Naples, Florida is a place with two Ritz Carlton’s, private clubs crowded with Bentleys, Rolls-Royces and Ferraris and tons of shopping areas boasting Tiffany’s, Cartier and Louis Vuitton. Oh yes, there are also lovely beaches and exquisite dining.
Shopping, dining and beaches are Naples major attractions. Check out the chic boutiques on Third Street South or Fifth Avenue with little courtyards and street side dining areas.
A Taste of History
I passed on the shopping and wandered through the beautifully landscaped streets of Old Naples among the renovated old wooden cottages and out to the Naples Pier that juts far out into the Gulf of Mexico. It was crowded with locals fishermen from teenagers to seniors, as well as noisy pelicans and dolphins hanging around for a handout.
The Naples Pier was built in 1889 and it wasn’t until 1918 when a shell road was constructed that linked Naples to Fort Myers. In the 1920’s the Tamiami Trail finally connected Miami, Naples and Tampa.
Interestingly enough, massive tourism to Florida didn’t begin until the 1950’s with the invention of air conditioning and insect repellent.
Tin City, with a river walk, restaurants, boat trips and kitschy tourist shops (similar to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco) was formerly a bustling area for local fishermen with oyster processing factories.
Lap of Luxury
Voted repeatedly as the Best Place to Watch the Sunset, the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Resort’ s beachfront bar is packed at sunset. Dig your toes into the sand and toast another great day at the beach.
The spa at the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Resort is one of the best in town. I have to say that the 90-minute massage I had there ranks among the best of my life. Really! It’s a good thing I don’t live in Naples, or I’d empty my bank account indulging on more massages.
Everglades National Park
One morning we left Naples early to avoid traffic. Yes, even Naples has heavy traffic during the “snowbird” season from January to April. We drove thirty miles south of Naples to the Everglades National Park, the place to go for an airboat, kayak or boardwalk excursion into the mangrove swamps to look for alligators. We took an airboat ride through the swamps and saw some masked critters along the way. The perfect activity for adults and kids alike!