I’ve just returned from a week-long family vacation in Southwest Florida and feel more rejuvenated than ever! And we averted coming into close contact with Hurricane Joaquin. (Thank goodness.)
This was my third time to Florida and my first time to Florida’s Gulf Coast. Previously, I’ve been to Daytona Beach/St. Augustine and Fort Lauderdale/Miami. How does the SW Gulf Coast differ from the SE Atlantic Coast? I learned that the Gulf Coast is quite shallow in comparison to the Atlantic Coast. There are more conservatives in Gulf Coast FL than leftists. And SW Florida is a far more affordable place to live in. However, both Floridian coasts have a charm about them.
For those of you who’ve yet to venture to SW FL, the region comprises the Paradise Coast (Naples, Everglades, Marco Island) and Fort Myers. We mostly stayed in Naples.
NAPLESNaples reminded me of a more laid back, tropical La Jolla (my college town). It was serene, safe, affluent, and cozy–a quiet beachside town full of surprises. The place we frequented most was Naples Beach. (Sadly didn’t have time to check out Delnor-Wiggins State Beach and Vanderbilt Beach.) Naples’ beaches stretch seven miles long and are home to sandy, white shores.
Naples boasts two points-of-interests tourists should be privy on checking out by foot. (In lieu of exercise, I recommend walking around town: great way to burn calories and stay active!) One is Fifth Avenue while the other is Tin City. The former is adorned by cute shops and restaurants. At night, lights glisten and brighten the street by making this hot-spot more romantic and inviting. The latter was a tad more underwhelming but still worth visiting. It is largely comprised of fishing boats and seafood restaurants.
I wish I had more time to explore Fort Myers as it’s got a lot to offer. I did, however, go fishing in Estero Bay and will have a post about my fishing trip up shortly for you all to read about. Historically speaking, Ft. Myers is home to the winter homes belonging to Henry Ford (“The Mangoes”) and Thomas Edison (“Seminole Lodge”). Additionally, it boasts some very beautiful beaches and other great attractions. I hope to visit again and explore more of its hidden gems.SANIBEL/CAPTIVA
I had read extensively about the islands of Sanibel and Captiva, and felt it was imperative to pay a visit. This particular inlet is renowned for its shelling, world-class fishing, turquoise waters, pristine beaches, wildlife, and island life. We were crunched for time and without a car – we relied heavily on Uber- so we visited Sanibel Lighthouse Beach. In order to access this island, one must cross a toll bridge.While soaking in some rays, we saw several dolphins- including a mother and her baby- frolicking near shore. It was truly a wonderful sight! Had there not been the aforementioned constraints, we would have visited Bowman Beach and ventured north to Captiva Island.
All in all, I could see myself coming back to SW Florida in the near future. Great beaches, great food, nice people, and superb sport fishing–I couldn’t ask for a more relaxing vacation!