If you think Naples is Palm Beach’s lesser west coast cousin, think again. Naples is an Old Florida town with a metropolitan edge. Settlers began flocking to the area in the late 1800s, and the city has been evolving ever since. Today, Naples offers many high-end shops and must-try restaurants as well as enough cultural, wildlife, and natural attractions to fill the summer months.
Miles from Palm Beach: 148
Why Go: Don’t let Naples’ retirement destination reputation discourage you; the city and its surrounding area boast plenty of amazing eateries and plush accommodations. It is also a great place to explore Florida’s natural flora and fauna.
Burger and cocktail from Sea Salt | Photos by Vanessa Rogers
For Foodies: Condé Nast Traveler readers recently voted Naples as one of the best food cities in America—and for good reason. The restaurants along Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South serve eclectic menus orchestrated by some of Florida’s top culinary talents. For a twist on American cuisine, stop by Café & Bar Lurcat. Diners select from three menu options: market/seasonal, traditional, and an ever-changing voyage menu that honors different culinary regions. In July and August, Café Lurcat will elevate American comfort food with a barbecue voyage selection. For a haute culinary experience, head to Sea Salt. Enjoy a Wagyu beef cheeseburger with a sage and lemonade cocktail—alcoholic or non—and you’ll be in late-night-eats heaven.
The beach at LaPlaya
Where to Sleep: Naples has no shortage of stellar resorts, but the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort ranks among the best. Families should opt for the Beach House accommodations with beaucoup living space, while couples will adore the Bay and Gulf Towers’ Old Florida–inspired furnishings and romantic ambiance—you simply can’t beat a bathtub soak with an ocean view. Pair an afternoon on the beach with a massage at SpaTerre before sitting down to dinner at the renowned Baleen restaurant. End the evening with a nightcap and marshmallows by the fire pit while digging your toes deep into the sand. During the summer months, toes aren’t the only things peeking out of the beach; it’s sea turtle nesting season, so LaPlaya has created a Sea Turtle Suite escape package, which includes nighttime turtle crawl walks hosted by Juno Beach’s Loggerhead Marinelife Center and participation in a sea turtle adoption program.
Exterior of The Baker Museum | Courtesy Artis—Naples
Top Attractions: Between the high-end designers and curated boutiques of Third Street South, Fifth Avenue South, and the Waterside Shops, Naples is the ideal place to indulge in retail therapy. Afterward, check out some of the area’s cultural and natural attractions. The Baker Museum at Artis-Naples houses 15 galleries spanning 30,000 square feet. For another colorful outing, visit the Naples Botanical Garden, which blooms with global buds divided into a handful of pockets, including the Asian Garden, the Brazilian Garden, and, of course, the Florida Garden.
Giant Victoria water lilies in teh Brazilian Garden at the Naples Botanical Garden.