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The Everything Naples, Fort Myers, and Gulf Beaches Thread

The Everything Naples, Fort Myers, and Gulf Beaches Thread

Old Dec 22, 2006, 7:17 am
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The Everything Naples, Fort Myers, and Gulf Beaches Thread

Hi, and happy holidays to all. I lived for 8 years in the Southwest Florida and my parents still call it home. They, like many others, call this area home, for constant beautiful weather, high standard of living, and virtually no crime. Since I haven't seen much written about the Naples-Fort Myers area on FT, I thought I'd compile the be-all-end-all of threads on this great part of the world.

FLYING: RSW, Southwest Florida International Airport left its cozy, two terminal home in early 2006 for a new expansive, four concourse behemoth. The area is growing and its one of the few that actually sees legacy carriers adding flights. Southwest has recently made a big outpost here, and there are 6+ airlines to fly to Chicago.

GEOGRAPHY LESSON: Southwest Florida is defined as Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties, the three Southernmost in Florida. (Sorry, Sarasota). Charlotte County encompasses the towns of Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte. The historic beachfront town of Punta Gorda saw devastation during Hurricane Charley three years ago, but has rebounded back in to the tourist paradise it always was. Lee County is Fort Myers, which used to be the population center, but now that's Cape Coral--which for a while was the fastest growing city in America. Lee County is also home to the only University (currently) in the area, Florida Gulf Coast University. The area surrounding FGCU is commonly referred to as "South County" (Estero, Bonita Springs) and has become a shopper's heaven recently with the opening of the Coconut Point Mall and Gulf Coast Town Center Mall (and expansion of the Miramar Outlet Mall) all within four miles of each other. Lee County also includes the Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Collier County is nearly exclusively Naples, with few exceptions. Naples is the standard bearer of the Florida country club, and you'll find more beautiful holes of golf in Naples than you even have time to play.

SLEEPING: Despite the presence of hotels on T&L's Top list, this area isn't overflowing with hotel rooms. A spotty number of highway hotels have cropped up along with two Ritz-Carltons and a few small beach hotels. The newest addition here is the Hyatt Coconut Point. Worth checking out--especially if you are a Florida resident, since they have great deals for locals.

EATING: A few things about food. You can eat really good in Southwest Florida and you can eat really bad. But the idea of that passable cuisine you might have back home just isn't here. Food at the high price point is stellar and you'll be generally happy with all your meals and service. Dining more casually in the area has proved less consistent. All the usual suspects among chains populate the area. On the national restaurant scene, Chops City Grill (Naples and Bonita Springs) has consistently won Wine Spectator Distinguished Restaurant Accolades, and many of the 5th Avenue and 3rd Street South restaurants in Olde Naples are also stellar. Trulucks, an upscale Texas chain, has their fisheries in Naples, and now a great Florida branch of its crab house. And while there is no shortage of good Italian food, The Damico family maintains their Naples outpost Campiello, and Vergina are also worth checking out.

SHOPPING:

Upscale
Village on Venitian Bay
Promenade at Bonita Bay
Waterside Shops
Saks, Nordstrom, Tiffany, Barnes and Noble, Gucci, Hermes, Boss
3rd Street South Shops, Naples
5th Avenue Shops, Naples

Moderate (but warning, this can still get expensive)
Coconut Point Mall
West Elm, Design Within Reach, Buckle, World Market, Pier 1, Best
Buy, Muvico Theatres, Barnes and Noble, Dillards, Trek Bicycles, J.
Crew, Apple

Coastland Center
JC Penney, Gap, Hollister, Old Navy, Dillards, Burdines, Sears
Edison Mall
Charlotte Town Center

Value Shopping
Miramar Outlets
J. Crew, Polo RL, Tommy Hilfiger, DKNY, Adidas, Nike, St. John,
Brooks Brothers, Waterford, Fieldcrest

Gulf Coast Town Center
Super Target, JC Penney, Bass Pro Shops, Staples, Linens and Things
thorpeflyer is offline  
Old Dec 23, 2006, 10:40 am
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Great post!^

And yes, SW Florida is a shoppers paradise. Miramar now added some new shops, Lacoste and others.

