Access to the waters surrounding the islands that make up the Island Bay NWR is by boat only. The islands are not accessible to visitors. Boaters should consult navigational charts and tide schedules before attempting to visit any waters surrounding the refuge. Numerous oyster bars and shallow back bay/estuary waters are difficult to navigate and fragile seagrass beds must not be damaged. By boat, the refuge is located on the north side of Charlotte Harbor in Turtle Bay. The nearest population centers are Port Charlotte, lying approximately 15 miles to the east, and Fort Myers, roughly 23 miles southeast. For more information, contact the J.N. “Ding” Darling NWR, 1 Wildlife Drive, Sanibel, Florida 33957 or call (239) 472-1100.
BOATING, FISHING, WILDLIFE VIEWING, PHOTOGRAPHY, PADDLING
Island Bay NWR, administered as a satellite of the J.N. “Ding” Darling NWR, is located in the Cape Haze area of Charlotte Harbor, Charlotte County, Florida–southwest of Punta Gorda. The Refuge was established as a “. . . preserve and breeding ground for native birds” on October 23, 1908, through Executive Order 958 signed by President Theodore Roosevelt. Later, on October 23, 1970, President Richard Nixon signed Public Law 91-504 establishing the refuge as a Wilderness Area.