Naples is one of a handful of cities in southwestern Florida located in an area called “Paradise Coast.” This stretch of seaboard in the Sunshine State is world-famous for the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, white-sand beaches, and many other fascinating natural wonders.
The city of Naples is a vibrant seaside community with an excellent reputation for providing world-class accommodations, high-end culinary experiences, and exclusive boutique shopping.
People visit Naples for its charming allure and the many spectacular outdoor opportunities Florida’s Paradise Coast offers, from the sun-kissed beaches in the west to the expansive and wild Everglades to the east.
One way to make the most of your outdoor experience is by visiting award-winning Florida State Parks. Florida ranks in the top 10 for the number of parks the state oversees and frequently enjoys gold-medal recognition as one of our nation’s best-managed park systems.
Choosing to explore Florida parks near Naples is an excellent way to see why this part of the state is called Paradise Coast. Come along with us as we look at Florida’s wondrous natural resources.
Map of State Parks Near Naples FL
Here is a map of the Florida state parks covered in this post:
List of State Parks Near Naples
Here are each of those state parks with distance from Naples and what is special about each.
1. Collier-Seminole State Park
Location: 20200 Tamiami Trail E, Naples, FL 34114
If seeing and experiencing a mangrove swamp is on your bucket list, visiting Collier-Seminole State Park is just the ticket.
Partially located within one of the most extensive mangrove swamps in the world, the park has diverse ecosystems and unique wildlife.
With alligators, crocodiles, and black bears to cypress swamps, salt marshes, and estuaries, Collier-Seminole is not your average “walk-in-the-park.”
Collier-Seminole park within Florida’s great mangrove swamp also intersects with the Big Cypress Swamp. The result is both fresh and saltwater environments, temperate and tropical vegetation zones, interfaces that result in intriguing and unique Florida landscapes.
The park has camping and RV sites, picnic shelters, a boat ramp, hiking and canoe trails, a nature trail with boardwalks, and an observation deck.
Helpful tips: Collier-Seminole Park hosts events from December through March. Past sessions have featured the park’s amazing animals or the sun, sungazing, and time-telling. There are also NED (Nature Explored & Defined) walks every second and fourth Saturday during the same time frame.
2. Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park
Location: 137 Coast Line Dr, Copeland, FL 34137
Fakahatchee Strand Preserve is not only Florida’s largest state park; it is home to the rare ghost orchid and many other plant species that thrive only in this preserve.
A visit here is a view into Florida’s past and see what an undeveloped southern Florida looked like; the park is minimally designed in keeping with “preserving its natural character.”
There are opportunities here to hike, bike, paddle, and picnic. Birdwatching is a popular pastime, as is wildlife viewing in general; this is where you can glimpse the stealthy Florida panther or the Everglades mink.
Interesting fact: Fakahatchee’s tropical climate makes the preserve an ideal home for orchids; 47 species call the park home. Visit here for the backstory on the elusive ghost orchid and other orchid information.
3. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
Location: 11135 Gulf Shore Dr, Naples, FL 34108
Half an hour north of Naples is Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. The park, located on an undeveloped barrier island, is an excellent day-use park for activities ranging from swimming and snorkeling to sunbathing and sea shelling.
A hard-bottomed reef at Delnor-Wiggins Park is just off-shore from the pristine white sand beach. There are designated areas for angling, and opportunities to hike, bird-watch, picnic, and a boat launch with easy access to Turkey Bay and the Cocohatchee River.
Helpful tip: Parking Lot #4 has a concession stand, and if you’ve forgotten your beach umbrella or chair or want to kayak or paddleboard, you can rent them here.
4. Lovers Key State Park
Location: 8700 Estero Blvd, Fort Myers Beach, FL 33931
Lovers Key State Park is a group of barrier islands located just an hour north of Naples. With its lovely sugar-white sands, languid lagoons, and spectacular sunsets, the park is a splendid way to soak up the sun, swim in the crystal blue waters of the gulf, or take a stroll along the park trails.
Lovers Key lives up to its name; today, it’s a popular destination spot where couples “tie the knot.”
The park is home to the Discovery Center, where you can view exhibits about the flora and fauna, learn the history of the Lovers Key, and see an interactive map of the island.
Helpful tip: Are you wondering how Lovers Key got its name? Historically, the only way to get to the island was by boat, and there was much speculation that lovers came out here for romantic interludes.
5. Mound Key Archeological State Park
Location: 3800 Corkscrew Road, Estero FL 33928
About 45 miles north of Naples is Estero Bay State Preserve. Estero Bay is an undeveloped, wild, and rugged natural area with excellent opportunities to explore southwestern Florida’s unique ecosystems and wildlife. Mound Key set in amongst the mangroves in Estero Bay is a rare and fascinating archeological feature within the preserve.
Mound Key is a midden or a “shell mound” and is not your average human-made shell deposit—middens formed in places where early inhabitants disposed of organic materials like shells, bones, and pottery. What makes Mound Key special is that it is 30 feet above any of the other islands in the bay and appears to be constructed to have an excellent vantage point. Only one of two middens in south Florida built with a purpose other than a refuse deposit, making it an important archeological discovery.
The only way to get to Mound Key is by small boat, canoe, or kayak. Instructions to find Mound Key are on the FSP website, and there are several local companies offering kayaking tours to the island. Exploring the ecology of Estero Bay and touring the fascinating and human-made features of Mound Key is an excellent way to get out on the water and hike in an ancient civilization.
Interesting facts: This area in southwestern Florida was once the home to the Calusa, a Native American people who lived directly from what they harvested from shore, estuaries, waterways, and rivers. Mound Key is thought to be one of Calusa’s main establishments.