Are you looking for a beach vacation with the opportunity for activities other than just sunbathing? Naples, FL has miles of white sand beaches and crystal blue waves, but there are also plenty of other things to fill the evenings (or sun-burnt afternoons). Often likened to the sunny-Italian peninsula, the name Naples eventually stuck when the city was first founded during the 1870s. It is now one of the wealthiest cities in the United States.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Open 365 days a year, the sanctuary is home to 11,000 acres with the country largest remaining group of virgin bald cypresses. Explore the two mile boardwalk and discover the different areas of the sanctuary including the marshes, wet prairie, pinelands, and hardwood hammocks. This little piece of heaven is considered the “crown Jewel” of the National Audubon Society’s sanctuary system. It is also a top location for world famous photographers to capture once in a lifetime shots of 200 bird species, alligators, captivating orchids and wildflowers, and the natural serenity.

Corkscrew

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Vanderbilt Beach and Park

Bordering the Gulf of Mexico, this beautiful beach has perfect white, sandy shores to lounge in the sun and concession stands to rent whatever beach necessity you might need. The park is a tropical coastal hammock making it a great spot to see subtropical vegetation and native wildlife. Make sure to get out to their early so you can go shelling and pick the best pieces that have washed up overnight. When you need a break from the sun, the beach is surrounded by shops and restaurants and hotels including the Ritz Carlton of Naples.

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Naples Museum of Art – AKA The Baker Museum

This museum has three floors of work on display as well as a glass dome conservatory and resource room. It features a permanent collection of world renowned art as well as traveling exhibits. It was the first full-scale art museum in Southwest Florida, and it continues to be a staple of culture and art exposure within Naples.

Everglades Air Boat Tours

Take a tour of the Everglades on an Airboat tour! Native Floridians will take you on a tour of the beautiful everglades. You may even catch sight of dolphins, manatees, and alligators on your high speed boat ride.

Naples Historic District Walking Tours

Make reservations for a two hour stroll through the Historic District of Naples. You’ll get to visit Palm Cottage, the oldest home in Naples. Walter N. Haldeman, one of the founding residents of Naples, built this home in 1895 with tabby mortar (hand-made concrete with sand, shells, and water). At the home, you will also get to visit the 16 seat Cottage Theatre where you can watch feature-length oral histories on film. On the tour you will get to see many other historic sites like third street where the original movie theatre, general store, and gas station were located. You will also walk along the Naples Pier all while learning about the history of the beautiful city.

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Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

The park has an incredible stretch of beach where visitors can sunbathe or snorkel the reef. Look at the beautiful birds while you hike through the park then stop for a picnic and do a little fishing. If you are looking for a trophy size fish, drop your line in at one of the designated areas for anglers. You can even bring your own boat and launch it into Turkey Bay and explore the Cocohatchee River which leads right out into the Gulf of Mexico.

Delnor-Wiggins-Pass-State-Park-64255Image courtesy of Naples – Tourism Media

The Naples Zoo

There is enough to see to keep you busy all day long. Visitors can catch a show at the Alligator Bay Hand-Feeding where guides offer facts and fiction about crocodiles and alligators, and they even hand feed them in front of astonished guests. Take a cruise on a catamaran through the waters of Lake Victoria to view primates living in their natural habitats. You’ll be able to see monkeys, lemurs, and apes swinging through the trees. In the regular exhibits there are the incredible and dangerous creatures such as cheetahs, Fosas of Madagascar, Tigers, Striped Hyenas, African Lions, and plenty more.

Naples Zoo

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If you’re looking for a place to stay, LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort — the only true luxury, boutique resort on Florida’s Gulf Coast, invites sun seekers to head Southwest to beautiful Naples to soak up special summer savings with rates starting at $239/weekday night and $269/weekend night, for travel June 1 – Sep. 30, 2014. 

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Screen Shot 2014-06-16 at 7.07.53 PMFrom lounging in crisp white cabanas by one of four cascading-falls pools and beckoning birdies at the private 18-hole Bob Cupp golf course to indulging in rejuvenating treatments at the exotic SpaTerre and experiencing toes-in-the-sand dining courtesy of BALEEN Restaurant, this laid-back luxe resort offers an array of amenities promising visitors an unforgettable escape complete with sun, sea and sand.

Known as the ‘crown jewel’ of southwest Florida, LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort — part of the Noble House Hotels & Resorts collection — is the perfect place to spend the summer lazing away the days in an ultra-luxurious setting. Guests are just steps from checking in to “check out,” as the property encompassed 6.5 acres, situated on private, sweeping white sands and gently lapping turquoise waters, nestled next to the picturesque Vanderbilt Bay.

For more information on LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, call 800.237.6883 or visit www.laplayaresort.com

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