Imagine a resort, seaside town with all the trappings of wealth and luxury yet with the quiet characteristic charm of a sleepy fishing village in some parts and the roar of modern suburbia in others. You may have just whisked yourself over to Naples Florida. This description is the state of affairs in which I found myself imbued in as I reconnoitered the streets of this handsome town. Naples is a very pleasant city on Florida’s south western coast. It is associated with the droves of tourists (known locally as snowbirds) who annually descend on Florida to escape the cold northerly fare. During the months from November to March every year the population triples, businesses boom and the streets are full. It’s no wonder, who isn’t looking for pristine streets, great shopping in shorts and room temperature surroundings in the middle of January? While the summer in Naples can be downright humid, the winter season brings almost perpetual sunny skies and warming temperatures. The weather conditions aren’t the only charm here, the supreme sunsets, the nature and beaches and the stylish living conditions for every taste make this city a mass appeal destination.
Life by the sea is something which has undying appeal to me personally and so a trip to this sunny realm needed little convincing. For the colonial, historical or nostalgic among us I recommend spending most of you time in downtown Naples. Here narrow streets lie just feet from the beach while European-Caribbean styled homes are ringed round by white sands. Fifth Street is a buzz of quaint shops and activity with a very decent night life as well. Third Street South offers some buildings of historical interest and some upscale eateries as well. Hit the Naples beach for a full day of sand, sun and surf. One may enjoy some of the great volleyball action which seems to go nonstop or simply stroll or fish off the grandiose Naples pier. Sunset is a most sacred part of the day as people pack the pier and waterfront to cheer on the sun and admire the atmospheric display of hues. Some other great beaches in the area include Vanderbilt beach with a gorgeous Ritz Carlton hotel front and Delnor-Wiggins Pass, which also happens to be a state park.
When looking for something to do in Naples, discouragement is never so prevalent as being overwhelmed. Think about it, this is where people come to spend their time and money, so there is no option for boredom. Perhaps you are feeling withdrawal from a lack of Broadway? Never fear, the Naples Players keep a packed theater and a variety of shows for all audiences and styles. The classy vibe of the Naples Philharmonic will keep your foot tapping and send surges of greatness down your spine as this talented orchestra tackles another major piece every week. The local Germain arena is a large venue for many of the international shows that come to town. The delights abound in Gallery row, a sheik colonnade located downtown that has displays of many popular and unique artworks. Upscale shopping is certainly found on 5th street and in the waterside shops towards North Naples. Outlet malls dot the highway at Coconut Point and in Estero.
Perhaps one of the greatest injustices to the flawless weather would be staying indoors all the time. There are numerous opportunities to get outside no matter what your sport or desire. To state the obvious Naples is a golf world capital. Should you have any attraction to or interest in the game, you have come to the Mecca of golf and now would be a good time to polish those clubs. With over 80 championship courses in the area alone you shouldn’t have trouble finding a place to swing. The Vineyards and Tiburon are two spots I was graciously introduced to and enjoyed. Perhaps if you’re a bit more rustic you’d crave some of the guided tours of the Everglades which leave from Naples daily. Should you be a self guided type there are hiking trails in Everglades National Park, Florida Panther Wildlife refuge and Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary all located around the city. Many sporting events come to the city in terms of golf tournaments, tennis matches and even the unique swamp buggy races.
Naples is a great testament to a thriving beach community that has options available for every kind of traveler. While many communities are luxurious and exclusive the city has amenities, restaurants and attractions for every type of visitor. The overall bonus is of course that the city itself maintains a standard of elegance and luxury which make it a beautiful spot on the gulf. Naples is a city founded on tourism and this identity helps it to be a great place to welcome those looking for leisure.