Boating on Florida's Paradise Coast

From island hopping in the famed Ten Thousand Islands to amazing eco-tours, Florida's Paradise Coast is a boater's paradise.

Whether you're new to boating or an "old salt," you'll discover a wealth of possibilities in the Naples, Marco Island and Everglades area. Lessons, rentals, cruises, accommodations with marinas, waterside restaurants – they're all here.

Find your sea legs

New to boating? Florida's Paradise Coast makes it easy to get out on the water. Numerous sightseeing cruises let you do nothing more than relax and enjoy the scenery, and many include a stop on an island for shelling. A few sights in store: magnificent waterside mansions; marine life such as dolphins, manatees and sea turtles; and of course, gorgeous sunsets. Explore the waters aboard an elegant yacht, the Naples Princess, and enjoy dining and dancing under the stars. Or for a more hands-on adventure, take one of the many guided kayak or canoe eco tours.

Many area motorboat rentals also let you hire a captain, giving you more privacy and the ability to totally customize your trip. Even renting a boat yourself is not as hard as you might think. You don't need a captain's license, the boats are easy to operate and the rental companies provide basic instructions along with user-friendly maps.

Your vacation is also the perfect time to learn a new water sport, such as sailing or kayaking, and many local companies offer lessons. You'll not only discover some of the prettiest waters in Florida, you'll also gain a new hobby that you can enjoy for years to come.

Adventures for old salts

You'll find rentals for motorboats, sailboats, kayaks, canoes and waverunners. Coming by boat or bringing yours? Numerous boat launches are located throughout the area for your convenience. Many hotels with marinas or dockage are also ready to accommodate you and your boat, including the Port of the Islands Resort & Marina, Naples Bay Resort, Bayfront Inn 5th Ave., the Boat House Motel, Parkway Motel & Marina and the Rod & Gun Lodge.

Paddlers' paradise

Kayakers paddle through mangrove forests in Naples and the Everglades

Maneuver through mangroves and peer into clear, shallow water on a kayak excursion.

Experienced paddlers will want to explore the Paradise Coast Blueway, a system of GPS-marked paddling trails, and can plan expeditions deep into the heart of the Ten Thousand Islands stretching from Marco Island to Everglades City. Another beautiful place to paddle is the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, which offers thousands of acres of pristine mangrove estuary. In Naples, you can explore the Cocohatchee and Gordon Rivers. You may want to plan your visit for the annual Paradise Coast Kayak Symposium, the Paradise Coast Kayak Festival or the Great Dock Canoe Race.

If by sea

Florida's Paradise Coast is an island-hopping wonderland for boaters, offering private sanctuaries of soft white sand and gentle Gulf waters, perfect for shelling, picnicking, camping and fishing. If you want some quality time with your family, there's nothing like a deserted island to escape the distractions and reconnect. Some favorite places to explore include Keewaydin Island, Kice Island and Cape Romano. Or check out the pristine beaches on Pavilion Key or Indian Key in Everglades National Park.

You'll not only have the chance to connect with each other, you'll also connect with nature like never before. Wonderful sunsets and dolphins following the wake of your boat are just a few of the experiences you're sure to have. And don't forget to anchor up at night far from civilization for stargazing so spectacular it will take your breath away.

Sail the waters off Florida's Paradise Coast for a different type of boating experience.

Island hop around the Paradise Coast on a sailboat.

If your idea of fun is visiting the more inhabited islands, there are plenty of options for shopping, dining and entertainment by boat, from upscale to "old Florida" rustic. Cruise over to Tin City in downtown Naples and explore eclectic shops and great dining on the water at Riverwalk Fish and Ale House or Pinchers Crab Shack. Cruising with your dog? Treat your pup to Yappy Hour at The Dock at Crayton Cove in Naples. You'll enjoy drink specials and part of your purchase benefits Collier County Domestic Animal Services.

Head south to The Esplanade on Marco Island, which offers a variety of boutiques, a day spa and two wonderful restaurants to choose from: CJ's on the Bay and Mango's Dockside Bistro. Farther south you can explore the historic fishing village of Goodland. Continue your voyage to the "Stone Crab Capital of the World," Everglades City, for some fresh seafood at City Seafood or Triad Seafood.

Endless adventures. Spectacular scenery. Don't miss the boat – plan your getaway to Florida's Paradise Coast today.