A good day trip from the Bonita Springs area is a visit to the Manatee Park just outside of Fort Myers where manatees gather in cold weather at the outfall from the power plant to feed and wait for warmer weather. In a normal year they would be moving on by the last few weeks in March, but this year they were still hanging around and we got to see a few of them on our visit.
We then headed to two of the locks on the Caloosahatchee River that are part of the waterway system that connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico through central Florida including Lake Okeechobee. This is a short cut route that is used regularly by both commercial and recreational boaters and maintained by the US Army Corps of engineers. In addition, the area around the locks is also used for recreational purposes including campgrounds. This facet of the facilities was part of the reason for our visit.
As luck would have it, we actually got a closer look at the manatees at the locks then we did at the Manatee Park. There was a cow and offspring in the basin next to one of the locks that allowed us to get with just a few feet on the shoreline.
It turns out that the campgrounds are very nice and afford a great view of the waterway and are well maintained.
We watched several boats transit the locks and could not help but notice that several of the spectators were not going to be deterred by the cool weather and were going to wear their spring break outfits no matter what.