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San Carlos Bay-Bunche Beach Preserve

You don’t have to hike or know much about birds to enjoy the hotspot of Lee County bird watching. Let the tourists go to Sanibel’s J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Take yourself down Summerlin Road to John Morris Road and drive straight to the mangrove-laced, sugar-sand shore on San Carlos Bay. You don’t just get the local birds — bald eagles, wood storks, hawks, great blue herons and gulls. You get magical migratory feathered friends that make your card-carrying Audubon acquaintances jealous — American avocets and red knots, to name a few. No wonder Bunche is a stop on the Great Florida Birding Trail. Go at low tide, sunrise or sunset. Oh, and did we mention this is one of Lee County’s last beaches with free parking?

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