The next time you get behind the wheel of your car and find yourself on I-75, take exit 136 and enter the quiet beautiful world of Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. Park your car then linger among the majestic trees and take a hike or stroll a boardwalk that zigzags through a swamp. The boardwalk is a short half hour walk where you’ll see nature at its best: ferns, lichens, cypress and airplants. You’ll see wildlife and can spend as much time as you want surrounded by the quiet of nature and its blissful beauty. Free guided-walks are available as is a nature center with interactive exhibits.
The 1.2-mile wide wheelchair-accessible boardwalk goes through a dark cypress strand as you enter the Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve. Free to the public, it’s a stop on the Great Florida Birding Trail, where you can enjoy an awe-inspiring scene of old Florida. The boardwalk has two loops and several benches provide a place for you to sit and watch wildlife. It is shaded and mosquito-free all year long.
As you walk along the boardwalk through 80 acres of the 9-mile slough preserve, the slough is a slow-moving river that empties into Estero Bay. The unspoiled cypress swamp is home to wildlife. Follow the boardwalk and in the lakes, you may spy alligators, turtles, blue herons, cardinals, white ibises, gar, anhingas, and woodpeckers as well as dozens of other bird species. Morning glories peek from under the boardwalk and add to the beauty of the Preserve. The park is open 8 AM to sunset daily. . Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve is located in western Fort Myers off Six Mile Express Parkway and 3.2 miles south of Colonial Boulevard on I-75 exit 136. There are restrooms and shaded picnic tables. Parking is $1 an hour.