Keewaydin Island Ranked as One of the World’s Top 10 Secret Beaches

Aug. 13, 2014

Keewaydin Island

Keewaydin Island, located within the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, was recently named by CNN online as one of the world’s “Top Ten Secret Beaches.”

Keewaydin Island, located off the coast of Naples, was selected for the list along with beaches in Kenya, Mexico, and Hawaii. This 1000-acre barrier island boasts a seven-mile long pristine beach with sugar white sand and glittering turquoise water. As CNN reports, the principal reason it has been a best-kept secret is it is only accessible by boat.

Rookery Bay Reserve manages 110,000 acres of lands and waters between Naples and Marco Island. Roughly 80 percent of Keewaydin Island is under state ownership, including the south end which is visited by more boaters than any other location in thereserve. Staff and volunteers educate visitors about the island’s wildlife and habitat, monitor beach-nesting birds and other species that reside there, and work tirelessly to keep the island clear of invasive species such as Australian pine.

“Keewaydin Island is an extremely valuable natural resource that, in its pristine state, helps bolster the local economy through tourism,” said Gary Lytton, the reserve’s director. “It is an honor that our reserve was recognized by this international news source for its captivating natural beauty.”

Keewaydin Island is not only known for its world-renowned beach, but is also home to a diverse array of wildlife. Deer, gopher tortoises and panthers are among the many species that inhabit this island, along with America’s national bird, the bald eagle.

Keewaydin Island draws the type of residents that enjoy a more relaxed life that is considered “off the grid.” There are no amenities on the island and very few homes. Most residents rely on solar panels, rain barrels and fish for dinner.

One of Keewaydin Island’s more famous residents is Vice President Joe Biden’s brother, who recently purchased property on the island. The Vice President and his wife, Jill, took a boat to the island this past New Year to ring in the holiday with their family.

To learn more about the research and resource management that takes place on Keewaydin Island by Rookery Bay Reserve, please visit

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