According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 2,305 square miles, of which 1,998 square miles is land and 307 square miles is water. It is the largest county in Florida by land area and fourth-largest by total area. Virtually the entire southeastern portion of the county lies within the Big Cypress National Preserve. The northernmost portion of Everglades National Park extends into the southern coastal part of the county.
Collier County was created in 1923 from Lee County. It was named for Barron Collier, a New York City advertising mogul and real estate developer who had moved to southwest Florida and established himself as a prominent land owner. He agreed to build the Tamiami Trail for what was then Lee County (comprising today’s Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry, and Lee Counties) in exchange for favorable consideration with the state legislature to have a county named for him. After Collier County was named, Collier was quoted as saying: “When I first came here on holiday with Juliet, I never expected that I would buy a whole region of it, nor did I expect to pay for the new Tamiami Trail, or half the things I’ve done. But I really didn’t expect to have a whole county named after me.