1-Day Itinerary: Ten Thousand Islands
Only A Short Trip from Naples Grande Beach Resort
Florida is made up of rich and vivid ecosystems filled with diverse wildlife. Only 20 miles from Naples, Florida exists one of the world’s largest mangrove forests and a remote escape into nature. The Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is comprised of 35,000 acres of winding waterways and mangrove islands. The Ten Thousand Islands extends into Everglades National Park and offers many recreational activities from hunting to kayaking to bird watching. Whether you’re already in Naples or planning ahead, we’ve put together a 1-day itinerary for the perfect day in the Ten Thousand Islands.
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park11135 Gulf Shore Dr, Naples, FL 34108
Ranked 10th on Dr. Beach's 2014 Best Beach in the U.S. list, the pristine mile-long beach at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park is a tropical paradise that’s perfect for sunbathing, swimming, shelling and snorkeling. It’s located on a narrow 166-acre barrier island separated from the mainland by tidal creeks and mangrove wetlands. The park’s nature trail is a favorite of bird lovers and its observation tower offers peaceful views of Wiggins Pass and the Gulf of Mexico. Picnic areas have grills, restrooms and showers, as well as paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, umbrellas and beach chairs for rent.
Naples Municipal Beach12 Ave. S, Naples, FL 34102
The bustling Naples Municipal Beach features 10 miles of flawless white sand and an iconic local landmark: the Naples Pier. First built in 1888, the pier extends 1,000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico and is a favorite of fishing enthusiasts, sightseers, families and everyone who loves a good sunset. The beach features a concession stand, volleyball courts, picnic tables, parking, restrooms and showers, as well as children’s lifejackets available to borrow free of charge. Access the beach and pier at the west end of 12th Avenue South.
505 Barefoot Beach Blvd, Bonita Springs, FL 34134
Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park
Barefoot Beach on Little Hickory Island north of Naples is perfect for those seeking a natural beach environment surrounded by wildlife and greenery. Rated the 6th best beach in America by Dr. Beach in 2014, Barefoot boasts 8,200 feet of soft sugary sand on one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on the west coast of Florida. Perfect for families, the beach’s shallow water and gentle waves are made for relaxing and enjoying the view. Amenities include a picnic area, equipment rental, a concession stand, showers, restrooms and handicapped beach wheelchair access.
Vanderbilt BeachVanderbilt Beach Rd, Naples, FL 34108
This gorgeous white sand beach is one of the most popular in Naples. Located on a prime spot at the end of Vanderbilt Drive in North Naples, Vanderbilt Beach is close to shops and restaurants. In the early morning hours, beachgoers enjoy going for walks, shelling and birding. During the day, it’s a popular place to swim, stand up paddleboard and kayak. And in the evening, crowds gather to watch the sunset. The beach has loads of amenities, including concessions, showers, restrooms, bike racks, a parking garage and handicap access.
Tigertail Beach430 Hernando Dr, Marco Island, FL 34145
Tigertail Beach, at the northern end of Marco Island, provides a perfect balance of natural beauty and well-appreciated amenities. The pristine white sand beach is great for shelling, bird watching, tidal pool exploration and taking in breathtaking sunsets. During low tide, the short hike to Sand Dollar Spit makes for a fun adventure. Once an offshore sandbar, it has become a tiny barrier island known for its shells. From the north end of the spit, Coconut Island is a just short walk away. Amenities include a playground, volleyball courts, water sports rentals, a picnic area and a concession stand, as well as showers, restrooms, parking and handicap access.
South Marco Beach930 Swallow Ave, Marco Island, FL 34145
At the other end of Marco Island, South Marco Beach is a wide sugar-sand beach that’s set apart from the island’s high-rises by a wide swath of native vegetation. The beach is popular for sun seekers, shell collectors and swimmers, and families will enjoy fishing or watching for dolphins playing in the gentle surf near the beach’s rock jetty. Access the beach on South Collier Boulevard, where a parking lot and restrooms are available for beachgoers.
Lowdermilk Park on Naples Beach1301 Gulf Shore Blvd N, Naples, FL 34102
Popular with locals and visitors alike, Lowdermilk Park features 1,000 feet of pristine beachfront close to downtown shops and restaurants in a manicured park setting. Families will appreciate the soft white sand, gentle waves and shallow water, as well as the picnic areas, playgrounds, concession stand, restrooms and outdoor showers. It’s also great place to watch the sunset. Located on Gulfshore Drive between Mooring Line Drive and 5th Avenue South.
Clam Pass BeachSeagate Dr &, Crayton Rd, Naples, FL 34108
Gorgeous, family-friendly Clam Pass Beach also happens to be adjacent to Naples Grande Beach Resort. As a part of Clam Pass Beach Park, the beach boasts 3,200 feet of soft white sandy beachfront and calm waters secluded behind a wide mangrove forest. Reach it by walking a three-quarter-mile boardwalk through the mangroves, or make the trip on the free shuttle from the beach's parking lot. Along the way, you’ll pass a tidal bay area filled with marine life and birds. The concession area and picnic pavilions make this beach a lovely gathering spot. Clam Pass Beach Park also features a kayak and canoe launch, showers and restrooms.
Keewaydin Island BeachAccessible only by boat, Keewaydin Island is nestled between Naples and Marco Island. Beach lovers will want to head to the island’s Gulf side, where nearly 8 miles of white sandy beach await. The island is pristine and non-commercial with no facilities, though food and beverages are available for purchase from a pontoon boat on the near shore. To reach the island, rent a boat from the Naples or Marco Island marina or take the Hemingway Water Shuttle, which makes seven trips to the island per day. The shuttle and island are dog-friendly.
Lovers Key State Park Beach8700 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
Twenty miles north of Naples in Bonita Springs, Lovers Key State Park features a stunning 2–mile soft sandy beach that the Travel Channel once dubbed one of Florida’s top 10 beaches. But even with all the praise it’s garnered, the beach has managed to stay somewhat of a hidden gem. This secluded beach is great for sunning, swimming, shelling and picnicking and there are also kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddle boards available to rent so visitors can also explore the four barrier islands that make up the park.
Dog Beach Park8800 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
Also in Lovers State Park, Dog Beach Park is a favorite of dogs and their owners. This off leash beach is situated on a coastal tideland with water shallow enough for even older or shorter dogs to frolic in. To make sure every dog is happy, the beach has separate areas for small, medium and large dogs. Dogs owners are required to clean up after their dogs, and doggie showers and poop bags are provided.