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May 2, 2018
The Greatest Natural Treasure of Southwest Florida

The Greatest Natural Treasure of Southwest Florida

Southwest Florida has a number of great attractions. Probably the greatest treasure that we have is the mysterious ten thousand islands. Names like Dismal Key, Indian Key and Lost Man’s River roll off of the tongue. Every one of these names has a story to tell.

The ten thousand islands are south of Marco Island. Many view the ten thousand islands as the gateway to the Everglades. As you head south of Marco Island, and you pass the old missile tracking station property (now Cape Marco), you will come across Cape Romano. In the sixties, I came across Cape Romano for the first time. On the tip of Cape Romano, there was a beautiful beach with millions of shells. Conch shells and silver dollar shells were everywhere back then. It was a wonderful paradise that few knew about. Traveling further south, you will pass Coon Key. You are now entering the mysterious ten thousand islands.

The first tip that I should give you is to make sure that you are with someone that knows the waters. Once you enter the ten thousand islands, it is easy to get lost. Also, it would be smart to go in on low tide. If you go in at high tide, and not paying attention to the tides, it is easy to get stranded when the water changes to low tide.

The second tip that I will give you is make sure that you have told someone where you are going. Much of the ten thousand islands has no cellphone service. If you have engine trouble, it is important that your friends know roughly where you were going so they know where to start the search.

The bugs (mosquitoes and no see-ums) can be brutal at times, depending on the wind and your location.

The fishing is truly spectacular. Many of the areas are rarely fished. Snook, redfish, shark, flounder and tarpon are just a few of the fish species that you could discover in this fishing wonderland. Some of the sharks in the ten thousand islands are enormous. I have hooked sharks that have towed my boat!

The nature down in the islands is incredible. You will discover Florida as it was thousands of years ago.

On a recent trip into the ten thousand islands, we hooked numerous fish. Saw a giant Manta Ray as well as a spotted eagle ray. We viewed the damage that Hurricane Irma left on this gateway to the Everglades. Despite the Hurricane Irma impact, the islands were still majestic.

A number of the islands have sugar white sandy beaches. If you want a beach to yourself, and are adventurous, this is the place to be. However, remember to expect the unexpected. That is the mystery of the ten thousand islands. You never know what you will see down there. One thing that I can guarantee, you will see something different each time that you venture into this tropical oasis. Rumor has it that pirates buried treasure in the ten thousand islands. Maybe, but the real treasure is the spectacular natural preserve that mother-nature helped create. For the adventurous, the ten thousand islands are hard to beat.


Mike Hughes, Vice President

Downing-Frye Realty, Inc.

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