As the chill of winter descends on many parts of the world, there is a special corner of Florida where the sun continues to shine, the beaches remain inviting, and the natural wonders of the Everglades beckon. Here’s how to make the most of your winter in this tropical paradise known as Naples, Marco Island, and the Everglades.
EXCITING OUTDOOR ADVENTURES
One of the most alluring aspects of spending winter on Florida’s Paradise Coast is the opportunity to bask in the sun on beautiful, white-sand beaches. These stretches of paradise, with their sparkling waters and gentle waves, provide the perfect setting for relaxation and water activities. Whether you prefer sunbathing, swimming, or shelling along the shore, you’ll find a slice of heaven at Naples Beach, Lowdermilk Park Beach, or Tigertail Beach on Marco Island.
For those seeking a bit more action, Naples offers excellent opportunities for water sports. You can go paddleboarding, kayaking, or jet skiing, providing you with a unique perspective of the Gulf of Mexico. This time of year, fishing is a must-try activity, with charters available for anglers of all levels of experience.
On Florida’s Paradise Coast, the world-famous Everglades are right at your doorstep. No matter the season, this unique and captivating ecosystem lets you experience its beauty and mystery through swamp walk tours or guided airboat adventures. These excursions lead you through mangrove forests and cypress swamps, providing a chance to spot alligators, wading birds, and other wildlife in their natural habitat.
For a more independent adventure, consider renting a kayak and paddling your way through the water trails, taking in the tranquility of the scenery. The Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge offers particularly remarkable exploration opportunities, with a labyrinth of mangrove-surrounded waterways that lead to pristine, secluded beaches.
Everglades National Park is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. During the winter months, the park is teeming with wildlife and offers a more comfortable climate for exploration. Hike along scenic trails, take a tram tour, or go bird watching in one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.
Perhaps one of the most memorable experiences is an airboat tour through the Everglades’ vast sawgrass prairies. Local guides will take you skimming across the water’s surface, providing a one-of-a-kind thrill ride that also allows you to spot alligators, turtles, and countless bird species.
Naples is also home to Clam Pass Park, a hidden gem along the coast. This park boasts a tidal bay, mangroves, and a boardwalk that leads to a serene beach. The natural beauty and relative seclusion make it a perfect spot for a peaceful beach day or an afternoon picnic. Clam Pass Park is a great escape from the destination’s hustle and bustle, allowing you to connect with nature in its raw, unspoiled form.
For golf enthusiasts, Naples is home to many world-class golf courses. The area is renowned for its meticulously manicured fairways and lush greens, offering golfers of all levels a chance to play on beautiful and challenging courses.
CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAY SEASON IN PARADISE
Naples is more than just a warm-weather paradise; it’s also a magical place to spend the holiday season. At the heart of Naples’ cultural scene is Artis—Naples, a world-class performing arts center that hosts a variety of holiday performances. From classic holiday concerts to ballets and theater productions, Artis—Naples offers a festive lineup that is sure to put you in the holiday spirit.
A unique way to celebrate the holidays on Florida’s Paradise Coast is by watching the annual Marco Island Christmas Island Style Boat Parade. Imagine sitting along the waterfront, enjoying a warm winter’s evening as boats adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations cruise by. This charming event captures the essence of a coastal Christmas celebration and is a favorite among both locals and visitors.
Fifth Avenue South is the bustling epicenter of Naples’ dining, shopping, and cultural scene. During the holiday season, the avenue comes alive with dazzling lights and festive decorations that create a winter wonderland like no other. Stroll along the avenue, do some holiday shopping, and enjoy a delectable meal at one of the many restaurants that line the streets. However you choose to celebrate the holidays in Paradise, you’ll be immersed in the magic of the season.
IMMERSIVE CULTURE: NAPLES ARTISTIC TREASURES
Families traveling to Florida’s Paradise Coast during the winter months will find an abundance of enriching and entertaining activities for children. The Children’s Museum of Naples (C’MON) is a hands-on interactive space that engages young minds through play and exploration. With exhibits covering science, art, and local history, C’MON provides a fun and educational experience for children of all ages.
Immerse yourself in culture with museum exhibits, galleries, and other arts and culture attractions. Naples and its neighboring areas offer a wide variety of cultural experiences that cater to various tastes. Attend a live concert or a theater production at venues like Artis—Naples or explore the local music scene in Marco Island. The Baker Museum, located at Artis—Naples, houses a remarkable collection of contemporary and modern art. The community’s passion for the arts is evident in the diverse array of performances, museums, galleries, and cultural events available throughout the winter season.
In addition to these museums, Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South in downtown Naples are lined with art galleries featuring an array of mediums, from painting and sculpture to photography and jewelry. The variety and quality of the art on display in these galleries are sure to captivate any art lover.
As the world bundles up against the winter cold, Naples, Marco Island, and the Everglades offer a warm, welcoming escape where outdoor adventures, holiday festivities, and cultural experiences converge. This tropical paradise is more than just a destination; it’s a place where winter transforms into a warm, inviting wonderland. Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or cultural enrichment, Florida’s Paradise Coast offers something for everyone, making it the perfect spot for a memorable winter getaway.