Just outside Marco Island near Naples, Florida ( West Coast) if you are looking for a natural diversion take a manatee tour with Captain Barry. www.see-manatees.com The tour aboard his six passenger vessel guarantees that you will see manatees. The very best part of this tour though and why I recommend Captain Barry to you is because of his very real love of the environment they call home and all of the creatures that inhabit the area. He has a solid and sincere knowledge and truly loves to share it with visitors. I have been been an amateur birder for many years now, and have been searching unsuccessfully for several years to spot my first bald eagle. I finally found it with Captain Barry!
If you don't have beach access on Marco Island, or are just coming for a day trip, the beach to go to is Tigertail Beach. It is on an inlet and is protected from the surf on the outer beach. If you prefer the waves however, you can easily walk to anywhere on the entire beach. This beach is great for little kids who can enjoy wading in the warmer (it's more still and shallower so it is warmed by the sun) gentler waters of Tigertail Beach. Also, there is a concession stand and public bathrooms and showers are available. There is also parking for $3.00 in case you are coming just for the day. A nice touch for the kids is the playground, and for the adults, shaded cabanas and beach equipment are available for rental.
The man on the left of the picture, is cleaning his catch while the Pelicans, or Florida turkeys as we lovingly call them, wait patiently below for scraps. Any given day you will find as many pelicans as fishermen on the pier. They are really funny. If you go fishing, donot discard unused old fishing line in the environment. Pack it well and place it in a garbage container. Pelicans, Manatees and other wild life get entangled in pieces of nylon fishing line and get maimed or die.
Before it was developed, Marco beach was a popular spot for sea turtles to nest, and lay their eggs. Some still do come back to their birth place to nest and continue the species. In the photo, game wardens have identified and marked a turtle nest. Soon, the wardens will come back with wooden stakes, and reflective tape to cordon off the nest. A 16 square foot(1.25metersquare) will be cordoned off complete with warning signs to not disturb the nest. A person can be thrown in jail and fine thousands of dollars for purposefully digging up a turtle's nest. In the summer lots of people get up in the middle of the night to watch the turtles come in to nest. The real show is put on by the hachtlings as they race for the ocean as the birds try to pick them off.