Hike or Paddle the Paradise Coast to See Tropical Wildlife


Kayaking is one way to get up close and personal to Florida's Paradise Coast, as kayaks can maneuver through mangroves and are fit for shallow as well as deep waters.

Tropical forests, estuaries, barrier islands, dolphins, Florida panthers and more than 200 species of birds are just a few of the many fascinating creatures you can see on the Paradise Coast. With more than 80 percent of Collier County’s land area designated as parkland and nature preserves, the area provides a fascinating look at a diverse variety of plants and animals.

Whether it’s bird watching on a natural trail or boardwalk, cruising the Gulf of Mexico to see bottlenose dolphins, manatees and sea turtles, or kayaking the Paradise Coast Blueway, the eco-adventures on the Paradise Coast are diverse, exciting and educational. Hiking, kayaking and canoeing are a few of the most popular and environmentally friendly ways you can explore the wild wonders of the Paradise Coast.

For beach lovers, a favorite pastime is shell hunting. Benefiting from offshore currents, the Paradise Coast’s many deserted islands are brimming with sand dollars and other collectible seashells. You can leisurely stroll the beaches for shells or set sail on a shelling excursion to a barrier island. Just remember, it’s against the law to take live creatures, so only pick up the starfish, sand dollars and shells that are no longer living.

Sea Turtle Nesting Season is May 1 to October 31 each year. This is the time when loggerhead sea turtles dig their nests in the sand and lay their eggs on Southwest Florida beaches. Regulations require beachside lighting to be turned off to avoid disorienting turtle hatchlings trying to follow the moonlight toward the Gulf of Mexico. As the sand begins to cool, the hatchlings scratch their way out of the nest, emerging as a group. They instinctually seek the Gulf by looking for natural light reflecting off the water.

So, come on. Take a wonderful walk on the wild side of the Paradise Coast. It’s easy and rewarding, whether on a self-guided tour through the many vast hiking areas, or on a guided tour.

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