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The Waterways of Cape Coral

From early on it was known as a Waterfront Wonderland, with its
400 miles (640 km) of navigable waterways, Cape Coral has more miles of canals than any other city in the world.

The Cape Coral area is a beautiful setting for boating & fishing of any type. Enjoy the freshwater and salt water access for cruising, fishing, sailing and relaxing. When considering properties, one needs to evaluate each area of Cape Coral and be aware of the limitations that may be in place for different types of boats. . Freshwater properties are less expensive than salt water properties, due to the limitations of Gulf access. The freshwater canals are part of a large network of basins and lakes and are excellent choices for those looking to access man-made lakes, bass fish, putt around taking in views of the water, kayaking or canoeing.

Canal Living

With the Gulf and the Atlantic reachable by boat, it no imagination to understand why  Cape Coral and Ft Myers are greatly sought for  boating areas. Cape Coral is located on the Caloosahatchee River, the waters are protected from the severe weather of the Gulf and has the advantage of barrier islands that create a level of protection. Boating is easy and is close enough to boat to the Gulf in as little as 25 minutes. Giving Cape Coral best of it all here in our Paradise!!  Home owners who like to have a view, water sports, tropical landscaping, fishing, pools and an easy lifestyle all find it on their waterfront property in Cape Coral and Fort Myers.

If  boating is your passion and the reason for living here then you will need to consider the type of boat you want or have and the boating  time out to the Gulf.  The Saltwater Canals take you to the river,  the river takes you to the Gulf.  The farther "UP" the river you are when the canal meets the river, the longer the boating time out.


Consider the type boat 

 Salt water canals provide access to the Gulf and as such are generally more desirable than the freshwater properties. About half of the canals are "gulf access" or saltwater canals where you can reach the Gulf of Mexico through them, by way of the Calloosahatchee River.


  • There are two types of gulf access canals:  Direct or sailboat access:  There are no bridges and no restrictions between you and the open water.  a boat lock may have to be passed to get to the river or Gulf of Mexico. Sailboats deeper draft boat hulls are easily managed in & out. (Canal system map to come)


Direct access canals takes the boater directly to the river 

  • Restricted access: There are bridges between your dock and the River. The typical bridge height is about 10 foot off of the water (range from 7 foot to about 13.5 foot clearance).  and a boat lock or lift may have to be passed in order to get to the River or Gulf of Mexico.

Wake Zone

Traveling the canals is at "NO WAKE" speed is 5 MPH.   Some waterfront property may be up river, and or may have  bridge access and you can spend up to 2 hours getting to the river. Other waterfront property down river on a direct access canal  you are out in the gulf in as little as 20 minutes.

The better the access, the more the property is sought after.

The canals: Canals come in many widths ranging from 50’ to 200’ +  wide! They are from 2ft to 25 ft deep. Some canals offer an intersecting view , the wider the canal, the better the "water" view.  Intersecting canal views are usually as expensive as the wider canals. Gulf access can be found on many different size canals. Canal end properties are also desirable because of the view down the canal. The greater amount of water in the view and the better the access to the gulf, the greater desirable the property.

Intersecting  Canal

These are examples of 80 foot wide canals. These properties will generally be less expensive than those on wider canals, but as you can see, they are beautiful. They offer everything a wide canal offers.

Fresh water canal Photo

This 200+ foot canal brings higher property values. 
Lakes are extremely desirable and like the 200 ft wide canals, are a higher premium.


Living on a canal, is safe, beautiful, and wonderfully enjoyable.

Locks & Lifts.
     There are several locks and lifts are located within the Cape Coral area. The Chiquita lock, sometimes also called the Spreader Canal lock, (Located at Cape Harbor Marina) a large man-ois lock located in the southwest area of the city. (video through lock to come)   Many of the area’s largest yachts are contained behind the lock, as well as one of the best marina spots for both dry and wet slips. The lift at the southeast side of town, at the tail end of Ottersrest Lane, services only a few canals.   


Chiquita Lock              

  A seawall, also known as a retaining wall or bulkhead . Some vacant lots don't have seawalls. Prior to building a home there must be a seawall in place unless the property is located on a freshwater canal. They are a defense used to reduce the effects of salt water and strong waves. A seawall also acts as a barrier to keep the water from pulling the soil into the water, which causes land erosion and property loss.