Imperial River, Bonita Springs, Florida. Paddle this stretch by choosing our free shuttle service as your delivery location.

Starting January 2017 we are delighted to offer the ONLY shuttle service in Bonita Springs and Naples that makes floating/paddling down Imperial River possible without having to paddle back up-river against the current!

Imperial River is wonderful. It is the “go-to” location for those who do not want to paddle on open water, or near the Gulf of Mexico.

How does this work?

Make your reservation online.

Park your car at our shop at 27835 South Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs, or at the Lee County Boat Ramp on Tamiami Trail, Bonita Springs.

We will provide you with a free shuttle to the put-in at Cullum’s Trail at Bonita Nature Center, Bonita Springs, just east of Interstate 75.

You float/paddle downriver back to the Lee County Boat Ramp at Tamiami Trail.

Send us a text that you are off the river, and if you had parked there just be on your way – you don’t have to wait for us to retrieve the equipment from you. If you left your vehicle at our shop we will pick you up and bring you back there.

You should plan on being on the water slightly more than two hours, though most will complete the stretch in less than two hours.

This trip was not at a fast pace, but merely paddling consistently. The exotic beauty of Imperial River will make you feel you’ve been transported to a far-away rain forest, but you’re in the Bonita Springs city limits all along.

If you’d rather paddle in a more developed portion of the river, we could deliver the equipment to the Lee County Imperial River Boat Ramp and you can paddle east or west from there.

(Please note that you would have to return there because we do not have the ability to pick you up down-river from that boat ramp.)

The river is broader west of Tamiami. It becomes narrower the farther east one paddles.



  • It is easy to reach from north or south
  • You can park for free at our shop, or for $5.00 (cash) at the Lee County Boat Ramp
  • We’ll provide a free shuttle to the put-in location upriver
  • There is no entrance fee to the put-in spot at Cullum’s Trail
  • The put-in and take-out locations are managed and maintained well by the City and County


  • Imperial River is a slow moving river- there are no rapids or falls
  • The put-in and take-out locations are safe and easy to use
  • There is minimal powerboat traffic
  • Any powerboat traffic proceeds at a no-wake pace


  • There are large cypress trees growing right up out of the river at the east end
  • The middle section has bamboo groves, palm trees, and other tropical vegetation
  • The last stretch is more typical southwest Florida with homes of various sizes on lots with mangroves along the river
  • You have an excellent chance of seeing many species of birds

You may see manatees

You can be in the midst of this southwest Florida metropolitan area, but often find remote places where you won’t hear or see any manmade creations


Version 2

Map created with Google Maps

Paddling West of Tamiami Trail (US41)

This westbound round-trip of 7.4 kilometers is 4.6 miles.

Self guided tour Imperial River west of Tamiami

Route tracked and created using the Sports Tracker app

Paddling East of Tamiami Trail (US41)

And this eastbound round-trip of 6.61 kilometers is 4.1 miles.