Ten Thousand (yes, really!) Reasons Why Southwest Florida is the Paddleboard & Kayak Capital of the U.S.
Exploring all of Florida’s natural beauty is a must-see-to-believe adventure and paddle boarding and kayaking may be the very best way to do it. Growing in popularity across the globe, paddle boarding and kayaking in Southwest Florida is unlike any other experience you can have and Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands is the reason why.
Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is one of the wildest areas in Florida, and that’s one reason it remains such an adventure. The mangrove islands scattered off the Gulf coast in Southwest Florida, near Naples, are full of brilliant color – intensely green foliage, vivid blue sky – and abundant wildlife, from the flocks of birds to the manatees, dolphins and all sorts of fish in the water.
The best way to experience the natural wonders is the Sandfly Loop kayak trail. At about five miles, it takes two or three hours of paddling, plus an hour to explore Sandfly Island. On Sandfly Island, you can dock, use a restroom, have a picnic and walk a one-mile trail past vestiges of pioneer homes. You can extend the paddle as long as you’d like by exploring the many passageways, bays and islands around Sandfly Island.
Some of these islands are no bigger than a basketball court. Others are large enough to play football. The major ones have names, such as Panther Key and Mormon Key, given to them by the area’s early settlers, who made their living fishing and hunting the watery wilderness that has barely changed in more than 100 years. Others are unnamed slices of sand and oyster shells, just big enough to land and lay out a picnic lunch.
Southwest Florida’s kayak and SUP following has grown so much that many of the local communities have built their homes on large lake front lots so residents are able to get out on the water whenever they want. Naples Reserve, located just north of Ten Thousand Islands in Naples, has been a favorite for those seeking a more active lifestyle in Southwest Florida.
Every morning at Naples Reserve, woven into 22 freshwater lakes, including one with its own destination island, is a blank page ready to be written to your mood.
Award-winning developer iStar created the 688-acre Naples Reserve community with island-inspired amenities. Even a workout in the state-of-the-art ﬁtness center serves up lake views throughout most of its 3,500 square feet.
The Island Club channels the best of Key West’s famous laid-back mentality. In the 5,160-square-foot clubhouse, residents enjoy gathering in the cafe, love chilling out in the gathering room, and tend to get a little mesmerized watching the occupants of our signature 850-gallon aquarium.
Outside, the club offers a tropical waterfall pool with Junior Olympic lap lanes, a children’s splash pool, an event lawn and a ﬁre pit. There are also beach volleyball and bocce ball courts and a beckoning view of Kontiki Island.
The neighboring Outrigger Center provides paddleboards, kayaks and canoes to explore Eagle Lake, the island and the mile-long lakefront along Picayune Strand State Forest. The center’s two Duffy boats, Tranquility and Little Skipper, also offer lake and island cruises. Inside, a ﬂex space is available for game days, special events and other activities.
Coming soon to Naples Reserve are a community boat ramp, the lakefront Match Point tennis and pickleball complex, plus dog parks, tot lots and a meandering biking, hiking and jogging linear park.
Naples Reserve now offers 16 fully decorated single-family and custom estate model homes featuring three and four bedrooms, 2,100 to 3,500 square feet of living space. Homes are priced from the high-$200s to more than $1 million. The community offers 11 neighborhoods and the opportunity for a private boat dock on Eagle Lake.
Naples Reserve is located off U.S. 41, 2 miles southeast of the Collier Boulevard/CR 951 inter-section and 10 minutes from I-75, Exit 101. Visit the community at 14885 Naples Reserve Circle or online at www.naplesreserve.com