Located at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands on the gulf coast of Florida, an amazing world exists within the 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters of Rookery Bay.
Rookery Bay is ideal for boating, fishing and other recreational activities. Visit the Environmental Learning Center which includes a variety of hands-on experiences, including 2,300-gallon aquarium and interactive exhibits addressing research and stewardship efforts ongoing within the Reserve, as well as a nature store, gallery and picnic area.
Naturalists and educators present a rotating schedule of Daily Programs at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Monday through Friday that are free with regular admission. Topics vary and include manatees, sharks, sea turtles, sea shells, plant walks, nature films and a marine critter touch tank.
Guided Kayak Tours
Two-hour guided kayak tours of Rookery Bay, Hall Bay and mangrove tunnels provide the opportunity to see birds, marine mammals and other sights of nature. Through October, trips are offered from 9 to 11 a.m. on Wednesdays. During November and December, kayak trips will run from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Fridays. During January, February, March and April, kayak trips will run from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday through Friday. The cost is $40 for Friends of Rookery Bay members and $45 for non-members and includes kayak, all equipment, paddling instruction and admission to the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center on the day of the tour. Paddlers must be 12 or older. Advanced registration is required at rookerybay.org or 239-417-6310 x401.
Outdoor experiences to enjoy in the Reserve include:
The Trails Through Time on Shell Island Road include three trails approximately ¼ mile long each. Botanical signage has been installed along the trails to assist visitors in identifying various native trees.
The Shell Point Canoe Trail was designed to provide quiet enjoyment of up-close wildlife observation opportunities. Markers guide canoeing and kayaking enthusiasts through a watery maze of mangrove tunnels, mud flats, oyster beds and rookery islands. A canoe trail map and guide is available at headquarters.
Taking a leisurely drive down Shell Island Road usually provides viewing of a variety of wildlife, especially birds. On the Briggs’ boardwalk you can enjoy a half-mile loop through rare coastal scrub, pine flatwoods and marsh habitat, where you might see eagles, hawks, warblers and more. Over 150 species of birds can be found throughout the Reserve.
The quiet backwaters of the Reserve provide recreational anglers an excellent opportunity to catch snook, redfish, mangrove, snapper and tarpon. Anglers must comply with local, state and federal laws.
A primitive boat ramp is located at the end of Shell Island Road (use at own risk). Other boating access points near the reserve include Bayview Park and the 951 boat ramp, located just north of the Jolley Bridge.
Primitive camping is permitted in designated areas of the Reserve.
Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday 9:00am – 4:00pm
Also open Saturdays from November through April.
300 Tower Road
Naples, Florida 34113
Tel: (239) 417-6310
Fax: (239) 417-6315
The Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center is located at 300 Tower Road, one mile south of the intersection of US41 and Collier Boulevard (CR951), less than 15 miles from the Hilton Naples Hotel, on the way to Marco Island.