Explore Natural Beauty at Keeywadin Island
One of the best beaches on Florida’s Paradise Coast is one you can’t reach by car – you’ll have to take a boat.
Keewaydin Island, also known as Key Island, features eight miles of unspoiled, uncrowded white sands separated from Naples by Gordon’s pass. The long, narrow barrier island lies at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands — the legendary collection of small islands that extends south into Everglades National Park.
Keewaydin Island is part of Florida’s Rookery Bay Research Reserve, which has been set aside since 1980 as a haven for sea turtles, sea birds and outdoor lovers. The island abounds with native plants and animals that flourish in its protected environment.
At the southern tip of the island, you’ll find pristine Keewaydin Beach, a secluded hideaway that some claim is the best beach in Naples, Marco Island, and the Everglades. It’s also the region’s only dog-friendly beach – if they stay on their leash, of course.
Only twenty percent of Keewaydin Island is developed with private homes. The majority of the island is protected as a valuable wildlife habitat – particularly as a nesting ground for endangered loggerhead sea turtles, which come ashore to lay their eggs here generation after generation.
Thousands of boaters visit Keewaydin Island every year to experience the tranquility of this beautiful, isolated section of the coast just north of Marco Island. Some come to fish, some to enjoy the world-class shelling, and others just to stroll the soft sand beside the sparkling Gulf of Mexico.
No boat? No problem. The family-owned Hemingway Water Shuttle leaves seven times a day from Rose Marina on Marco Island to bring visitors to Keewaydin Beach. Bring your cooler, snacks and beach gear for the day. Along the way, visitors may spot playful dolphins or manatees swimming offshore the island.
Sightseeing boats such as the Sweet Liberty sailing catamaran, Miss Naples sailing catamaran, Dolphin Explorer and other boats operated by Pure Florida stop by Keewaydin Island for beach walking and shelling during their tours of the area.
If you’re an experienced boater, you can explore Keewaydin Island on your own by renting a boat from marinas in Naples and Marco Island.
However you get to Keewaydin Island, this unique reminder of unspoiled Florida is the perfect place to discover the quiet side of Paradise.