LIFESTYLE & ENTERTAINMENT

Dining

dining naples floridaFor seafood lovers, the dining in southwest Florida is second to none. The mix of both warm and cool water off the coast nets a bevy of fresh catches, so the area is flooded with fresh seafood restaurants. Open-air eating decks, romantic sunset dining cruises and elegant eateries are among the local favorites. You’ll find a delicious assortment of seafood from grouper and conch to Apalachicola oysters, mahi-mahi and Tilapia. Parents will find plenty of choices to keep the kids happy, too.

If you’re not into seafood and your tastes are more suited to the land fare there are plenty of choices around the area. Whether you’re a steak-and-potato buff, a health food nut or a lover of fine dining, southwest Florida caters to all appetites, full or finicky.

Recreation

recreation naples floridaSouthwest Florida is known as the Golf Capital of the World. More than 200 challenging courses pepper the area for players casual and competitive. As the snowbirds head north in the spring, course rates drop significantly and tee times are much easier to come by. If you’re lucky, you can find one of the many private courses open to the public from May through October. The area is brimming for environmental enthusiasts. On the water recreational activities are without limit. Boating, kayaking, canoeing, skiing, sailing, fishing. You name the water sport and paradise has it!

Land lovers might prefer shelling, sun bathing or bird watching. Nearby Everglades National Park is the only subtropical park on the continent. The park is known for its rich bird life, but it’s also the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles exist side by side. Airboat tours depart throughout the day from quirky Everglades City. Collier and Lee counties take pride in their Parks and Recreation departments. Collier alone has more than a dozen family-friendly parks perfect for picnicking and fun.

Don’t miss the popular Teddy Bear Museum of Naples that houses more than 3,000 cuddly bears.

Shopping

shopping naples floridaShopping and vacation time go hand and hand. Specialty shops abound in Southwest Florida making discriminating shoppers feel right at home. Here you’ll find the latest fashions, exclusive artwork and just about every golfing need you can imagine.

Fort Myers is home to Edison Mall, the largest mall in southwest Florida. The shopping center is anchored by departmental favorites including Dillards, J.C. Penny and Macy’s. In addition, more than 150 specialty vendors offer Florida footwear and tropical threads perfect for the beach. Toy stores, sporting goods and jewelers highlight some of the more popular shops.

Shopping along Fifth Avenue is a must for anyone visiting Naples. Pedestrians stroll the street in search of that special something and they usually find what they’re looking for. Fifth Avenue is packed with historical landmarks, sophisticated boutiques, art galleries, hotels, theaters, neighborhood shops and colorful buildings. Neapolitans will tell you it’s the most happening place in town. Don’t expect to leave Fifth Avenue empty handed.

Culture

culture naples floridaOver the past decade, the arts have transformed southwest Florida into one of the state’s most cosmopolitan areas. Audiences delight in our performing arts scene, where talented local actors bring life to Broadway favorites and new plays at intimate community playhouses. Fine arts lovers will enjoy a host of exceptional galleries and studios. The galleries are bursting with brilliant renderings of the picturesque local environment, unique wildlife and breathtaking sunsets. In addition to the natural selections, you’ll find a wide variety of modernism, cubism, impressionism and abstract arts.

The centerpiece of southwest Florida performing arts is Fort Myers’ Barbara B Mann Performing Arts Hall. For 20 years the venue has played host to the most popular shows and performing artists in the country. Cats, Mama Mia!, The Producers, Movin’ Out. You name it, they’ve had it. And if the show you’re looking for hasn’t played yet, chances are, it will.

In Naples, the Philharmonic Center for the Arts is the premier performing arts hall in Southwest Florida, hosting more than 400 events a year including world-class dance, opera, classical and popular music and Broadway musicals. The Phil features four art galleries and two sculpture gardens. The Collector's Corner offers an outstanding variety of art and rare gifts for sale.

Beaches

beaches naples floridaIt’s no secret people flock to southwest Florida for its inviting year-round temperatures. The pristine beaches, though, are what gave the area its nickname, Paradise. The soft, white sand and clear, blue water are the stuff tropical dreams are made of. From Fort Myers to Marco Island, you’ll find vegetation and wildlife near the water that few other places in the United States have to offer.

Golf

southwest florida golfThe Naples and Southwest Florida area, often called the golf capital of the world, offers a variety of link selections for golfers. There are few common themes that are found at most of the courses. Next to beach sunsets, there are few places where the natural beauty of Southwest Florida is more prominent than on many of the fine golf courses. In most cases, the course architect has gone to great lengths to preserve and emphasize the natural beauty of each site, and added to the ambience with their own embellishments. Every major designer plus a number of professional player designers have left their signature on at least one area course, including Pete & P.B. Dye, Robert Trent Jones Jr. & Sr., Robert Van Hagge, Arthur Hills, Tom Fazio, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Greg Norman, Gary Player, and many more. Within the greater Southwest Florida area, over 100 courses dot the landscape. The large majority of these are private, although the newer developments that are in the real estate sales process often offer low-price temporary memberships during their first three or four years, or they simply allow public play during that time to encourage sales. Since there are always new developments in process, this provides a nice selection of course opportunities for the person who does not have a full membership at a local club.

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