Bald Point State Park is a state park located on Bald Point, one of the Florida Keys, in Monroe County. It lies south-southwest of Little Duck Key and north of Big Duck Key, with a length of 1 mile (1.6km) along the Atlantic coastal plain. There are more than 3 miles (4.8km) of multiuse trails open to runners, hikers, cyclists and horseback riders.
The park’s campground features 60 sites for RVs or tents, plus 4 camper cabins that sleep up to 6 people each. Each site comes equipped with water and electric hookups. Half of the campsites are pet friendly. The park also offers bike rentals, kayak/canoe rentals, nature trail guided walks and hikes, and seasonal snorkeling trips. In 2015, there was a new addition to the park, the Bald Point Nature Center, which provides hands on learning experiences about local ecology and conservation. The center hosts natural history exhibits, presentations, workshops, and lectures by visiting scientists and other public events.
Bald Point State Park is at 16450 Estero Blvd., Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931. Its address is available from the park. Accessibility for the disabled was assessed by WestCare, Inc. in 2005. Based on their findings, Bald Point State Park was determined to be generally accessible. Only those marked with blue blazes are considered official park trails; others exist solely within the boundaries of private property without any authority whatsoever. No fees are charged to use these outside trails. Dogs and bikes are permitted on certain designated trails. Other dogs and bikes are welcome on the non-designated trails. Horses allowed everywhere but must remain under control at all times. No animals are allowed off leash. More information regarding rules and regulations may be obtained from the park rangers.
Bald Point State Park has four picnic pavilions. They are usually occupied on weekends during May through October. On occasion, they will be reserved for large groups like the Boy Scouts and Venture Outdoors. Picnic tables are spread throughout the park in open grassy areas. There are twelve miles of beach at Bald Point State Park. Six miles are open to swimming and sunbathing, six miles are roped off for volleyball and Frisbee golf, and another half dozen miles are for surfing, paddleboarding, etc. There is no lifeguard stationed at the beach. Pets are not permitted on the beach. Bikes are allowed on the beach between the western boundary and Buck Island. Between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day, parking costs $10 per vehicle.
During this time frame, the park allows pets and bicycles on leashed horses. After Labor Day, cars are required to pay parking fees, and motorcycles are prohibited. Campsites range from modern with utilities, to primitive tent sites with no conveniences. Water is available year round from wells. Sewer is available seasonally from March to November. Trash and recycling receptacles are provided in spring-fall. Restrooms facilities including showers are provided in summer. Campers can choose from among 40 different sites. Half of them are pet friendly. The park has three group cottages that comfortably house eight people each. Two are pet friendly. Renters provide their own sheets, blankets and towels. Kitchenware and eating utensils are provided. Bathroom facilities include shower, toilet, sink and countertop. Outside of the cottages, there are 30 unsheltered individual sites for tents or recreational vehicles.
These sites do not come with water or electricity. Toilets and sinks are present, but garbage and recycling bins are not. Pet friendly sites start at $20 per night, unenclosed sites start at $15 per night, and both have a 7 day stay limit. Prices go up slightly in high season. The park has four cabin complexes consisting of anywhere from 5 to 13 cabins nestled in a forest of oak trees. Most have wooden floors, wall to wall carpet, fireplace, cookware, and linens. Some even feature a hot tub! Cabins face a central common area with picnic tables and grills. Laundry, pool and spa services are occasionally offered. One complex contains five deluxe cabins built in the shape of seashells, another consists of seven standard cabins, while the largest contains thirteen regular cabins.
The park has four distinct ecological systems:
- mangrove swamp
- marine estuary
- freshwater marsh
- upland mixed forests
Within each system, there are numerous species of plants and animals abundant in variety and abundance. Students taking Ecology courses learn about these ecosystems as part of their field studies. The bald eagle is a symbol of power, freedom and independence. This powerful national emblem was chosen because eagles frequent the rocky coastlines where Bald Point sits. Although they are rarely seen today, when the American bald eagle was reintroduced to the United States in 1974, thousands of pairs began nesting in the higher elevations of the Appalachian Mountains and the Florida Everglades.
Bald Point State Park has several miles of trails open to running, walking and biking. The park has recently added a 10K run called “The Strider” to its calendar. Runners are advised to train for the distance. The course is certified by USA Track & Field. The park has a number of equestrian routes open, ranging from easy to moderate difficulty. Riders are warned to bring their own ponies, as rental steeds are often too difficult for novice riders. The park has a special permit program allowing experienced mountain bikers to ride on the road. When entering the park, visitors require either a Discover Pass for drivers or a valid motorcycle license. Parking fees are waived for those renting a bicycle. The park has a bike path leading to Shell Key, a popular spot to view the sunset. It is approximately 0.75 miles long, well signed and very popular, especially on Fridays, when it is used as a place for runners to finish their races.
- boat tours
- wildlife viewing