January 31, 2010

Florida's West Coast Treasures

Stretching north from just above Naples for about 140 miles is a long, lean string of barrier islands.  From the map view most look like they could barely hold a boat anchor let alone any population yet these islands are immensely popular. Most are accessible from the mainland but they seldom feel overrun and a handful are still only accessible by boat remaining virtually untouched. Fortunately more of this coast has the environmental protection in place that came too late for much of Florida's southeast coast. For that reason these islands and their surrounding waterways are fairly abundant with wildlife. People come here to fish, kayak and canoe, relax and explore.  
File:Roseate Spoonbill - Myakka River State Park.jpgDon't get me wrong, southeast Florida has much to offer but if southeast Florida is known as the place to see and be seen then Florida's Gulf Islands are the polar opposite. Here travelers won't find a slew of restaurants to which celebrities have pinned their names or famous models showing off the latest Dolce and Gabbana.  White sugar sand beaches are more alluring here and the red soles of a pair of Jimmy Choo's are not nearly as exciting as the sight of a Roseate Spoonbill. The press worthy vibe and celebrity spotting of Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Miami doesn't exist here. Instead Dolphins, Manatees and shark's teeth are the sightings to report and the buzz is just a bunch of clacking beaks.  Ideal for boating and bird watching, a good book and an afternoon nap this coast is almost always peaceful and unassuming.  It is the place for quiet adventure, respite and anonymity.  

(Roseate Spoonbill picture above courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

In upcoming posts I'll examine this coast in more detail - please join me.

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