Presenting

2020 Official Naples, Marco Island and Everglades Visitors Guide

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33 Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park floridastateparks.org/park/ delnor-wiggins u 11135 Gulfshore Dr., Naples 239-597-6196 | q g V This pristine barrier island with the nationally acclaimed mile-long white- sand beach and gentle swimming waters offers a full range of visitor pleasures, including picnic areas, boat launch and many ranger programs. There are beach rentals and food concessions and shower facilities. Family festivals, art shows and other events happen throughout the year. INSIDE SCOOP: Local anglers know that the fast-moving deep water at the northern tip of the park and just offshore are top spots for trophy fishing. Be sure to get a fishing license from myfwc.com. Everglades National Park nps.gov/ever u 815 Oyster Bar Ln., Everglades City 239-695-3311 | q g V For avid fishermen, birders, and outdoor adventurers, the Florida Everglades is the dream destination of a lifetime. Florida's Paradise Coast is the western gateway to Everglades National Park, 1.5-million acres of wilderness, grassy wetlands, mangrove islands and hardwood hammocks like nowhere else on earth. The Gulf Coast Visitor Center is your starting point to learn about sightseeing boat tours, ranger-led tours, talks, camping, adventures, backcountry camping permits, and nearby park-approved paddling, boating and fishing tour guides. INSIDE SCOOP: The Gulf Coast Visitor Center also is the gateway to the mysterious Ten Thousand Islands, a maze of mangrove islands accessible only by boat. Some have sandy beaches available for camping. Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park floridastateparks.org/park/ fakahatchee-strand u 137 Coastline Dr., Copeland 239-695-4593 | q g V This pristine wilderness is so vast and lush with rare flora and fauna that it's known as America's Amazon. Get your first look via the 2,300-foot Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, which takes visitors into the heart of the world's largest bald cypress/royal palm forest. It's easily accessible on U.S 41, just east of Naples. The easy stroll beneath a shady canopy of ancient cypress trees takes you to the alligator pond observation deck. INSIDE SCOOP: Jane's Scenic Drive, a narrow 11-mile dirt road tucked into the wilderness off State Road 29 between I-75 and US 41, is a magnificent place to spot wildlife, especially early mornings and late afternoons. Book your space aboard the 2 ½-hour naturalist-guided "Ghost Rider" tram for vistas of swamps, prairies and hardwood hammocks. OrchidSwamp.org Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge fws.gov/floridapanther u 12085 S.R. 29, Immokalee 239-657-8001 | q g The elusive Florida panther roams free among the cypress, ancient live oak and slash pine forests of this 26,400-acre refuge and research site in the heart of Big Cypress Swamp. More than 120 bird species also make their homes here. Two short walking trails are open to the public. INSIDE SCOOP: Friends of the Florida Panther Refuge, in coordination with Big Cypress National Preserve, The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and many other nature partners, present the annual Florida Panther Festival at the Naples Zoo the first Saturday in November. Picayune Strand State Forest freshfromflorida.com u 2121 52nd Ave. S.E., Naples 239-348-7557 | q This 76,000-acre wild native Old Florida wilderness in the heart of the Big Cypress Basin was saved from development to protect the habitats of bald eagles and many threatened and endangered species. There's a primitive campground, plus hiking, cycling and equestrian trails. Access points are near Naples and adjacent to Fakahatchee Strand State Park. INSIDE SCOOP: The picturesque 22- mile Belle Meade Tract is a horseback rider's dream. For a gentle family ride nearby, check out M&H Stables, bordering the Picayune State Forest. Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge - Marsh Trail fws.gov/floridapanther/ tenthousandislands u 525 Newport Drive, Naples 239-657-8001 | q g Whether your idea of a perfect day is a backcountry hike, or fishing for tarpon, snook, redfish or snapper, or photographing great white herons and snowy egrets on a serene paddle through labyrinths of mangrove- sheltered waterways, that perfect day is waiting for you here. From October through April the outer barrier islands offer a unique opportunity for experienced campers who love to sleep under the stars. INSIDE SCOOP: Get a sneak peak of the refuge on the mile-long trail, located three miles from Collier- Seminole State Park. Everglades National Park q Family Friendly g Handicap Access V Guided Tours Native built chickee cabins available to rent. EvergladesAdventureTours.net

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