Naples, Florida

Naples is a small, relaxed community for mostly retired millionaires who call their multi-million-dollar mansions a seasonal retreat. It has high-end shopping, delicious cuisine, countless waterways and ten miles of exquisite beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.

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1 Fifth Avenue South Street Sign Lamp Post in Naples, Florida

Fifth Avenue South is the main street of downtown Naples. It is a tree-lined boulevard that offers everything you would hope to find in an upscale Floridian community including restaurants, cafes, bars, shopping, art galleries, hotels, real estate offices and investment companies.

601 5th Ave S, Naples, Florida 34102
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2 Shopping Options in Naples, Florida

Naples, Florida is justifiably proud of its Fifth Avenue South. This beautiful shopping, dining and entertainment district extends through the heart of downtown. It is the perfect place to stroll along both sides of the street on a lazy afternoon. But it seems to cater primarily to tourists. The locals tend to shop in several nearby malls including Waterside Shops for luxury brands, Coconut Point for the big box stores and Mercato which is the newest center.

793 5th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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3 Elbow of the Tamiami Trail in Naples, Florida

U.S. Route 41 is a highway that runs 479 miles from the Georgia border along the western part of Florida and finally terminates in Miami. Back in 1926, US 41 ended in Naples about a block from this intersection on Fifth Avenue South at a junction called Four Corners. That is where its north-south direction sharply elbows to the east. This extension is called the Tamiami Trail. It follows the northern edge of the Everglades so it is not uncommon to see an alligator or two while making the 165 mile drive on this National Scenic Byway.

15 Tamiami Trail, Naples, FL 34102
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4 Outdoor Café Seating in Naples, Florida

Whatever you are hungry for you will find it on Fifth Avenue South. Your choices range from an ice-cream shop to a gourmet, multi-course dining experience prepared by a named chef. Looking for a specific entre like seafood, steaks or pizza? You’ll find it here. Or perhaps you prefer your cuisine by nationality. There are restaurants that specialize in French, Italian, Thai, Irish, Caribbean or American menus. Best of all, many give you the option to be served at a sidewalk table if you don’t want to miss a moment of the wonderful weather.

878 5th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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5 History of Downtown Naples, Florida

The heritage of downtown Naples dates back to the early 1930s when only a small strip mall, the telephone company, the Chamber of Commerce, a train station and Club 41 were here. Patrons of the area included Charles Lindberg and Gary Cooper. Today, this section of Fifth Avenue South in Old Naples is graced with exquisite and colorful architecture that gives it a distinctive, almost European atmosphere.

305 5th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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6 Historic Palm Cottage in Naples, Florida

The Palm Cottage was built in 1895, making it the oldest house in Naples. It was the seasonal residence of Walter N. Haldeman, the city’s co-founder. He and his partner promoted their land development by claiming it was better than the bay in Naples, Italy. That is how the city got its name. This successful businessman also started the Louisville Courier Journal newspaper. The Palm Cottage is now a museum and headquarters of the Naples Historical Society.

137 12th Avenue South, Naples. FA 34102
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7 Exquisite Mansion Estate in Naples, Florida

Naples is a small community of less than 20,000 people but, per capita, it has the sixth highest income in the U.S. with the second highest percent of millionaires. So expect to see some very expensive homes. And the list of residents reads like a Who’s Who from all walks of life. Yet many of these exquisite properties are seasonal.

115 5th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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8 Large Homes on Shoreline of a Cove in Naples, Florida

Prior to the 1850s, the Naples area was primarily a mangrove swamp. From the 1880s through the early 1950s, it was dredged to create buildable land that is surrounded by interconnecting channels, bays, lakes and coves. Most of these waterways, which comprise 25% of the city’s geography, are named after Floridian birds. Their shores are lined with beautiful real estate. However, if you want to see what the geography looked like before the development boom, there are several land and wildlife reserves nearby including Everglades National Park.

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9 Condominium and Housing Market in Naples, Florida

The average listing price of a residence in Old Naples is about $2.3 million. This neighborhood is the epicenter for the most expensive housing. A good example is the 555 on Fifth building. Behind those columned balconies are condos that go for around seven figures. Prices get lower in concentric rings away from downtown but it is still hard to find a bargain. The average price in the city is nearly a million dollars and the median value is over $700,000.

