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Beachgoers at Horizon Way enjoy sunshine as Collier County reopens beach access points

Posted at 10:13 PM, Jan 06, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-07 06:53:53-05

COLLIER CO., Fla. — If you’re looking to head to the beach any time soon, there’s some good news.

A number of beach access points have reopened — 14 to be exact. Marking the first time they’ve been open since Hurricane Ian.

At Naples’ Horizon Way, the beach is open for business.

“Today is my birthday and my in-laws are snowbirding here from Connecticut for the next three months so we decided to come on down for the weekend and go to the beach and enjoy the beautiful weather and the sunshine.”

Open to visitors like Matthew Rothman, spending the day in the sand.

"The storm certainly didn’t deter the season residents from coming down,” he says.

And he’s right as plenty took a stroll along the shore or enjoyed kicking back with a nice book. The only sign of a hurricane from 100 days ago is a building standing on the beach’s shore as it gets fumigated.

“I think when we came down we said is it going to look the same or is it going to look different?" said Rothman. "And once you’re a mile or two off the beach it’s definitely the same but here on the beach, you can tell. It’s still beautiful and it definitely didn’t ruin the experience.”

Horizon Way is just one of many beach access points throughout Collier County to reopen since Ian. Making for a grand total of 14 beach access points now open.

“In November, there was still so much rubble, furniture and everything still on the streets and there were those big trucks picking up all the pieces," said Elizabeth Hoagland, who was taking a stroll on the beach. "We had no idea. The power of water is scary, it’s very strong.”

Elizabeth and John Hoagland are visiting from Louisville, Kentucky. But despite the distance, they have close ties to Southwest Florida.

"We actually met on the pier," says Elizabeth. "We rented a boat a couple of days ago with our kids and we went down and saw the pier and it just broke our hearts because it’s not like what it was but I know it will be put together again.”

Something these beachgoers can all agree on.

"We’re happy to see the community rebound," said Rothman. "Naples is definitely a place near and dear to our heart."

The following access points are now open:

• Via Miramar
• 1977 Gulfs Shore Blvd N (Gulf Towers) pathway
• 7th Ave North
• 4th Ave North
• 2nd Ave North
• 1st Ave North
• Central Ave
• 5th Ave South
• 9th Ave South
• Broad Ave South
• 12th Ave South (Pier) only 100-feet west of stairs, includes 12th Ave S parking
• 13th Ave South
• 17th Ave South
• 1900 Gulf Shore Blvd S