Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A day at Vanderbilt Beach…


It was nice to see that my previous blog about being a fulltimer had so many comments. A reader contacted me several months ago and asked why wouldn’t I write a blog about the lifestyle including some of the things we have learned along the way. This was my first attempt at doing just that. I plan to pen a few more along the way this winter while we are settled into our sunny and warm Florida site. We are enjoying the quiet and solitude we have here at Imperial Bonita Estates especially during this “off season” time. However that will certainly change when January rolls around as the park will be full and the seasonal activities will be in full swing.


We decided it best to purchase the Collier County parking pass so we went over to one of the parks and ponied up the $50 for the sticker. The place we bought the pass  was very close to Vanderbilt Beach so we drove over to  check it out.  At the Vanderbilt Beach parking garage we were waved in since we had our sticker. Since the usual fee is $8 per car we only have $42.00  left of card use to have our sticker purchase decision be worthwhile.


It is a short walk from the parking garage to Vanderbilt Beach but man were we surprised to see how crowded the beach was especially on a working day. There were people stacked three deep all along the beach going left or right for some 2-300 yards. We opted going to the right and after a few hundred yards we found a spot to set up the Sun-Brella and got settled in for an afternoon of lounging at the beach.


Vanderbilt Beach is a wider beach than Bonita Beach and had mostly powder white sand whereas at Bonita there are lots of shells on the beach. Thus Vanderbilt Beach is a great walking beach so after getting out into the surf for a while to cool off  from the 80’s temperatures we headed off down the beach for a long stroll. Lots of people out enjoying the beach and water. Saw quite a few boats and jet skiers as well.


We enjoyed our stay on Vanderbilt Beach but like Bonita Beach better at this time of year as it seems much less crowded. The people watching is much better at Vanderbilt because of the crowds but with few shells there is less to do than at Bonita.  We were lucky, though,  to spot a dolphin out in the surf before we left.


DSCN4815We have been in the part of Florida for about two weeks now and one thing that has been a problem on the beaches are the bees. Not flying bees… but bees that are floating up on the surf and are then washed ashore. Wet and angry these bees are easily stepped on and you what happens then… Both Sharon and I have managed to step on one each and both got nasty stings from them. We don’t ever recall all these bees on beaches before…

We packed up and headed back to the garage with plans to stop at Pelican Larry’s for Happy hour. Pelican Larry’s is a locals hang out and was voted best Happy Hour in Naples so we had to give it a try. Well it was a nice cozy place with lots of colorful locals and we scored two for one draft craft beers as well. The locals said the raw bar here had great oysters but we didn’t give them a try this time around…


  1. Looks like you are settling in quite nicely and enjoying the beaches.
    Enjoy you time there as I am sure you will.
    That parking pass sounds like a good deal for you guys too.

    1. well since we are here three months it seems like spending $16.67 per month is a steal when it costs $8 every time you go to most of the beaches here...

  2. Sounds like a good parking deal to me if you can also use it at Bonita. Why do you think Vanderbilt has so many more people? The bee thing sounds very unusual. Sorry you got stung. I swell up like a baseball bat when I get stung so just now I'm glad I'm not there.

    1. well most likely due to the large parking garage nearby but I didn't expect it to be so crowded so early in the snow bird season...

  3. Those are "Beach Bees" (Apis maris). They build their hives beneath the sand. They often leave their hives to die, so that's why you see them in the sand. Why they are in such large numbers is a puzzlement, but we have them on the Atlantic side too.

    1. Took a lot of entomology in college but never heard of "apis maris" - my best guess is they are honey bees out looking for water and get out too far and drown and later getting washed up on the shore later... but who knows for sure?

  4. We have spent quite a bit of time at Vanderbilt Beach over the years. Friends of ours used to have a condo on the beach. It is a great beach. If you want a good meal, The Turtle Club has inside and beachside (on the sand) seating and the food is yummy.

  5. Florida has some of the most beautiful beaches. At first glance at this beach, I thought " I miss my Florida beach" and I read the article low and behold it was Florida :-) Never been to Naples we will have to go ;-) Thanks 4 sharing