Unspoiled Barefoot Beach in Bonita Springs near Naples
~ Though it’s easy to reach, Barefoot Beach makes you feel miles away from highways and highrises. It’s one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on Florida’s southwest coast.
Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park is located at the end of Barefoot Beach Road off of Bonita Beach Road — 15 minutes west of I-75. To reach the park, you wind through a residential community of million-dollar homes.
Barefoot Beach is 342 acres of natural land and you can walk a mile along the beach to the end, where you reach the swift currents of Wiggins Pass. (Across the pass lies the very nice Delnor-Wiggins Sate Park.)
Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, has named it to his top 10 list in past years, but, fortunately, it remains unspoiled.
When he named it #6 in 2013, he describes it this way: “The surf is gentle with waves generally being measured in inches, and the water is very shallow, making this a great beach for bathing and swimming for families. The sand is fine and contains many small shells.”
Like at many of the Gulf’s spectacular beaches, you may find sand-dollars, shells or spot a bottle-nosed dolphin in the water in the distance. Gopher tortoises and their burrows are plentiful along the nature trail that runs between the sand dunes and the hammock and it’s a good place to see crawl marks left by nesting Atlantic loggerhead sea turtles in the summer.
Kayaking is popular on the inland side of Barefoot Beach, with its tidal creeks and mangrove swamps. Canoes can be rented at the Barefoot Beach concession. A one-mile nature trail weaves through the tropical hammock to Wiggins Pass.
The real attraction, though, is a perfect, unspoiled natural beach lined with a lush profusion of vegetation.
For more information:
Barefoot Beach Road off Bonita Beach Road
$8 entrance fee
Hours: 8 a.m. to sundown
Phone: (239) 591-8596
An aerial-view video captures the beauty:
- Kayaking or canoeing: Koreshan State Historic Park on the Estero River, the Imperial River in Bonita Springs, the Cocohatchee and Water Turkey Bay from Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park.
- Beach, kayaking and manatees in winter: Lovers Key State Park
- Bicycling: A great way to sample beaches is by bike in old Naples.
- Lodging: We’ve stayed at Cove Inn on Naples Bay, which offers reasonably priced hotel rooms and efficiencies in a 1970s vintage hotel in a marina.
- Camping: Koreshan State Historic Park (a really interesting visit on its own)
- More great beaches nearby: Clam Pass Park, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park