Baker Park: The Paradise Coast’s Newest Jewel
Experience beautiful Baker Park, a greenspace on the Gordon River just north of downtown Naples.
Opened in 2019, Baker Park is as impressive an urban greenspace as you’ll find anywhere in the country. Beautifully laid out, it artfully blends modern amenities with nature areas and myriad walkways, and includes several distinct environments that allow you to experience the park in a variety of ways.
Find River Views, Boat Slips & a Kayak Launch
The 15-acre, $23-million Baker Park, just a mile-and-a-half north of downtown Naples, borders the Gordon River to the east. The lovely, circular Sunset Terrace offers picturesque views of the river and surrounding mangroves, and a small dock provides even more views along with boat slips and a kayak launch.
Just south of the dock is the Blair Foundation Bridge, a wooden structure that traverses the river and connects to the Gordon River Greenway.
Hit the Playground or the Outdoor Fitness Facility
The playground is a marvel. It has brightly colored surfaces mixed with grass, gorgeous landscaping with palm trees, a splash pad, slides, swings and all sorts of things to climb on, plus picnic tables and more.
But what sets it apart are the areas with overhead sails that provide shade. It’s an extra touch you don’t often see on playgrounds, but it sure helps when the days heat up on Florida’s Paradise Coast.
For grown-ups, Baker Park has an outdoor fitness facility with gym machines.
Fun Pathways & Fresh Vantage Points
The park’s walkways come in an array of shapes, sizes and textures: wide or narrow, straight or winding; concrete, asphalt, pavers, pebbles and boardwalks, some of them with contrasting shades of wood. One walkway runs in a spiral, slowly sloping upward until it ends in a circular grassy knoll — elevation 38 feet — that allows you to look out over the rest of the park and beyond.
In a state that’s almost universally flat, this point of view adds a special dimension to an urban greenspace. And for those who want to shorten the walk, there’s a large stairway that takes you directly to the knoll.
Other pathways cut through dense mangroves, adding a wilderness feel. The network is ideal for casual walking, hiking and, in most cases, bicycling.
Open Space & Performance Space
In the park’s center is a large swath of lawn that invites you to toss a frisbee, play catch or just let the kids loose for running and tumbling. A performance stage on the southern side is there for musicians to play an impromptu set, and often hosts full-on productions by the Naples Players theater company.
Picnics, Events & Public Art at Baker Park
Baker Park has three picnic shelters with barbecue grills, which are available for rent. The Eva Sugden-Gomez Center, an indoor/outdoor event facility, is also available for rent. (Family reunion, anyone?)
Keep an eye out for public art — various sculptures are placed strategically throughout the complex. They add flair and fun.
Baker Park is a triumph of urban planning, and one of Naples’ newest public jewels. Anyone visiting the Naples area should set aside time to experience it. You’ll probably stay longer than you expect.