Florida Snowbird Paradise Coast

Coasts of Florida continued…

Paradise Coast

The communities of Naples, Marco Island, Sanibel-Captiva, Pine Island and Everglade City are hidden gems of rich culture and food.

Paradise Coast of Florida is bathed in sunshine, but this sparkly title belongs to that stretch along the Gulf of Mexico from the Everglades, through Naples and Fort Myers—and along the legendary white sand beaches of Sanibel and Captive islands.

Fort Myers

From  Fort Myers head inland along the Caloosahatchee River for excellent fishing on lovely Lake Okeechobee.

A gator in search of lunch at Highlands Hammock State Park as seen from a tram tour. Next is the Tampa Bay area with bustling Tampa and artsy St. Petersburg.

Thomas Edison and Henry Ford who were good friends built adjacent winter homes in Fort Myers.

If you enjoy a slower pace, visit the beautiful beaches of Sanibel and Captiva near Ft. Myers Beach. Here, you’ll find some of the world’s best shelling.


Spend the morning strolling along the beach collecting shells and enjoying the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Within 15 minutes of arriving here, you’ll be combing the beaches, doing the famous “Sanibel Stoop.”

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Then head to J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, where footpaths, canoe trails, and a five-mile scenic drive invite you to explore its 6,000 acres. Here, you may spot any of 291 species of birds, more than 50 types of reptiles and amphibians, and at least 32 different mammals.


Now you're in my home town territory, Naples.  A snowbird paradise. Got two Florida State Parks within shouting distance.  

I was a Volunteer at Koreshan State Park. It's a historic jewel with the history of the first Settler and trading post as well as a launch point from the park to  Estero Bay.  Great camping park worth a visit.  Coconut Mall is within shouting distance and in-between Fort Myers Beach and Naples/Marco Island.

Collier-Seminole Park is off of highway 41 (the original Alligator Alley) 10 miles from Marco Island. Marco's a great town with great snook and Red Fish fishing in canals from the park road to Marco Island.  

Check out while you're there, Stan's Idle Hour in Goodland, Fl (old Florida fishing village) on your way to Marco.

They are Collier-Seminole State Park 20200 Tamiami Trail ENaples, Florida 3411Southwest Region (239) 394-3397 and Koreshan State Historic Site 3800 Corkscrew Road Estero, Florida 33928 Southwest Region(239) 992-0311

Goodland, Florida

The tiny community of Goodland, located off State Road 92 at the southeast corner of the island, offers visitors a laid back charm unlike any other place in the region.

The stillness of the village, where cats and dogs can be found napping in the streets, changes drastically on Sundays when hundreds of residents and visitors make the pilgrimage to Stan's Idle Hour for an afternoon of outdoor music, drinks and dancing.

Today, Goodland continues to buck the significant development changes around it. There are about 400 year round residents here and everyone knows everyone, watches out for each other, and yet minds their own business. You discover Goodland when you discover her people - Goodland is it's people.

The Buzzard lope & Mullet Festival

Stan Gober, owner of Stan's Idle Hour Seafood Restaurant in Goodland has been hosting the Mullet Festival and Buzzard Lope Queen Contest for 12 years.

The Buzzard Lope is a dance based on "The Buzzard Lope Song" composed and sung by Stan. 

THE BUZZARD LOPE QUEENS - Stan Gober, owner of Stan's Idle Hour Seafood Restaurant in Goodland has been hosting the Mullet Festival and Buzzard Lope Queen Contest for 12 years. The Buzzard Lope is a dance based on "The Buzzard Lope Song" composed and sung by Stan. Some of the words are:

The three-day festival attracts nearly 5,000 people to Goodland. Fried and smoked mullet are featured and in addition to the Buzzard Lope Queen event there is also a Buzzard Lope Princess day when girls from ages 6 to 16 compete for the title, a trophy and cash prizes.

Marco Island

Located a short ride from the Florida Everglades and close to Naples, Marco Island is the largest and only developed land in Florida's Ten Thousand Islands.

