Florida Guide > Places to Visit
Naples – Florida
Naples sits on the Gulf Coast of Florida, is roughly due west of Fort Lauderdale and is the most southerly town of any size on the Gulf Coast mainland. It is considered by many to be the Gulf Coast’s answer to Palm Beach, but not as ‘snobby’! If you take the time to visit and stroll around its chic, fashionable shops and elegant moneyed mansions it will hardly surprise you to learn that Naples is also the golf capital of the world, with over 50 courses around the outskirts of the city.
Downtown Naples is laid out in a grid like many American towns and cities. However to the uninitiated it can still be confusing! Unlike New York, here in Naples the Avenues run East to West, while the streets run North to South. But the difference doesn’t stop there. Central Avenue (running E – W) is a pivotal road, which divides the North from the South. So for example 5th St South runs south from Central Avenue, while 5th Street North runs north from Central Avenue. And to make life just that bit more interesting they have a 1st Avenue North, which runs parallel to Central Avenue, on its north side and also a 1st Avenue South which, as you may have guessed by now, runs parallel to Central Avenue, on its south side. This mirror image is repeated up to 7th Avenue North. So if somebody tells you to go to the corner of 3rd Avenue and 10th Street you need to no whether that is North or South, as otherwise you have a 50% chance of going to the wrong location!
Once you have mastered the street system then you can head for the glorious beaches, which can be accessed from the western ends of the Avenues via wooden pathways across the dunes. Here at Naples the beaches are made of fine white sand and, unlike some areas of Florida, retain an almost unspoilt character as the local council has maintained a policy of not allowing high rise developments along the beach line. Beach parking is mostly at parking meters so be sure to take plenty of quarters with you.
If you want to do more than just lie on the beach then you could visit Naples Nature Centre, which has a natural history museum, a wildlife rehabilitation center and a 3000 gallon marine aquarium, or the Caribbean Gardens, 52 acres of former botanical gardens which are now a jungle style home to exotic animals and where you can take a narrated cruise and see monkeys and apes living freely in their island habitat.
Naples also boasts a Trolley Tour, which makes a 1 ¾ hour circuit through the city, but allows you to hop on and off all day and features narration by the drivers.
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