With more than 400 miles of canals, the Caloosahatche River, many lakes, Cape Coral is a waterfront wonderland. Boating, fishing, canoeing, sailing, wave running, or just peaceful walks are enjoyable almost every day of the year.
In Cape Coral homes are nestled amid lush landscapes, palm trees, and tropical greenery. It’s deep and sometimes 200 ft wide canals, hug many backyards providing spectacular water views, as well as provide waterways that take boaters out to the adventures of the Intercoastal Waterway, and on to the Gulf of Mexico. For most, these waterways make dreams come true.
Cape Coral has 2 types of waterway systems…….freshwater and gulf access.
By far the longest of the 2 systems, the freshwater man-made canals dominate the central, north, and northeast areas of the city. What is little known about the freshwater canal and many lakes is that they were NOT dug for boating as its main objective. When the city was in the planning stages in the late 1960’s, the developers Jack and Leonard Rosen, had 2 options to raise the meager 6-7 feet of sea level elevation to a state mandated 8-13 feet. [based on location.] The first, bring in massive quantities of fill dirt by truck…or…dredge and use that dirt to meet the needs for a higher building elevations. Dredging turned out to be the least expensive. The idea to create a canal system and lakes, although a secondary consideration, proved to be the cities main attraction, for buyers. Another little known fact has to do with the many lakes we enjoy. More lakes were created in places where more fill dirt was required, and less in areas closer to the needed elevation. Other lakes were later created from dig pits for even more fill dirt as elevation requirements increased.
Most of the canal width’s were 80 – 100 feet with a depth of around 3-4 feet in the center.
Another consideration for miles of freshwater canals and lakes was and still is very much-needed as water retention. While the bulk of the cities freshwater comes from its 11 super deep well sites, the freshwater canals offer a great place for our rainy season storm water run off. These miles and miles of freshwater canals and lakes offer a ton of boating, fishing, jet-skiing, and water skiing fun. None however offer any access to the Gulf of Mexico. The city maintains several public launch ramps for those owners that do not live on the water.
GULF ACCESS CANALS
As logic would dictate, these canals and lakes are found forming the perimeter of the peninsula that Cape Coral represents. Once again the same logic came into play……lakes were formed where more fill dirt was required, and canals dredged for the balance of the needs.
While the freshwater canals were dug for around a 3 ft. depth, these were dredged between 6 – 9 ft, in the centers, with varying width’s from the standard 80 ft to the super wide 200 ft monster ones. In the gulf access canal system, sea walls were required as growth and the number of homes increased. The amount of saltwater density varies based on how close your canal is from the Caloosahatchee river. The addition of the sea walls also prevents erosion of the shoreline from our often 4 daily tide swings.
There are two distinct categories of gulf access canals. Sailboat access and Restricted access. The definition of a restricted access canal is based on bridges. Most of the gulf access bridge heights in the Cape are between 10.5 – 11.5, depending on the tides, so any boat taller than that, must stick with the sailboat access category.
The gulf access canals offer some of the best year round boating. Elegant and expensive homes can be found along the waterways. Boat lifts dominate these canals as a way to store and preserve the bottoms from our ever-increasing barnacle issues. Fortunately for most owners, when the Rosen’s dredged these canals, many concrete docks were also installed for residential dockage. That tradition has remained today with new construction.
Another benefit of the gulf access canals is water access to fine dining. Whether going for a burger and a beer, or fine elegant dining, these canals make the experience an added pleasure.
Whether you’re a boater on not, both the freshwater and gulf access canals offer spectacular views and more distance from your back yard neighbor for that little extra privacy. No doubt the main draw to Cape Coral is its 400+ miles of canals, and its boat lovers. Some 173,000 of its residents call Cape Coral home…….both year round as well as our seasonal snow birds. With is 320 miles of land space and over 400 miles of canals………its one of the largest cities in the state. Its our share of the Florida paradise!!.