Discover The Only Island in Florida With An Everyday Ice Cream Boat and Taco Boat Docked

Keewaydin Island, located off the coast of Naples, Florida, stands out as a unique destination, especially for its floating culinary delights. This barrier island, part of the Rookery Bay Reserve, is a hidden gem largely untouched by modern development. Spanning eight miles in length and a half-mile in width, it offers miles of soft white sandy beaches accessible only by boat​​.

Getting There

  • Access by Water: The island can only be reached by boat, with options like the Hemingway Water Shuttle from Marco Island, or renting a boat or jet ski from local marinas in Naples or Marco Island​​.
  • Sightseeing Boat Trips: Regular boat trips include stops at Keewaydin for beach activities, making it an ideal day trip​​.

Island Attractions

  • Natural Beauty and Activities: Visitors enjoy swimming, shelling, birdwatching, dolphin spotting, and relaxing on the beach. The west side of the island is particularly favorable for fishing and witnessing stunning Florida sunsets​​.
  • Wildlife and Conservation: Home to a variety of wildlife, including wild boar, bobcat, white-tailed deer, and gopher tortoises, the island is also a protected nesting ground for loggerhead turtles​​.
  • Historical Significance: The island, once home to the Keewaydin Club inn and the site for Keewaydin Camps, played a significant role in the development of the Naples area​​.

The Culinary Boats

  • A Range of Floating Restaurants: Local businesses have creatively addressed the lack of amenities on the island by operating floating restaurants. These include boats serving burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, and the much-loved tacos​​​​.
  • The Ice Cream Boat: Particularly popular among children, the ice cream boat offers a unique nautical twist to the classic ice cream truck experience​​​​.
  • The Cocktail Boat: For adults, a cocktail boat also makes its rounds, serving as a floating bar and providing free beer on occasion​​​​.

Practical Considerations

  • Limited Amenities: Visitors need to bring essentials, as the island offers no amenities like lifeguards or bathroom facilities. Food boats are available most days between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m​​.
  • Weekend Crowds: The island is particularly busy on weekends, so arriving early is advisable to secure a good spot​​​​.

Keewaydin Island is more than just a beach destination; it’s an experience that blends natural beauty, historical significance, and innovative dining concepts. Its tranquility, combined with the unique offerings of ice cream and taco boats, makes it a must-visit location for anyone looking for a distinctive Floridian adventure.

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