What’s the best time to visit Naples?

If you’re thinking about planning a trip to Naples, you can be assured that it’s the right time to visit — whenever it is you’re thinking. When winter wears out its welcome up north, the warmer weather and sunnier Florida skies beckon. And if you call Florida home, summertime is the right time to plan your stay.

That being said, Naples does get hot during the summer — it’s Florida, after all — and the humidity is at a premium. If you wilt in the heat, summertime may not be the optimum time to plan your visit.

Of course, Florida also tends to be a hotspot for Spring Breakers, so be prepared for some crowds (and rowdy college students) if you visit during March.

  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best Naples museums?

    A great way to explore the culture of any area is to visit its museums, and Naples is no exception.

    The Naples Museum of Art is open seasonally (October through June), and boasts 30,000-square-feet of space spread over three stories and encompasses 15 galleries, and features a glass-dome conservatory. The entrance gates are by metal artist Albert Paley; look up once inside and you’ll find chandeliers by glass artist Dale Chihuly. Inside the galleries you’ll find world-class paintings, sculpture, drawings and other works of art.

    Gallery Row, a part of Third Street South in Old Naples, flaunts more galleries than any other place in Southwest Florida, and is a go-to spot for collectors. From contemporary to modern to regional works of art, you’re sure to find something to adorn your walls at home.

    The Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida has a unique history. While it started as a middle school classroom exhibit created by students and teachers studying the Holocaust, the space eventually flourished into a museum with more than 1,000 World War II and Holocaust artifacts, many of which were donated or permanently loaned by local survivors and liberators.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to do on a romantic trip to Naples?

    One of the quieter destinations in Florida, you’ll certainly find plenty of romantic ways to spend your time in Naples. Here are the five best things to do to spark some love:

    1. Watch the sunset. Watching the sun set is romantic wherever you are. But watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico is particularly beautiful. Make an evening of it — pack a picnic, spread a blanket and take on the naturally beautiful tradition, topped off with a star-studded sky.

    2. Take a catamaran cruise. Another way to watch the sun set, or to spend the day under the sun, is on a catamaran cruise. Sails billow overhead as you sip a cocktail and let the wind flow through your hair, while the boat glides over the water.

    3. Visit the Naples Botanical Garden. Sure, giving your loved one a dozen roses is romantic; what if you could give her an entire garden? Well, you can essentially do that with a visit to the Naples Botanical Garden. Each of the seven gardens features distinct flora, all of which are beautiful and inspiring.

    4. Get pampered at the spa. Gently melt the cares of the world away during a couples massage at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples. Make your appointments so that the two of you can relax together, and then spend some time at the exclusive mineral pool on the Spa Terrace, just for spa guests. The 104 different minerals in the pool will envelop you.

    5. Shop for some sparkle. Window shopping on Fifth Avenue South can be quite romantic, especially when you stop into a boutique and pick out just the right piece of jewelry, followed by dinner at one of the intimate cafés.
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    Where is the best Naples shopping?

    No vacation would be complete without a bit of retail therapy, and fortunately for you, shopping is certainly a must-do in Naples.

    Make your way to downtown Naples and window shop along Fifth Avenue South. Most of the boutiques are independent, but you’ll find fun shops such as Fresh Produce here. Or, stop into Peach Tree Designs, a chic home décor destination where you’ll discover everything from distressed wood frames to unique table lamps and coffee table books.

    Third Street South, off of Fifth Avenue South, houses some more recognizable names such as Eileen Fisher and Tommy Bahama. Stop by the Beach House of Naples for a new swimsuit, or some fun accessories from your favorite designers.

    A unique, almost Venetian, shopping experience can be found at the Village on Venetian Bay. Unique gift shops, one-of-a-kind accessories and kids’ apparel and resort-wear can all be found here.

    If you’re looking for Nordstrom or Saks Fifth Avenue, you’ll want to visit Waterside Shops. Browse the racks at Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft, Brooks Brothers, Anthropologie, J. Crew, Talbots, Banana Republic and more.

    Of course, there’s always outlet shopping at Miromar Outlets, just north on I-75.With all the possibilities, the only question you’ll ask is, “Do you have this in my size?”?
  • On November 12, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best things to see and do in Naples?

    During your stay in sunny Naples, it seems as if the possibilities for activities could be endless. Luckily, we’ve come up with a list of the five best things to see and do in Naples:

    1. Go to the beach. Located on the west coast of Florida, one of the best things you’ll find in the area is the Gulf of Mexico beaches. Throw down a towel or pull up a lounge chair and soak in the rays, taking the occasional dip in the warm waters of the Gulf.

    2. Take the trolley. If you’ve had your fill of fun in the sun and want to explore a bit more, hop aboard the open-air Naples Trolley and follow its route. When fancy strikes — say you happen upon a street filled with inviting boutiques — you can hop off, then hop back on to complete the outing.