The tropical climate of Marco Island is a considerable attraction to the area, with the water being the next major attraction.

Collier Seminole State Park, just a few miles from Marco Island, has primitive camping, canoeing, fishing, boating, picnic grounds, and a mile-long nature walk.

See the Everglades like local gladesman have for over 100 years. Since the 1930's the swamp buggy has been unique to South Florida.

Tour with a 5th generation Gladesman Captain Steve's Swamp Buggy Adventures and listen to stories from the past and learn about future Everglades restoration.

You'll ride high above the grasslands and through ancient cypress swamp, across pine islands, and North Americas only sub- tropical wilderness.

Located a short ride from the Florida Everglades and close to Naples, Marco Island offers luxury resorts, beautiful beaches and unspoiled parks.

Florida Everglades National Park
Everglades City

America's Everglades - The largest subtropical wilderness in the United States

Traveling in Florida isn't complete without stopping at Everglades National Park—a swampland just outside Miami, where visitors can see alligators.

Welcome to Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States and the first national park in the country established to protect an ecosystem and the abundance of life it nourishes.

Everglades National Park protects an unparalleled landscape that provides important habitat for numerous rare and endangered species like the manatee,  American crocodile, and the elusive Florida panther.

Airboat & Alligators

Everglades Island Boat Tours Small Airboats with Native guides. The Only Airboat Ride that gives you a choice ...alligators...Back Country or Open Water to a Private Island

National campgrounds on highyway 41

On the road from Paradise Coast to the the Keys via the east coast down old Alligator Alley Highway 41  National camping parks dot the trail to camp, at half price if you hold a Senior Pass.

I've stayed at all of them, Midway offers a beautify place to hold up for a few days.

Senior Pass

$10 Lifetime pass.For U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over.May be obtained in person at a federal recreation site or through the mail using this application form.

 National Parks off 41

Camping at Midway Campground (FL), 

Midway Campground is a beautiful place where visitors can enjoy the surrounding preserve while sitting at their picnic table. Visitors may ...

This campground offers electric hookups for RV sites, dump station, flush toilets, and water. Each RV campsite has its own picnic table and hibachi style grill. Covered picnic areas are located around the lake for day use.

Campgrounds - Big Cypress National Preserve (U.S. National Park ... 

*Dump stations are located at Midway Campground and at Dona Drive (2.5 miles east of SR 29 on US 41). Dump stations may be used free of charge by campers paying for National Park Service campgrounds within the national preserve.

There is a $10 fee for those campers not paying for national preserve campgrounds.

**Bear Island campsites 1-12 are open year-round. Sites 13-40 are open August 15-April 15.

*** The Burns Lake area is open year round for day use and backcountry access parking.

camground-midwayMidway Campground is a beautiful place where visitors can enjoy the surrounding preserve while sitting at their picnic table. Visitors may enjoy nearby activities such as fishing, hiking through the preserve, and exploring the many boardwalks. The RV campsites surround the lake

Long Pine Key Campground

Long Pine is near the Homestead entrance to Everglades National Park and features 108 drive-up sites available first-come, first-served for $20/night (2017 rate).

Reservations are not accepted at this campground, which is near the entrance to the park and the Homestead Visitor Center.

Flamingo Campground

Reservations are accepted for the 234 drive-up sites at Flamingo, which are $20/night for boondockers (no hookups).  Electric hookups are available on 41 sites in the T-Loop and run $30/night (2017 rates).

Flamingo Campground

Reservations can be made for the Flamingo Campground by calling 1-877-444-6777 or online through Recreation.gov for winter season, dates Nov. 20 – April 15. Reservations are not necessary off-season.

Worth Pondering…

Life here is a world apart

It is perhaps a more fortunate destiny to have a taste for collecting shells than to be born a millionaire.—Robert Louis Stevenson

One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach. One can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few. —Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift From the Sea

To be continued...

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