Parks & Beaches. Naples Florida beaches like Vanderbilt Beach, Lowdermilk Beach Park, and Naples Municipal Beach (Naples Pier) are more densely populated with tourists and locals. Other beaches, such as Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Recreation Area, and Clams Pass Beach Park are a little less populated and more secluded. Barefoot Beach County Park is 342 acres on a barrier island in a natural setting. It features a boardwalk and a one-mile nature trail with wildlife. There are restrooms and showers at the park. A concession offers food, drinks and limited beach equipment. The park includes a gorgeous natural beach, plus nature trails and canoe tours. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park is a 166-acre narrow barrier island on Florida's southwest coast, with over one mile of unspoiled beach. The park is a good place for fishing, sunbathing, shelling, swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving and canoeing, plus there's plenty of shade for picnicking, birding and relaxing. It has a boat ramp and concessions, and on the north end of the island there is a tower from which you can get a great view of Wiggins Pass. Vanderbilt Beach County Park visitors enjoy bird watching and shelling on a white-sand beach. Beach equipment rental is available. There are 152 parking spaces with easy handicap accessibility to the beach, restrooms and showers. Clam Pass County Park is 35 acres of mangrove forest, coastal dunes and a 3200-ft. beach on the Gulf. There are 182 parking spaces, restrooms, and concessions for food, drinks, beach and water sports equipment. Lowdermilk Park on Naples Beach has picnic tables, sand volleyball courts, children's play area, horseshoe pits, gazeboes, pavilion, bathhouse, restrooms and outdoor showers, plus areas for cookouts and family reunions. Lots of shade for protected lounging. There are various metered and non-metered parking lots, but parking is free to residents with a county permit.
Fishing. The Gulf of Mexico and the Gulfstream is ideal for hundreds of fish species that inhabit the area. If you prefer backwater, near-shore, fly and flats fishing that you can explore on your own, Southwest Florida's coastline offers plenty of opportunities. There are many places where you can fish without a boat along the rivers or the canals when the tidal currents are relatively strong. The beaches can also be a prime location at dawn and at dusk and there's plenty of room for fishing in solitude. There are several marinas and tackle shops nearby for boat rentals, tackle and advice. For great social fishing try the Naples 1,000-ft. pier. Simply cast your line and have a great time in the company of other fishing enthusiasts, then enjoy a panoramic view of beautiful sunsets. Naples also offers world-class offshore sport fishing where you can fish for Red Grouper, Gag Grouper, Lane Snapper, Gray Snapper, and Sharks all year long. You'll find Kingfish, Cobia, Permit, Spanish Mackerel, and Triple Tail in the area several times a year.
Marco Island Tours. The local ecosystem is comprised of thousands of mangrove estuaries, and is full of beautiful and unique wildlife. A tour boat can calmly navigate the backwaters in search of dolphin, manatee, and bald eagles. Guests can explore secluded beaches in search of seashell treasures! Shelling has always been a popular attraction for Marco Island, the two larger barrier islands that act as the entryway to the Ten Thousand Islands and the Everglades. Lightning Whelk, Florida Fighting Conch, True Tulip, Florida Spiny Jewelbox, and Atlantic Figsnail are just a few of the plentiful and exotic shells that can normally be found on Cape Romano. Southwest Florida has one of the most unique eco-systems on the planet. If you visit here or move here you should put these tours at the top of your list of things to see and do. Take an adventure into the wild, subtropical wilderness of Florida's Everglades. Its vast wetland is home to many native and exotic species, from alligators and other reptiles, to birds and the rare Florida Panther. Experience wildlife and chance encounters with dolphins, endangered manatees, wading birds and birds of prey such as the magnificent osprey. There are several tours available for your exploring pleasure: airboats piloted by qualified and experienced staff will guide you through sections of the Everglades, or a guided kayak tour through the exciting backwaters of Southwest Florida's favorite estuary, the Cocohatchee River. There are other tours and cruises available, such as sunset cruises that pass homes of Port Royal and the lower section of Naples Bay. Or if you're feeling festive, there are late night party cruises. Bring your friends or come alone and meet someone new, while taking a cruise along the Cocohatchee River, sipping a relaxing cocktail, and listening to great music! There are several types such as Karaoke Cruises, Dance-Off Disco Cruises, 80's Themed Cruises, 55 & Older Cruises, Lady's Night Only with Entertainment Cruises, Men's Only with Entertainment Cruises and more!
Boating. For a fabulous experience, rent a boat and see Naples by water. Explore the waterways and beaches at your own pace - from two hours to all day. You can view the multi-million dollar homes of Port Royal, see wildlife in natural surroundings, enjoy private beaches, then break for lunch and dock at one of the many waterfront restaurants. Choose deckboats for groups up to eight, or pontoon boats that seat up to 14 people. For a family of 4 or 5 the Bowrider is light and quick and is equipped with all the necessary safety equipment plus a Bimini top to help keep you in the shade. You can also rent boats for sightseeing, fishing and just touring through Naples and surrounding areas of Marco Island where you might see dolphins and manatees and other native Florida wildlife in their natural habitat. If you have your own boat, there are Boat Launch Ramps at: Bayview Park, Danford Street, Naples * Caxambas Park, Collier Court, Marco Island * Cocohatchee River Park, Vanderbilt Drive, Naples * Collier Boulevard Boating Park * Golden Gate Boat Launch (to canal) * Ann Olesky Park (formerly called Lake Trafford).
Fishing. There is so much focus on Southwest Florida's saltwater fishing that it is easy to forget that Southwest Florida also offers some fine freshwater fishing. There are hundreds of miles of canals that contain tons of fish. Or you can fish the Everglades where you can make dozens of catches in a single day, but you'll need a bass boat or airboat and a local guide to get you out and back. Some of the best freshwater fishing spots around Naples are Lake Trafford and the 70-mile Golden Gate Canal System, which offers drive-up access with several boat ramps in the area so you can get close to a variety of freshwater species. Southwest Florida has year-round largemouth Bass, Panfish, Catfish, Mudfish, and several species of Gar are common freshwater dwellers. Backwater fish include Snook, Tarpon, Redfish, and Jacks all year long. Trout and some Snapper move into the flats and backwater several times within the year. Of course, you don't need a boat - many locals have a great time landing a nice catch from the comfort of a canal bank. Pack your lunch and have your own tailgate party - just you and the fish. What angler wouldn't want to live here - or at least visit as often as possible to apply their skills and catch some thrills. Naples is where old-Florida character and charm meet modern, upscale master-planned communities for families and retirees. Comfortable climate, beautiful beaches, great golf courses, fabulous dining, incredible shopping and wonderful cultural attractions help to make Naples home to a wonderful lifestyle. Make it your home, too.
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