Naples, FL | On the Coast & in the Water

The calm gulf waters of Naples’ beaches are ideal for lounging in the sand, splashing in the waves or exploring the tidal pools and mangrove forests and spotting local sea life. Several coastal state parks in the area are ideal for family beach days. Here are a few of our favorites.

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

Clam Pass Park

From the parking lot at Clam Pass Park, you can either walk the .75 mile boardwalk to the beach, or take a complimentary golf cart shuttle. While the walk is fairly easy and very scenic, the shuttle drivers will often give you a mini-tour, including information about the boardwalk, wildlife and beach. They’ll pause as the boardwalk crosses over Outer Clam Bay with views of Naples on both sides. The boardwalk ends at the beach access, where The Beach Bar & Grill serves a variety of drinks, cocktails, and a small but hearty menu of appetizers, salads and sandwiches – ideal beach fare if you’re making a day of it. You can bring your own chairs and beach gear to save money, or rent beach lounge chairs and umbrellas for the convenience factor. The beach gets fairly narrow at high tide, so plan ahead if you go exploring in the trails of the mangrove forest. The calm waves and soft white sand make this beach ideal for families.

Barefoot Beach Preserve

Though easily accessible, parts of this beach can feel perfectly secluded. There is a concession area at the entrance with restrooms, refreshments and beach chair rentals, but you can also bring your own gear and sustenance and head to the far end of the preserve for a quieter experience. Arrive early in the day to ensure parking, or come after 5 p.m. to enjoy the sunset without a crowd. The sand is incredibly white, and parts of this beach are ideal for shelling. You’ll share space with turtles, birds and other wildlife. Discover why Barefoot Beach has been listed as one of the top 10 beaches in the country multiple times by Dr. Beach.

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

This is another of Dr. Beach’s top 10 beaches in the country for 2015. Parking is slightly less than other beach access areas, and in addition to showers and restrooms, there are shaded picnic tables and charcoal grills available. Boardwalks meander throughout the dunes, an observation tower among the mangroves overlook the pass, and wildlife such as crabs, turtles, dolphins, ospreys and more are sure to be spotted. Clear water, soft sand and good fishing and shelling add to the appeal of this bucolic beach setting. Guided tours and other programs are often available as well.

Manatee Eco Tours

While spending all day on one of the beaches in Naples is relaxing and fun for the entire family, it’s also nice to spend time on the water. In this part of Florida, many visitors turn to eco tours in hopes of spotting a manatee (or several). This marine mammal is more elusive than the commonly sighted dolphin, so it’s often a treat to spot one of these unique creatures.

Several companies operate tours geared toward manatee sightings, but only the Manatee Sightseeing Eco-Adventure tour guarantees that you’ll see a manatee, or you don’t have to pay for the tour. The excursion lasts and hour and a half on a boat that is large enough for six passengers, so there’s plenty of space for everyone to safely move around the boat for the best views of the wildlife. The experienced captain knows where to head for the best chance of spotting the manatees, based on the time of day, the weather and behavior patterns noted from previous tours. The whole family is sure to enjoy this excursion.

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