While visiting Naples Florida, tourists will feel like they’re dining and shopping in New York City or Europe.
But unlike those destinations that are most popular in summer months, in Naples, Florida, tourists are able to sip wine or cappuccino outdoors, any season of the year. Vacationers flock to Florida in hordes every year to escape the snow and cold winters that are part of northern life. Just 45 minutes south of Fort Myers, Naples entices visitors with not only miles of sandy beach, golfing galore, a myriad of shopping and dining choices, but also the most delightful combination of Caribbean beauty, Mediterranean elegance and European charm.
Naples Florida Accommodations
The Waldorf Astoria and the Ritz are rated as the best hotels in America by Conde Nast Traveler, are located in the north end of the city. If you walk south for about a mile on the stretch of sand beach in front of the Waldorf Astoria, you will eventually wind up on the beach and boardwalk in front of million-dollar condominiums, owned by famous writers and celebrities such as Robin Cook and Connie Chung. Of course, the best part of exploring the miles of sandy beaches are all those sea treasures that you’ll discover, particularly after low tide. Colorful shells of every variety cluster along the shores, where you’re guaranteed to return home with a bag full of conch, starfish, periwinkle and shark’s teeth.
Golfing in Naples
If you do stay at the Waldorf Astoria, you’ll have a choice of up to 14 golf courses to try. Or, the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club provides guests with the best of both worlds, beach and golf. If golfing really is your passion, why not privately rent a townhouse/condominium at one of the many golf country clubs, so you can golf every day. You can often rent for a month or two at a time, or an even an entire season. In fact, the population of Naples more than doubles in the winter months, when northerners head down for the entire season to escape the cold winters back home.
Naples Pier at night
Shopping in Naples
While husbands are chipping away on the greens, wives certainly won’t be bored shopping. Naples Florida offers shopping choices to suit every taste and budget. In the north end, The Waterside Shops are comprised of 45 shops and restaurants, such as Jacobson’s and Saks of Fifth Avenue, that circle around cascading waterfalls. Located on exclusive Gulfshore Boulevard North, the Gulfshore Plaza faces a picturesque bay. What better place to watch boats or browse boutiques, while licking an ice-cream cone bought from the famous Ben & Jerry’s. You’ll find lots of interesting and unique souvenirs and anything else you could possibly want at the indoor and outdoor malls, such as Coastland Mall and The Dockside Boardwalk. Clothing bargains can be purchased at the Coral Isle Factory Shops Outlet, where you’ll find discounted designer merchandise by Liz Claiborn and Jones New York. In Old Naples, at the south end of the city, trendy Third Avenue and Fifth Avenue are lined with outdoor cafes, bistros, art galleries, coffee houses, award-winning restaurants, and of course, dozens and dozens of shops and boutiques. On these brightly lit streets, you’ll feel as though you’re vacationing in Nice or Paris, while browsing the boutiques or sipping wine or coffee under the stars.
Relaxing on the Beach
But when you’ve had enough shopping, golfing, beaching or touring for the day, you will definitely not want to miss that glorious sunset from the Naples Pier, a 1,000-foot-long pier. Fishermen, swimmers, beach bums, shoppers and other tourists all gather together at the end of the day to celebrate this splendid sight.
Where to Eat in Naples
If a day on the beach, golfing, shopping or touring whets your appetite, you’re in luck in this city, as Naples is home to over 100 eating establishments. You will find every type of cuisine, setting and price range. Whether you wish to dine under the stars, in a noisy family restaurant, in a cozy candlelit corner, or on a white wickered verandah with spectacular views down the street, Naples can grant your wish. For a real treat, try Sunday brunch at the picturesque Maxwell’s on the Bay or at the luxurious Waldorf Astoria. One of my favorite Italian eateries is Il Posto Ristorante in Old Naples on Third Street and one of my favorite places to enjoy mouthwatering seafood is at Bayside at The Village on Venetian Bay. The Village Pub is a great place to have a bite to eat while listening to live musicians. Even with over 100 restaurants, tourists must remember to make reservations or arrive early when dining out, to avoid disappointments. Many restaurants will offer an early bird special before 6 p.m. to entice diners to eat early, as restaurants are often full by 6 p.m.
In 1989, The Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts opened. Broadway shows, the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus, the Miami City Ballet, as well as internationally renowned entertainers perform at “The Phil”. For those who enjoy art, Old Naples boasts several streets that are lined exclusively with galleries for art lovers to explore.