Published on : Friday, October 13, 2017
The Florida Gulf Coast cities of Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City are welcoming visitors back after Hurricane Irma with the message ‘Florida’s Paradise Coast is Clear.’ Many beaches, shops, restaurants, hotels and attractions are open for business now, with most others welcoming guests the first week of October.
Hurricane Irma made its second Florida landfall on Marco Island. The storm tracked farther inland than expected, sparing the popular resort city from a large storm surge along the island’s four miles of crescent-shaped beach. The village of Goodland on the southeastern tip of Marco Island, along with Everglades City and Chokoloskee just to the south, took the brunt of the storm with the added impact of storm surge. Damage in those small communities was worse, where cleanup and recovery efforts are actively underway.
“Our Naples and Marco Island beaches look beautiful and now that power has been fully restored, shops, restaurants and many of our hotels are already back in business, with most others open by the first week of October,” said Jack Wert, executive director of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Everglades City, Chokoloskee and Goodland took a hard hit from Irma’s storm surge, but even so, our ecotour and fishing guides there are ready to get back to work by taking visitors out to explore the coastal estuaries in the Ten Thousand Islands.”
The area’s stone crab fishermen begin setting traps in a few weeks for Florida stone crab season, which opens October 15. The annual Stone Crab Festival will take place along the Old Naples Waterfront as scheduled October 27-29.
“This year’s Stone Crab Festival is going to be a giant welcome back party for the many visitors and seasonal residents who love our Paradise Coast region,” added Wert.
Hotels ready to welcome back visitors include The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Marco Beach Ocean Resort, both of The Ritz-Carlton resorts in Naples, JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort, Edgewater Beach Hotel, Vanderbilt Beach Resort, The Inn on Fifth, Naples Bay Resort, Bellasera Hotel, Lemon Tree Inn, Gulfcoast Inn, Hilton Naples, Fairfield and SpringHill Inn & Suites by Marriott, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Naples, Staybridge Suites, GreenLinks Golf Villas at Lely Resort, Hyatt House, the Seminole Casino Hotel Immokalee, and many more. A few hotels remain closed to complete renovations and repairs.
Progress continues throughout the destination as the area’s top natural attractions clear damage from large trees blown over by Irma’s powerful winds. For daily updates on the status of hotels, attractions, tours and more in the destination, visitors are encouraged to visit the ParadiseCoast.com website and click on the Hurricane Irma Recovery link, which also includes a list of opportunities to help through volunteering or making financial donations to those most in need.