Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park - Overview
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Collier County's desirable coast reaches its zenith at Barefoot Beach Preserve,
where numerous animal species reside and visitors are able to enjoy the ambience
of the park's natural surroundings.
Barefoot Beach Preserve is 342 acres of natural land, one of the last undeveloped
barrier islands on Florida's southwest coast.
This beach park is an excellent example of the shifts in habitat that occur
within a very narrow strip of land with only slight changes in elevation and
moisture. 8,200 feet of beach and sand dunes support the growth of seat oats,
providing nesting sites for seat turtles during the summer months. The park
also maintains a tropical coastal hammock of sable palm, gumbo-limbo and sea
grape trees among many others. The site is also home to the protected gopher
Barefoot Beach Preserve is popular for its gorgeous, plush surroundings and
its opportunities for avid fishermen, who are able to enjoy many species of
fish. The inland side of the island provides tidal creeks and mangrove swamps
which serve as breeding areas and as a nursery for sport and commercial fish
Parks Rangers offer a number of programs at the Barefoot Beach Preserve Park
including lectures and interpretive programs. Park Rangers educate the public
about the importance of the environment and wildlife in Southwest Florida.
Subjects include a guided walk through the preserve, where visitors learn about
the many habitats in the preserve as well as flora and fauna. Rangers also
provide a free recreation guide where they take visitors to look at the natural
history of the Loggerhead Sea Turtle, some of which reside at the preserve.
Barefoot Beach Preserve Park has a 356 space parking lot, one-mile nature
trail, showers, picnic area and a concession are where equipment may be rented
and food and drink is available for purchase. The preserve also offers handicapped
beach wheelchair access.
Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park - Welcome
Welcome to Barefoot Beach Preserve. When you arrive, you will be standing on
Little Hickory Island, a barrier island, an island in motion, made of sand
and shaped by the wind, tides, waves, and currents. This narrow strip of
land acts as a barrier, protecting the mainland from coastal storm wind and
water. Established in 1990, Barefoot Beach Preserve remains one of Southwest
Florida’s most beautiful, and natural places. There are five distinct
habitats within the preserve: beach or littoral zone, dune zone, coastal
strand, maritime hammock, and estuarine mangrove forest.
Behind the beach rise the dunes, ridges of sand piled up by the winds and
waves. Dunes help protect this fragile island while providing important habitat
for many shore birds.
Behind the dune lies the coastal strand, a shrub community dominated by sea
grape trees. The sandy, well-drained soils provide an ideal habitat for the
protected Gopher tortoise.
Protected from salt spray by the coastal strand is the maritime hammock or
jungle. Here you will find a cabbage palm hammock, the most diverse plant community
in the Barefoot Beach Preserve.
Separating this barrier island from the mainland is the estuarine mangrove
forest. Estuaries, where fresh and salt water meet and mix, are some of the
most productive communities on earth.
Information courtesy Department of Collier County Parks & Recreation
For additional information on Park Ranger programs call the Ranger station