    3. Shop the boutiques. Perhaps you’ll take the trolley to downtown Naples, where you can window shop along Fifth Avenue South. Most of the boutiques are independent, but you’ll find fun shops here such as Fresh Produce, where you’ll find beachy sportswear for men, women and kids. Or, stop into Peach Tree Designs and get inspired to make a change in your home.

    4. Naples Museum of Art. If you’re looking for something a bit more cultural, the Naples Museum of Art is open seasonally (October through June), and its 30,000 square feet is spread over three stories encompasses 15 galleries and a glass-dome conservatory. The entrance gates are by metal artist Albert Paley; look up once inside and you’ll find chandeliers by glass artist Dale Chihuly. Inside the galleries you’ll spot world-class paintings, sculpture, drawings and other works of art.

    5. Visit the Everglades. Of course, the Everglades aren’t too far away, and an airboat ride is the best way to explore the storied swamplands. Stay on the water and grab a cooler to watch the sun set aboard a catamaran cruise.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best Naples food experiences?

    No vacation would be complete without a proper food experience. Here’s our list for the five best in Naples:

    1. Steak at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples. For a quintessential steak dinner, try the Grill at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples. The live piano music and working fireplace set just the right mood to linger over dinner, immersed in conversation with the company you keep.

    2. Sale e Pepe. If you’re craving an Italian feast, try Sale e Pepe. The dining room features aged stone, marble floors and hand-painted frescoes, in addition to its sweeping view of the Gulf of Mexico. You’ll discover a Piemontese-oriented menu — a northern Italian cuisine with French influences — topped off with signature dishes from many of Italy’s distinctive regions.

    3. Sea Salt. Gather eight or nine of your friends and reserve the Chef’s Table at Sea Salt. When you do, you’ll dine on a special menu created just for you, paired with the perfect wines selected by the sommelier. The restaurant is inspired by its location near the water, so expect to find plenty of seafood and its accompaniments.

    4. Café Lurcat. Sophisticated American comfort food is on the menu at Café Lurcat, all created with fresh, seasonal, artisanal ingredients. Choose from dishes such as pappardelle with braised veal, shell peas and summer squash or seared Ahi with lemon confit and ponzu.

    5. Stone crab claws. Stone crab claws are a delicacy, and are only available in season, October 15 through May 15. Many local restaurants offer the crab claws, which are delicious when served simply with drawn butter. Try Pincher’s Crab Shack.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best kid-friendly restaurants in Naples?

    When it’s time to head out to dinner and you’ve got the kids in tow, there are several restaurants in Naples that will meet all your needs — kid-friendly and food that will please everyone’s taste buds.

    1. Trail Café & Grill. Come breakfast, it’s time to make a trip to the Trail Café & Grill for some Southern comfort food. The munchkins can order everything from chocolate chip or razzleberry pancakes to peach croissant French toast and egg breakfast sandwiches.

    2. Pincher’s Crab Shack. For a laid back, casual lunch or dinner, head to Pincher’s Crab Shack on Fifth Avenue South. The menu is filled with fresh fish and crab entrees and a raw bar, as well as kid favorites such as chicken fingers and hamburgers.

    3.Porky’s Last Stand. This place does barbeque right, and your little ones can get in on the finger lickin’ good food too, where the baby back ribs from the kids’ menu are a sure favorite.

    4. Oyster House. After a day in the Everglades, stop by the Oyster House. Adventurous young diners may taste the gator bites or frog’s legs, while those who like what they like will probably stick to the chicken fingers and other traditional kids’ menu items.

    5.Il Primo Pizza & Wings. Of course, there’s always pizza, and you can’t go wrong at Il Primo Pizza & Wings. Pizzas are available in mini sizes, perfect for those with smaller appetites.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best Naples nightlife?

    When the sun sets, nightlife in Naples comes alive. The Mercato Center in North Naples is the hotbed of nightlife, with Burn by Rocky Patel, a signature cigar and fine spirits bar; PURE Urban Oasis, a local spot with fun cocktail concoctions and a small plate menu; or you can sit under the stars at The Pub and order your pint from a server in a kilt.

    If you’d rather head to downtown Naples to check out the scene, you won’t be disappointed. A must-stop on Fifth Avenue South, around Sugden Plaza, is Yabba Island Grill and its “late night” island parties on Friday and Saturday nights. For something more comfy and lounge-like, take a seat at Café & Bar Lucrat.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Naples in two days?

    If you have two days to spend in Naples, there’s plenty to do to fill your time (and no, it’s not just lounging poolside).

    To start day one, tour downtown and Old Naples, either with the Naples Historical Society, or hop a Segway and go the two-wheeled route. Either way, you’ll get a good feel for Old Naples, as well as learn some things along the way.

