5 DAYS IN SOUTH FLORIDA
On Instagram last week, we chatted a little about our travel philosophy - about how we like to pack our days with activity rather than simply sitting on the beach. Typically when we travel, we leave our hotel first thing in the morning, and return late at night. We try to fill our days with activity, and often embark on “day trips” to other locales within a few hours of our hotel (like the time we went to AZ and did Phoenix, Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon in 3 days 😂).
We are trying (my husband maybe a bit too ambitiously) to see all 50 states. Married just over 2.5 years, we have been to 40 states together! We have plans to visit the remaining 10 soon, but they are rather tedious to get to (either boring and in the middle of nowhere like Oklahoma, or are rather far away like Hawaii). We don’t want to focus too much on seeing all 50 that we take trips we don’t even want to take! So, we have finally started repeating our favorite travels; going back to places that we loved rather than going somewhere new every time! First repeat vacay? Naples. We already have a Naples travel guide, so this time, we thought it might be fun to share our itinerary instead of a formal "guide."
We arrived in Naples in the afternoon, and immediately drove from the Ft. Meyers airport to our favorite SoFlo restaurant, Sea Salt. We had been craving their seafood since our last trip. After lunch, we went straight to the beach (we changed from airpot gear to summer clothes in the car - when the beach calls, there is no time to stop at the hotel to freshen up!). After a long walk on the beach, we perused Old Naples, enjoying views of beautiful homes, followed with dinner at True Food Kitchen. Local Naples restaurants are rather formal, with steep prices to match. We typically enjoy high end seafood during lunch hours, taking advantage of lunch specials, and keep it simple for dinner - ie., local cafe salad, Whole Foods, etc.) After dinner, we went back to the beach to catch the sunset. Before heading back to our hotel to catch some rest, we enjoyed downtown Naples - lined with lit trees and live music.
We woke up and grabbed a nitro cold brew at Starbucks (sadly, we have yet to find good local coffee in Naples. Although, we love Starbuck's nitro brew, and they don't serve it in Michigan - so it still felt like a treat!). Coffee in hand, we walked a few miles along the beach before sitting down to enjoy the sound of the waves. Ty read, I continued to walk (I only have the ability to sit still for about 15 minutes). At around 11:00, we ate lunch at (again) Sea Salt. Hey, when in Rome! After another stroll through an Old Naples neighborhood, we went to the Waterside shops, as I knew Lilly Pulizter was having their after party sale. Ty treated me to a few things from Lilly, Vineyard Vines, and Ralph Lauren - whenever we travel South, I fall back in love with all things preppy. (Note : we actually do about 90% of our shopping while traveling! We don't love to shop at home. We used to, until we watched the Minimalism documentary in 2016, which helped us realize that we were shopping at home to entertain ourselves/kill time/cope. We've also become very particular about the items we buy. There are very few brands that I love - that I know are quality, that fit me well, and that stay in my closet for YEARS. We love "preppy" vibes like oxford shirts and loafers because they have been in for decades and will never be irrelevant. I try my best not to follow "trends" in fashion, and to stick with colors and shapes that I love, inherently.) After shopping, we grabbed dinner at Thai Udon, followed by a beach sunset. We ended the night our FAVORITE way - Key Lime pie at Tony's. We grabbed our treat, then sat on the outdoor patio enjoying live music under the lights. (Generally, we don't drink on vacation - yes, we know, counter intuitive to most, but it keeps our travel costs down, and allows us to get to bed/wake up early in order to soak in all hours of the day! - but, Tony's does have a large repertoire of wine if you would prefer to sip with your key lime pie!)
Ah, day 3. Above you read that this was one of first times "repeating" a trip. Well, to ease the little adventurer heart that Ty has, we booked a little mini-trip during our trip. We figured that since we where already in Southern Florida, we might as well drive a few hours further South to visit the Keys. We booked a resort on the ocean, with plans to spend 3 days relaxing, staying in the resort the entire time, "forcing" ourselves to relax. We wondered if this would be a type of vacation we could enjoy, as we have never done the "resort thing" (even for our honeymoon - we flew to San Fran and drove highway 1 to south CA, switching hotels four times). We figured this would be a great way to test it out without dedicating significant cost and a week of vacation to fly to a resort in Jamaica. Spoiler alert : this life was not for us. We sat down in some hammocks on the beach for 20 minutes when Ty turned to me and said, "See, we can sit and relax..." while I literally turned to him and said simultaneously, "I'm going to go for a walk." I walked the small resort in circles, and quickly realized that I was about to go stir crazy cooped up with nothing but beach towels and pool chairs. Both on the same page, we politely asked to check out early (the next morning). Maybe someday we will crave this type of rest, but today is not that day.
Relieved that we were able to change our hotel reservations, we woke up and began our drive to Miami right away. We explored Coconut Grove, Coral Gables, and South Beach. Miami was charming - we loved the vegetation, the Floridian homes, and the turquoise ocean. We drove through the Everglades on the way home and spotted some wild gators, and made it back to Naples just in time for a sunset and Key Lime pie at Tony's.
Our final day in Naples was a dream, 80 and sunny. We began our day performing our "Florida morning routine" - coffee and walking on the beach. We tried a new lunch spot, the Cafe on 5th, and adored it. I had the grain bowl, and Ty devoured lobster tacos. After lunch, we explored downtown Naples, walking through the shops and people watching. Next, we drove a few streets of Port Royal, entertained by sights of multi-million dollar mansions on the water. Later that afternoon, we grabbed smoothies at Delicious Raw Juice Bar before heading back to the beach. Again, Ty read; I walked. We beached until sunset, and ended our time in Naples with a late dinner at the iconic 5Th Ave coffee and 6th St Cafe. We sat at our table for hours, phone-free, just the two of us, soaking in the warm Florida night. Naples is our kind of "night life" - live music, stringed lights, and gray haired locals slowly strolling the streets of downtown, dressed to the nines, on their way to a $38 pasta dish. We are a little young for the Naples crowd, but find ourselves rather comfortable with the quiet, simple ways of a town prescribing to such an audience.
We love SoFlo. It's a dream of ours to find the right fixer upper in Naples, fix it up, and rent it via Airbnb. January has been all about goal setting, and our trip to Naples kept us dreaming! We are home now, rejuvenated and refreshed. Be sure to check our original Naples travel guide for more Naples content! Next week, we will you fill you in on how we planned this 5 day trip for $633 (flight, rental car, food, parking, and lodging).
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