Almost six weeks after Hurricane Ian ravaged the SW Florida coast, all of the Naples beaches remained closed to the public, except for one*: Vanderbilt Beach North on Gulf Shore Drive. So we decided to visit our much-loved beach and see the damage as well as the progress of the recovery efforts for ourselves.
Here are the photos we took. This was a stretch along Gulf Short Drive from Bluebill Ave. just south of Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, to La Playa Beach & Golf Resort.
(*Note: To see the updated list of all the open beaches in Naples and Collier County, see my post What Naples Beaches are Open after Hurricane Ian?)
This first photo is absolutely breathtaking. Behind us was pain and destruction, but from this angle, all was good and beautiful!
Entrance to Vanderbilt North Beach
Vanderbilt North Beach Naples Damage
La Playa Beach & Golf Resort
Leaving Vanderbilt North Beach
Here are photos of leaving Vanderbilt North Beach. The foliage is brown, the metal fences are mangled, and there is a lot of debris...but a lot of signs of HOPE!
Heading Across the Bridge to Conner Park
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park Damage & Recovery after Hurricane Ian
On our way out of Vanderbilt Beach, we could see into Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. It was a mess, but it looked like they were making a lot of progress in cleaning it up. To see more photos of Delnor-Wiggins, check out my post How is Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park Naples after Hurricane Ian?
Tips for Visiting Vanderbilt Beach North
1. You can access the beach via the Bluebill Avenue entrance (at your own risk) at the north end of Vanderbilt Beach. This is the only Naples public beach entrance that’s open at the time of this posting. Park in the Conner Park parking lot and walk over the bridge. Do not attempt to enter Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, as it is closed till further notice.
2. Wear your shoes when walking on the beach, there’s still debris buried in the sand.￼
3. Stay out of the water. It is still full of dangerous bacteria and debris.
Other open beaches in Naples and Collier County
Since writing this post, other beaches in Naples and Collier County have opened! To see the updated list, see my post What Naples Beaches are Open after Hurricane Ian?
SW Florida Hurricane Relief
Naples is special in our hearts as well as many others, who are heartbroken over the devastation that Hurricane Ian brought SW Florida.
We wanted a way to help those in our own beautiful hometown who were impacted by Hurricane Ian, to rebuild and come back stronger and more beautiful than ever, so that families can continue to create wonderful lifelong memories here in this little slice of paradise.
$5 of every shirt purchased will go towards 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! 💗