Updated web site for Great Calusa Blueway
Paddling Trail offers new experience

The Web site for the Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, located on The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel along southwest Florida's Gulf Coast, now has a fresh look, cutting-edge functionality and interactive capabilities.

The Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau launched the improved site – calusablueway.com – to better meet the needs of casual visitors and first-time paddlers as well as experienced kayakers. It lends itself well to exploring. Key features include:

Content changes: Vibrant photography and design paired with fun, relevant information create an immersive experience. Mini-features cover topics such as paddling with kids, kayak fishing and top stops along the trail. Practical articles offer information on the natural habitat, tips for photographing wildlife and planning resources. Web users can find outfitters and put-in spots as well as search for places to stay both on the trail and off. Users can also rate content with the "Paddles Up" or "Paddles Down" feature.

Interactive mapping: Detailed maps of the blueway's three trail segments can be ordered or downloaded for free. GPS coordinates are available for free download in a variety of formats. Articles and listings feature interactive Google maps that pinpoint trail locations and points of interest at a glance. A separate orientation-style interactive map showcasing trail highlights will be unveiled this spring and added to the site.

Community pages: A blog offers expert insight and updates. The paddling community can share advice, experiences and questions in the forums and upload photos from their adventures.

Special promotions: The site promotes offers and packages for paddlers, as well as on-the-water events such as the annual Calusa Blueway Paddling Festival.

Area insight: To help visitors learn more about The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, Web links are prominently displayed at the bottom of each page and in the articles. Users also can order a free visitors guide for explorations beyond the blueway.

The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail, recognized as one of the best U.S. kayaking destinations by both Paddler and Canoe & Kayak magazines, was established in 2003 in Estero Bay. It expanded in 2005 to Pine Island Sound and in 2007 up the Caloosahatchee River to reach its total of 190 miles. The marked trail was created to help people experience the natural magic and wildlife of Lee County's mangrove-laced waterways.

The trail received designation from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection in January 2009 and also is recognized by the federal government as a National Recreation Trail.

For more information on planning a visit to Florida's unspoiled island sanctuary visit www.FortMyersSanibel.com or call (800) 237-6444. For information on the Great Calusa Blueway, visit www.calusablueway.com or call (239) 433-3855.