Lay of the Land: Lifestyle Communities

What’s your idea of living in paradise? Southwest Florida is home to a sprawling selection of gated communities that emphasize fitness, socialization, fun in the sun—often centered around breathtaking golf course views—and amenities galore

Photo by Doug Thompson
Photo by Doug Thompson

Collier County

Audubon Country Club

625 Audubon Blvd., Naples

Audubon Country Club is a 755-acre, gated community with 58 percent dedicated to natural preserve and 28 lakes interspersed throughout. It is an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary that provides world-class golfing at the Joe Lee–designed, 18-hole golf course and clubhouse, in addition to tennis, croquet, bocce, swimming, and a fitness center.

Eagle Creek Golf & Country Club

11 Cypress View Drive, Naples

Eagle Creek Golf and Country Club is a small, award-winning gated community on 300 wooded acres, centrally located midway between Naples and Marco Island. Eagle Creek has 460 residences, including condominiums, carriage home villas with detached guest suites, and estate homes with golf views. The recently renovated Larry Packard-designed golf course winds through cypress and pine preserves, with residential housing only on six holes. Amenities include a full-service clubhouse, tennis and bocce, pool and spa, and a fitness center.

Esplanade Golf & Country club

8912 Torre Vista Lane, Naples

This new 1,800-acre gated community includes 1,000 acres of natural preserves, wetlands, and walking trails, as well as 170 acres of lakes. When complete, the community will consist of approximately 1,121 planned residential homes. The championship golf course, designed by architect Chris Wylczinsk, has already earned awards. The community, located three miles east of Interstate 75, offers a clubhouse, tennis and pickleball, resort pool, bocce, and fitness, wellness, and spa facilities.

Grey Oaks Country Club

2400 Grey Oaks Drive N., Naples

Grey Oaks offers 18 neighborhoods featuring single-family and estate homes, detached villas, and three condominium neighborhoods, as well as three championship golf courses for a total of 54 holes. Grey Oaks is centrally located in Naples west of Livingston Road and north of Golden Gate Boulevard. The Estuary at Grey Oaks is the newest neighborhood, located across the street, east of Airport-Pulling Road. Both have clubhouses and luxury, resort-style amenities. The Estuary at Grey Oaks has a 62,000-square-foot clubhouse, heated lagoon swimming pool with an outdoor café, fitness center with personal trainers, tennis center with eight lighted Har-Tru tennis courts, and children’s playground.


8004 Lely Resort Blvd., Naples

Lely is a census-designated neighborhood of 2,037 households in a large range of options. Lely Resort Golf & Country Club is home to 54 holes of golf designed by three of golf’s most legendary names. The public-access Flamingo Island and Mustang courses were designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Lee Trevino, respectively, and the private Classics course was designed by Gary Player. Flamingo and Classics each have a clubhouse, and there are two expansive, full-service golf practice facilities.


15755 Corso Mediterra Circle, Naples

Mediterra comprises 1,700 acres of nature preserves, lakes, and parks, as well as 950 luxury homes. The community’s design and luxury homes replicate the lush beauty of Europe’s Mediterranean region. The five-star, private country club includes a USTA award-winning tennis program, Har-Tru tennis and pickleball courts, fitness studio and spa, and the Mediterra Beach Club, a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse with a heated pool on the Gulf of Mexico on Bonita Beach.

Naples Lakes Country Club

4784 Naples Lakes Blvd., Naples

Naples Lakes Country Club features an 18-hole, Arnold Palmer signature course. With 200 acres of protected nature preserves and lakes, Naples Lakes has been an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary since 2001 and amenities include dining, tennis, fitness, a pool and spa, and a calendar of social activities.

Olde Cypress
Olde Cypress

Olde Cypress

7165 Treeline Drive, Naples

Olde Cypress is a 540-acre, gated community featuring P.B. Dye’s first 18-hole championship golf course in Collier County. Its seven neighborhoods feature 550 single-family estate homes, villas, and courtyard homes on 176 acres of pine and cypress preserves. The 36,000-square-foot clubhouse includes an outdoor area with a bar and big-screen TV overlooking the ninth green, as well as a players’ lounge, library, media center, card rooms, private lockers, tennis courts, swimming pool, dining, and fitness center.

Pelican Marsh

1810 Persimmon Drive, Naples

Pelican Marsh is nestled within more than 1,000 acres of tropical landscaping, lakes, and 133 acres of nature preserves, including the Cocohatchee Strand Preserve. This gated Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary community provides miles of pathways for biking, jogging, or walking. Pelican Marsh offers a wide variety of neighborhoods and home and condo selections. The award-winning Robert Von Hagge championship golf course, Pelican Marsh Golf Club, and the two-story clubhouse, are the jewels of the community. Pelican Marsh also enjoys a community center with tennis, bocce, and fitness and spa studio.

