One of Florida’s more prominent cities, Naples enjoys a geographic position that any travel enthusiast can appreciate. Within close proximity, one can enjoy the gorgeous beach front of the Gulf of Mexico, the thick and sultry swamps of the Everglades, and even the beautiful Florida Keys islands. Though located in the deep south, the feel of Naples is anything but rustic. But, if its nostalgia one is looking for, Naples can be as ‘Southern’ an experience as just about anywhere in the U.S.
Naples was founded in the 1880’s by business partners John Stuart Williams and Walter N. Haldeman. Because of similarities to the Italian region of the same name, promoters chose the name ‘Naples’. In 1911, Wealthy businessman Barron G. Collier came to the region and bought over a million acres of land, most of it in the Naples area. As he promised to build important roads and railroads, the state legislature created Collier county, of which Naples is the county seat.
In 2005, Naples was voted the ‘Best Beach in America’ by the Travel Channel. It’s beaches are noted for crystal clear water and very white sands. Cleanliness is also a feature most onlookers take notice of. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located north of Naples, is extremely popular among visitors. With tours readily available, tourists can view wildlife such as Alligators, Cottonmouth snakes, and many exotic species of birds and owls. The Naples area is also home to many other wildlife preserves such as the Everglades National Park and the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge. Golf is very popular among residents, with more than 80 championship courses in the Naples area. Numerous museums are also located in Naples, including Palm Cottage which gives visitors a reflection of life in the early 1900’s. Much of Naples’ activities are centered on the water, with year long sailing, boating, and jet-skiing. Visitors will immediately notice a very nautical feel in all of the area.
Naples has a wide range of culinary influences that comes directly from its location. Being so close to Miami, a Cuban impression is easy to see and locals regularly enjoy Cuban dishes such as Cuban sandwiches, black beans, rice, and fried plantains.
With fishing being a major industry, a wide variety of seafood is available with Grouper being a definite local favorite. No one can visit the south period without enjoying staple southern cuisine such as Black-eyed peas, Fried Catfish, and Grits. Some of the favorites enjoyed by Naples’ locals.
With a savannah type of climate, Naples is a tropical paradise. Warm temperatures, breezes, sunny skies with the occasional downpour are the norm. The Gulf water is usually lukewarm from winter to spring and as high as the mid-80’s in the summer and fall.