Marked by gorgeous outdoor landscapes of white sandy beaches and wide-open waterways, Florida’s Paradise Coast – Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades – is the ideal summer break destination. With the warmer months bringing longer days, visitors can experience outdoor adventure including boating, hiking and fishing, whilst those seeking relaxation are spoilt for choice with spa treatments, arts & culture and picture-perfect sunsets. Here, discover nine of the best ways to make the most of the summer in Paradise.
- Go for a thrilling airboat tour in the Everglades
Going at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour on open water, gliding over grasslands and weaving through mangrove islets, airboat tours are definitely a thrilling way to experience the best of Everglades National Park. With a guide to talk through the unique flora and fauna of the area, visitors can gain a better appreciation for the environment around them. Tilting slightly on turns, adding to the thrill, the airboat ride is filled with exciting moments, not forgetting the occasional alligator sighting.
2. Immerse yourself in the arts and culture of Florida’s Paradise Coast
Take a break from the sun and check out the Arte Viva Festival, a year-long celebration of Hispanic culture. Supporting the recovery following Hurricane Ian, the festival on Florida’s Paradise Cost has given the region a reason to celebrate. The festival offers events and exhibitions taking place for locals and visitors to enjoy the diversity of art and music. See work by Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto (1923-2005) on the lawn of The Baker Museum, or artistry nights from Musical Interludes series at Marco Island Center for the Arts. Check out the event listings here.
- Explore the scenic waterways by kayak
Get the most out of your trip to Florida’s Paradise Coast with a guided tour along the many coastal estuaries, rivers, creeks, canals and lakes. Follow a guide along the Paradise Coast Blueway, a GPS coordinated network of routes through the mangrove and Gulf waters. Excursions range from adventurous day trips to multi-day journeys that include camping on uninhabited beach islands. Alternatively, check out the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve which includes elements of nature education and adventure on the journey.
- Relax and cool down in a salt cave
Relax and rejuvenate in the cooling salt cave at Praha Spa & Salt, a unique experience that is great for the respiratory system and the skin, with temperatures maintained at 21 degrees Celsius. Here, Eastern philosophies meet Western ideals, employing a holistic approach to wellness from inner healing to outer therapies like facials and massages. The Praha Spa & Salt’s main attraction is its 20 ton pink Himalayan salt cave. Halotherapy, or salt therapy, is used to treat and prevent respiratory conditions, and the salt is curative for wounds, rashes, and other skin conditions.
- Catch your dinner on a fishing adventure
Surrounded by both saltwater and freshwater waterbodies, visitors can spend the day out on a boat catching their dinner. Those new to boating and fishing can also choose to rent a fishing charter where they will have a captain on board to guide them along the journey. The adventure does not just end with catching a fish of course. With sustainability in mind, the “Cook your Catch” initiative in Florida’s Paradise Coast allows visitors to bring their freshly caught seafood into any one of the many participating restaurants such as Kelly’s Fish House in Naples, or Snook Inn on Marco Island who will be glad to prepare and cook their catch making for a well-deserved and extremely fresh post-fishing meal.
- Sip cocktails as the sun sets over the Gulf
Well located with stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico, the Kane Tiki Bar & Grill at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort is a great stop for a relaxing evening sipping cocktails and enjoying delicious Polynesian cuisine in the glow of the sunset. Named after Kane, the Polynesian god of creation and growth, the bar is fully open-air, featuring a large thatched roof covering a giant rum bar. With Florida’s Paradise Coast being known for its breathtaking sunsets, be sure to catch the nightly sunset celebration and fire dance performance on the beach right by the bar.
- Take a day trip to Chokoloskee Island
Sitting on the western edge of the Everglades and located in the heart of the Ten Thousand Islands, spend a day exploring the history and lore of Chokoloskee Island, also known as “The Last Frontier”. Catch a boat tour to the historic Smallwood Store, where guests can learn about the story of the pioneers and settlers who first called the island home. The store itself remained open and active until 1982, and in 1989, it was reopened as a museum, now serving as a time capsule of Florida pioneer history. The island and its surrounding area are also perfect for outdoor activities, including fishing, bird watching and kayaking, surrounded by sheltered mangroves and scenic beaches.
- Celebrate a unique Naples tradition at the annual Stone Crab Festival
As summer draws to a close, join in the celebration of stone crab season in Florida’s Paradise Coast at the annual Stone Crab Festival. Taking place from 27 – 29 October 2023 at several connecting locations on the Old Naples Waterfront, the festival kicks off with the ceremonial “Cracking of the Claw” at Pincher’s restaurant. Featuring live music and entertainment, kids’ activities, an abundance of stone crab claws and other seafood throughout the weekend, this unique Naples tradition is not to be missed. During the weekend, visitors can take advantage of the festivities with special rates on cruises aboard the Naples Princess yacht and Miss Naples sailing catamaran at Port of Naples Marina. Many hotels, attractions and restaurants will also be offering special deals during this time.
- Score a hole-in-one in Golfer’s Paradise
With over 90 golf courses in Naples and Marco Island, it is no wonder the area is known as a Golfer’s Paradise. Those looking for a ‘golfcation’ have the luxury of choice with many hotels and resorts in the area having their own private golf courses. Guests can book their tee off session at the hotel as hotel concierges are familiar with course schedules and specials. Booking through the hotel will give guests a direct link to nearby courses, some which may typically be limited to private play. For visitors who prefer a casual round of golf, there are also many public courses to choose from. Many of the courses also include clubhouses, restaurants, and bars on their grounds.
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