Hot, Hot, Hot

We moved south along the Gulf Coast to Marcos Island. This part of our trip was a late add on. As a result we were closed out of the State Parks. The Marcos Island/Naples KOA had one spot left. We booked it.

Site L24

The empty sites filled up by the end of the day. As you can see the sites are small and close together. Certainly not the most scenic campground you’ll ever see. What it lacks in beauty and solitude it makes up for in its proximity to a number of Gulf beaches and to the Everglades.

Barefoot Beach
A group of Royal Terns on Barefoot Beach
Barefoot Beach
Marco Island South Beach

We arrived at Marco Island during a record setting heatwave. With temperatures in the high 80’s and low 90’s, the beach or poolside at the KOA was the place to be.

When in this part of Florida we enjoy visiting the Corkscrew Swamp Preserve. The 2 mile boardwalk provides an intimate walk through this cypress swamp without getting your feet wet!

A boardwalk view

The Bald Cypress found in this swamp are some of the largest trees found east of the Mississippi River. In spite of the hurricane that came through in 2017 which downed several of the large trees, it’s still an impressive stand.

This is the Muir Cypress and is 15 feet around

The large branches of these trees host a variety of other plants; resurrection ferns and epiphytes among them.

Many bromeliads (air plants) are found along the boardwalk.

The swamp is also home to a wide variety of bird life.

Great White Egret

We saw Ergrets, Herons, Black and White warblers, Palm Warblers, a Red Shoulder Hawk and a Pileated Woodpecker. The Audubon volunteers were most helpful in helping us identify the warblers.

The Everglades NP spans 1.5 million acres making it the third largest National Park. We entered the park by way of the Tamiami Trail (Rt. 41) and drove along the 24 mile Loop Rd Scenic Drive. The road takes you into the Big Cypress National Preserve for some excellent wildlife viewing.

These Bald Cypress were loaded with Bromeliads

In addition to the numerous alligators, we saw lots of birds.

Black Vulture
Great White Egret

At the western side of the Everglades you access the Ten Thousand Islands section of the park. The Gulf Coast Visitor Center is a jumping off place for canoeists, kayakers and sport fisher people. You can also get a ticket for a one hour tour of the area on a catamaran.

The only requirement for island status is enough ground (usually some limestone rocks) for one tree to grow (usually Red Mangrove).

The highlight of the boat tour was our encounter with a pod of Bottlenose Dolphins.

Naples is a very busy area with lots of traffic without many opportunities for biking. We biked along the Gordon River Greenway which meanders through a suburban neighborhood. The draw for us was the 3 mile trail through a mangrove swamp~ out and back made an easy six mile ride.

We also managed to find a local brewery that was producing some fine beer.

Naples has a large city beach that is popular with visitors and locals. It’s the place to be at sunset.

Sand drawings
Shelly on Naples City Beach
Naples City Beach sunset, a fine end to our week in Southwest Florida.

11 thoughts on “Hot, Hot, Hot”

  1. Wow. You two have been busy seeing a lot and having fun. You must have passed us. We’re at Little Manatee River SP till Saturday.

    We are doing a house inspection Thursday (tomorrow) at a house in Vero Beach. 2 1/2 hour ride so may go over this afternoon and stay over tonight. Gives us a chance to see more of the area. Excited and scared to death about moving. We will have to somehow go through our storage and sort and downsize again. Plus I’m not sure how to deal with my precious hifi and tv.

    If all goes well we’ll close on house March 16. We’re still going sw in the fall but come December may head back to Florida till spring. I still want to get to Yosemite and Crater Lake. Hopefully that spring.

    We’re hoping the house will give our friends and family a place to visit in future winters!

    I haven’t done any blogging on this trip. Not a great deal of photos either. I’ve done a couple posts on Facebook. I need to get going on a couple. Liked Highlands Hammock and Okeechobee.

    Happy trails Bill Nordstrom

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  2. Looks oh so peaceful! What could be better than a walk on a boardwalk through groves of trees with bromeliads, luscious ferns, and exotic birds! Far away from thoughts of stupid politics! Naples is one of the cooler places in Florida that I have visited too.

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