Quail West

5950 Burnham Road, Naples

This community spans Collier and Lee counties, with the majority of the 688 luxury estate homes in Collier. Its 70,000-square-foot clubhouse was recently refurbished, alongside the opening of a new two-story fitness center and restored championship golf courses. The club also offers eight red-clay tennis courts, an indoor, lagoon-style, Junior Olympic–sized pool, and a private beach pavilion.

The Quarry

8950 Weathered Stone Drive, Naples

The Quarry is a gated community that offers both a golfing and waterfront lifestyle, featuring a large freshwater lake for water skiing, relaxing on the beach, catch-and-release fishing, or visiting the beach club. The waterfront club includes a tiki bar and grill, resort-style lap pool, fitness and wellness center, tennis, pickleball, and bocce courts, boating, and dining. The Quarry’s clubhouse, fitness facilities, and 72-par golf course wind around 700 acres of lakes and private nature preserves. The community consists of single-family homes in 11 home designs ranging from 1,600 to 4,400 square feet and condos.

The Strand

5840 Strand Blvd., Naples

The Strand is a luxury community located on more than 500 acres of preserves and lakes, with 27 holes of golf on three courses designed by Gordon Lewis, a practice aqua range, putting green, and golf academy at The Club at The Strand. Members enjoy a fitness center and day spa, a Junior Olympic–sized swimming pool, tennis and pickleball courts, basketball courts, and 55,000-square-foot clubhouse with a boardroom, meeting rooms, pro shop, locker rooms, ballroom, and several dining options.

Talis Park

16980 Livingston Road, Naples

This gated luxury community in North Naples with 12 neighborhoods features attached villa homes, penthouse-style condominiums, and single-family and showcase estate homes ranging from 5,900 to 6,820 square feet. Designed for country club living with a focus on health, walkability, and social vitality, Talis Park includes an acclaimed 133-acre golf course with champion trees designed by Pete Dye and Greg Norman. Its Tuscany-inspired village center includes a fitness center and spa, pool, café, and tennis. Residents enjoy complimentary trips to Vanderbilt Beach via the community’s exclusive shuttle service.

The Vineyards

75 Vineyards Blvd., Naples

This planned, 2,000-acre neighborhood has 38 unique communities—many gated—with villas, condos, coach homes, single-family homes, and luxury custom homes. The 32-acre Vineyards Community Park, with soccer and ballfields, walking trails, courts, and water play area, is located adjacent to the community. The Vineyard’s 70,000-square-foot clubhouse includes dining rooms overlooking the Tuscany-style patio with golf course views. Amenities include a new wellness and fitness center and spa, saltwater lap pool and sun deck, smoothie café, and salt room. It is one of the largest country clubs in Naples, with a professionally staffed tennis and pickleball center, 70,000-square-feet clubhouse, and more than 300 acres dedicated to the club’s grounds.

Wyndemere Country Club

700 Wyndemere Way, Naples

Wyndemere Country Club is a golfing community comprising 634 single-family homes, condos, and villas in 16 communities on 450 acres. Wyndemere includes an Arthur Hills–designed championship golf course with 27 holes, 10 Har-Tru tennis courts, pickleball, bocce, a 44,000-square-foot clubhouse, and a fitness center with a heated, outdoor swimming pool.

Lee County

Bonita Bay

3451 Bonita Bay Blvd., Ste. 100,

Bonita Springs

Bonita Bay is a 2,400-acre gated community of 56 neighborhoods, tucked among 1,400 acres of parks, nature preserves, lakes, and open spaces. A 12-mile network of biking and walking paths links intimate collections of single-family homes, villas, coach homes and luxury high-rise residences. At build out, Bonita Bay will have fewer than 3,300 homes. Three Arthur Hills–designed courses within Bonita Bay and two courses by Tom Fazio at nearby Bonita Bay Club provide 90 holes of championship golf. The private Bonita Bay Club also offers residents an opportunity to enjoy tennis, fitness center and spa, and a new clubhouse with a variety of dining options. The full-service Bonita Bay Marina provides direct access to the Gulf of Mexico—via the Imperial River and Estero Bay—and boasts wet slips, dry storage, and a ship’s store.

Bonita National

17001 Bonita Beach Road S.E.,

Bonita Springs

Bonita National Golf & Country Club is a luxury golf course community that consists of condominiums, attached homes, and single-family homes. Residents enjoy the 18-hole championship golf course and clubhouse with a fitness center, resort-style pool, scenic walking paths through conservation areas dotted with lakes, and a beach shuttle.

