Naples, Fla. (September 27, 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.’ Beaches, shops, restaurants and most hotels and attractions will be open for business the first week of October, with others opening soon after.
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 and Chokoloskee 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 Ten Thousand Islands coastal estuaries.”
The area’s stone crab fishermen are ready to begin setting traps in advance of 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.