Beautiful, white sand beaches with picture perfect sunsets are only part of the reason residents and visitors love the inviting cities of Naples and Sarasota. Believe it or not, it takes more than relaxing on a beach to make these two cities as picturesque and entertaining as they are, and we have pulled together a list of hidden gems that will deepen your love of Southwest Florida.
The Gems of Naples
The charming and sophisticated city of Naples, FL will win you over from the start of your trip with the award-winning dining and shopping area of Fifth Avenue South, but this is only the starting point of what the area offers. Here are just a few of the places in and around Naples that we recommend when planning your trip.
Six Mile Cypress Preserve
The Six Mile Cypress Preserve is over 3,400 acres of a wetland ecosystem located in Fort Myers. It offers an ideal setting for honing in on your nature photography skills with native and exotic plant life and a myriad of animals to capture on film during your trip. If photography is not your forte, immerse yourself in the beauty of the preserve by taking a stroll on the 1.2 mile elevated, fully accessible boardwalk with five observation decks for wildlife viewing.
Von Liebig Art Center
For those wanting to discover the art world in Naples, or simply try their hand at creating a work of art, The Von Liebig Art Center is the perfect destination. Featuring ongoing exhibitions that showcase international, national, and local artists; art classes and workshops for adults and children; and nationally ranked art festivals, the Von Liebig Art Center aims to promote and advance education, interest, and participation in the visual arts. The center is free and open to the public six days a week (closed on Sundays out of season), making it easy to bring out your inner artist.
Mediterra Beach Club
Sure, we mentioned that the white sandy beaches and perfect sunsets were only part of the reason we love Naples, but the Mediterra Beach Club takes that experience to a whole new level for its luxury home community residents. Not only offering 200 feet of private shoreline, the 10,000 sq. ft., two-story Beach Club encompasses beach resort living with a second-floor pool overlooking the Gulf of Mexico , casual indoor and outdoor dining, and exquisite concierge service so you don’t have to lug everything to the beach. Need a towel, they’ve got you covered. How about a refreshing drink? Yes, they can get bring that to you too.
Miromar Lakes Beach and Golf Club
The sun, the sand, the fitness, Miromar Lakes brings out a more active beach vibe with boating, swimming, and kayaking opportunities for its residents and special guests. Utilizing 700 acres of blue green water, residents of the waterfront resort community can take advantage of endless opportunities for in-lake swimming, boating, sailing, water-skiing, and fishing, not to mention the Eco-Tour Kayaking and standup paddleboard lessons available.
The Gems of Sarasota
Sarasota’s motto is "Where Urban Amenities Meet Small-Town Living," and during your trip to our beautiful city and its surrounding areas, there are tons of amenities to keep you entertained, aside from the award-winning, white sand beaches. Visitors arriving at our culturally-rich city should know about these local gems.
Celery Fields is more than 300 acres of open marshlands, deep ponds, shallow pools, and canals edged by oaks, willows, and pines. It is located on the Great Florida Birding Trail, allowing it be home to a large number of diverse bird species. An additional 100 acres of wetlands was recently restored, adding more than 20,000 aquatic plants and trees and two boardwalks. This restoration will also add walking and biking trails, fishing, kayaking, and wildlife viewing for the entire community.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Another escape to the beautiful world of nature can be found by taking a trip to the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Encompassing 14 acres of stunning botanical features, the Gardens include a plant collection numbering more than 20,000 accessioned plants, eight greenhouses, Bromeliad, Gesneriad, and Orchid Research Centers, and the Selby Gardens' Herbarium and Molecular Laboratory. The goal of the Gardens is to further the understanding and appreciation of plant life and provide enjoyment to all who visit.
Sarasota Polo Club
Welcome to the game of kings: The tagline says it all. The Sarasota Polo Club at Lakewood Ranch is the perfect spot to enjoy a picnic lunch and take in the beauty of the area while watching an exhilarating polo match. The club has been open since 1991, bringing the “fastest game on four feet” to the area, as well as pony and Clydesdale wagon rides, tailgating, half-time entertainment, and divot stomping.
The Founders Club's Robert Trent Jones, Jr. Golf Course
Robert Trent Jones, Jr. has designed a dramatic and rewarding course, taking cues from the natural landscape to create a playable design amid unsurpassed scenery. At The Founders Golf and Social Club, golfers are allowed to walk the course with the company of a caddie, and membership is limited to just 275 to ensure members enjoy year-round golf with no tee time required. Training facilities include two putting greens, a short game area, and state-of-the-art TrackMan radar technology which is offered through the Florida Golf Performance Center.
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Music, dance, theater, and comedy shows come to life at the landmark Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. This season, the Hall is welcoming comedians Bill Maher and Wanda Sykes and musicians Peter Frampton, Martina McBride, and many others to their bayfront location.
Providing entertainment for more than 42 years, the Van Wezel also focuses on teaching “in, through, and about the arts” with a focus on deepening student learning, enhancing teacher training through professional development workshops, and using its resources to expand public awareness and access to the arts through community programs.
Again with the beaches, but how can we possibly leave out the beach that was recognized as the #1 beach in the United States by “Dr. Beach”? Siesta Key is located adjacent to mainland Sarasota and offers a variety of amenities for an enjoyable day in the sun. The Siesta Public Beach offers a playground, tennis and beach volleyball courts, picnic areas, and more, while Turtle Beach has some of those same amenities and adds fishing capabilities in the nearby Blind Pass Lagoon. Crescent Beach is the tamest of the beaches, providing a more relaxed setting for a serene day at the beach.
After a perfect day at the beach, visitors and residents will come together to enjoy live music, shopping dining, and exciting nightlife at the Siesta Key Village.
Whether you visit Naples or Sarasota, there are plenty of opportunities to have the time of your life. Love to visit? Want to stay? London Bay Homes is ready to dazzle you with Southwest Florida homes fitting of luxury living. Download our brochure to learn more.