Florida is justifiably famous for its beaches and theme parks but there are so many other fantastic things to do in the region. We’re sharing some of the best outdoor activities on Paradise Coast area of Florida to inspire your wanderlust and help you get the most out of your future trips.
10,000 Island Shelling Trip
When was the last time you collected sea shells? Chances are that it was when you were a child but it’s just as much fun as an adult. We took a 10,000 Island Shelling Trip with Captain Charles Wright, the owner of Everglades Area Tours. Starting out bright and early from Goodland Boating Park, we saw quite a few birds from our boat.
Captain Wright is an experienced naturalist and took us to some deserted beaches, only accessible by boat, that were perfect places for shell collecting. As you’d imagine, coral and anything that’s alive should be left in place, and that included the starfish in our photo on the right below. The tours run daily and morning tends to be preferable due to the heat in the afternoon. They’re limited to a maximum of 6 guests and a great activity for all ages.
Delnor Wiggins State Park
With a beautiful pristine beach, Delnor Wiggins State Park is rightly popular with locals and visitors alike. We spotted these cheeky racoons curiously observing us from the trees.
Then we took the boardwalk to the beach for a lovely view over the Gulf of Mexico.
There’s also a viewing tower which I couldn’t resist climbing. Close by, enjoy more beach views whilst dining at BALEEN within LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort.
Kayaking in the Everglades
For an unmissable experience, try your hand at kayaking in the Everglades. It’s suitable for all, whether you’re a novice or an expert and not particularly strenuous as you will spend quite a bit of time spotting wildlife…
This heron was a particularly impressive specimen, perched immobile as we passed by.
Naples Botanical Gardens
For a relaxing day out, you can’t beat Naples Botanical Gardens. This beautiful attraction is a delight for the eyes, with a myriad of flowers and trees spread over 170 acres.
Their special exhibitions are really interesting – this is Origami in the Garden which runs until 23 April 2017.
No visit to Florida would be complete without a visit to the beach and Naples Pier is a particularly photogenic one. Heading down the timber boardwalks leading to the white sand, you feel like you’re escaping the stresses of everyday life.
By night, the beach takes on an even more magical aspect as the sun goes down and people gather to watch the sunset from the end of the historic pier.
Sunset catamaran cruise
One of the highlights of our recent visit to the Paradise Coast was a sunset catamaran cruise. The fun started when we arrived at Naples Dock and spotted all the pelicans. The dock is also a popular haunt of Florida manatees, also known as sea cows yet an aquatic relative of the elephant, although we didn’t see any.
Boarding the spacious Sweet Liberty catamaran, we were warmly greeted by Mark and Graham. Not only is the Sweet Liberty the largest sailing catamaran in South West Florida, but our hosts were very knowledgeable about wildlife as well as local properties. The area in and around Naples is one of the most affluent in the United States and a boat tour will give you serious house goals ;-).
On our cruise we were fortunate to see a group of dolphins frolicking some distance away. They then came right up to our boat so they seemed to be as pleased to see us as we were them!
This palm tree is one of the most photographed spots on the cruise and Mike told us exactly where to get the best angle for our shot. If you look closely, you’ll see a heron in the water.
The sunsets on the Paradise Coast are some of the most spectacular that you’ll ever see. This one was a great end to our catamaran cruise.
Where to Stay on Paradise Coast
Continuing the outdoor theme, we’re highlighting two hotels in Naples which have particularly impressive outdoor areas. Firstly, Inn on Fifth, with its prime location on Fifth Avenue. There’s a beautiful rooftop pool within the main hotel. Across the road, the Club Level Suites also have a charming rooftop area with an outdoor jacuzzi. It’s a great place to eat breakfast or simply to relax with a good book.
Our second recommendation is Naples Bay Resort, which boasts a dock area and a separate leisure club with a main pool, adults only pool and even a lazy river!
We hope that you’ve enjoyed our suggestions for outdoor activities on Paradise Coast. What’s your favourite of the activities shown here?