Florida’s Paradise Coast ranges roughly from just above Naples down through Everglades City and Flamingo. For outdoor enthusiasts, this area is home to numerous national parks, pristine white sand beaches, and thriving marine reserves. If you’re looking for diversity, this area allows you to explore beaches, mangrove stands, fresh and brackish canals, cypress heads, and old-growth forests. The Paradise Coast is also home to some of the largest barrier islands in the country. So pack up and head to the Paradise Coast for some epic wildlife adventures and discover one of Florida’s most idyllic places.
Something Unique: The Florida Everglades
Crocodiles, Alligators, exotic reptiles and amphibians, Panthers, Bobcats, and thousands of other species of marine and bird life. No we’re not talking about your local zoo, it’s the Everglades.
This tropical stretch of wetlands and shoreline is one of the wildest places in the United States. It’s comprised of over 7,800 square miles, encompassing nine distinct habitats that run from upland to freshwater to the Florida Bay. For a little frame of reference, the Everglades are bigger than Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island…combined.
While it would take a lifetime to explore all of the Everglades, it’s worth at least a day trip to see some of the beautiful sights and wildlife. If you’re in the area, spending some time on the water should be top of the list, whether that’s by kayak, motorboat, or even airboat.
The Paradise Coast offers excellent fishing year round. From the 10,000 islands in the Everglades to shallow flats and offshore fishing on countless reefs & wrecks, this coast is a sportsman’s paradise. The easily accessible waters are also appealing to surf and kayak anglers. For the fly fisherman, be sure to spend some time in the Everglades’ mangrove mazes and island complexes, where sight fishing can produce stellar results.
Inshore fishing is great year-round from Naples all the way through the Everglades. Saltwater species are abundant, including big Snook, Redfish, Tarpon, Trout, Mangrove Snapper. The Southern reaches of the Paradise Coast are also home of the prehistoric (and protected) Sawfish, which is a very impressive creature to see in the wild.
The area also offers abundant freshwater fishing opportunities, with retention lakes and rock pits stocked with bass, catfish, and panfish. You can try fishing in the Everglades and its inland canals, which are perfect for catching largemouth bass and other species including golden shiners, yellow bullheads, and Florida Gar. The Everglades is also a perennial favorite for those looking to target Peacock Bass.
Offshore fishing along the Paradise Coast can be good year-round as well. You can catch a variety of fish, including Cobia, King Mackerel, Permit, Grouper, Snapper, and other nearshore and offshore bottom fish.
Species: Redfish, Flounder, Black Drum, Tarpon, Snook, Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Permit, Grouper, Triggerfish, Panfish, Sunfish, Largemouth Bass, Gar, Catfish, Peacock Bass.
While not particularly renowned for its hunting opportunities, the Paradise Coast does boast some good and…unique…opportunities. Waterfowl hunting, particularly late season, can be productive. The Paradise Coast might be just the spot to help you scratch some less common birds off your bucket-list, like Black-Bellied Whistling Ducks, Fulvous Tree Ducks, Blue Wing Teal, and Mottled Ducks. Deer and Boar Hunting is also manageable in the area, but not noteworthy.
The best hunting opportunity of the Paradise Coast, however, lies in the number of exotic and invasive species that have begun to call the Everglades home. From Iguanas to Pythons, there are plenty of non-native species to target for a unique trophy hunt.
Species: Waterfowl, Wild Boar, Whitetail Deer, Exotics, Invasive Species, Iguana, Blue Wing Teal, Fulvous Tree Duck, Black-Bellied Whistling Duck, Mottled Duck.
With a wide array of launch spots in the Everglades and the Paradise Coast, there are plenty of kayaking options. Take advantage of a stealthy paddle and see some of the beautiful wildlife that calls the Paradise Coast home. Manatee, dolphins, and birds of many species can be found in these waters, and kayaking is the perfect way to get up close to these animals.
If you are a fan of the night sky, Florida’s Paradise Coast is a great place to go stargazing. The state has some of the darkest skies in the country, and the milky way is easily visible with the naked eye. You can view the stars best on the Paradise Coast from April to November, with the Everglades being the prime viewing location.
Hiking, Biking & Nature Trails ★★★★
If you’re looking for a new adventure, consider hiking on Florida’s Paradise Coast. The area boasts more than eighty percent protected State and Federal lands. Hikers can experience pristine sandbars full of shells, ancient cypress forests replete with wildlife,and myriad flora, like rare orchids. You can also make use of the ample nature trails to spot endangered species like red-cockaded woodpeckers and Florida panthers.
If you enjoy leisurely bike rides, then you’ll love biking on Florida’s Paradise Coast. The Naples Pathways Coalition recently introduced a plan to build the Paradise Coast Trail. Existing biking opportunities offer miles of spectacular beaches that are easy to access by bicycle. The biking trails allow cyclists to see pristine beaches and vast ocean landscapes. These scenic vistas will make your visit to Florida’s Paradise Coast a memorable one. It’s sure to make you feel like a local.