Mound Key Archeological State Park

Les avis sur Mound Key Archeological State Park, Estero

Mound Key Archeological State Park
4
Parcs régionaux • Espaces naturels et sauvages
La région
Adresse
Le meilleur dans les environs
Restaurants
22 dans un rayon de 5 km
Attractions
40 dans un rayon de 10 km

4.0
10 avis
Excellent
4
Très bon
5
Moyen
0
Médiocre
0
Horrible
1

Jeff P
comer, ga1 contribution
Not worth the effort.
juin 2021
My spouse and I kayaked to Mound Key today (6/22/2021). We were looking forward to hiking the trail and reading the interpretive kiosks. Unfortunately we very disappointed as the northwest and southeast landings and hiking trail appear to no longer be maintained, useable or passable. We found and tried to access both. The dock and boardwalk on the south side of the island has a sign stating "No Trespassing, Private Property" and has a locked gate preventing access to the island. The Florida State Park website for Mound Key needs to be updated in order to properly manage the expectations of visitors. Hopefully this state park will get the attention it needs to be a nice destination for kayakers in the future.
Écrit le 22 juin 2021
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de TripAdvisor LLC.

Joe C.
54 contributions
Early morning kayaking
juin 2019 • En solo
Kayaked over from Lover’s Key. Very peaceful time. Loved walking around the area. Bring your own refreshments and sunscreen. Lots of seabirds and evidence of turtles. Greeted by a pod of dolphins when we left. Great time.
Écrit le 26 juin 2019
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de TripAdvisor LLC.

Lwlittrell
Fort Myers Beach, Floride213 contributions
Interesting
avr. 2019 • En couple
This would be such a cool place if more signage to know how to get there was available! Also, along the trails, maybe more signage and explanations as to what you are walking on! We knew because we had been to the mound house and so we understood how the mounds got there, but most people would be underwhelmed if they didn’t understand along the way, especially the highest points, what that meant in terms of effort by the natives to build these areas up and what they were probably used for. The few signs at the beginning are nice but it would be great if they could expand on it by adding signage along the way! Saw some pretty plants....and be careful of he cactus!!!!!
Écrit le 11 avril 2019
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de TripAdvisor LLC.

marknovit
Estero, Floride10 contributions
A fascinating island to explore
mars 2018 • Entre amis
Well worth the trip by boat to get there. The history - recommend going with a guide/story teller. Hoping to have Lee county purchase the entire island thru 2020 funds.
Écrit le 12 février 2019
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de TripAdvisor LLC.

387indy
Coral Springs, Floride4 591 contributions
Mound Key Archeological State Park
nov. 2018 • En solo
Its a small island off Ft Myers in Estero Bay that is accessible only by boat. Before the Seminoles, the state was home to several tribes that were wiped out. Southwest Florida was home to the Calusa, who were sailors and fishermen. Mound Key has a museum, boat tours.
Écrit le 27 novembre 2018
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de TripAdvisor LLC.

Maudlinberry
Louisville, KY45 contributions
Surprisingly Good
avr. 2018 • En famille
We went not expecting much - but the history of this place was pretty amazing. The home and gardens, the mound and the cult ties all made for a good story. The tour guide was fun and kept everyone interested - even the teen girls. It was fun to imagine the native Americans who lived there and their everyday life
Écrit le 4 juin 2018
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de TripAdvisor LLC.

jim p
Fort Myers, Floride83 contributions
Very important historical site of florida
avr. 2018 • En famille
125 acre island is accessible by water only. Many won't know about the Calusa and their part in the Spanish conquest of the area. This is where it happened. The trail is about 30 feet up at one point. Hurricane Irma did make a mess of the mangroves and the 2 entrances are hard to find. Iv'e seen rattlesnakes on the island so I would avoid going off trail. As always May to October is mosquito season. Pretty tough on the island then.
Écrit le 16 avril 2018
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de TripAdvisor LLC.

