Boardwalk and Nature Trails close to Marco Island

Briggs Nature Center Boardwalk

The are several boardwalk and nature trails close to Marco Island. These beautiful areas offer our guests to Sea Mar Condo an opportunity to see the varied landscapes and wildlife around the area. All of these boardwalks and trails are within an hours drive from Marco Island and are great day trips.

Briggs Nature Center Boardwalk Trail

This trail is a .6 mile loop trail with light traffic located near Naples. It offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail is accessible year round and is perfect for birding, hiking, walking, and nature trips. Dogs are allowed on the trail, but must be kept of leash.

 Rookery Bay Boardwalk


Across from Walmart on Rt.951 (15 minutes away from Marco) , this trail is about a 1 mile loop. It’s close, easy, and offers great birding. Visitors can experience a brief trek through tangles mangroves, palms and oaks with resurrection ferns, bromeliads, and orchids growing in oak tree bark. The trail winds past an old homestead dating back to post-Civil War times.

 Serenity Walk

Located on Route 951 nine tenths of a mile north of Rattlesnake Hammock Road. Serenity Walk Park is small but very interesting. The trail is dirt/sand and is a 1 mile loop winding around pine flatwoods and a cypress pine mixed forest.

Bird Rookery Swamp

Bird Rookery Swamp Nature Trail

This trail is located on Shady Hollow Road (45 minutes away from Marco). It offers 12 miles of hiking and biking trails and a 1500 foot boardwalk. The trails are old tram roads used when the area was logged many years ago. The maple-cypress swamp is home to alligators, otters, Florida panthers, bobcats, and white-tailed deer. The trail also is great for birding with many raptors and wading birds in the area.

Freedom Park

Freedom Park Naples Nature Trail

This park is located at 1515 Golden Gate Parkway in Naples (about 1/2 hour from Marco Island). Freedom Park includes a 5 acre lake with 3500 feet of boardwalk throughout the 50 acre park. It also has 6 lookout pavilions and numerous walking trails.

  Corkscrew Bird Sanctuary

Corkscrew Bird Sanctuary Nature Trail

This sanctuary is located on Immokalee Rd. (About 50 minutes from Marco). The 2.5 mile boardwalk trail takes you through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh, and into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. The area is home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer and red-bellied turtles. A wide variety of wading birds, songbirds, raptors and the painted bunting can also been seen throughout the year. Guided walks are available.

 Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve Nature Trail

This slough is located on Six Mile Cypress Parkway near Ft. Myers (about an hour away from Marco). A Slough is a long, narrow wetland with slowly flowing freshwater. During the rainy time of year, the Slough catches and slowly filters rainwater on its way towards Estero Bay. Animals that have adapted to the wetlands, like alligators, turtles, otters, and wading birds, live at the Slough year-round. Additionally, many types of migratory birds use the Slough as a rest stop and feeding area. The park has 3,500 acres with wildlife, a butterfly garden, and boardwalk trails through wetlands.

We highly recommend these boardwalk and nature trails close to Marco Island to our guests! It’s a great way to take a break from beach activity to see mangroves and animal life. It is also an enjoyable way to get exercise while on vacation! We also recommend you take bug spray, especially during the rainy summer months and always wear sunscreen in the outdoors.

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Briggs Nature Center at Rookery Bay – Things to Do

Briggs Nature Center Boardwalk


Briggs Nature Center is located between Marco Island and Naples. It is part of the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. The nature center features a total of 3 miles of easy trails, including a ½-mile boardwalk. Guests are able to explore the area’s various habitats. The estuary is a natural nursery for fish, shellfish, and crustaceans. It is also home to many nesting birds.

White Egret

In addition to the boardwalk, there are two other short trails that offer views of Rookery Bay. Wildlife such as bald eagles, snakes, bob-cats, river otters, hawks, and woodpeckers are quite commonly seen by visitors to the nature center.

Briggs Boardwalk is a half-mile self-directed nature trail. It passes through five unique habitats from scrub to brackish ponds. This walk is kid friendly.  This is a great place for a family to enjoy a short, easy, free walk while experiencing the Florida marshes and wildlife.


In addition to the nature trails at Briggs Nature Center, kayak and canoe rentals are also available. This allows guests to navigate the Gordon River, mangrove tree islands, and tunnels.  This is a great way to see birds and other wildlife in the area from the water.

Kayaking the mangroves
Kayaking in Briggs Nature Center

The Boardwalk is open year-round from dawn to dusk. Conservancy volunteers are on the boardwalk seven days a week from January through April, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Schedules may change in inclement weather and on holidays. Guided tours take place at 10 a.m. daily from January through March.

Signs along the walk describe the flora and fauna in each community. Volunteers are available to help visitors spot and identify plants, birds and other animals.

The walk is a Great Florida Birding Trail site.

Briggs Nature Center
Rookery Bay in Naples
401 Shell Island Road, Naples, FL
(239) 337-3332

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