Naples, Florida is one of those places I would label pristine by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I have heard it called too sterile at times. I mean really, you could eat off the sidewalks. Well, I wouldn’t recommend it, but you get my drift. Even the leaves on the trees are combed.
While most coastal Florida cities have the strip of restaurants and entertainment venues along the beach, Naples has elected to design itself a bit differently. Finding that beautiful spot to have dinner, watch the sunset over the Gulf, and even option some sand between your toes is not as easily found in Naples as in most other beach side communities. So here are my top picks, from north to south, for meeting all those requirements, dinner, sunset, spotting a dolphin in the gulf, and opting-in for sand between the pigs.
Baleen at La Playa Beach and Golf Resort offers a fine dining experience. A visit to Baleen provides tranquility with no lists of who’s who, and a pleasant beach side atmosphere for breathing in the lightly salted fresh air blowing gently across the Gulf. There the sun offers an enchanting light show of purples, reds, oranges, and yellow hues bouncing off the intermittent cottony cumulus.As is typical with Florida sun sets, the bells ring as the grand fire-ball hits the horizon, but don’t leave,particularly if a few white puffy clouds are bouncing around. The light show continues for the another thirty minutes.
Passing through the grand entryway to a terrace with seating overlooking the beach plants you inches from the soft sandy gulf beach. After dinner stick around take off your shoes and sip an after dinner drink around an intimate fire pit.The Tiki bar pool side also garners such attention from the brilliant closing of another day in paradise.
The Turtle Club at Vanderbilt beach offers seating on the sand. You read that right. Your toes sift through the sand as you indulge in some of the best seafood, steaks and chops. Do not spread the word too much though, because this eatery is the ‘secret’ place for the locals to dine. The Turtle Club in consistently voted the tops in waterfront dinning, not to mention, what a cool name, The Turtle Club. At the Vanderbilt Beach Resort a great experience awaits, pleasing your palette, playing footsy in the sand, and visually enchanting.
Gumbo Limbo, a property of the Ritz Carlton, is accessible from either the beach or through the Ritz Carlton. Nestled amidst the mangroves, this raised boardwalk-type restaurant is ideal for sunsets.
After the ball drops, the bell rings, and you’ve had your fill take a stroll along the immaculate Vanderbilt Beach. Stop at the Turtle Club or even La Playa to enjoy all three for a night-cap as you then stroll back to your starting point, sand between toes. Ahhh, Paradise found.
Last and certainly not the least, the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club is one of those last great properties from the early days of Naples. Golf is located just across the street. You do not need a shuttle here.
HB’s is the signature restaurant. Watch incredible sunsets, and dine on fresh seafood. Or slow things way down at the Sunset Beach Bar and Grill, I think the name says it all.
These dinners, sunset and sand combos will not disappoint.