Collier County’s desirable coast reaches its zenith at Barefoot Beach Preserve, where numerous animal species reside and visitors are able to enjoy the ambiance of the park’s natural surroundings.
Barefoot Beach Preserve is 342 acres of natural land, one of the last undeveloped barrier islands on Florida’s southwest coast.
This beach park is an excellent example of the shifts in habitat that occur within a very narrow strip of land with only slight changes in elevation and moisture. 8,200 feet of beach and sand dunes support the growth of sea oats, providing nesting sites for sea turtles during the summer months. The park also maintains a tropical coastal hammock of sabal palm, gumbo-limbo and sea grape trees among many others. The site is also home to the protected gopher tortoise.
Barefoot Beach Preserve is popular for its gorgeous, plush surroundings and its opportunities for avid fisherman, who are able to enjoy many species of fish. The inland side of the island provides tidal creeks and mangrove swamps which serve as breeding areas and as a nursery for sport and commercial fish and shellfish.
Park Rangers offer a number of programs at the Barefoot Beach Preserve Park including lectures and interpretive programs. Park Rangers educate the public about the importance of the environment and wildlife in Southwest Florida. Subjects include a guided walk through the preserve, where visitors learn about the many habitats in the preserve as well as flora and fauna. Rangers also provide a free recreation guide where they take visitors to look at the natural history of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, some of which reside at the preserve.
Barefoot Beach Preserve Park has 401 parking spaces, one-mile nature trail, showers, picnic area and a concession are where equipment may be rented and food and drink is available for purchase. The preserve also offers handicapped beach wheelchair access.
Another nearby option is Barefoot Beach Access, located 20 feet off Bonita Beach Road on Lely Barefoot Boulevard, the access provides an open, peaceful location for sunbathers. Barefoot Beach Preserve Park is located just south of this access point. Just north is Bonita Beach Park, which has public rest rooms, showers and concessions. You will also notice a lot of wildlife and sea life at this location, very near to the main Barefoot Beach Preserve Park site. Barefoot Beach Access has 96 parking spaces.
Barefoot Beach Preserve Park is free for all to visit and enjoy; however, there are required parking fees if you do not have a valid Collier County Beach Parking Sticker.