Naples — Southwest Florida’s Pocket of Wealth and Low-Key Living
by Scott Kauffman
Thanks to places such as Palm Beach, Boca Raton and Miami, the luxurious southeast coast of Florida is synonymous with over-the-top ostentation and gobs of glitz and glamour. On the southwest side of the state, there’s certainly no shortage of wealth. Indeed, Naples long held the unofficial title of having the most millionaires per capita. But when it comes to attitude and style, Naples is as far from Miami Beach as the seemingly endless Alligator Alley that separates the two coasts.
Simply put, life is a little more understated on the Gulf Coast. In part, that cultural difference has to do with the makeup of the people typically migrating to southwest Florida. Whereas southeast Florida tends to draw from the Interstate 95 corridor (some refer to the southeast as New York City South), the Naples area is where Midwesterners move. And with this Midwestern migration, which conveniently tracks the Interstate 75 path that runs through America’s midsection, comes a different attitude and culture.
Sandwiched between the clear and calming waters of the Gulf of Mexico and the vast wilderness of the Everglades, Naples offers up a delightful balance between exclusive resort-style living and all-natural persona. Naples is “old Florida,” as the locals put it. And even though the area has become increasingly developed, Naples still has that old Florida feel.
- Sea Salt-Naples With dining inspired by the sea, Chef Fabrizio Aielli features more than 100 different varieties of salt and infused flavored salts.
- Meriday’s Fine Dining Enjoy fine dining in a prix fixe format waterside at Naples Bay Resort, where you pay based on the number of courses you enjoy.
- Osteria Tulia This restaurant takes Italian al fresco dining to new heights by returning to its Northern Italian farmhouse roots with a modern twist along stylish Fifth Avenue South.
- Verdi’s This nearby Marco Island American Bistro is a must-visit with its marvelously prepared meat dishes and seafood.
Top Things To Do
- Florida Everglades The iconic Everglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, is an escape to Old Florida and a place writer Marjory Stoneman Douglas called “River of Grass.”
- Ten Thousand Islands The estuarine mangrove forests of the Ten Thousand Islands is one of the most popular parts of the Everglades.
- Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Explore Florida fauna and wildlife at its finest on a captivating two-mile long winding boardwalk through this Audubon sanctuary.
- Big Cypress National Preserve Bordering the Everglades National Park and Ten Thousand Islands, this was one of America’s first preserves in the U.S. National Park system and just another natural Naples-area splendor that can’t be missed.
- Baker Museum One of four major historic museums in the Naples area that gives visitors a glimpse into Florida’s final frontier.
- Naples Botanical Garden A 170-acre world-class garden paradise featuring plants and culture that will delight the sense of both young and old.