Clam Pass Beach Park remains a well-kept secret mostly because of the somewhat hidden access from the intersection of Seagate Drive and Crayton Road. Don’t be confused if it looks like you are approaching the entrance to the Naples Grande Beach Resort and Hotel – just stay on course straight ahead. This beach park is part of the Collier County Parks & Recreation system and has almost a mile of sandy beach along the Gulf of Mexico.
From the parking lot, you can either walk along the boardwalk through the mangrove forest or jump on the free tram to ride out to the beach (it’s about 3/4 of a mile from the parking lot to the beach facilities). The tram runs continuously so there’s never much of a wait to get on board.
You’ll find every amenity at the beach including rentals of all kinds of beach equipment from umbrellas to kayaks, picnic areas, showers, rest rooms, concession for food and drinks, and a beachside sit-down restaurant area.
These services, conveniences and amenities are a joint effort between the county and the Naples Grande (a Waldorf-Astoria hotel property) so, you’ll find things to be a few notches above expectations for a county park. The restaurant has a full menu and there are alcoholic beverages available aside from the thirst quenching drinks you would expect at the beach. Being a Collier County facility, they offer beach wheelchairs on a first-come, first-served basis.
As you travel along the boardwalk to the beach, you’ll be surrounded by three species of mangrove trees – red, black and white. They are protected and they are an important part of the ecosystem. You’ll cross a bridge that spans an estuary which is habitat to lots of local wildlife. Here are a couple of interesting facts:
- 45% of the threatened and endangered species that are found in the United States live in tidal bays like this estuary;
- 75% of the shellfish and fish that we eat spend at least part of their lives, if not all of their lives, in estuaries just like this one.
If you enjoy bird watching, then you’ll enjoy the trip along the boardwalk as well as this beach area. We have seen wood storks and Roseate Spoonbills here along with the usual pelicans, black skimmers, Royal Terns, gulls, sandpipers, dowitchers, sanderlings, plovers, herons, ibis, osprey, and egrets. Other wildlife you’ll spot frequently are dolphins just offshore and you may be lucky enough to have a close encounter with a manatee when the water is warm.
Here’s a local tip, especially if you have teenagers along or you are young at heart: if you walk north along the beach, you’ll come to a shallow channel that separates Clam Pass Beach Park from the south end of the private beach at Pelican Bay. Keep walking along the shoreline. On the right-hand side, you’ll find a tree that local kids use to launch themselves over the water after they climb up on the branches. Aside from lots of fun, this section is very naturally scenic and worth the stroll up the beach.
If you don’t have a beach sticker on your windshield, you’ll pay the attendant $8 at the entrance to the park.
Clam Pass Beach Park
410 Seagate Drive
Naples, Florida 34108