Matanzas Pass Preserve

Breathtaking Preserve in Fort Myers Beach

Matanzas Pass Preserve

Fort Myers Beach is the perfect family-friendly vacation destination, full of fun things to see and do with the ones you love most. If you’re researching things to do in Fort Myers Beach, you’re likely to find lots of activities that have to do with being outside. After all, the weather here is gorgeous all year long, giving you the perfect opportunity to explore the city. When you’re in town, be sure to plan a stop at the Matanzas Pass Preserve.


The Matanzas Pass Preserve started back in 1974 when local wildlife photographer John Dunning purchased land in the area. The land that he bought as part of the Martha Redd estate. Dunning ended up donating around 22 acres of that land to the Nature Conservancy. In turn, they donated the land (and some additional land that they had already owned) to Lee County in 1994. 

Later, the Friends of Matanzas Pass would be formed to protect the local habitat and ensure that it remains healthy and thriving. Their mission continues today, and visitors come from near and far to see the incredible ecosystems and learn about the fascinating nature here. 

What is the Matanzas Pass Preserve?

The Matanzas Pass Preserve in Fort Myers is a breathtaking nature sanctuary that protects some of the most gorgeous ecosystems in all of Florida. You’ll find four wetland ecosystems throughout the preserve, along with an incredibly rare maritime tropical hammock. Visitors have the potential to spend the entire day exploring the nearly 60 acres of land throughout the preserve, perfect for getting in touch with nature, soaking up the sunshine and warm weather, and escaping the busier parts of the city. 

This preserve is one of the most budget-friendly Fort Myers Beach attractions since admission is totally free! It’s also open year-round, though hours may vary depending on when you visit. 

Where Is It and What Do You Do There? 

The Matanzas Pass Preserve is located just off of Estero Boulevard. If you’re using a GPS to get there, the address is 199 Bay Road in Fort Myers Beach. 

There are virtually endless outdoor activities that you can explore here, making this one of the most fascinating parks in Fort Myers. First, you’ll find about 1.25 miles of trails that take hikers and walkers throughout the oak hammock and the stunning mangroves; you can also check out the interpretive stations along the trails to learn more about what you’re seeing. Bird lovers will be delighted here, as the Matanzas Pass Preserve is a designated Great Florida Birding Trail Site! You can also access the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail if you want to spend time in the water. 

At the Matanzas Pass Preserve, it’s easy to find all kinds of fascinating plant and animal species. As far as plant species, you can see fascinating varieties like the Florida Mayten, Jamaican Caper, Cat Clow, Wild Cotton, and more. Many of the plants here are totally unique to the preserve, providing a one-of-a-kind experience. When it comes to animals, we’ve already discussed birds a bit. Still, you can also see other types of animals, including raccoons, owls, turtles, fish, and so many others. To get the best chance of spotting as many of these species as possible, sign up for a guided tour! 

Plan Your Next Visit

We offer a wide range of rental properties to suit any group on any budget. Just contact our team today to learn more about our full range of vacation rentals and book your Fort Myers Beach rental today!

Where to Stay

To make sure that you have plenty of time to experience the Matanzas Pass Preserve and all the other fun things to do in Fort Myers Beach, consider booking a stay with us at Distinctive Beach Rentals!