Naples is kid-friendly and must-does for families are Zoo and Dolphins
NAPLES, FLORIDA: Talking about beaches and search for some winter sun, Florida´s Paradise Coast certainly takes the centre stage among this area´s many temptations. Here the average daytime temperature in February is about +25 and sunny skies keeping the sand warm. I never grab the traditional marketing sport rating one beach better than another – or select the top 10 beaches. But I go for the local favourite Lowdermilk Park near the heart of downtown Naples, and Tigertail Beach, ideal for kids, stand-up paddleboard and the wildlife.
Three areas. Naples is located between Miami and Fort Myers and known for socialites, high society and wealth. Just a few steps from Naples Beach and its iconic pier is the city with a small-town feel, restaurants, shops, galleries and cultural attractions. Include nearby Marco Island where mood shifts from resorts to funky fishing village. Naples and Marco Island beaches are as beautiful as ever after Hurricane Irma impact the area on September 10, 2017. Then include Everglades City, the gateway to Everglades National Park.
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Things to do. With 90 golf courses in the Greater Naples metro area, the region is a great golf destination. Did I mention shopping? The Paradise Coast is a paradise for shoppers and North Naples is a playground for shopping enthusiasts.
Airboat Ride: An airboat operator takes you on a wild ride through mangroves and marsh grass near Everglades City.
With such a vast system of bays, creeks, near-shore and offshore waters, and freshwater lakes and canals, it’s perfect for fishing and boating.
For an authentic Everglades experience, follow the locals in a speedy airboat and see wildlife up close.
On the Water: Set sail and get up close for dolphin spotting with Everglades Area Tours. The best way to get close to Mother Nature is by paddling the coast in canoe and kayak.
Arts and Culture. There’s more to Naples than pristine beaches, green fairways and relaxing resorts – the area also has an appreciation for the arts and a deep-rooted history connected to the Everglades. Take a break from the sun in one of the many art galleries or museums on Florida’s Paradise Coast. The Naples Art Association showcase a variety of exhibitions in its galleries. Numerous art galleries line Broad Avenue at Third Street South, featuring a variety of work from realist to abstract paintings. The Marco Island Center for Arts offers free galleries for browsing gift shop with items made by islands artists, art shows and festivals.
Food and beer. Naples serves a slice of the good life and we understand the people of this city is given up meat and potatoes and pasta for healthy dining. Naples has locally grown foods to create healthy dining options, and restaurants serves healthy budget buffets to fine dining cuisine. Naples has become the leader of healthy eating, here it´s easy to eat healthy.
Naples and Marco Island are rising as a top craft beer and foodie destination. Five local breweries are open for business and two annual Craft Beer Festivals are helping to satisfy the local thirst for craft brew. Visit Naples Beach Brewery for tasting. Address: 4120 Enterprise Ave., Suite 116, Naples.
For families. Naples is kid-friendly and among must-does for families are Naples Zoo, Children´s Museum of Naples, Jet Ski tours of Naples Bay and let kids explore all the dolphins, and not to forget all the beaches.
Snowbirds. Naples has hot and wet summers, warm and dry winters and more than 300 sunny days a year. End of every year the population increases dramatically, from 22,000 living in the city to more than 3000,000 in the area – a migration of well-off visitors from the Midwest heading south to a second home and more comfortable conditions in Naples. Those wealthy people are named as Snowbirds. Here winter means honey-like Floridian sunshine and high season, more activities and higher prices. But the sun-blushed city of Naples has never been cheap.
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Make it Happen!
Touch Down: Take any of the major domestic airlines into Fort Myers, South Florida International Airport (RSW), then drive for 42 miles to Downtown Naples. British Airways flights from London. Train: Amtrak stops at Naples Municipal Airport and Southwest Florida International Airport. Car: Private car services are recommended. From RSW Naples is about 70-dollar ride. Bus: Greyhound takes you from Fort Myers to Naples for 15 dollar.
Stay: Coquina Sands overlooks a charming landscape and is a hub for shipping centres. Aqualane Shores has stores, restaurants and waterfront community overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
Eat: Chef Fabrizio Aielli with background from Italy, the Caribbean and Washington D.C, runs Sea Salt, located on Third Street South in Naples. The main menu links his many cultures providing inside and outside seating. Don´t miss Everglades City, the Stone Crab Capital of the World. The crabs are caught between mid-October and mid-May along the Barron River.
Play: Nightlife means sipping cocktails, listening to live music, trying your hand at poker, blackjack or slots, or dancing the night away. This coast serves up much fun after sunset.
Mini Guide: Located in the Old Naples district, 5th Avenue has stores, cafes, hotels, and restaurants that run alongside its sidewalk. Downtown Naples is a fisherman's wharf enveloped by a plethora of retail stores. Naples Fashion House and the Village Shops on Venetian Bay sell stylish women's clothing, handbags, and necklaces. From March to May, Naples' pleasant weather makes for sun-filled beach days. Winter makes it perfect but it is also flooded with tourists and high prices. Naples Pier, originally built in 1888, is the city´s most popular attraction. Visit it at sunrise and be rewarded with the sun rising over the Gulf of Mexico.