Description & History:
Bowditch Point Park is a 17 acre park and nature preserve located at the northern tip of Estero Island (Fort Myers Beach). The park features seven acres of developed land dedicated for recreational use including picnic tables and grills, nature trails, day-use boat slips, and a paddlecraft launch site, as well as ten acres that have been designated as a restoration/preserve area.
Encompassing the entire tip of the island, this park offers the best of both the back bay and the Gulf. The back bay side offers a peaceful setting where you can observe your choice of either the marine traffic entering and exiting the bay or any of a number of native birds that could be combing the shoreline looking for their next meal. The Gulf side of the park is typically a bit more active with swimmers, sunbathers and walkers enjoying all that the area has to offer; however, it still carries with it the calming atmosphere of the island. Bowditch Point Park is a designated Great Florida Birding Trail Site, and the park is fully accessible for individuals with disabilities, all the way from the parking lot to the Gulf of Mexico.
The park is named after Nathaniel Bowditch, who played a role in perfecting celestial navigation. The park was frequently used as a dump site for spoil piles from dredging the channel, which led to it being the highest elevation point on the island at 22 feet above sea level. A seawall was built in the early 1970s in an attempt to develop the area; however, the project ultimately failed. Parts of the seawall are still visible some distance from the water, which gives you an idea of how accretion changes the coastline over time. Lee County purchased the land in 1987 and broke ground on park construction in 1992. The grand opening was in February of 1994, but was renovated in 2002 to remove all invasive plant species, construct a butterfly garden, and add parking spaces, trails, benches, and an amphitheater style seating area placed ideally to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
Bowditch Point Park is free to use; however, there is a $2 parking fee for all vehicles that do not have a Lee County Annual Parking Sticker.