Naples, Florida or the Paradise Coast has a lot of surprises to offer both to residents and tourists alike. It’s white sandy beaches and blue-green shores, not to mention its diverse wildlife, provides an escape from the hustle and bustle of a big city while at the same time, breathes life to the local eco-system which in turn sustains life for people who reside in it. You may be a resident or the casual tourist but there may be things that you don’t know about this tremendously blessed region.

But we can’t blame you, after all, there are lots and lots of places and things to do in the southernmost region of the country. So, if you think you know the place and feel a little bit like the completionist, there may be a thing or two in this list that might surprise you and would make you want to visit this place or put in in your to-do list.

1. You know what they say, you learn something new every day. Hence, here are the top 10 things you probably didn’t know about Southwest Florida.

2. According to Trip Advisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards, Marco Island is the #1 island in the USA and #4 in the world.

3. Marco Island is the largest of the Ten Thousand Islands, which is a group of islands or an archipelago famous for kayaking and fishing in the coast of Naples.

4. The Everglades Waterway runs from Everglades City to Flamingo and a great place to do kayaking for those who are well-versed with the sport and want to take up a challenge. It is 99 miles long and takes 7-9 days to complete!

5. Fakahatchee Strand Preserve is a preserve that helps out the environment and is also the home of the ghost orchid, the rarest orchid in the world. It is so precious, it was targeted in a heist once.

6. The Western Everglades is the only place in the world where you can see alligators and crocodiles living in the same habitat.

7. The Big Cypress National was Preserve the first National Preserve that was declared by the National Park Service. Recreational activities such as hunting, fishing, camping, and off-road vehicles are allowed inside the boundaries of the preserve as it is not, officially speaking, a national park.

8. The Greater Naples Area is where you can find the Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, NGALA Wildlife Preserve, Picayune Strand State Forest and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.

9. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is one of the best sites in this country where you can see different kinds of birds. The boardwalk offers the best viewing area to watch the endemic and migratory birds that frequent the area. This is perfect for those nature photographers and documentary makers to capture the most compelling shots.

10. The Florida Panther Wildlife Preserve is where people protect the endangered Florida Panthers. There are an estimated 120-160 adults remaining in the preserve. The Florida Panther is not only important in terms of the environment but also plays an important cultural symbol for the native tribes in Florida.

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