I am a beach photographer in Naples, Florida and I spend several nights a week photographing families and small beach weddings. I’ve been to every beach from Captiva, Sanibel, Bonita Springs, Fort Myers, and Naples all the way down to the south of Marco Island. All are within an easy driving distance if you are traveling to South West Florida if you wanted to scope them a few out over a long weekend. We have driftwood, clear water, rocky hidden coves, palm trees, a great fishing pier and gorgeous sunsets.
If you are headed to Sanibel, check out Lighthouse Beach. The old lighthouse sits there and there is plenty of public parking. Nearby the Island Cow or Grandma Dots is great place to stop for dinner. Bowmans Beach is a gorgeous beach park to spend the day, although a bit of a hike from the parking area, it is a favorite of many tourists. On Captiva, the beach at the South Seas Resort is a favorite, they have a rock jetty at the end that makes a beautiful photo spot, however you’ll have to be a guest to gain access. Most of the Captiva beaches are not public, so you’ll have to head back over to Sanibel if you want to meet up for photos or just scope out beaches not at your resort. Blind Pass is a small public stretch of beach but due to the fast current is not recommended for swimming, you might land a great catch there though with your fishing rod.
Headed to Fort Myers Beach? The little beach town gets busy and backed up with traffic, but there is a beautiful beach park called Bowditch Point Park (although no one is sure exactly how to pronounce it) with ample parking and gorgeous views of Sanibel and the sunset. This is one of the only beaches in our area with dunes and it is lovely to shoot family photos there. Plenty of places to grab a bite to eat nearby or an ice cream at Kilwins.
If you are driving further south towards Bonita Springs, just head to Barefoot Beach Preserve, not to be confused with Barefoot Beach. The Preserve sits tucked away down a long, winding residential street of beautiful beach mansions. You might think you are headed the wrong way, but the road does dead end into the Preserve with several lots to park in and public facilities.
Continue on from Bonita and you’ll be in Naples. Be sure to check out our beautiful state park, Delanor Wiggins Pass, which closes right at sunset so you will need to be ready to depart as soon as the sun goes down. Five parking areas here with picnic tables, gorgeous views, a shelter house, and a boardwalk make this park not to miss. Lots of driftwood can also be found here, along with tree lined walkways. If you want more action, check out Vanderbilt Beach in Naples, this is where you go for beach rentals and if you are staying in a nice resort like La Playa, the Ritz Carlton Beach Resort, or the Vanderbilt Beach Resort. The Turtle Club and Bay House restaurants nearby are excellent.
If you are in the heart of Naples near 5th Avenue South be sure to check out the Naples Pier beach, it gets crowded at sunset but the walk down the pier is one every visitor should make.
About thirty minutes from south Naples is Marco Island, with public beach parking just off of Swallow Avenue and at Tigertail Beach. If you are adventurous, give Tigertail a try but be prepared for a hike that may include getting wet before you make it to the beach. The south public beach access is at the end of the island with spectacular views of the 10,000 islands but gets very crowded on the weekends and holidays. If you are staying at a resort like the JW Marriott, you’ve got it made with private beach access and less crowds.
Regardless of where you choose to put your toes in the sand, we have plenty of great beaches to make your stay memorable. Kelly Jones is a family photographer in Naples, Florida specializing in family beach sessions and intimate weddings and elopements: https://www.kellyjonesphoto.com