Beautiful Vanderbilt Beach, also known as "Vandy Beach," in North Naples was completely devastated by the historic storm surge of Hurricane Ian. This was one of our regular go-to beaches as it was the beach closest to our home.
It also was home to popular beachfront dining establishments like The Turtle Club and The Ritz' Gumbo Limbo, both of which were a couple of our favorite special occasion date night destinations in Naples.
So to see the destruction on this beautiful beach is very hard. But they are working hard to rebuild, and will be back more beautiful than ever!
The Beginning of the Storm Surge on Vanderbilt Beach
At 10:30 AM on September 28, the storm surge had begun to pour in over Vanderbilt Beach and covering the road. Look closely at all that is there, because it will be the last time you do.
Driving West on Vanderbilt Beach Road from Collier Blvd (951) to Vanderbilt Beach during Hurricane Ian
After the winds of Hurricane Ian had died down, we headed out from Golden Gate Estates towards town to find cell service to be able to check on family in Ft. Myers. This is what Vanderbilt Beach Road looked like.
The End of the Road: The beginnings of the Hurricane Ian Storm Surge on Vanderbilt Beach Road
We decided to see how close we could get to Vanderbilt beach. But we didn't get very far past 41 (Tamiami Trail) before we had to stop and turn around at Beach Gate Drive. At 3:26 PM, the storm surge had already started coming in and was up to the middle of the Beachwalk neighborhood, not far from 41. The road was impassable. These photos are looking west towards the coast.
Here is a video of the storm surge on Vanderbilt Beach Road at 3:26 PM on Sept. 28.
Robb Stan of Southwest Florida Television was a little more brave than we were, and got even better footage closer in.
Driving East Back Home on Vanderbilt Beach Rd: Approaching the Intersection of 41
This was our view after turning around and heading back at 3:28 PM. As I mentioned, we were not far from 41 when we had to turn back.
Hurricane Ian Storm Surge Damage to Vanderbilt Beach
The storm surge was as high as 10.24 feet in north Naples according to preliminary data. This huge amount of water did an enormous amount of damage to Naples' homes, beaches, businesses and restaurants.
Recognize this location? Hard to believe, but this is Vanderbilt Beach after Hurricane Ian...the same beach as in my first video above. As you can see, most everything was destroyed and washed out to sea...the boardwalk, the trees and shrubbery, low brick dividing walls, the bathhouse, everything. And just a remnant remains of the roundabout that held the flagpole.
As a reminder, here is a screenshot from our morning video when the storm surge was just beginning to come in. Just a slightly different angle, but you get the idea.
DaRuMa Japanese Steakhouse Flooding from the Storm Surge
This is simply an unbelievable photo. This is the former DaRuMa Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge on Vanderbilt Beach Road during the storm surge flooding. All you can see is its characteristic blue tile roof!
The Turtle Club Damage from the Storm Surge
The Turtle Club is a very popular fine-dining beachside restaurant on Vanderbilt Beach. As you can see below, Ian's storm surge wiped out the entire first-floor restaurant, both inside and out.
This side area "shell" used to be a beautifully landscaped outdoor dining area.
The Turtle Club will be Back!
The Turtle Club is standing strong, and renovations are well underway to come back better than ever! You can follow their progress on their Facebook page HERE.
Vanderbilt Beach 30 Days After Hurricane Ian
Robb Stan of Southwest Florida Television gives a great tour of the aftermath of Hurricane Ian on Vandy Beach. It is simply unbelievable to see everything completely wiped out, from the boardwalk to the bath houses to the brick dividing walls.
Robb is well known for his morning walks on the beach. Definitely follow him on YouTube and Facebook so you can enjoy his walks as well.
Support Hurricane Relief Efforts
$5 of every Naples Strong shirt purchased will be donated to SW Florida relief efforts at: Destiny United Relief and Meals of Hope. These are both reputable organizations that we personally know, have worked with, and highly recommend.
💜 Thank you!
Share your Stories, Photos, Updates about your Business, & Volunteer Opportunities
If you have a personal story about the hurricane, and/or photos or videos of the damage and recovery efforts that you'd like to share on this site, please submit them HERE. I would also like to know about volunteer opportunities so I can share them with others.
If you have a business or organization in SW Florida, we would also love to stay updated on your recovery progress. Just let us know HERE!