If you’re like most people, you already know that Naples is a premier shopping, dining and beach destination – but what you may not know is that there are plenty of off-the-beaten path adventures in the area, too. Check out these three unique things to do and see in Naples to plan your next few weekends.
3 Off-the-Beaten Path Adventures Near Naples, FL
Though there are dozens of fabulous shops, restaurants and attractions all over Naples, if you’re the adventuresome type, you’re looking for unusual experiences. Fortunately, we’ve found three off-the-beaten path adventures near Naples that most tourists never see:
- Otter Mound Preserve
- Koreshan State Historic Site
- Cape Romano Dome House
Here’s a closer look at each.
Otter Mound Preserve
The Otter Mound Preserve on nearby Marco Island is definitely an out-of-the-ordinary spot. For hundreds of years – predating modern development – the Calusa Native Americans piled up oyster and clam shells. Over time, the shell mound grew to a mind-blowing 80 acres, developed its own canopy from tropical hardwoods, and attracted all manner of wildlife (including armadillos, racoons and even bobcats).
After the Calusa tribe disappeared, a settler named Ernest Otter moved to the shell mound; he lived there from the 1940s until 1997, and he used the shells to build decorative walls all over his property. Today, the area is called Otter Mound Preserve, and it’s open to the public for shady walks beneath the gumbo limbo trees and yellow elders. You can still see Otter’s outhouse standing, as well as the decorative walls he built throughout the property.
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Koreshan State Historic Site
The Koreshan State Historic Site in Estero was once meant to be a planned utopian city. It all started when Cyrus Reed Teed, a physician who, in 1869, subjected himself to an electrical shock so severe that he blacked out. During his blackout, he claimed to have received “divine illumination” – that is, he said that a higher power shared all the secrets of the universe with him and directed him to interpret The Bible through a lens of scientific knowledge.
Teed changed his name to Koresh and founded a new religion: Koreshanity. He formed groups all over the country and chose to build his utopia in Estero. He and his followers moved to the city in 1894. The Koreshans built a bakery, a printing press and even a school called the “World College of Life,” as well as a power plant that supplied nearby towns before the technology was widespread in the area. After Koresh’s death in 1908, membership in his church quickly dwindled and people moved away – but many of the buildings still remain on the site, and you can see them as you stroll the grounds.
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Cape Romano Dome House
Built in 1981, the Cape Romano Dome House on Ten Thousand Island is only accessible by water – but you can see it from the shore of nearby isles. The cluster of crumbling domes are stilted concrete igloos that are slowly decaying into the ocean, a far cry from their original purpose. The domes were supposed to comprise a relaxing vacation home for a retired oil company executive, Bob Lee, able to resist hurricane damage and be mainly self-sustaining. But the beach on which the domes were originally built began to erode – and the only reason the domes themselves have survived is that they’re built atop concrete pillars.
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