Tramachef
Naples, Floride66 contributions
Great kayak destination
oct. 2017 • Entre amis
You can take a kayak or even a boat with a shallow draft to here and spend a couple hours exploring and having lunch. The island has no facilities so you need to bring food and plenty of fluids. There are a couple raccoons that love to eat your lunch so watch your stuff. Also lots of moscitos in summer
Écrit le 14 octobre 2017
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de TripAdvisor LLC.

maritimeexplorer
Nouvelle-Écosse, Canada3 566 contributions
Hard to Get to, but Worth the Effort
avr. 2017 • En couple
I've been coming to SW Florida for almost 40 years and have been fascinated with the history of the Calusa Indians, who once called this area their home for well over a millennia. That wasn't always the case. Before my first trip to Florida I'd heard of the Seminoles, Creeks and the Miccosukee, but it wasn't until I first walked the Shell Mound Trail in Ding Darling N.W.R. on Sanibel that I encountered the name Calusa. Since then I've been seeking out Calusa sites wherever possible, including the amazing Calusa Heritage Trail on Pine Island. However, there was one spot that I always had my eye on, but was never able to get to - that is until this week. That spot is Mound Key in Estero Bay. Here's why I wanted to get there and how I managed to do it. You can too.

The reason that most people outside of SW Florida have never heard of the Calusas is that they no longer exist and haven't for centuries. Like many other Western Hemisphere aboriginal societies, the Calusas were unable to withstand the onslaught of disease, slavery (often inflicted by other native tribes), warfare and intermarriage that the coming of the Europeans brought to the New World. In just over two hundred years from their first contact with Ponce de Leon in 1513, the Calusa, once a mighty force, were no more.

The Calusa occupied an area that ran roughly from Port Charlotte Harbor to the Florida Keys and their method of living was quite different, if not unique among North American Indian tribes. They were called the Shell Indians because they used sea shells for almost every conceivable purpose. They ate them, made weapons, tools and jewelry from them and most importantly, used shells to create their own distinct environment on which to build their structures. I must admit that when I first learned of Calusa shell mounds on that day in Sanibel, I just assumed they were kitchen middens, ancient garbage dumps, which are found throughout the world. These middens are valuable sources of knowledge for archaeologists, but there are limitations as to what you're going to find in other people's rubbish.

While some of the smaller shell mounds in SW Florida are indeed middens, the great mounds like the ones on Pine Island and on Mound Key, were deliberately made to create an elevated surface which over hundreds of years grew higher and higher. The Calusa were not hunter gatherers in the traditional sense, nor were they agriculturalists like the other Florida tribes. Instead they got almost everything they needed from the abundant waters of SW Florida, particularly the estuaries. They were expert fishermen, using spears, nets and fish traps. What they couldn't get from the sea they obtained from other tribes by way of tribute or barter. The name Calusa apparently means 'fierce' or the fierce people and from the descriptions of early Europeans it appears that they did hold sway over a much larger area than just SW Florida.

There are dozens of islands in Estero Bay and from the water they pretty well all look the same - mangrove lined and virtually inaccessible. However, if look look at an aerial photograph of Mound Key you can see that it's different from it's neighbours. There are clear signs of human intervention indicated by by the white spots and the straight lines present on Mound Key. The fact is that this was once the city of Calos, capital of the Calusa nation and home of the cacique or Calusa king. Imagine that; in a part of the state where history seems almost an afterthought to the natural attractions and great weather that attract millions of visitors a year there is a remnant of an ancient and mostly forgotten kingdom literally right in the middle of it all. Who wouldn't want to visit this place of mystery and discover a vanished civilization?

However, getting to Mound Key is not that simple. It is completely surrounded by a mangrove swamp and finding the tiny entrance will perplex even the most experienced of boaters. Add to that the fact that one can only approach this entrance way on a high tide and you've got yourself one well protected island. It's almost as if the Calusa's somehow put a curse on the place that make sure it's ancient secrets remain undiscovered. That's why I was really excited to read in the illustrious Fort Myers Beach Observer that Mound House, in conjunction with Fish Tale Marina, was offering a twice monthly tour to Mound Key. My wife and I immediately signed up for the next excursion. What follows is a description of what to expect if you want to visit Mound Key and you darn well should.

