From the north, you cross Big Carlos Bay to Black Island; from the south, you come over the New Pass into the pristine habitats on the south end. Either way, you'll pass hiking trails, picnicking, bike and canoe trails, boat ramps and more on your way to Lovers Key. A tram is available to take you there. Once on the beach, look for shorebirds! Get directions here.
Accessible only by boat until 1965, Lovers Key and its neighboring Black Island had a early history enacted by lovers and pirates. After bridges linked the islands to the mainland, their landscapes were much altered by humans through dredging,
In 1983, the state acquired the islands and in 1996, merged with adjacent Carl E. Johnson County Park to become Lovers Key Carl E. Johnson State Park. Efforts were soon underway to remove the invasive exotic Australian pine to provide a restore a more natural Florida environment for wildlife. The canals and trails were re-conceptualized to provide visitors with a nature experience.
At a time when South Florida’s natural coastal areas are disappearing, Lovers Key State Park stands out as one of the finest examples of subtropical, coastal habitat remaining in Southwest Florida.
This area of the Gulf Coast of Florida is home to dolphins, manatees, bald eagles and roseate spoonbills, in addition to thousands of migratory wading birds, shorebirds and other waterfowl in season.
The 712-acre Florida State Park embraces Lovers Key and three other barrier islands—Black Island, Inner and Long Key. Visitors can hike or bike along the trails, comb the beaches, swim, kayak, fish or watch wildlife.
However you decide to explore the park, you will experience one of the most beautiful and tranquil nature parks in the country.