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Trip report: Naples, FL with a near 3-year old (12/16-12/24)

Trip report: Naples, FL with a near 3-year old (12/16-12/24)

Old Dec 26th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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Trip report: Naples, FL with a near 3-year old (12/16-12/24)

My family and I just returned from a week in Naples. We love it down there - the weather is great and there is plenty to keep our young daughter entertained. Here are the highlights of our vacation:

Activities:
1. 10,000 Islands boat tour in Everglades City (through NPS) - $26.50 for adults and 1.5 hours long. We saw tons of birds and dolphins. The tour guide was fantastic and very knowledgable about the Everglades.
2. Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary - $10 for adults. One of my favorite places to spend a few hours. There is a 2.25 mile boardwalk where you are guaranteed to see a variety of birds, along with gators and turtles.
3. Manatee Park in Ft Myers - Free entrance with a $1/hr parking fee. We chose the wrong day to visit because the gulf was a "balmy" 71 degrees and the manatees were therefore near the shore, not in the river. For those who have never been, the manatees swim up to this area in the winter because the nearby power plants raise the water temp to around 78 degrees. Manatees need water that is 68 or higher.
4. Tigertail Beach - Marco Island - One of my favorite beaches in the area. A young pelican took a liking to us and allowed me to take several closeup photos (no, we didn't feed it!). Good shelling on the beach across the shallow inlet. There is also terrific playground for when the kids get tired of playing in the sand.
5. Delnor-Wiggins Beach - A nice family beach.

Shopping:
Miromar Outlets - Perhaps the best outlet mall I have ever been to. Cole Haan, Coach, Saks, you name it. There's even a Gymboree outlet which I've never even seen before.

Waterside Shops - A mix of high end shops like Gucci, Hermes and Ralph Lauren with mid-tier shops like Ann Taylor.

Restaurants:
Brio - at the Waterside Shops - A Tuscan grill with very good food. I highly recommend the Mushroom Raviolis.

PF Chang's - A chain restaurant, but the chicken lettuce wraps are delicious!

Cheesecake Factory - Another chain that we cannot resist going to whenever we're in Naples.

Tommy Bahamas - Naples - Great atmosphere and drinks, but my dinner was average. Next time we'll just stick with Campiello's!

Calistoga Bakery - on Airport-Pulling Rd - along the lines of a Panera Bread with soups, salads, sandwiches and pastries.

Cantina Laredo - Ft Myers near Bell Tower Shops - One of my favorite Mexican restaurants, their salsa and flour tortillas are excellent!

I'd be glad to answer any questions... Thanks for reading!
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Old Dec 26th, 2006, 10:37 AM
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Sounds like you timed it right. You do know, don't you, that yesterday we had major storms in the afternoon, more rain today, a "cold front" came through, and it will dip into the 40s tonight?

I'm with you "next time stick with Campiello's". We had another great lunch on the patio there on Christmas Eve Day. Couldn't have been nicer. Tommy Bahama changed their menu, raised their prices, and I've written them off for now.
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Old Dec 26th, 2006, 01:14 PM
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Yes, we lucked out with the weather. It was 82 and sunny most days. After being in Naples for approximately two hours, my mother started complaining that she was too hot!
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Old Dec 27th, 2006, 09:22 AM
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Thanks for the great info!

Keith
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 12:23 PM
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Where did you stay? I am considering a trip with my son - just turned two.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 03:04 PM
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We stayed at my sister-in-law's house, so I can't help you out with hotel recommendations. I can say that this was my daughter's 6th visit to Naples and we haven't run out of things to do! The zoo is great for little kids. There's also a county-run water park that I wanted to go to but we didn't have the time. It has a kiddie pool, lazy river etc.

Good luck!
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