The Mound Key tour is divided into two distinct parts, both of which are essential to understanding and enjoying the visit to Mound Key. The departure point is Fish Tale Marina on the southern side of Estero Island. The tour is scheduled to run about three hours and is timed to coincide with the highest tides of the month. The cost is $55.00 which includes the $10.00 admission fee to Mound House. The boat is the Estero Bay Express which is a large pontoon boat with a captain and two mates. Also on board was Penny Jarrett, a very experienced guide, knowledgable not only about the Calusa culture, but also the flora and fauna of SW Florida.

After boarding the boat we and about a dozen others, headed for the first stop, Mound House on Fort Myers Beach which I have reviewed separately.

After visiting Mound House to get a background briefing on the Calusas, we motored out into Estero Bay and headed for Mound Key. I half expected that the island would be obvious to spot because of its elevation, but not so. The mangroves that completely surround it give one no indication from the water that Mound Key is any different from any of the other keys in Estero Bay. Also, there's absolutely no signage directing you to Mound Key. You either know how to get here or you don't. Thankfully Captain Justin found the narrow inlet in the mangroves that leads to the only place on the island that you can land anything bigger than a kayak.

This is the only indication that you are in the right spot is a sign welcoming you to Mound Key.

Captain Justin ran the boat up onto a small stretch of sand barely wider than the boat and we disembarked with the help of a set of stairs put down by the mate. Penny then led the way along the single file path that leads to the mounds. Mounds, you say? Again my ignorance shows as I expected Mound Key to be just one big mound. Rather there are three distinct mounds each believed to have served a separate purpose. The largest one probably held the home of the cacique while the smaller ones featured a Calusa temple and, improbably, a Jesuit mission. I say improbably because the Calusas were one of the very few native tribes that never converted to Christianity. However, Spanish records do mention a Jesuit mission on Mound Key. It is estimated that 1,000 or more people lived on Mound Key at that time.

You sure wouldn't know that from what's left today. The reality is that a visit to Mound Key is not going to deliver a Wow moment like some archaeological sites do, however, with a little imagination it is possible to recreate in your mind what this place must have been like a 1,000 years ago.

On the way to the mounds Penny pointed out some of the native trees and shrubs that the Calusa used to make clothing and medicines including the silk cotton tree.
The trail is muddy in just one place for about twenty feet, but after that it starts the climb up to the first mound.

By Florida standards, this is like mountain climbing. At the top there are several interpretive panels documenting the history of Mound Key. It did not end with the destruction of the Calusa empire. First there was an occupation by Cuban fishermen or ranchos that lasted a couple of hundred years and then a brief period of homesteading by Koreshans from the nearby Estero River settlement. Ultimately neither Europeans or new Americans could recreate the successful living environment that had been maintained by the Calusas for over 1,000 years.

Today, looking over the island from the highest mound it looks like a bleak and forbidding land.

Even though it's nearly ninety degrees, at the top of the mounds there is a cooling breeze blowing off the water. It's actually very nice up here even if there isn't much to see. All too soon it's time to head back and we turn back toward the boat.

Back at the marina Alison and I both agree that it's been a tremendously worthwhile excursion and one that anyone with an interest in archaeology or Florida history must do at least once. We're very glad that Mound House and Fish Tale Marina have cooperated in making this possible for everyone. Check out their websites for the next tour.
Écrit le 10 avril 2017
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de TripAdvisor LLC.

Minnesotatravelers11
outstate, Minnesota11 contributions
Calusa Indian mound site
mars 2017 • En couple
This is a fascinating historical and archeological Calusa Indian site that dates back more than 800 years. These Indians used mounds of discarded seashells as building sites. These mounds have since been built on but have been exposed and the first cottage in the area is open to tourists. A very interesting day trip.
Écrit le 21 mars 2017
Cet avis est l'opinion subjective d'un membre de Tripadvisor et non l'avis de TripAdvisor LLC.
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