Celebrating 100 Years of Collier County

Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades celebrates the 100th anniversary of Collier County throughout 2023 with yearlong programs and events commemorating this historic milestone.

An aerial view of Florida's Paradise Coast. 

Florida’s Paradise Coast, also known as Collier County, Florida, has a long and rich history that has shaped the community into what it is today. From its earliest days as a small settlement to its modern-day development as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States, Collier County has evolved over time to become an integral part of Florida’s history.

A black and white photo of a coastline.

A vintage aerial view of Florida's Paradise Coast. Photo Courtesy of Marco Island Historical Society.

A Brief History of Florida’s Paradise Coast

This southwest Florida region has been home to a variety of local Floridians for over 10,000 years, the earliest residents being the Paleoindians. Additionally, Collier County was once part of the Calusa domain, which extends from the Ten Thousand Islands to the far reaches of Charlotte Harbor. The Calusa, better known as “fierce people,” defended the coast from Spanish colonization up until the 1700s. The Seminoles of north Florida migrated to what would become modern day Collier County in the early 1800s, living among the cypress swamp and hunting in the high prairies. While a diverse range of settlers found their way into the region throughout history, it wasn’t until the 1870s that more permanent towns and communities were established, such as Everglades City, Marco Island, Immokalee, and Naples.

Four men and a dog stand on the beach.

This vintage photo captures a slice of life on The Paradise Coast. Photo Courtesy of Naples Historical Society. 

Becoming Collier County

Collier County officially became Florida’s 62nd county on May 8, 1923, when Florida Governor Cary A. Hardee signed Senate Bill 149, Chapter 9362. Since that time, this subtropical part of southwest Florida has grown into a world-class community, well-known for its natural beauty, white sand beaches, colorful sunsets, and unique wildlife. Additionally, the growth of Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades as a tourist destination has helped create an extraordinary foodie scene, unique shopping, world-class arts and culture, and more – all of which lends a fantastic quality of life for its over 300,000 permanent residents and its visitors alike.

A man and a woman play golf.

Tee off at one of many courses along the Paradise Coast.

Today on Florida’s Paradise Coast

Key moments in Collier County’s history have helped grow and establish a modern Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades. Today, Florida’s Paradise Coast is a world-class destination with a wide variety of activities and sights to see, suiting the needs of both Floridians and visitors. Beach goers can find their beach style on more than 30 miles of Gulf shoreline. Outdoor adventure seekers can choose from fishing, shell collecting, guided excursions through land or water wildlife, eco-tours, and so much more. Visitors who love golfing can tee it up at one of the county’s 90 courses. Foodies can taste the flavors of paradise at one of the community’s many award-winning restaurants. And art lovers can enjoy an incredible arts and culture scene, art galleries and ¡ARTE VIVA!, a yearlong celebration of Hispanic arts and culture. There’s something for everyone in Collier County!