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irishk Apr 16th, 2008 03:10 PM

If we like Naples, what would our second choice be?
We've spent Christmas and New Year in Naples for the past four years. Are looking for a change this year, but want to stay on the Gulf Coast. Where should we consider - Sarasota, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel, or ?????

We like beach, people watching, shopping, casual restaurants, general socialising with both locals and people on vacation!
All help appreciated!

OO Apr 16th, 2008 03:45 PM

Sarasota is closest to what you had in Naples as far as being upscale, beautiful beach, good shopping (not as good as Naples) and good restaurants. I'm not at all a fan of Ft Myers Beach. Sanibel isn't as much the town that either Naples or Sarasota are, and we haven't had a whole lot of luck with really good (a la Naples or Sarasota) restaurants.

The only drawback to Sarasota is that it's possible to get cold fronts that time of year. It doesn't happen often, but obviously, the further south you are the better off you are.

Ackislander Apr 17th, 2008 04:26 AM

I think Sarasota, with the cold weather warning, might be closest to Naples, particularly St Armands' Key.

We have also enjoyed the Coral Gables-Coconut Grove section of Miami recently, and it might be warmer than Sarasota. Quite low key, lots of shopping, beautiful residential areas, and all the glitz within an easy drive.

GreenDragon Apr 17th, 2008 06:00 AM

Also consider the Keys, it has all you are looking for and warmer weather :)

Up the coast to St. Petersburg area is nice (just stay out of Tampa, big city).

Keith Apr 17th, 2008 09:20 AM

I agree about the Keys. In particular, Key West.


Ackislander Apr 17th, 2008 12:22 PM

Yes, but Key West isn't like Naples at all. Wonderful, just not like Naples.

Key West is funky, Naples isn't. Both have fabulous beaches and good places to eat. Key West has dives, bikers, tatoos, and hordes of cruise ship passengers. Naples and Sarasota don't.

Key West is Harley Davidsons on the one hand and art cars on the other; Naples is Bentleys and Bimmers.

NeoPatrick Apr 17th, 2008 02:27 PM

I'd agree that Sarasota is the closest to being "like" Naples of your selections. Yes, it is generally a few degrees colder there than Naples in winter, but not a lot of difference.

I can't imagine how Key West is "like" Naples at all. We used to love Key West when we were filled to our eyeballs with the "classiness" of Naples and wanted a totally different change of pace.

Shandy1977 Apr 17th, 2008 04:44 PM

My first vote is Marco Island. I have been all up and down that Gulf Coast and nothing has ever topped Marco Island on my list of places to be.

Beyond that, I would say the Keys. No, it is not "like Naples" but it really is a great area to visit. I've done the Miami-Key West trek twice, with a 5 day stay in Key West, a night in Key Largo after amazing snorkeling, and it was a real treat.

Keith Apr 17th, 2008 05:05 PM

Key West isn't like Naples. But except for beach, it is a great answer to a request for "beach, people watching, shopping, casual restaurants, general socialising with both locals and people on vacation!"


irishk Apr 18th, 2008 02:23 AM

Thanks for all the replies received so far. Still trying to decide, but I think Key West is out. I'm under the impression it's a place for young swingers and that's not us! (I should have said we're in our late 50's/early 60's). On the other hand, Sanibel might be just a little too quiet, but we're still doing our research on the suggested locations.

xkenx Apr 18th, 2008 07:11 AM

The southeast coast in Palm Beach County is similar to Naples for the things you like, but not one town only. There is about a 25 mile stretch of Palm Beach, West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, and Boca Raton with miles of beaches, lots of shopping, restaurants, some nature and cultural attractions. Just as upscale as Naples.

LLindaC Apr 18th, 2008 07:23 AM

Marco Island used to be nice in the mid 70's, but is a high rise , no charm strip of condos, hotels and endless traffic. My parents lived there when it was quiet, but later moved to a golf community near Ft Myers. Ft Myers beach is not posh, has few pretty stretches and is plagued with traffic problems. While I love Captiva and Sanibel, it's more "Floribbean". I agree with the otther poster, St Pete has lots to offer. Stay at the Don Cesar, perhaps. You have trolley access up and down the beach. Tampa is near with more shopping and restaurant options and the Tampa airport is one of the most efficient in the US.

Of course, there's always the British Virgin Islands or Anguilla?

NeoPatrick Apr 18th, 2008 08:32 AM

I'd agree that Palm Beach, Boca, and even Delray are a lot more like Naples than anything else on the Gulf Coast. The only real difference is that the white sand beaches and the calm lack of surf and waves provided by the Gulf is sometimes preferred by the beach lovers. How much of an issue is that, irishk?

irishk Apr 24th, 2008 01:31 PM

Thanks to all for your replies/suggestions. I'm a little bit nervous typing in this reply, BUT - having reviewed all our options and having reminsced on the past four Christmas/New Years we have spent in Naples - and having reminsced on Naples Pier - we've made a decision - we're going to go to Naples (for a change!!!). While it is known as quite an upmarket location, we have found a treasure of a motel within walking distance of 5th Avenue and decided to reserve it again for the 5th time!

NeoPatrick Apr 24th, 2008 01:38 PM

mind sharing what that "treasure of a motel" is?

irishk Apr 28th, 2008 01:35 PM

OK - If I must! It's "Seashell Motel". We love it. DEFINITELY not upmarked but exactly what we need. We book the same room every year. We're right next door to the laundry room so we can be totally self-sufficient in that area. We also can walk out our front door to a decking area which has a table and chairs. I suffer from celiac intolerance and the management has no problem with us setting up our own BBQ on the decking and doing our own cooking. (This condition affect me in a big way so I cannot use the barbecues that are provided for the patrons due to cross-contamination). While I am full of praise for Seashell Motel, as it suits our needs like nowhere else, I hope it will be still available for us for Christmas 2009!!!

NeoPatrick Apr 28th, 2008 01:58 PM

Ah. OK. Good news, they finally replaced (or at least removed) all the tattered awnings that have been flapping in the breeze ever since Wilma three years ago. There had been a bunch of letters to the editor wanting to know why they were allowed to have those "rags" hanging.

But I understand it's a really nice place. I just always got a kick out of the awnings.

NeoPatrick May 15th, 2008 03:17 PM

irishk, if you've been scratching your head over my awnings comment above -- here's the mystery solved. I must have had a brain fart the day I posted that. I was thinking of the Sea Court, the sister property to the Sea Shell -- which is across the street at the corner of Central. Your Sea Court is a much older property and always seems much better maintained, plus tucked in away from the noise of being right on 41 traffic like the Sea Court. I don't even think the Sea Shell has awnings so you've probably been saying to yourself, "what in the world is he talking about?"

irishk May 16th, 2008 04:48 PM

"What in the world is he talking about?"!!!!!!!!!! Well, yes, but I respect your opinion so much that I thought I'd just lie low and do a bit of research because you obviously knew more than I did!!! Thanks a million and I love your sense of humour as well as your solid advice!!!

NeoPatrick May 16th, 2008 05:43 PM

Yikes. I still screwed it up. In my post just above yours I meant "your Sea SHELL is a much older property. . ." I owe you a drink on your next trip to Naples.

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