Enjoy the Perfect Beach Day at Vanderbilt Beach

One of the most popular stretches of soft white sand on Florida’s Paradise Coast, Vanderbilt Beach runs nearly three miles along the Gulf coast in North Naples. It’s a go-to public beach for everyone from families with young kids to seniors out for a leisurely walk along the water.

Aerial view of Vanderbilt beach coastline

Bring your beach gear (including a cooler, if you like), stake out a bit of sandy real estate, and spend a relaxing day in the Florida sun at Vanderbilt Beach. Another option is to visit later in the day, so you can behold one of the Paradise Coast’s awe-inspiring sunsets. The Gulf of Mexico is just steps away when you fancy a refreshing dip in the water, and a gentle sea breeze also helps cool you off.

Shelling to Sandcastle Building

At Vanderbilt Beach, kids make new friends and build elaborate sand castles; moms and dads lounge in beach chairs; teens work on their tans. The beach is renowned for its terrific shelling, which can keep the young ones occupied for hours. In short, this is a place that offers everything you’d want for the perfect beach day.

Rich Amenities & Easy Access

That includes amenities. Vanderbilt Beach has a concession stand that rents chairs and cabanas, and sells snacks, drinks, toys and more. Restrooms and foot showers are nearby for your convenience.

Of course, easy access is vital for a classic beach day. Vanderbilt Beach has you covered, with a large parking garage ($10 for the day) just steps away from the sand. There’s also a drop-off point where you can unload your gear before parking.

Adventures on the Water: Paddleboarding to Parasailing

If you want to add a little excitement to the day, Naples Beach Water Sports rents personal watercraft, paddleboards (the calm waters are ideal for it), and inflatable banana boats that can hold up to six people. For a thrilling aerial adventure, the company also offers parasailing excursions, where you’ll get panoramic views of the beaches and surrounding islands while watching manatees and dolphins frolic in the waters below.

Food & Drink By the Beach

Vanderbilt Beach is set amid luxury resorts, high-end condos and restaurants. That means you’ll find plenty of options nearby when it’s time to take a break for lunch. One of the most popular is The Turtle Club, which has an array of umbrella-shaded tables that are set up right on the sand. Wiggle your toes — it’ll make your fresh fish sandwich taste that much better.

The Story Behind the Name

Wondering how Vanderbilt Beach got its name? Until the early 1950s, the area was essentially a wilderness, made up of scrub, mangrove stands and lagoons. A dredging operation let in saltwater and allowed the formation of a sandy beach.

When an out-of-towner named J.B. Conners began to develop the area, the early inhabitants were mostly farmers and the occupants of a fish camp. It’s been said that he named it after the Vanderbilt family as a marketing ploy to confer wealth and prestige.

Now, some seventy years later, as people come from around the world to soak up the charms of Vanderbilt Beach, it’s clear the tactic worked!