Known as the Paradise Coast, this quiet corner of southwest Florida provides some of the most striking beaches in the Sunshine State.
Expect fine white sand dotted with palm trees along the shore of the Gulf of Mexico.
From Barefoot Beach Preserve to the deserted Ten Thousand Islands, theses beaches vary, from hotspots where locals gather to deserted beaches where you can quietly enjoy the serene surroundings.
Bonita Beach provides visitors with a quiet atmosphere. There are 10 beach access points located along three miles of Hickory Boulevard with facilities at the main park. A stand-out feature of the area is the four-acre public beachfront park that features a boardwalk that crosses the sea-oat-dappled dunes. Pavilions, restrooms, grills and showers are available.
Photo courtesy of the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce.
Barefoot Beach Preserve
The 342-acre park features a calm preserve with its own learning center and nature trail. Enjoy the one and a half miles of natural beach, covered with powdery white sand. The Barefoot Beach Preserve is a perfect place for watching wildlife, you may see manatees offshore. Turtles, ospreys and bald eagles are also a common sight. The preserve also offers showers and restrooms.
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
Separated from the mainland by mangrove swamps and tidal creeks, this recreation area is a narrow barrier island. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park has a pristine 300-foot beach where you can swim and sun. The local wildlife habitat is lush with sea oats, sea grapes and cabbage palms. Take a hike around the nature trail and stop at the observation tower to take in the scenery. If you like to scuba dive or snorkel, there's a hard-bottom reef that runs along the beach.
Photo courtesy of the Tarpon Cove Yacht & Racquet Club.
Located at the end of Vanderbilt Beach Road, this five-acre park encompasses Gulf beaches and a tropical coastal hammock. Bird watching and shelling are perfect activities along Vanderbilt Beach. The park offers showers and restrooms.
Clam Pass Beach Park
Dunes and mangroves dot this natural 35-acre park. Walk along the three-quarter-mile boardwalk through the mangroves or along the 3,200 feet of beachfront. The concession area and picnic pavilions make this park a popular gathering spot. Clam Pass Beach Park also features a canoe launch, showers and restrooms.
Lowdermilk Beach Park
Lowdermilk Park is a hot spot for visitors and locals alike. The beach park features 1,000 feet of pristine beachfront, plenty of picnic tables for a lunch with family and friends, a playground for the kids, volleyball court and duck pond. At the end of the day it's an ideal place for to watch the sunset. Located on Gulfshore Drive between Mooring Line Drive and 5th Avenue South, this park is only two to three miles from some great shops and restaurants.
Naples Municipal Beach and Fishing Pier
Access this vibrant, bustling beach with emerald-green waters and white sands at 12th Avenue South and Gulf Shore Boulevard, located just south of downtown. The Naples Municipal Pier stretches deep into the Gulf, so it's a favorite spot for local fishermen. And since you don't need a license to fish from the pier, you might take a gander. The pier features a small concession stand. Make sure you stay to watch the sunset.
Tigertail Public Beach on Marco Island
This 31-acre beach is one of the most popular spots on Marco Island. It's the perfect spot experience nature at its finest. The tidal pools are filled with fish and sea life, and what was once an offshore sandbar is now Sand Dollar Island, a tiny barrier island. Swim out and search for treasures or take in some great bird watching. Tigertail Public Beach features boardwalks, a bathhouse, showers, restrooms, a playground, small concession and rental stand, as well as a butterfly garden.
South Marco Beach
If you are looking for a more secluded spot on Marco Island, you may want to head to South Marco Beach. A boardwalk leads to a one-acre beach lined with Sabal palms.
If you go...
For help planning your trip to Naples and Marco Island, visit ParadiseCoast.com.
Photos by Kara Franker, except where noted.