This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades – Florida’s Paradise Coast for IZEA Worldwide. All opinions are 100% mine.
Are you sick of winter yet? For most of us, there have been surprise storms, epic snowfall, and record lows…and I am sick of it already. I am vacation shopping, and I have my eyes on Naples, Marco Island, and the Everglades. The warm weather is only a small piece of the attraction because his destination is full of delicious culinary finds and outdoor activities that will melt away all that snow on my soul. This area along the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida has everything you need to relax and find out what a difference a little fun, sunshine, and self-care can make.
Food always seems to have some healing powers, and on vacation, I make dining one of my main activities. In Southwest Florida, you cannot go wrong with seafood. The food is freshly caught and abundant, plus, stone crab season runs from October 15th to May 15th making winter prime time for delicious seafood.
Restaurant Week also just so happens to fall during stone crab season, and you can eat all the food you want at a discount while you give to charity and Dig Into Delicious on Florida’s Paradise Coast. How awesome is that? Restaurant Week only happens twice a year, and it stretches from Marco Island to Cape Coral. This semi-annual charity event happens once during the winter and once during the summer. There are more than 65 restaurants that participate and offer up tasty two-course lunches for $16 or $21 and many also have three-course dinner menus at a fixed price with upgrade deals ranging between $26 and $36. For every meal sold, $1 goes into a scholarship fund that helps support the local High School graduates that will be a part of the Hospitality Program at Florida Gulf Coast University.
If you’re looking for more culinary yummies, the Everglades Seafood Festival is coming up February 7-9, 2020, and it is a free event full of food, music, rides, and more. The historic Everglades City is full of fascinating folklore and beautiful aging architecture that holds the tales of the city and opening night is family night. It is the perfect way to introduce yourself to the Everglades and everything it has to offer.
Even though I could totally spend an entire vacation just eating, eventually we all have to put the fork down. Luckily, this area of Southwest Florida has activities to offer that will take you to explore some of the most beautiful landscapes to reconnect mind, body, and soul. Naples has been ranked the happiest and healthiest city in the United States for the last four consecutive years by the Gallup Poll. As the only destination to earn this honor 4 years in a row, the area is fast becoming known as a vacation spot that is centered on wellness and exploration. This is a place that will inspire you to get up and move, even if you have indulged in ALL.THE seafood. There are a multitude of attractions along the western shores of Southwest Florida that capture the essence of wellness and bring people back to nature.
If yoga is your thing or even if you have only considered yoga, you can find any kind of yoga in the area. There are intense hot yoga classes, to yoga stand-up paddleboard classes, and even just fun classes at Love Yoga that are held to make people fall in love with the practice without the pressure of competition.
The Salt Cave
If you want something out of the ordinary that will provide a sense of healing and health, take a trip to the Salt Cave in Naples. You will be able to enjoy the cave which has a salt generator that pushes out Himalayan crystal salt that helps recreate the microclimate of ancient underground salt caves that are believed to be healing. The cave is covered in food-grade fine crystal salt, and it fits eight adults comfortably. It also has a dedicated area for kids.
The Great Outdoors
From hiking and biking, to kayaking and fishing, you will find just about any outdoor activity to fit your pace, enjoy the landscape and Vacation Well in Paradise. The Everglades National Park has a 3-day visit in the Gulf Coast saltwater portion that has fewer people but still a ton of opportunities. This is the spot for visitors that want to explore the waters and see plenty of wildlife like bobcats, dolphins and more. There are canoe and kayak rentals that allow you to head out early and paddle through the water at dawn among the local birds searching for breakfast. There is also available camping on the uninhabited white-sand islands in the gulf. Immerse yourself in the landscape and take advantage of the beauty of nature. After returning from paddling and camping, there is a guided tour through fresh-water cypress swamps and catch some wildlife.
If hanging out in a boat for the day is your kind of meditation, the area is chock full of boating opportunities that will take visitors out to catch the freshest, most delicious fish out there. Once you’ve had your fill of fishing all day in the sun, when you get on land there a multiple restaurants that will cook up and serve your catch. It doesn’t get any fresher than that!
Are you ready to ditch old man winter and Plan Your Visit to Paradise yet? I know I am!