Spring Vacation in Naples, FL - Part 1

Last week, my husband and I decided to celebrate the coming of Spring by traveling to sunny, south-west Florida.  (It helped that my sister’s college graduation happened to coincide!)  Now that I’m back in NYC, I’m looking forward to sharing stories of our trip and a Naples, FL travel guide over the next few days!

My first trip to Florida was two years ago for my other sister’s graduation.  A northeastern girl through and through, I had no idea what to expect.  Florida was a mythical land of hot weather, beaches, alligators, palm trees, and huge bugs.  (All based on my sisters’ stories, and yes, they did decide to go to the same college.)  Fortunately, on that first trip I didn’t see very many of the enormous bugs and the weather wasn’t too hot, so I was looking to this trip with a lot more excitement than trepidation!

Last Tuesday, we boarded an airplane at LaGuardia airport and took off for a five-day escape from NYC.  It was an incredibly clear day, so I managed to get some great aerial views of Manhattan during takeoff and of Florida during landing. 

Just a few hours later, we were in a rental car and on our way to the charming city of Naples, located right on the Gulf of Mexico.  Naples is a fun, manageable place to explore in a short trip.  There is enough to do in or near the city to keep you interested, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed with the need for constant site seeing in order to not miss out on major attractions.  Today, I’m going to share my thoughts about the city and a hotel recommendation to check out if you decide to visit.

Driving down Fifth Avenue, which is basically the main street of the city, you are greeted with bright colors and pretty architecture.  The street is lined with buildings that are mostly two or three stories and almost all have pretty details and second floor balconies.  Popular colors for houses and buildings are white, cream, and pale pink.  There are lots of teal, aqua, and black accents.  Fifth Avenue is mostly lined by restaurants, shops selling clothing or antiques, art galleries, and real estate brokers. 

I didn’t end up spending money at any of the clothing shops because they are more geared towards an older clientele.  I did however, make a fantastic discovery in one of the clothing shops.  I decided to drop in to look around on account of both the huge sale sign and the whimsical doorway.  The best surprise ever was when just inside the doorway I found an extremely cute Persian cat and overheard one of the employees telling someone that they have three cats around the store!  It probably wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that I happened to walk by the store, almost every day we were there, to see the adorable cats napping in the store window!      

Both times we have visited Florida, we have stayed at the Inn on Fifth – located about halfway down Fifth Avenue.  We have had great experiences with this hotel.  Although there are also some more resort type of hotels in/near Naples on the beach, we like the “in town” vibe of the Inn on Fifth and the easy access to great restaurants and to just walking around town whenever we feel like it.  The lobby is gorgeous and classy.  I love the mix of modern, traditional, and glam in the décor.  The staff is excellent, friendly, and very helpful. 

We stayed on the third floor and had a room with a balcony.  The room was very clean, comfortable, and private.  Even though we were right across from the elevator we couldn’t really hear it in the room.  The balcony was great for sitting on in the evenings after the temperatures cooled down or in the morning to watch the sunrise.  I loved the view of the hotel rooftop out of the little cutout in the balcony wall.  

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One of my favorite things about the Inn is the great outdoor area with a big pool and a hot tub.  The second morning that we were there, I woke up early and decided to go to the pool to watch the sunrise.  It was the best idea ever because the air was just a little chilly, the birds were singing, the lighting had a perfect ambiance, and I had the entire pool and hot tub to myself.  My husband protested the idea of getting up so early, but sure enough after a little while he joined me.  It was an amazing way to start the day.

Very conveniently, the hotel also provides beach towels, chairs, and umbrellas if you want to swim somewhere with more water than the pool.  They also provide beach transportation, but since it’s only a ten-minute walk I figured it would be good to get the exercise.  The sun was really hot the morning we went to the beach, but the water in the Gulf of Mexico was warm and fun to go in.  A far cry from the aggressive waves of the Atlantic Ocean off the Jersey Shore, which were my experience of the beach growing up!

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Have you ever visited Florida? If so, where did you stay?  Or if you are from Florida, where would you recommend visiting?

Check back tomorrow for my very own breakfast and lunch reviews and recommendations!