2 miles. You can also access the trails from the North Gate entrance to the park by Big Carlos Pass.

The last parking area is Lot no. 3. This is the place for:

6. Canoeing and kayaking. At the far end of the lot is a launch for the paddling trail. This peaceful trail meanders through the park and is 2.5 miles one way, five miles round trip. There are markers in the center of the channel every 1/4 mile. You can bring your own equipment or rent at the park. On a recent visit, a mother manatee and her calf were spotted close to the launch site, and you will see our local birds throughout your trip.

Fun with finny friends in the estuary  – Photo by T. Srock

The park also offers:

7. Naturalist talks. The park regularly hosts naturalist led hikes and lectures. Included with park admission, these often require reservations. Check the schedule online or call the park at (239) 463-4588 for dates, times and reservations.

8. Fishing. Fishing in the park is excellent, particularly in the waterways that run through the park and the two passes at either end of the park. Surf fishermen have luck on the beach as well.

9. Photography. The park is an excellent spot for nature photography, from birds, to beach, to sunset.

10. Estuary wading. Enter the park through the North Gate, just south of Big Carlos Pass. Bring a small net and wade into the grass beds off the beach by the bridge. Slowly move the net through the grass and you will catch all sorts of small sea creatures including the occasional seahorse and shrimp that actually look like blades of grass. This is particularly fun for curious school age children.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 – 1PM - 2PM
Members Only Event:
Sea Turtle Presentation by Eve Haverfield

Eve Haverfield has been involved in saving sea turtles in Lee County for 37 years. Join us for this engaging and informative presentation as Eve tells us about the sea turtles that nest along Florida's coast. Refreshments will be served after the presentation.

Eve founded Turtle Time, Inc. 27 years ago and is the President. Turtle Time, Inc. is  a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the continued survival of Loggerhead Sea Turtles.

The presentation will be held in the Ranger Shop Conference Room, located just inside the park off of Estero Blvd. Enter the park from Estero Blvd, and take the 2nd gravel road down to the Shop area. The Conference Room is the door to the left of the building.

Reservations are required for this FOLKS Members Only Event. Although this is a Members only event, you can join FOLKS at the meeting to attend. RSVP to Judy Greenwood via email: or by calling 708-359-0466.
Join the FOLKS Today

Mark Your Calendar for Upcoming Events

March 31 - April 2, 2017 – Don't Miss it!

Nautical Flea Market and Boat Show

This great event features exhibitors selling items for the Florida boating lifestyle. Local boat dealers will be on hand, and vendors will offer an array of nautical arts and crafts, clothing, fishing and cruising equipment.
Fitzgerald’s will serve refreshments, and Royal Scoop will offer ice cream. The Beer Garden is sponsored by The Rotary Club of Bonita Springs. Suggested $5.00 donation to enter. Proceeds from the event will benefit Lovers Key State Park, and the Bonita Springs Rotary Club.

Visit the Boat Show website for more info >


Thursday, April 6, 2017 – 5:30PM

Songwriters at Sunset Season Finale

If you have not yet experienced this popular event, this month is your last chance for this season! The musicians share their original music in the intimate style of Nashville's acclaimed Bluebird Cafe. The April 6 grand finale show will feature  Bob Williams, Dan Philgreen, and Keith Parker.

Bob Williams, a Fort Myers Beach resident, has been writing songs since he picked up a guitar on Long Island over forty years ago. Bob’s original songs include ingredients from many influences to create a unique sound that is all his own. His songs and the stories behind them always bring a smile.
Dan Philgreen came of age in the 70’s, when so many great singer-songwriters were on the radio, and has always loved folk and folk-rock music.  His original tunes attempt to take an honest look at life as he sees it and leave the listener with hope.
Keith Parker (AKA Canyon Wind) enjoys many different genres which have influenced his original compositions.  Keith has a passion for writing, co-writing, arranging, recording and performing original music.

FREE Concert with park entry. Seating is available in the gazebo for the first 80 people. Additional seating is available on the sand, so bring a beach chair and a few friends. Allow 20 minutes to reach the beach!

Lovers Key State Park Interpretive Events
April, 2017

Wed. Apr 5 and
Wed. Apr 19, 10 am
Estuary Wading Trip

Thurs. Apr 6 and
Tues. Apr 18 and
Thurs. Apr 20, 10 am
Lovers Key Fishing Clinic

Fri. Apr 14, 10 am
Sensational Sharks!

Wed, Apr 19, 10 am
Beginning Birding

Fri. Apr 19, 10 am
Florida Manatee Talk

Fri. Apr 21, 10 am
Sea Turtle talk

Fri. Apr 28, 10 am
A Walk on the Wild Side

Space is limited – Call for Reservations: 239-463-4588  

Registration Now Open!

May 13, 2017 – 8:00 AM

2017 Turtle Trot

This unique 5k trail course takes runners through a shady maritime hammock ecosystem. It ends at the pavilion over-looking the beach, where awards are presented, refreshments are served, and everyone can enjoy the park.


Thanks much to the FOLKS' newest Lifetime Members, Andy and Leslie Kern, and Frank and Deborah Wyman. 