Generally, the restaurants at 5th Av.S and 3rd Street S. are all fine, not too expensive, but crowded during the season. I like Caf Lurcat the most, also a Damico restaurant.
Ritz Carlton has a small "restaurant" direct on the beach, it's called Gumbo Limbo .. good snacks/food, great sunset.
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Old Jan 9, 2007, 11:12 pm
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I used to stay on Sanibel at the Sundial Resort every year. Then there was Charley. Went to Arizona instead, haven't gone back to FL. The Sundial jacked up their rates to $400/day off season for the gulf front unit. If they had offered me a "welcome back rate" to their loyal customer, instead of trying to punish me by jacking up prices, I might have considered it. But then I keep hearing reports about dead fish on the beach from red tide and other problems.
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Old Jan 16, 2007, 12:58 pm
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Great Post.
Hey Bobster, where do you go in Arizona that is better than Sanibel? I agree with you about the Sundial, they sure haven't done much to attract back their loyal customers. The red algae doesn't appear to be going away, it has been a problem on and off since last summer. I am afraid my favorite place in Florida is growing up too fast
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Old Jan 22, 2007, 9:20 am
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When does red tide usually pose a problem? We are going to be at Ft. Myers Beach 4/15-4/18 at Pointe Estero Resort. Is the red tide bad then? DH and DS are hoping to do some fishing while there. Any good, casual, inexpensive restaurants on Estero Blvd. that you can think of? Has to be kid-friendly...12 and 8. Thanks!
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Old Jan 28, 2007, 7:21 pm
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Originally Posted by hemispheredancer
When does red tide usually pose a problem? We are going to be at Ft. Myers Beach 4/15-4/18 at Pointe Estero Resort. Is the red tide bad then? DH and DS are hoping to do some fishing while there. Any good, casual, inexpensive restaurants on Estero Blvd. that you can think of? Has to be kid-friendly...12 and 8. Thanks!
Red tide is in the spring, dependant on the warmth of the waters at the time.

You can view status reports here:
http://research.myfwc.com/features/v...sp?id=9670#Rpt

I love South Florida, the Florida Keys are the best, but a trip to Fort Myers/Sanibel alway is a good thing!
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Old Oct 23, 2007, 7:29 pm
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nice START post but much is missing.

The following is rubbish unless you are the lazy type of person that doesn't go out and look for/research the unique/casual spots that execute consistent good meals. These gems are out there, one just has to extend the effort to find them.
Originally Posted by thorpeflyer
Food at the high price point is stellar and you'll be generally happy with all your meals and service. Dining more casually in the area has proved less consistent.[/I]
Also missing is any mention of outdoor pursuits.
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Old Oct 30, 2007, 4:45 pm
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There is indeed a tremendous amount of wonderful restaurants, hotels, shops, beaches, etc. in Collier, Lee, and Charlotte Counties. However, when talking Gulf Coast it is impossible to omit Sarasota County. When we travel to that part of the world, we are astounded at the cultural events as well as gourmet restaurants, white sandy beaches (read Siesta Key, Longboat, Anna Maria Island - whoops, put in Manatee County for that one). In most people's minds I think Southwest Florida begins south of the Sunshine Skyway and continues down to Marco. Red Tide is totally unpredictable and can be a problem at any time of the year. Hopefully they will have a handle on it and eradicate the misery it can cause.
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Old Nov 22, 2007, 7:31 pm
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Any suggestions for a nice restaurant in Naples, Fl or surroundings?
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Old Nov 26, 2007, 6:38 pm
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I will be staying in Miami for a week at the end of Dec/early Jan.

I have been to Miami, FLL, Palm Beach, and the Keys on several previous occasions. I want to take one or 2 new one day driving trips from Miami.

The question is whether any of these regions can be seen with a 1 day driving (return) trip from Miami.
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Old Nov 30, 2007, 10:55 am
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Hotel suggestion on the beach near RSW

Could someone please reccomend a hotel on or very near the beach, not too far from RSW?

On the lower end of the $ scale would be good too (yes, I know that's relative/not easy to find in the area)

Thanks
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Old Jan 18, 2011, 11:34 am
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just as an FYI, the OP hasn't been on FT for over 2.5 years.

Can anyone recommend a good bar in the Fort Myers area?

I would prefer one on or very close to the water. I don't mind white tablecloth to a dive.
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Old Jan 18, 2011, 12:05 pm
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I just got back from Naples, my first time and loved it. A really charming town, very clean, and establishments seemed to be very customer oriented. The beach was well maintained, not crowded and parking was a cinch (bring lots of quarters for the meters.) Parking in town was also easy and free!

If you want a modestly price hotel go for one of the hotels out towards I75. Its about a ten minute drive back to the town and the beach. Naples is about 30 minutes from RSW. After years of going to MIA and occassionally FLL, Naples was a nice break.
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Old Apr 10, 2011, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by Sweet Willie
Can anyone recommend a good bar in the Fort Myers area?

I would prefer one on or very close to the water. I don't mind white tablecloth to a dive.
The Fish House on Fort Myers Beach isn't a bar entirely, but it's a wonderful spot to sit on the water and very casually enjoy a beer and fried fish.

Nearby Doc's--at the Collier/Lee boundary along Barefoot Beach is a similar good place for cold beer and blackened grouper.
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Old Apr 25, 2013, 10:09 am
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Best snorkeling around Naples?

Is there any good place(s) to snorkel around Naples? I prefer to do it preferably from shore, but am receptive to taking a boat tour also.
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