Pristine beaches, golf paradise, haven for the arts – quite simply the jewel of Florida’s Gulf Coast

Welcome to Naples, FL

It’s a tiny, picturesque enclave on the far edge of Florida. It’s one of the wealthiest cities in the country, with incredible local schools, attractions and services. A place whose history and local charm is just as blissfully serene as its modern day lifestyle. It is Naples on the Gulf

About Naples

It’s the Crown Jewel of Southwest Florida. Where exquisite sunsets meet the soft, sun-drenched beaches of the Gulf of Mexico, you’ll find Naples. The city is home to championship golf courses, impressive shopping, world-class dining and more. Combine that with a wealth of beautiful green spaces & inviting parks, and you’ll probably start to understand the appeal of this quiet beachfront kingdom.

Originally billed as the perfect place for the wealthy outdoorsman’s Winter Estate, Naples has always been Florida’s picture perfect vacation town—the kind of place where South Florida luxury could meet with Gulf Coast privacy and easygoing attitudes.

To this day, Naples is still only home to about 20,000. But that includes the country’s second-highest proportion of millionaires per capita, along with some of the most sought-after real estate in the country. Let’s take a look at this underrated waterfront paradise to see what makes this city really special …


A Charmed History

As mentioned above, Naples has known a relatively short—and exceedingly pleasant—history as a city.

Founded in the 1880s by former Kentucky U.S. Senator John Stuart Williams and businessman Walter Haldeman, the city was immediately marketed as a vacation destination comparable to the Italian Peninsula in terms of weather (thus the city’s name; Naples).

At the time this was one of Western Florida’s biggest businesses; with legendary geniuses like Henry Ford and Thomas Edison owning a Winter Estate on the State’s gulf coast. It worked well in Naples, and it’s continued to be a fact of life ever since; with the lion’s share of real estate offerings favoring vacationers and retirees even today.

The city’s biggest natural setback came in 1945, when a massive hurricane tore through town and ruined Naples’ prized beaches. Canals were dredged just a few years later—soon to be called “Aqualane Shores”—bulldozing unsightly mangrove swamp to replace it with a wealth of new waterfront property and perfect boaters’ access.

While Naples grew slowly in the following decades, the surrounding metro area exploded in population to almost 20-times the city’s size. That’s made for a wealth of quirky local culture, a thriving local art community, and plenty other exciting new diversions …


A City for the Barefoot Millionaire

Some condo markets—like Miami or New York—are all about seeing and being seen … about wearing your condo as a status symbol. In Naples, this couldn’t be further from the truth …

With the feel of a classic tourist town, Naples’ Gulf Coast sports an awe-inspiring ten miles of pristine and perfect beachfront that was voted the country’s best by the Travel Channel back in 2005.

Beyond the beach, you’ll find the other great benefit of this relatively unpopulated paradise—a wealth of great natural areas and parks. Big Cypress National Preserve, Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, and the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge are all located nearby. There’s even the historic Naples Zoo, a hallmark of the city for almost a century now.

Naples is also one of Florida’s biggest golfing cities. It’s been home to the LG Championships and a number of other major professional events over the last few years. And you don’t have to be a pro either; the city’s various courses can offer help and challenging new holes for golfers at all levels.

And with a wealth of stylish bistros and outdoor cafes, downtown Naples offers plenty of alternatives to help satisfy your appetite after a long day filled with exciting activities. Or perhaps just after another day of browsing the area’s world-class shops and boutiques?

Any way you look at it, the place is a quiet paradise. And despite its diminutive size, it’s attracted a wealth of widely-known celebrities—from Bill Gates and Larry Bird to Bob Seger, Barbara Walters and more—that you might end up seeing out on the links.


Naples’ Economy: Built to Serve

With such a small local population and such dazzling surroundings, it should come as no surprise that Naples’ local economy is highly dependent on tourism … as well as the rapidly-growing field of ecotourism.

A number of Fortune 1000 companies and smaller businesses have set up shop in the city’s metro area including Health Management Associates, INgage Networks and more. But prohibitively high prices on real estate keep out the majority of big businesses. Virtually all of the city’s top employers include local government agencies and hospitality businesses like the Ritz-Carlton and The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club.

But then, the city’s lack of a thriving local economy is part of its appeal to residents. Just 10% of the local population has a child under the age of 18, and a full 42% of Naples is 65 years old or older. So the lack of a busy morning commute … the lack of a metropolitan downtown area—these things are all big benefits to the kind of people who really enjoy Naples.


Luxury Buyers Double Down on Naples’ Delights

Despite years upon years of slow and steady growth, Naples has very clearly joined the recent real estate boom—with home prices soaring an incredible 23% in the year leading up to June 2015.

Overall inventory is dropping and buyers are turning to the area’s fast-growing condo communities for their chance to enjoy the tranquil high life.

Condo developments like Contessa at Bay Colony, Heritage Bay, Marbella and the Golf Crossings all offer a variety of delightful in-house amenities and stellar access to nearby attractions—making each one a great alternative for incoming second-home buyers.

Real Estate is expensive compared to the surrounding area—to be sure—but when compared to alternatives in bigger metro areas like Miami-Dade or New York, Naples’ condo market offers pure paradise for bargain prices.

Top Condo Buildings in Naples

1. Aversana
2. Coronado at Pelican Bay
3. Aria
4. The Brittany
5. Horizon House
6. Monaco Beach Club
7. Baypointe
8. The Meridian Club
9. La Mer
10. Aqua at Pelican Isle

Naples Key Points of Interest

1. Naples Botanical Garden
2. Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
3. Baker Museum
4. Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
5. Naples Pier
6. Palm Cottage - Naples Historical Society
7. Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
8. The Revs Institute
9. Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center
10. Naples Depot Museum

Naples Schools

The best of the Public & Private Schools in Naples

Top percentile school in Florida with progressive approach toward academic achievement, social development, and community involvement.

District school offering program of foundational academics, extra-curricular activities, and interactive learning.

Community high school focused on rigorous academic achievement, athletics and extra-curriculars through student empowerment.

Rapidly expanding public university with notable programs in Hospitality Management, Business, Nursing, and Environmental Science.

Restaurants & Dining

Enjoy fine dining or regional favorites!

Elegant Ritz-Carlton setting for sophisticated fine dining and impeccable service.

Chef Charles Mereday’s contemporary American cuisine and serene harbor views.

Local favorite featuring creative interpretations of Persian specialties.

Global flavors infuse modern Italian cuisine inspired by the sea and showcasing carefully sourced ingredients.

Upscale waterfront dining featuring the freshest seafood and Southern-inspired menu with exceptional service.

Shopping in Naples

Naples is a great place for upscale shopping malls and art galleries

Shopping district featuring upscale boutiques, jewelry, restaurants and art galleries.

High-end fashions, jewelry, home design, and popular Gallery Row just blocks from the beach.

Ultra-luxury retailers and dining in an elegant setting with prominent water features.

Waterfront destination for upscale retailers and dining in a European village setting.

Parks & Recreation

Play a round of golf or enjoy the white sand beaches of the gulf coast

375 Sanctuary Rd W, Naples 34120

9004 Tamiami Trail E, Naples 34113

465 Seagate Dr, Naples 34103

1301 Gulf Shore Blvd, Naples 34102

11135 Gulfshore Dr, Naples 34108

Naples Transportation

Find out how to get around town when in Naples.

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Michael HousesNaples Local Guide