The Brooks

26388 Hickory Blvd., Bonita Springs

This 2,492-acre, master-planned development offers different types of properties in five distinct gated communities: Shadow Wood, Shadow Wood Preserve, Spring Run, Lighthouse Bay, and Copper Leaf. Shadow Wood and Shadow Wood Preserve have three diverse, championship golf courses, while Copper Leaf and Spring Run boast their own courses. Residents of The Brooks are offered membership in The Commons Club, a member-owned club of 2,300 families situated in a tranquil, park-like setting in Estero. The club features a health and lifestyle center, enrichment center, lakeside restaurant, and a private beach club located on Little Hickory Island.

Fiddlesticks Country Club

15391 Canongate Drive, Fort Myers

With 585 homes and two golf courses, Fiddlesticks is a low-density community with two golf courses and private, estate-sized lots, condos, townhouses, and single-family residences. The resort-style community features a cabana and pool, eight Har-Tru tennis courts that host league and recreational play, and a 7,000-square-foot fitness facility with youth programs, including summer and school vacation camps.


11360 Championship Drive, Fort Myers,

This 3,000-acre, master-planned community with 32 neighborhoods offers residential options for a wide range of lifestyles and budgets. Gateway is centrally located off Daniels Parkway near I-75 and is largely a single-family home community with quarter-acre lots. Neighborhoods such as Hammock Cove, Stoneybrook, Timber Ridge, and Summerwind also feature condos and townhouses. The private, 18-hole, Tom Fazio–designed golf course highlights amenities that include an Olympic-sized swimming pool, soccer complex, the Gateway Fun Park, a dog park, 15 miles of multi-use trails, tennis and volleyball courts, and a lake and picnic grounds.


11481 Grand Oak Blvd., Estero

The centerpiece of Grandézza is a 53,000-square-foot, Tuscan-style clubhouse with multiple dining and lounge locations, a Junior Olympic pool, fitness center and studio, and tennis facility. The Club at Grandézza’s championship golf course, designed by Darwin Sharp III, plays to a par 72. The privately owned and managed community, featuring scenic exercise paths, has easy access to I-75.

Lexington Country Club

16257 Willowcrest Way, Fort Myers

Lexington Country Club consists of a Golf Village and a Lake Village, with 1,479 homes and an 18-hole championship golf course with six tee box choices redesigned by Kipp Schulties Golf Design in 2017. The community also features 12 lighted hydro-grid tennis courts, six heated swimming pools, a fitness center, and bocce courts. The main clubhouse boasts a variety of dining experiences, social clubs, and special events, as well as an outdoor tiki bar, pool and jacuzzi, computer center and library, and a sandy beach.

Miromar Lakes Beach & Golf Club

18061 Miromar Lakes Parkway, Miromar Lakes

A 700-acre freshwater lake with three miles of white-sand shoreline is the centerpiece of this community, providing endless recreational and social activities. Luxury estate, beach, coach, and villa homes overlook the lake or the remastered Arthur Hills championship golf course. Residents year-round social events, boating, water skiing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and fishing, casual and fine dining at three restaurants, and resort-inspired amenities along the lakefront. Located near Estero, Miromar Lakes also has a full-service, European spa and fitness center, tennis and bocce courts, marine services, and private golf club.


11611 Paseo Grande Blvd., Fort Myers

Paseo is an award-winning community located in south Fort Myers off Daniels Parkway, close to shopping, the beaches, attractions, and I-75. It is a private, gated community surrounded by Six Mile Cypress Slough. There are a variety of single-family homes, two-story and split-level townhouses, casitas, and villas. Its village center offers a resort-style pool complex, fitness facilities, community movie theatre, fishing pier, an internet café/library, and courts for tennis and pickleball, basketball, volleyball, and bocce.

Pelican Landing

4450 Pelicans Nest Drive, Bonita Springs

Pelican Landing is a master-planned community of 3,350 residences spread across 2,365 acres accented by lakes and preserves. It is situated along Spring Creek and its private, highly rated The Nest Golf Club has 36 holes at two golf courses: the Audubon-designated Hurricane and Gator courses. Pelican Landing owns a private barrier island with a 34-acre beach park on the Gulf of Mexico, and provides a boat shuttle, beach house with restrooms, shower facilities, a nature library, sun decks, and a screened pavilion. Other amenities include a 4,400-square-foot fitness center, bocce and pickleball courts, championship tennis courts, full-time pro and pro shop, sailing club, docking and launch facilities, and canoe/kayak parks. The community center provides activities coordinated by an activities director. The Hyatt Regency at Coconut Point offers residents lodging discounts and access to hotel services. Residences include custom estate homes, single-family homes, villas, coach homes, and condominiums. The Colony Golf and Country Club, with a private, par-72, Jerry Pate–designed course, is a sister community located within Pelican Landing.

