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Bunche Beach Preserve

Bunche Beach Preserve

Across Estero Bay from Bowditch Point Park and the northernmost tip of Fort Myers Beach is the San Carlos Bay – Bunche Beach Preserve, a 718-acre parcel managed by Lee County Parks & Recreation. Bunche Beach acts like a barrier island, as it stretches out along San Carlos Bay between Sanibel and Bowditch Point, even though it is on the mainland. Lee County originally founded it in 1949, when it acquired the first half-acre, as a water recreation area for African-American residents, as Southwest Florida was still deep into segregation at that time. A year later, Lee County renamed it after Dr. Ralph Bunche, who was the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize for his successful mediation of the first war between Israel and the Arab States. It expanded in 2001 when Lee County, through the “Conservation 20/20 Fund,” acquired an additional 703 acres, then in 2006 added the final five to its current 718 acres. Today, its usage is still near the bottom of all area beaches, so if you want to avoid crowds, especially In Season, this is the place for you!
Bunche Beach Preserve-Fort Myers-Fort Myers Beach Life

A Favorite Spot for Bird and Birders

There are thousands of parchment worms on Bunche Beach, explaining why it is such a favorite spots for birds and birders, especially right after high tide when it is awash in food and not so with people. The shoreline is full of “green sea lettuce” seaweed. There are lots of oyster shells, and the wrackline, where the water leaves debris at high tide, is rich with food for wildlife. You will find sea grapes; Blue swimming crabs that paddle on their backs; ghost, box, and horseshoe crabs; Busy Oxeye Daisies that bloom mostly in the summer; and nickerbeans with thorns all the way out to its seed pods.

To Reach Bunche Beach Preserve

To reach Bunche Beach from Fort Myers Beach, take San Carlos Boulevard to Summerlin Road and turn left, as if going to Sanibel. The first major intersection is John Morris Road; turn left, with the roughly one-mile road dead-ending into the beach and parking area. There are no trails nor dogs allowed, as Bunche is a protected birding habitat. Bunche Beach is open daily from 7 a.m. to dusk, with free nature walks in ``season``.


Enjoy the water, the view, and all the fun things to do! That’s Fort Myers Beach Life!

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