9 causes Floridas west coast is the best winter retreat – Lonely Planet – Lonely Planet

Video 9 causes Floridas west coast is the best winter retreat – Lonely Planet – Lonely Planet

Florida’s stunning southwest coast is at all times able to welcome guests seeking to keep away from the winter chill (to not point out the crowds in Orlando and Miami). Naples and neighboring Marco Island present an ideal mix of metropolis points of interest and pure retreats. Right here’s our insider’s information to one of the best issues to do, see and eat.

Editor’s observe: Please verify the most recent journey restrictions earlier than planning any journey and at all times comply with authorities recommendation.

Why ski when you possibly can go to the Florida Keys © Vladone / Lonely Planet

Make a journey downtown

Whereas a lot of Naples has a sprawling, suburban really feel, its historic downtown is an entire completely different animal. This stunning, European-flavored and extremely walkable district is jam-packed with high-end luxurious outlets (Naples is without doubt one of the wealthiest cities in America) and a thriving bar and restaurant scene.

Fifth Avenue South is the place a lot of the motion takes place, though Third Avenue South is one other energetic sector buzzing with nightlife on the weekends. After drinks and dinner on Third, stroll a pair blocks over to the Naples Pier and take heed to the waves crash alongside the shore.

Oceanside eats

In Naples and Marco Island, generally the patio views are as a lot of a draw because the meals. However that doesn’t imply you possibly can’t additionally take pleasure in a scrumptious meal at waterside establishments like Snook Inn. The grouper sandwich is the decision right here and all meals include free salad bar, the place the pickles are must-have, and stay music seven nights per week will put you within the temper to occasion.

Native favourite Dolphin Tiki Bar has a laid-back vibe and a refreshed take care of a Hurricane Irma-driven renovation. In the meantime, CJs on the Bay is one other can’t-miss spot for lobster fries and margaritas on a pleasant outside gazebo.

From gardens to wildlife, the pure great thing about southwestern Florida is a heat winter wonderland © Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Past Pictures / Getty Photos

Discover a backyard paradise

When visiting a seaside paradise like Naples, it may be arduous to tug your self away from the ocean. However Naples Botanical Gardens makes the journey inland greater than value your whereas, with 170 acres of fantastically manicured gardens excellent for a romantic stroll along with your vital different, or some alone time to replicate.

Time your go to to absorb particular occasions like stay music (with bands organising on a small boardwalk over a lagoon), artwork exhibitions or yoga courses. Or in the event you simply wish to unfold out a blanket and chill out within the solar, nobody’s going in charge you. (Click on right here, for the most recent COVID-19 security protocols The Backyard has put in place).

Get out on the water

Dolphin excursions, shelling excursions, sundown excursions and fishing charters are all fashionable with guests, as are personal boat leases. You possibly can choose your personal watercraft from locations like Rose Marina in Marco Island or Dreamlander Excursions in close by Goodland (the place delightfully divey bar/restaurant/stay music venue Stan’s Idle Hour is the stuff of native legend). There’s additionally parasailing, wakeboarding, waterskiing and tubing. Surfers take observe: wake browsing, a wakeboarding/browsing hybrid fashionable right here, is about essentially the most enjoyable you possibly can have on the water.

Marco Island and the opposite offshore shelters provide loads of thrilling explorations in southwest Florida © Pola Damonte / Getty Photos

Go island-hopping

Marco Island is the area’s most well-known island, however there are tons of of small islands within the space to discover. Take an area water taxi like Hemingway Water Shuttle to Keewaydin Island, a lesser-known spot off the coast of Marco the place you possibly can select your personal journey by way of two diametrically opposed experiences.

The river facet of the island (the place all of the boats dock) is a spring-break styled occasion strip of sand with boats promoting booze and booming dance events, whereas the ocean facet only a brief stroll away presents the possibility for lengthy walks on the seashore in full solitude. Give each a strive.

Trippy dome houses

Certain, you would go on a house tour. However for an actual style of native taste, take a ship journey to the otherworldly Cape Romano Dome Home positioned off the coast of a picturesque island south of Marco. This eerily domed, Star Wars-style igloo construction might have been deserted as a trip residence in 1992, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a fantastic place for snorkeling, strolling alongside the close by seashore, and snapping extraordinarily Instagram-worthy pictures – though two of the unique six domes collapsed throughout Hurricane Irma.

Fiery sunsets over the Florida waterscapes are simply the precise antidote to colder temperatures in winter © Vladone / Getty Photos

Cocktails, sunsets, repeat

The west coast of Florida is known for among the most eye-popping sunsets within the nation, and the Naples space presents loads of placid locales to absorb the spectacular end-of-day shade the way in which it was meant to be skilled: with drink in hand. And whereas there are many nice native bars within the space, for fiery sunsets on the seashore your finest bets are the resort bars.

Sundown Seaside Bar on the Naples Seaside Resort & Golf Membership is tough to beat, with a taking place cocktail scene round sundown and among the finest blackened grouper in all the land. Quinn’s on the Seaside on the Marriott is one other spectacular sundown oasis for mojitos and wonderful fish tacos, whereas Sand Bar on the Ritz-Carlton Naples has received the entire tiki bar factor right down to a science.

Golf capital of the world

Calling itself “The Golf Capital of the World”, the Naples space is brimming with roughly 90 golf programs, round one-third of that are open to the general public.

Whereas it’s most well-known for among the most unique personal golf equipment on this planet, high quality rounds could be performed at public programs just like the Greg Norman-designed Tiburon Golf Membership and Lely Resort, the place the course’s Sam Snead’s Tavern is the right place to unwind on the patio after an extended (however stress-free) day on the hyperlinks.

The small cities round Naples, Florida are as cool as the primary occasion © Sean Pavone / Getty Photos

Small-town appeal

Most guests to the world see the signal alongside the primary street from Naples to Marco Island, however few truly make the flip off onto the facet street to the small hamlet of Isles of Capri simply north of Marco. But this slight diversion yields extraordinarily excessive rewards with a comfortable assortment of playful waterside bars and eating places together with the Island Gypsy Café and Capri Fish Home. Island Gypsy is the place to absorb stay music across the hearth pits and earlier than you seize dinner subsequent door at Capri Fish Home, carry your drink onto their small seashore patio and toast to your luck.

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Finest US locations for winter sunFirst-time Florida Keys: island hopping alongside the Abroad HighwayEco-friendly adventures within the Florida Keys

This text was initially revealed in December 2017 and up to date November 2020.

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