Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is part of the largest expanse of mangrove forest in North America. Approximately two thirds of the refuge is mangrove forest, which dominates most tidal fringes and the numerous islands, or keys. The northern third of the refuge consists of brackish marsh and interspersed ponds, small coastal hammocks of oak, cabbage palms, and tropical hardwoods such as gumbo limbo.
The refuge is located approximately 20 miles southeast of Naples, FL on the south side of U.S. 41. The eastern boundary lies just east of the Port of the Islands community and Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve. The western boundary is adjacent to Collier-Seminole State Park. The refuge surrounds the town of Goodland, just off of County Road 92. The Gulf of Mexico forms the southern boundary.
The refuge is best accessed by boat. The two prominent boating access points are found in Goodland and Port of the Islands. Take U.S. 41 south out of Naples and drive 12 miles to Hwy 92, turn right and drive 5 miles to Goodland, or continue on U.S. 41 for 5 miles to Port of the Islands.
Public access to the refuge is also available via the Marsh Trail. With an 18 space parking lot, this area includes a mile-long hiking trail, canoe and kayak trails, and an observation tower overlooking the marsh. The Marsh Trail parking lot is located about three miles east of Collier-Seminole State Park and County Road 92. Getting there from I-75 in Naples, take exit 101. Then follow Collier Blvd south to its junction with U.S. 41. Turn left. The Marsh Trail access area is 11 miles east along U.S. 41. Turnoffs for Goodland and Collier-Seminole State Park will be passed before you reach the parking area near mile marker 31.