River Hall

2401 River Hall Parkway, Alva

This 1,500-acre, master-planned community features a semi-private, Davis Love III–designed, par-72 golf course and a 14,000-square-foot clubhouse. Located in Alva, a Town Hall Amenity Center in this 10-year-old community provides a resort-style lagoon pool, programmed activities led by an on-site lifestyle director, miles of interconnected and meandering sidewalks around lakes and preserves, and River Hall Elementary School. More than 600 vacant homesites are available.


2573 Sandoval Parkway, Cape Coral

This 524-acre master-planned, gated community with a Caribbean flair has a host of family amenities: a lagoon pool with waterslide, wide, two-mile-long linear park path for running and cycling, four-and-a-half-acre Calypso Park with grills and fishing pier, dog park, and a community center. It also has sports courts, volleyball, bocce, and horseshoe pits. Sandoval housing options include carriage homes and single-family homes.



12201 River Village Way, Fort Myers,

Verandah is located along the Orange River in East Fort Myers near Alva, not far from I-75. In addition to two 18-hole championship golf courses—Old Orange, designed by Bob Cupp, and Whispering Oak, a Jack Nicklaus II–designed course—residents enjoy a fitness with spa treatment rooms, tennis and bocce center, group and personal training, resort-style pool, and green space for outdoor games. The waterfront River House restaurant was recently renovated.

West Bay Club

22050 S. Tamiami Trail, Estero

Nestled on 868 acres among wetlands and nature preserve, and bounded by Estero Bay and Estero River, West Bay Club includes nine established neighborhoods and a new luxury, single-family villa neighborhood, WestLake Court. Choices of home styles range from carriage homes and villas to single-family estates and high-rise condos. The final development within the community will be the 24-floor condo, The Island, offering panoramic views of the Gulf of Mexico and golf course and 86 residences. The 18-hole championship golf course was designed by Pete and PB Dye, and the community features tennis, a resort-style pool, private beach club, and state-of-the-art fitness center.

Wildcat Run
Wildcat Run

Wildcat Run Golf & Country Club

20300 Country Club Drive, Estero

Located east of I-75, Wildcat Run is a mature, luxury community with golf and water views from most homes. Amenities include a clubhouse with tennis, library, fitness center, putting green, and signature Arnold Palmer golf course. It is an intimate community, with only 450 homes ranging from carriage houses, detached villas, and condos to custom estate homes.

Homebuyers: Get in the Swing

Welcome to the nation’s golf capitol. Did you know that there are an estimated 150-plus golf courses in Collier and Lee counties? The minority—less than 10 percent—are open to the public. That means the other 90-plus percent are private courses, typically located in gated golf course communities. In rare instances, a handful of these courses are semi-private, providing play to non-residents and non-members.

If you are a player who is interested in buying a home in a private community, be sure to do your homework. Referrals and word of mouth are a good way to start. If you’re looking at the bottom line, remember that annual membership dues vary greatly. Here are two key distinctions in memberships; be sure to investigate your options.

Bundled Golf Communities: Golf and social memberships are bundled into the purchase of your residence. You do not pay an additional initiation fee, but annual membership dues are required. Every homeowner will be a golf or social member of the club.

Equity Golf Communities: These require an up-front initiation fee for golf membership, followed by annual membership dues.

Alternative Memberships: Ask if there are alternative membership options to player memberships, such as a social, executive, or sports membership. These memberships include year-round access to social activities and amenities. (Social and sports memberships allow golf privileges during the summer months, May through October 31, while executive memberships allow for some in-season play.)

Not a Golfer? If so, there are plenty of reasons to live in a golfing community: security, fewer neighbors, great views, and social activities. In Southwest Florida, these communities are also focusing on providing a vibrant, healthy lifestyle for all residents. State-of the-art fitness centers have become vital for many new homebuyers, as well as natural spaces, walkability, and recreational opportunities. Many of these fitness centers have full-time personal trainers, and large ones often have an on-staff nutritionist. Local clubhouse menus are continually revamped to provide culinary options for specific diets and local seafood, farm-to-table vegetables, and organic meat and poultry.

As with any home purchase, consider the location and do your homework to ensure the community fits your needs and your budget.

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