Walking your family to fitness in naples 6 trails your family will love – neafamily.com type 1 diabetes insulin dependent

Walking is the perfect exercise according to many health experts. Plus, it’s a great way for the entire family to be active and spend quality time together. You don’t need special equipment beyond quality walking shoes and a bottle of water. Add a pedometer if possible – kids will enjoy using it to measure the walks and you can track your walks to see how many miles you log weekly.

When you walk as a family, the benefits multiply. Walking together offers quality, uninterrupted time with your spouse and children. It’s time to connect with your children and may be the opening you need for meaningful, organic conversation about important topics. It’s also an opportunity for parents to set a fitness example for their children.

1. North Collier Regional Park. The park has an elevated boardwalk through the wetlands preserve area and a two-and-a-half-mile paved walking trail that winds around the large lake and through the park.

A huge bonus is that dogs on leash are welcome. There is no charge to use the trails and parking is plentiful. Bathrooms, water fountain and vending machines are available in the gymnasium.

2. Delnor Wiggins State Park. Naples has more than a few beaches to walk but the best may be Delnor Wiggins State Park. There is a fee to enter but in return you’ll find a pristine beach with shells galore. Park your car at the end of the lot and walk south for 30 minutes or more and then head back. The kids will enjoy gathering shells and spotting wildlife. Time your walk to catch the prettiest sunset in town. An easy nature trail with an observation tower rising over the mangroves is at the far end of the parking area. Vending machines and restrooms available. There is also a snack bar with limited hours.

3. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Corkscrew Swamp is a great choice for a weekend visit when you have lots of time to walk and explore. The 2.25 mile boardwalk takes you through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh and finally into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. The forest is also home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer, red-bellied turtles and a wide variety of birds. The fee is $12 for adults, $4 for children. A family membership is just $75 and offers unlimited visits for the entire family.

4. Gordon River Greenway. The Gordon River Greenway is open from sunrise to 10:00 p.m. and offers walkers a scenic, paved trail through mangroves along the Gordon River. The public can access the Greenway at parking area off Golden Gate Parkway (just east of Goodlette-Frank Road), and at the Naples Zoo and Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s parking lots. The trails are wide enough for parents pushing baby carriages and dogs on leashes are welcome.

5. Vineyards Boulevard. If you’re in the mood for an easy walk on a pretty stretch of pavement, Vineyards Boulevard is perfect. The walk from the parking lot at Vineyards Park to Pine Ridge Road and back is approximately 4.5 miles. The sidewalk is wide and shaded so if the kids don’t want to walk they can ride their bicycles or scooters. There are restrooms and water fountains at the park. If you’d prefer a shorter walk, walk the path around the lake within the park for 30 minutes or so.

6. Pepper Ranch Preserve. Another weekend walk, Pepper Ranch Preserve is open Friday-Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. A 45-minute drive from Naples, Pepper Ranch is an important historical site in Collier County. Home to a variety of animals and plants, Pepper Ranch is also filled with hiking trails that range from easy and short to long and advanced. You can hike, picnic, bird-watch and take a scenic drive through the preserve after obtaining a free daily use permit from the visitor’s center. Public restrooms are available at the ranch. Check the website before making plans because the Preserve is closed some weekends during hunting season.