From boating, to kayaking, to fishing and dolphin tours, there is always something for the family to do on the waterways in and around Cape Coral.
The city features 400-plus miles of canals, with direct access to the Caloosahatchee and the Gulf of Mexico. There are five public boat ramps managed by the city Parks and Recreation Department, which include:
- BMX Park Boat Ramp
- Burnt Store Boat Ramp
- Horton Park Boat Ramp
- Rosen Park Boat Ramps
- Yacht Club Boat Ramp
The BMX Park Boat Ramp, located just north of Trafalgar Parkway on Southwest Seventh Court, has access to a freshwater canal system and lakes. There is a double-boat launching ramp, dock area and restrooms.
The Burnt Store Boat Ramp, at 230 Burnt Store Road, S., is a 4.5-acre facility with a picnic shelter and restrooms. Users can access the North Spreader canal and lake system, Matlacha Pass and the Gulf of Mexico.
The Horton Park Boat Ramp, at 2600 S.E. 26th Place, is a 5-acre saltwater launch site with access to the Gulf of Mexico via the Caloosahatchee. It also features a picnic shelter, walking path and restrooms, along with the ramp.
Rosen Park also offers saltwater access to the Gulf of Mexico via the Caloosahatchee. It has two boat ramps 30 feet wide by 60 feet long, and a marina with 19 wet boat slips for live-a-board vessels up to 40-feet-long. The ramps and marina are at 2414 S.E. 15th Terrace.
The Yacht Club Boat Ramp, located at the Yacht Club Community Park, provides access to the Gulf of Mexico via the Caloosahatchee. There is an eatery, beach access, picnic tables and a pavilion available to the public.
There are also wet slips for vessels 17 feet to 25 feet in length.
Depending on the launch facility, there will be electronic machines or drop boxes on site to pay for parking fees. The machines accept quarters, $1 and $5 bills, and credit cards. There is a daily fee of $10 to park a boat trailer.
Cape residents can buy an annual decal for $50 for unlimited parking. For more information on decals, visit the city's website at: www.capecoral.net.
When boating Camelot Canal and the South Spreader, the Chiquita Boat Lock provides access into the intercostal waterways via the Caloosahatchee. The lock is operational from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Boaters must call the lock operator at 542-5661 30 minutes before using it.
The following groups offer refresher courses on boating rules and safety:
- Coast Guard Auxiliary: 549-1027
- Power Squadron: 549-9754
- Yacht Club Community Park: 574-0806
For families looking for a different experience on the Cape's waterways, kayaking is a fun alternative. Kayaks, or canoes, can be launched from:
- BMX Park Boat Ramp: launches into Shelburne Canal (freshwater)
- Burnt Store Boat Ramp: launches into Rosemary Canal (saltwater)
- Chantry Canal: launches into Chantry Canal (saltwater)
- Horton Park Boat Ramp: launches into Everest Canal (saltwater)
- Seahawk Park: launches into Argosy Lake (freshwater)
- Sirenia Vista: access the Caloosa Blueway (saltwater)
- Yacht Club Boat Ramp: launches into Redfish Cove (saltwater)
Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve, located at the east end of Southeast 23rd Terrace, is 365 acres of wetland area and is the Cape's second largest green space. The kayak trails are not for beginners and children under 6.
The Kayak Shack Outpost offers single and tandem kayak rentals during the weekends from mid-October through late May. Single kayaks rent for $30 for four hours, $20 for two and $10 for each additional hour. Tandem kayaks are priced at $45 for four hours, $30 for two hours and $15 for each extra one.
For weekday and off-season rentals, contact Rotary Park at 549-4606.
The city's Parks and Recreation Department offers kayaking programs throughout the year for all skill levels. Call 549-4606 for more information.
For more fun on the water this summer, look to local marinas and boating communities. Tarpon Point Marina and Cape Harbour offer a mix of things to do with the family, from vessel rentals, to boat tours, to fishing charters.
Tarpon Point Marina offers a 23-foot Polar Bay boat, 23-foot hurricane deck boat and 22-foot pontoons available for rent. No special license is required to operate the boats. Accident and property insurance is included in the pricing.
The marina also features guided eco-tours of the native wildlife and a fun in the sun tour for a day on the beach. A sunset tour is also available. It comes with a glass of complimentary champagne and a visit to a waterfront eatery.
Back bay fishing and tarpon fishing charters are available. For the back bay charter, the caught fish are prepared for dinner after. The tarpon charters will cater to up to three anglers and will head out on the water day or night.
Tarpon Point Marina is at 6095 Silver King Blvd. For information on rentals, tours and charters, contact 542-6222.
A handful of companies working out of Cape Harbour offer multiple boat rental options and a wide range of tours for all ages. There are site seeing tours, dolphin tours, narrated eco-tours, day trips to Fort Myers Beach, lunch cruises to Picnic Island and sunset cruises.
Fishing charters and fishing guide services are also available. One company even offers watersports equipment rentals. For the packages, pick between skiing, wake boarding or knee boarding. A fishing equipment package offers up to three rods, bait box, net and more.
For more information, visit: www.capeharbour.com or call 945-6116 or (877) 945-6116. Cape Harbour is located at 5828 Cape Harbour Drive.