555 5th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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10 People Enjoying Sandy Beach in Naples, Florida

Naples enjoys an average high of 85° with over 2,700 hours of sunshine a year so of course you can expect its gorgeous white beaches to be crowed at times, especially during the high season that runs from December through April. But there are ten miles of sand along the gulf coast so I am sure you will find a vacant space to park your chair and set up an umbrella.

50 Broad Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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11 Colonies of Shorebirds on the Beach in Naples, Florida

Naples’ beaches not only attract snowbirds looking to escape the chill of winter but also several species of shorebirds. On top are adult black skimmers who are wearing their breeding plumage. Segregated below are royal terns. The thalasseus maximus migrate here from Latin America. Both types of coastal birds nest in or near the sand and protect them in colonies. When not fishing, these birds appear to loaf on the beach along with the tourists.

76 13th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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12 Unbridled Exuberance at Pier in Naples, Florida

These women raced from the parking along 12th Avenue South and, once their bare feet touched the warm water, they let out a shriek of happiness. Behind them is the Historic Naples Pier. It was originally built in 1888 as a dock for passengers and freight. Since then, this wooden landmark has been reconstructed several times after a fire and three hurricanes.

25 12th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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13 Fisherman on Pier in Naples, Florida

The Naples Pier is very popular among fishermen because the success rate is high and no fishing license is required. But two warnings are warranted. If you catch a fish then reel it in quickly before a dolphin mischievously strips it off your line. And once your catch is on the wooden platform, guard it carefully from thieving pelicans.

25 12th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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14 Concession Stand on Pier in Naples, Florida

Most of the sandy coastline that runs parallel to Naples is beautiful but lacks amenities. Therefore, it tends to be sparsely populated with sun worshipers who I suspect simply walk a short distance from their homes. Tourists, on the other hand, tend to gravitate towards the Naples Pier because it offers restrooms and this small concession stand about midway along the 1,000 foot wooden boardwalk. The location of this building used to be a post office before it was razed by fire in 1912.

25 12th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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15 Dolphin Swimming Near Pier in Naples, Florida

As if employed by the Naples Chamber of Commerce, a pod of dolphins frequently entertains tourists as they swim and jump beside the landmark fishing pier. But if you want more than a fuzzy photo from a distance, then use the pick-up service which will drive you to Dolphin World in nearby Fort Myers. Here you can enjoy a thirty minute, up close encounter with these amazing creatures. Another option is to hire a GAEA Guide to take you on a two-hour kayak tour that frequently encounters dolphins.

25 12th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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16 Fine Art Store at Galley Row in Naples, Florida

Third Street South in Old Naples is called Gallery Row. Here you will find numerous stores and boutiques with museum-quality displays of fine art and antiques, some that date back to the 18th century. They also host numerous exhibitions and events that are a big draw for serious collectors. Other neighbors in this district include high-end furniture, fashion and jewelry shops.

275 Broad Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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17 Naples Community Church Façade in Naples, Florida

When the Fontana Building was built on Seventh Avenue in 2000 within blocks of downtown Naples its design fit right in with the other prestigious retailers in the neighborhood. But in 2012 it was purchased as the home of the Naples Community Church. It was founded in 2006 by pastor Kirt Anderson after he left a similar role in the First Presbyterian Church of Naples. It was co-founded by Rick Scott who is Florida’s 45th Governor.

849 7th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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18 Mansions along Beachfront in Naples, Florida

Many of the beaches in Florida’s most popular cities are lined with obtrusive, towering hotels and condominiums. But you won’t see any high-rises in Naples. Instead, nestled behind the shoreline’s natural vegetation and palm trees are enormous homes that have enviable views of the Gulf of Mexico and spectacular sunsets.

1270 Gulf Shore Blvd N, Naples, FL 34102
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19 Time to Retire in Naples, Florida

Walk through the streets of Naples and you’ll notice that most people seem relaxed and casual as if they had all the time in the world. That’s probably true because most are now retired from successful careers and are here to enjoy the good life. Over 42% of the population is 65 or older and the city’s median age is 61. And this statistic does not count all of the snowbird tourists and seasonal residents.

796 5th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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20 Man Fishing During Gulf Coast Sunset in Naples, Florida

Naples has so many wonderful features including beautiful sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. This older gentleman was basking in its golden glow while fishing. When I asked him if he was having any luck he said, “If you mean fishing then no, I haven’t caught anything in days. But I am incredibly lucky to be living here.”

29 5th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102
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