Naples, FL | RTX Traveler Magazine Issue 12

Naples is known as the crown jewel of southwestern Florida. With world-class shopping, gorgeous Gulf coast beaches and an abundance of activities, tours and restaurants that cater to all tastes, Naples is a sophisticated and unique Florida family vacation destination.

Since the 1930’s, Naples has been a favorite resort destination, particularly in the winter, when people could enjoy the warm temperatures on the local golf course or at the beaches. The central business area with a few shops and a gas stations that was then known as the Four Corners is still the center of the community. This enclave of shops, restaurants and other local business is bordered by the Gulf coast on one side, and surrounded by grand historic homes on the others.

Shopping

Visitors enjoy shopping at The Village on Venetian Bay in Naples.

Visitors enjoy shopping at The Village on Venetian Bay in Naples.

Naples is known for its upscale, boutique shopping experiences, and a great place to start is 5th Avenue South. In the heart of town, there is abundant free parking on the streets or in nearby garages. Stroll the wide sidewalks and browse for (or splurge on) high end clothing, accessories, jewelry, home goods, art and more. Busiest in the winter season, the area is just as popular after dark as during the day. Restaurants and shops are beautifully lit, and locals and visitors alike love to take advantage of abundant outdoor dining in the balmy Florida night air.

A few blocks south and closer to the beach, the Third Street South area is also full of shopping and dining and is home to the Third Street Farmers Market, a must-see on Saturdays throughout the year. Families, often with their dogs in tow, browse the fresh produce, flowers, pasta, cheese, seafood, pastries, prepared food and much more while musicians and other performers entertain everyone. While special events throughout the year draw crowds to Third Street South, the area is always popular with shoppers and browsers stopping at boutiques, restaurants and cafes that are nestled among the courtyards, plazas, fountains and flowers of the historic neighborhood.

Beach_Dining_Day1201Dining

Whether you’re looking for swanky patio dining in the historic district, a family-friendly diner or something in between, you’re sure to find it in Naples. Caribbean and Latin American flavors are easy to find, as are southern staples and of course, fresh seafood.

For breakfast, bring the whole family to Skillets, where the extensive menu has something to please everyone. Egg dishes like omelets and frittatas, favorite breakfast carbohydrates like pancakes, waffles, crepes, potato cakes and French toast, and signature skillet meals with a little bit of everything round out the menu. Breakfast is served until they close at 2:30, and there’s a lunch menu as well.

The dining options along 5th Avenue South are abundant, but if you have kids in tow, a casual option for lunch just two blocks away is Brooks Brothers Gourmet Burgers & Dogs. Your taste buds will go wild with 20 specialty burgers to choose from, like the simple Classic with lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle or the decadent Twice Baked topped with herbed cream cheddar cheese, crispy potato sticks, bacon and green onions. Get adventurous with the Goober, featuring peanut butter and bacon, or the Donut burger, which is exactly what it sounds like.

For dinner, even some of the higher end restaurants on 5th Avenue South like Bistro 821 are accommodating for kids. Enjoy an evening on the patio and sample a variety of menu items with their “pick two” option, where you can get two half-portions of different entrées. For something more casual, the Rumba Cuban Café serves Naples’ favorite Cuban cuisine, with a kid-friendly menu if your little ones are picky eaters. For a cozy drink or casual bite for dinner or lunch, the Old Naples Pub manages to offer a variety of good pub food at decent prices. With delicious house made key lime pie, life music on weekends and friendly service, this is a favorite of locals and visitors alike.

Golf

Golf is a part of Naples’ history. The story goes that shortly after the Naples Beach Hotel golf course was built in the 1920s, Charles Lindbergh would land his small single-engine airplane on one of the fairways and would hop out, play a round of 9 holes, and then fly away. Today, Naples has hosted countless tournaments over the decades and provides a variety of play whether you want to navigate water hazards, challenge the wind or enjoy a friendly open course. Wherever you tee off in Naples, you’re sure to play alongside eagles, osprey, alligators and other wildlife.

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