An Elevated Escape

Why Naples, Marco Island, and the Everglades is a travel trifecta

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Water has always been a way of life in Naples, Florida, like its Italian namesake. Naples and its surroundings, including Marco Island and the Everglades, is made up of thirty miles of glittering white sand beaches and small channels that stretch like fingers into the bay. When late
nineteenth-century investors decided to develop Naples, Marco Island, and the Everglades into a winter retreat, it was only accessible by boat. A century later, what’s now known as Florida’s Paradise Coast has become even more alluring to sailors and globetrotters alike. 

 Whether you want to stroll through a luxurious downtown, explore an unspoiled ecological environment, or rest in a sun-kissed sanctuary, this gilded coastline has it all.

Exceeding expectations was always the central focus since the early developers’ era. That same mindset continues today with four-star accommodations, amenities, and attractions, a far cry from Naples’s original sixteen-room inn, the Naples Hotel, where President Grover Cleveland’s sister was the first guest. The whole Paradise Coast has come a long way from its humble beginnings and now boasts some of the world’s most exclusive resorts, restaurants, and hotels. But its original concept remains the same, offering approachable luxury with a laid-back vibe. 

Downtown Naples’s 5th Avenue South and Third Street South shopping districts are renowned for their unique boutiques offering fashion, gifts, and fine art. These pedestrian-friendly, tropical landscaped avenues lined with outdoor cafés and restaurants encourage strolling and indulging. It’s an easy sell in Collier County, where on average there are 280 days of sunshine a year. Who could say no to enjoying a blue-sky day over a plate of fresh-from-the-Gulf of Mexico seafood? Award-winning restaurants are hard to miss here. Play your cards right, and you’ll be rewarded with dinner and a view at Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar where diners enjoy miso- glazed sea bass or pan-seared grouper while taking in the exhilarating views of Venetian Bay.  If a casual, beachfront dining experience is beckoning, a visit to Kane Tiki Bar & Grill at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort will satisfy your cravings. Enjoy a handcrafted tropical cocktail with a delicious mahi sandwich. The added bonus of a front-row seat to the mesmerizing Gulf of Mexico sunset, complete with fire dancers, makes for a most memorable experience.

Segueing from beach bars to sandbars is simple as well. Clam Pass Park is ideal for family beach days or paddling in the calm waters of this thirty-five-acre coastal habitat and preserve. A three-quarter-mile-long boardwalk winds through a mangrove forest to the sandy beach. Or head to Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, and you can explore one of the best shelling sites in the world. On the largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, you’ll find yourself at the gateway to the Everglades, a wild and fascinating world teeming with life, including the only place on earth where you can find both alligators and crocodiles cohabitating. 

And if you always travel with your pup, take advantage of Keewaydin Island, between Naples and Marco Island. Eight miles long, it’s the largest barrier island beach in South Florida that is only accessible by boat. The southern tip of Keewaydin is a popular gathering spot for boaters and the only dog-friendly beach in Collier County.

With a mix of high-end amenities and truly one-of-a-kind natural beauty, the Paradise Coast is just that, paradise found.

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