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The 16 mile path runs the length of Pine Island (the largest island in southwest Florida) along Stringfellow Road between St. James City at the south and Bokeelia at the north. Popular with bikers and walkers, the path provides access to businesses, neighborhoods, and parks. Little shade. The only access to the mainland is at Pine Island Road (SR 78) - the largest road crossing along the path - through Matlacha, with its quaint shops and restaurants. There are no beaches and the island is surrounded by mangrove, so has not become highly developed. It maintains an "old Florida" feel with no traffic lights, and no chain restaurants or hotels! (Map link and photos below.)
Map link - Pine Island Bike Path
Location: Lee County
End Points: St. James City to Bokeelia (south to north)
Mileage: 16 miles
Nearby points of interest: Pineland Monument Park, Matlacha, Fort Myers, Sanibel Island
Pine Island Cycles (rentals, sales, service)
Here we visit from south to north. While mostly a separate bike path, a few sections are bike lanes or sharrows (1.5 mile at St. James City, 1 mile at Bokeelia). Parking is available at businesses along the route, or park at Phillips Park (parking, restrooms, picnic, playground, playing fields). Once out of St. James City, the path runs through several nature preserves for a very rural feel. Where SR 78 comes in from the mainland is another shopping district, and nearby is Phillips Park. Continuing north to Bokeelia features many farms and orchards.
Approaching Bokeelia, the bike path ends and a bike lane starts twice - the first starts at Barrancas Ave. and runs to Boyce Drive (about 4/10 mile), then the bike path restarts for just another 2/10 mile before ending again at Four Winds Marina just before the Jug Creek bridge. The second bike lane runs over the bridge and about 4/10 mile to the end of Stringfellow Road and beginning of Main Street. After the bike lane ends, ride on the road into Bokeelia. This is a quiet area, but keep alert to vehicles. Located at the northern tip of the island, Bokeelia has great views of Charlotte Harbor, a fishing pier, and restaurant.
Two worthwhile stops while visiting Pine Island: (1) Matlacha - quaint, funky and colorful, and (2) Pineland Monument Park and the Calusa Heritage Trail at Randall Research Center (a University of Florida facility).
The only access from the mainland is at Pine Island Road (SR78) across Matlacha Pass and through Matlacha, with its quaint shops and art galleries, restaurants and accommodations. The crayon-box colors are eye-catching. Fishing and boating/paddling are also popular here.
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