Celebrating Spring at Lovers Key

Thank you to all of the Seniors of Bonita Springs and everyone else who attended Reggae and Ribs on Friday, March 24.  Over 100 people attended this event held at the gazebo on the beach at Lovers Key State Park.

A delicious BBQ dinner was served by Texas Tony's as guests enjoyed a lovely evening socializing and dancing while being entertained by The Dock Boys. The evening was finished off with a typically beautiful Lovers Key sunset. Photos by Shelley-Sue Williams. 

2017 Board Members and Committee Chairs
Meet the FOLKS Board and Committee Chairs

Officers                                             Directors

Rich Donnelly – President                               Frank Cassise
Flo Alexander – Vice-President                        Mark Generales
Sharon Downey – Treasurer                            Judy Greenwood
Shelia Armstrong  – Secretary                         Neeley Murphy
                                                                   Todd Richards
                                                                   Shelley-Sue Williams

Board Meetings are the FIRST TUESDAY of the month at 2pm at the shop at Lovers Key State Park. All meetings are open. Members and potential members are welcome to attend.

Committee Chairs

Membership Committee Chair – Rosie Cordes
Building/Exhibits Committee Co-Chairs – Rich Donnelly and Tim Horvatich
Event Committee Co-Chairs – Judy Greenwood and Flo Alexander
Capital Campaign Committee Chair – TBD
Communications/Media Committee Chair – Shelley-Sue Williams
Executive Committee Chair – Rich Donnelly
Nominating Committee Chair – Flo Alexander
Finance Committee Chair – Sharon Downey
Audit Committee Chair – Todd Richards
Legacy Society Chair – Flo Alexander
E-Commerce/T-Shirt Sales Chair  – Neeley Murphy

Wear your Support for FOLKS!

FOLKS new polo shirts and hats are for sale at the tram station every
Friday and Saturday!

Hats are one size with a velcro adjustment, made of 100% cotton twill, embroidered with the FOLKS logo. They come in 4 colors – white, oyster, blue and neon yellow at $17 each.

Polo shirts are available in White, Banana, Maui Blue and Mint Green, with the FOLKS logo embroidered on the left chest. Polos come in sizes L and XL only and are $35 each.

For information on how to order hats and polos, call Jack at #239-470-9556 or email

FOLKS colored tees and tanks are always available on our website. To see all styles and colors visit

The sale of merchandise, shirts and cookbooks is an important fundraising activity. All proceeds go to the support of Lovers Key State Park. A primary goal of the Friends of Lovers Key is to help fund the development and construction of a Visitors Center at the Park.
Start 2017 with a Donation to Support Lovers Key State Park

From the FOLKS Love'n to Cook Cookbook

Broccoli and Linguini or Angel Hair Pasta

1/4 C. Olive Oil
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
1 lb Broccoli (Frozen)
1 lb Pasta
  1.     In a deep skillet, heat oil, add chopped garlic.
  2.     Saute until soft.
  3.     Add Broccoli and 1 C. water.
  4.     Cover and cook until tender.
  5.     Add 2 T. Olive Oil
  6.     Cook Pasta and drain.
  7.     Add broccoli mixture to pasta and toss.
  8.     Serve with grated Italian Cheese.
– from the kitchen of Mary R. Porter, N. Fort Myers, FL

The FOLKS Love'n to Cook Cookbook gives you 200 pages of delicious and inventive recipes from FOLKS members and local chefs. Original illustrations throughout by FOLKS Board Member Rich Donnelly. Purchase yours at the FOLKS online store.

Lovers Key #1 on Trip Advisor

TripAdvisor currently lists Lovers Key State Park as #1 of the 51 "Things to Do" for Fort Myers Beach. In fact, the culmination of positive ratings earned the park the Certificate of Excellence for both 2015 and 2016.

"We have visited Lovers Key every time we are in this area. The scenery is beautiful, peaceful, definitely not like other beaches around this area. We have seen manatees on our walks on the beach in the past as well as birds of all types. "
– Visitor from Cincinnati, Ohio

Calling Volunteers!

Photo by T. Srock.There are many ways to volunteer your time and talents at Lovers Key. Whether you're a people person or more hands-on, we need you now! You don't have to be a full-time resident to lend a hand. Please take our Volunteer Interest Survey to let us know what you like to do, and that you're willing and able to help.

The Friends of Lovers Key, Inc. is a non-profit organization formed by the citizens of the community to support Lovers Key State Park and is registered as a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. As such, your Membership and Donations are tax-deductible.

Business Partners help support the environmental education mission of the Park.

Ashmore & Associates
Bonita Beach Jewelers
John Brady/Everglades Wonder Garden
Donnelly Design Build
Florida Everblades
Guest Services, Inc.
IconDo Design
Johnson Engineering
​Lovers Key Adventures
Lovers Key Resort
Newlove Vacation Rentals
Presstige Printing
Maureen Guenther & Tom Reed: Sunshine Team-Sunstream Realty
The Sand Lovers

Add your business to the list! Contact Contact Shelley-Sue Williams at (516) 381-3518.

The Environmental Education work of the Friends of Lovers Key is made possible thanks to our generous sponsors.​
Copyright © 2017 Friends of Lovers Key State Park, All rights reserved.

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