Aproned with miles of calm water beaches swathed in fine white sand, enough golf courses to give the avid golfer heart palpitations and top end boutiques to ruin anyone's bank balance, Naples is on the Gulf of Mexico in the Collier County of Florida. It is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States with some of the most expensive real estate in the country and the second highest proportion of millionaires per capita. Meandering canals and water frontage are the backyards of many mansions in this swanky area. The Naples Pier built in 1888 is the city's symbol and the ideal place to do a bit of fishing or dolphin spotting. The locals are an international mix of the wealthy and privileged, who can afford the quite often 40 million US dollar price tag on the houses. Naples has the luxury of a big city without the torturous ambience of one.
With about 100 art galleries in the Naples area, this is an art lover's heaven to explore. The annual "Winter Wine Festival" is hailed by Wine Spectator as being one of the best in the world, so for those that like to sniff, swirl and sip their wine, this is one event not to be missed. One event for those that like their seafood is the annual Everglades Seafood Festival in February, where you can stuff yourself silly.
You can find the rare Madagascar predator, the fossa, at the Naples Zoo, as well as the African honey badger. A day trip to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is to get up close and personal with some critters in their natural habitats. You can take a walk around the Naples Botanical Garden to see the best garden show of tropical trees laden with gorgeous flowers on display.
Then there are the beaches. One of the best is to be found at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park where the water is like a millpond. There are plenty of amenities such as bathrooms, parking and food stands for when the hunger pangs strike. There is a reef offshore that begs to be snorkeled or ask a ranger to guide you through the area on a nature tour, as this is where the loggerhead turtles nest.
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