Isolation is becoming a rare commodity in Collier County. But there is still a bit of the Old Florida left, an eight mile long white sand laden chunk of paradise on the south side of the Gordon Pass, a barrier island known as Keewaydin.
Accessible only by boat, Keewaydin Island is almost entirely secluded with no vehicle traffic. It’s basically a remote, private, quiet shoreline great for shelling or a peaceful walk.
Old Florida must have appeared similar, except folks from Naples past could never imagine that after stepping off a private ferry, an electric car would be at their disposal, or fly onto a helipad right from the airport!
Islanders rely on an off grid electrical system, which cannot be explained without sounding like an article from Science Digest, so I’ll leave it at that.
Many boat rental and charter rentals travel to Keewaydin as one of their “must see” destinations. Fishing and hunting for perfect seashells are popular activities.
In recent years, Keewaydin has been studied by University of Florida for its ecological stature. Sea Turtle nesting is monitored, as well as the Black Spiny Tail iguana. Although not native to Florida, the wily reptile has appeared in the Herpetologist Digest! He’s even making appearances in other parts of Florida.
The appearance of the iguana on the island is still a mystery. One rumor has it that a resident wanted the island to have a more tropical feel. Some say it was a pet store that went out of business and released them on the island. The non-native reptile is thought to be eating Sea Turtle eggs, eggs or young of protected shore birds, and Gopher Tortoises. Releasing non-native species is a second degree misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of sixty days in jail and a $500.00 fine.
The peacefulness of the waves lapping the shore, and the wonderful view with no huge condos is truly a treasure to behold. Miles of incredibly white sand stretch out and seem to touch the blue sky. Sparkling shards of shells shimmer in the sunshine—you’re on a tropical paradise.
If you’re chartering your own boat to Keewaydin, you might want to keep in mind that the Gulf can be choppy on occasion and accessing the inland waters can be easier.
Bayview Park along the Naples Bay on Danford Street, is a launch site that offers free parking for boat trailers.