Coming back to work from a holiday weekend is SO hard. Luckily, writing this post and reminiscing about my latest trip was the perfect distraction, and a great way to start my first Wanderlust Wednesday linkup with Emily, Kate & Kerri!
Have you ever been to the Gulf Coast? I know a LOT of my favorite bloggers live in Florida full-time (lucky girls) but this February was my first trip to the west coast of the Sunshine State. And, I absolutely adored it. If you’re planning a trip – you’re in luck. Today I’m sharing my top 5 favorite places to visit in the Naples area!
We headed out to visit Tim’s family, who were living in Florida for a little over a month. We arrived, grabbed a rental car and drove down to meet them in Pelican Bay, a private luxury community in Southern Naples.
This place is seriously gorgeous. Filled with condos, private homes and high rises on the beach, with a golf course, parks, playgrounds and fountains, the community has virtually everything you could want for an extended vacation. We spent our days by the pool or on the beach, enjoying the beautiful weather or going for long runs around the neighborhoods.
On our first night in town, we enjoyed a delicious dinner with the family and then headed downtown for a drink on 5th Ave. The street is filled with restaurants, shopping, bars and more – there was so much to choose from that we ended up walking the entire street twice before stopping! Our choice: Bar Tulia.
Since we knew virtually nothing about any of the bars on this street, we basically chose our destination based on the name of the establishment and the type of crowd we saw heading inside. Bar Tulia was a perfect mix of ages, had an awesome atmosphere and an insanely creative drink menu – check it out here!
The next night, we hailed an Uber (new to the area!) and headed back out, intending to visit 5th Avenue again since we’d gotten so lucky. Our driver, upon hearing our plans, told us he had a better place for us, with a younger crowd. We trusted him, and he drove us only 8 minutes down the road to Mercato – during the day, an upscale shopping center, but at night? Party central.
We started off at TAPS where they specialize in craft beer and a large wine selection. Tim tried a few different beers while I had a few glasses of Prosecco, and we split one of their famous bruschetta plates. Afterwards, we followed the music and headed next door to Burn. After noticing it was a cigar bar we almost turned around (neither of us enjoys smoke very much) but we decided to give it a try and ended up LOVING the atmosphere. We grabbed a few drinks and accidentally sat in VIP, where we had a ton of fun people watching. After ending the night on the dance floor, we Uber-ed home, exhausted but happy.
The next night we decided to go out with the entire family for a steak dinner. Tim’s parents had heard a lot about Andre’s and wanted to try it out before they came back to Pennsylvania. All I can say is wow. Porterhouse steak, cooked to perfection and served on a boiling plate to keep warm. A variety of delicious side dishes and a relaxing and intimate environment – the entire meal was a truly enjoyable experience.
My final favorite isn’t actually in Naples; we ended up taking a day trip down to Marco Island to go boating with relatives and beforehand, we stopped and had lunch and drinks at Stan’s Idle Hour.
I honestly don’t even know how best to explain Stan’s. You could call it a motorcycle bar, since most of the patrons tend to arrive on one. It’s mostly outdoors – right on the water with docks for those coming by sea, and a giant stage right in the middle of everything. Their most popular hours occur on Sunday afternoon, so we caught all of the typical action, and it was pretty awesome. The entire crowd stood with hands over hearts for an 8 minute version of the national anthem, and the sunshine, cold drinks and tasty bar food kept us smiling for hours. Stan’s is a must see if you’re anywhere near Marco!
We were only in Florida for 5 (wait, flight delays made that 6) days but we managed to see and do a lot on the Gulf Coast, and I can’t wait to go back!
Have you ever visited Naples, or Marco Island? What would you recommend to a first or second time visitor?