Copyright 2000-2014 by Thomas Zinneman.  All rights reserved.

Lee County

Bunche Beach

From Punta Gorda, take I-75 south to Exit 131, Daniels Parkway.  Turn right (west) unto Daniels Parkway to Six Mile Cypress Parkway.  Turn left unto Six Mile Cypress (865), then left (south) on Summerlin (869).  Turn left on John Morris Road.  Bunche Beach is located at the southern end of John Morris Road.  A variety of shorebirds can be found here, especially when the tide is low.  Look for Plovers (six species) Marbled Godwits, Dunlins, Whimbrels, Red Knots, and Sandpipers.  Wading birds, such as the Tricolored Herons and Reddish Egrets (including the white morp) may also be seen here.

Caloosahatchee Regional Park

From Punta Gorda, take I-75 south to Exit 143 (old 26), County Road 78.  Turn left (east) unto County Road 78 (North River Road).  Note that 78 joins up with 31 (heading north) and then turns east again.  Stay on 78. The Park is about 6 miles east of 31.  The Park is divided into two sections, a north section and south section.  The first entrance you come to is to the north section, which has trails for horses and mountain bikes.  Continue east on 78 until the entrance to the south section, which has hiking trails and a campground.

J.D. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge  (Sanibel Island)

From Punta Gorda, take I-75 south to Exit 131, Daniels Parkway.  Turn right (west) onto Daniels Parkway to Six Mile Cypress Parkway.  Turn left onto Six Mile Cypress (865), then left (south) on Summerlin (869).  (Note: As an alternate, one can follow US 41 south out of Punta Gorda.  Go through Ft Myers and turn right onto Boy Scout Drive.  Go about two blocks and turn left onto Summerlin.)  Follow Summerlin to the Sanibel Causeway ($6.00 fee).  Follow the Causeway onto Sanibel Island and turn right at Periwinkle Way (4-way stop).  Follow Periwinkle and turn right at Palm Ridge Road.  This Road will become the Sanibel Captiva Road.  The "Ding" Darling NWR is located on the right about three miles down the road.  Follow the signs.  You can park at the Visitor's Center, where there are rest room facilities.  Then follow the 5-mile Wildlife Drive.  Note: There is a $5 per car fee.

Harns Marsh

Harns Marsh, a 578-acre preserve in Lehigh Acres, is one of the area's major stormwater retention/detention facilities.  Designed in 1981 by East County Water Control District (ECWCD), the intent is to eliminate or reduce flooding downstream along the Orange River during a major storm.  Harns Marsh has been used both as a campground for local Boy Scouts and the public for exploration and wildlife observation; however, cars must be left outside of the facility's gate.  For birders, there are a variety of waterbirds, such as Snail Kites and Limpkins, that feed on numerous Apple Snails.  Most of the Egrets and Herons, as well as ducks, Coots, and Moorhens are abundant.

Following are the directions to the Marsh from I-75.

     From I-75, take exit 138, and turn left or East onto SR 82.

     Go 2.5 miles on SR 82 to Lee Blvd; turn left onto Lee Blvd.

     Go 5.4 miles on Lee Blvd to Sunshine Blvd; turn left onto Sunshine Blvd

     Go 2.0 miles on Sunshine Blvd, past Able Canal; turn left onto 31st Street.

     Go 0.1 mile on 31tst Street; turn right onto Ruth Ave.

     Go 0.4 miles on Ruth; turn left onto 38th Street.

     Go 0.2 miles on 38th Street to parking area of Harns Marsh (no signage).

     Note: For GPS, the address is 3399 38th St, Lehigh Acres, FL  33971

Be careful when walking; many red ant hills.

Hickey's Creek Mitigation Park

From Punta Gorda, take I-75 south to Exit 25, which is Palm Beach Blvd (SR80).  Turn left onto Palm Beach Blvd and head east for about 9 miles.  The Park entrance is on the right (south) side of the road.  

Lakes Park

From Punta Gorda, take I-75 south to Exit 131, Daniels Parkway.  Turn right (west) onto Daniels Parkway and follow it to Six Mile Cypress Parkway.  Turn left (south) unto Six Mile Cypress (865), and follow it to Gladiolus Drive.  Six Mile Cypress turns into Gladiolus after you cross US41.  Turn right on Old Gladiolus Drive, which takes you into the Park.  The address of the Park is 7330 Gladiolus Drive.  The Park contains several lakes where you should see a variety of wading birds and swimming birds.  Be sure to walk through Fragrance Garden where a variety of Passerines may be seen.  

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

This is a Lee County Regional Park/Preserve and Florida Greenway located at Penzance Boulevard along Six Mile Cypress Parkway between Colonial Boulevard (exit 136 off I-75) and Daniels Parkway (exit 131 off I-75).  From I-75, take either exit 21 or 22 and head west to Six Mile Cypress Parkway.  If on Colonial, turn south (left) onto Six Mile Cypress.  If on Daniels, turn north (right) onto Six Mile Cypress.  Look for the Park signs.  The entrance is on the east side of Six Mile Cypress Parkway.  Restroom facilities are available.  There is a boardwalk through part of the Preserve.  From this boardwalk, one will usually see several species of wading birds, ducks, warblers, and woodpeckers.  A list of recent sightings is maintained near the restrooms.