Perhaps the region’s top beach for wildlife viewing. Protected wading birds typically line the shores of a lagoon that separates parking and facilities area from the beach. Birds have become acclimated to people and aren’t prone to spook. Great chance to watch some of the state’s most unique birds hunt and gather food. Park rangers also offer several educational programs each week, including birding tours and presentations on coastal wildlife like sea turtles and manatees.
Pros: Beautiful shoreline that’s relatively undeveloped while still being very close to residential and rental areas on Marco Island.
Cons: Long drive from Bonita Springs and even Naples. Like most beaches in the region, traffic can be a challenge during winter and spring months.
Likely visitors: Nature lovers who don’t want to get too far away from civilization.
Getting there: Take Collier Boulevard on to Marco Island. Make a right on Tigertail Court, then a left onto Hernando Drive, which ends at the beach.
Parking: $8 entrance fee per vehicle or free for Collier County residents with a beach parking permit.
Facilities: There are restrooms, showers and a concession stand for food and beverage. There is also a rental stand for water activities, umbrellas, chairs and other beach equipment.
Hours: 8 a.m. - sunset
Other details: There is a children's play area, sand-soccer area and shells.