Page Banner

National Estuarine Research Reserves - Rookery Bay

Scroll for More Quick Links

Safety Updates

Effective Feb. 6: It is now federal law that all persons on a tour boat, ferry or other RCP-provided watercraft within Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection (RCP) managed lands are required to wear a mask. RCP will comply with this order and continue efforts to provide for staff and visitor safety. Please review individual aquatic preserve and NERR pages for specific information for each location. As DEP reopens managed areas, the department will take measures to ensure the protection of staff and the public. During these phases of reopening, visitors should expect limited hours, capacity and amenities.

Initially, approximately six managed areas will reopen remote access trails, and beaches and boat ramps at the research reserves. Islands, beaches and submerged lands within the aquatic preserves will open in a manner consistent with local ordinances. Please refer to your local government web pages to identify any local restrictions.

The following areas have been identified to reopen for day-use with limited risk to visitors and staff.


Trails & Remote Access

Boat & Kayak Launch

Beach Access

Millender Park, Eastpoint- Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve - - Yes (bay)
Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Trails, Eastpoint (Cat Point, Scipio Creek, Rodrigue Tract, Unit 4, Cape St. George Island) Yes - Yes
Nick's Hole Parcel- St. George Island (ANERR) Yes - No
St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve Trails (Heart and Deal Tracts) Yes Yes No
GTMNERR A1A Beach Access Points (Middle and South lots only. North Lot is closed for boardwalk repairs.) - - Yes
Guana Lake Dam, Boat Ramp, and Hiking Trails Yes Yes No
Shell Island Road (Rookery Bay) Yes Yes No


Located at the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands on the gulf coast of Florida, the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve represents one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is managed by DEP's Office of Resilience and Coastal Protection, in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and includes two aquatic preserves: Rookery Bay Aquatic Preserve and Cape Romano-Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve.

An amazing world exists within the 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands and protected waters of Rookery Bay. Where rivers and streams meet the sea, a unique habitat is formed. A myriad of wildlife, including 150 species of birds and many threatened and endangered animals, thrive in the estuarine environment and surrounding upland hammocks and scrub found within the Reserve.

Rookery Bay Reserve is located adjacent to Naples, one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the state, and is ideally suited as a regional hub for education and research on estuaries. The mission of the Rookery Bay Reserve is to provide a basis for informed coastal decisions, working in partnership with local communities to promote coastal stewardship.

The main program areas at Rookery Bay Reserve include Research, Stewardship and Education. Visitors are encouraged to begin their exploration of Rookery Bay by visiting the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center or participating in an ecotour. Residents are encouraged to get involved by becoming a volunteer or joining the Friends of Rookery Bay.

Location: Collier County

Acreage: 110,000 acres

Contact: Keith Laakkonen
Reserve Manager
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
300 Tower Road
Naples, FL 34113


Some content on this site is saved in an alternative format. The following icons link to free Reader/Viewer software:
PDF: | Word: | Excel: