The city of Naples is quite pretty, with a beautiful and historic downtown area, a charming waterfront location, and gorgeous public beaches.
Yet for all that scenery, it still manages to be a rather bland locale. Naples swells with a particularly wealthy species of snowbird between November and May in a population boom that brings with it a large slate of cultural events. Even during the high season it’s easy to wander the art galleries and boutiques of downtown and still be left wanting a little electricity.
Some of the best sights Naples has to offer are actually outside of town, in the form of nature preserves and wildlife areas, including Lake Trafford, one of the headwaters of the Everglades that is said to be home to the highest density of alligators in the state.
The main airport in the area is Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW, 11000 Terminal Access Rd., Ft. Myers, 239/590-4800, www.flylcpa.com) in Fort Myers. It’s served by most major American carriers, including Southwest. Another option is to fly into Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL, 320 Terminal Dr., Ft. Lauderdale, 866/435-9355, www.broward.org/airport), which would require a 108-mile, two-hour drive along the toll stretch of I-75 known as Alligator Alley.
I-75 ends its north-south route through the middle United States in Naples, where it takes a sharp turn toward the east and Fort Lauderdale. Also running through Naples is the scenic Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) which connects Tampa and Miami via the Everglades.
© Jason Ferguson from Moon Florida, 1st Edition