    After your tour, spend some time along Fifth Avenue South and peruse the windows of the various boutiques and galleries, filled with original finds. If you feel the hunger pangs approaching or need a caffeine fix, you might even stop into a sidewalk café for lunch or a cup of coffee.

    When it’s time for the sun to set, head to the beach and join in the tradition of toasting another day as the sun melts into the Gulf. There’s no better way to end a day spend on the Paradise Coast.

    For day two in Naples, get up bright and early and head south towards the Everglades. A visit to Big Cypress National Park — the Everglades’ northern neighbor — is the perfect introduction to Mother Nature, Florida-style. Here you can canoe, kayak, hike, or go on a ranger-led program such as a hike, canoe trip, or boardwalk stroll.

    After lunch on your way back to Naples — and after you’ve had a chance to freshen up a bit — visit the Naples Museum of Art (open seasonally October through June). The museum’s 30,000 square feet spread over three stories and encompasses 15 galleries as well as a glass-dome conservatory. The entrance gates are by metal artist Albert Paley, and be sure to look up once inside to discover chandeliers by glass artist Dale Chihuly. Inside the galleries you’ll find world-class paintings, sculpture, drawings and other works of art.

    Once again, when it’s time for the sun to set, make your way over to the beach to watch it slip into the Gulf. You may even decide to dine overlooking the Gulf, and the sunset provides the perfect backdrop to your evening.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the five best free things to do in Naples?

    Taking a vacation doesn’t always have to come with a price. If your wallet is starting to feel the pinch, there are plenty of free things to do in Naples. Here’s our list of the five best free things:

    1. Explore the beach. One of Naples’ premier attractions is its miles of beaches. Throw down a towel or pull up a lounge chair and soak in the rays, or choose to explore the underwater world in the incredibly clear water.

    2. Visit the Collier County Museum. A visit to the Collier County Museum will open your eyes to the history of the immediate area, including exhibits on Calusa Indians, Seminole warriors and Spanish explorers. On the museum’s grounds you’ll also find native Florida gardens, a working archaeology lab, a Seminole village and war fort, a tropical orchid house and wildlife displays.

    3. See Big Cypress National Park. If you want to get out and explore nature, head a little ways south of Naples to Big Cypress National Park, the Everglades’ northern neighbor. Here you can canoe, kayak, hike, or go on a ranger-led program such as a hike, canoe trip, boardwalk stroll, or evening program.

    4. Head over to Naples City Pier. For more than 100 years, visitors to the Naples area have made stops at the Naples City Pier for gorgeous views of the Gulf of Mexico and fishing without a license. This is the perfect place for a different perspective of Naples.

    5. Check out the art. If you’re visiting Naples in March, be sure to check out the 260 local, regional and national artists who gather at the Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts, held on Fifth Avenue South. Admission is free, as are parking and shuttles to the festival.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is Naples’ cultural scene like?

    Though Naples sits on the Gulf of Mexico and is laid back by definition, you’ll find quite a cultural scene during your visit, from art and history museums peppered throughout the area to boutiques and galleries filled with unique trinkets and treasures.

    The Naples Museum of Art, open seasonally (October through June), consists of 30,000-square-feet, which is spread over three stories, with 15 galleries and a glass-dome conservatory. The entrance gates are by metal artist Albert Paley; look up once inside and you’ll find chandeliers by glass artist Dale Chihuly. Inside the galleries you’ll find world-class paintings, sculpture, drawings and other works of art.

    The Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida has a unique beginning — it started as a middle school classroom exhibit created by students and teachers studying the Holocaust, and has flourished into a museum with more than 1,000 World War II and Holocaust artifacts, many of which were donated or permanently loaned by local survivors and liberators.

    Gallery Row, a part of Third Street South in Old Naples, boasts more galleries than any place else in Southwest Florida, and is a go-to spot for collectors. From contemporary to modern to regional works of art, you’re sure to find something to adorn your walls at home.
  • On November 11, 2011
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What is the best way to see Naples in one day?

    If you have one day to spend in Naples, you may just want to stay on the beach and soak up the sun’s rays. But if you’re not keen on lounging by the pool and instead want to explore the area, you can get a good feel for all that Naples has to offer in one day’s time.

    To start, tour downtown and Old Naples, either with the Naples Historical Society, or hop a Segway and go the two-wheeled route. Either way, you’ll get a good feel for Old Naples, as well as learn some things along the way — other than where the best shopping is!

    After your tour, take time to walk along Fifth Avenue South and window shop the boutiques and galleries filled with one-of-a-kind items. You might even stop by a sidewalk café for lunch or a cup of coffee to tide you over ’til dinner.

    When it’s time for the sun to set, head to the beach — any beach, really — and join the tradition of toasting another day as the sun melts into the Gulf. After all, you’ve just spent a day on the Paradise Coast.
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