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!