You’re probably well aware that there are a lot of things that make Naples a great place to live. But every now and then it’s nice to get out and explore other things that the Sunshine State has to offer. Fall is a great time to do that. You can get out and around before the influx of the snowbirds (making it less crowded on the roads and in your destinations). So where can you head for fall getaways from Naples, Florida? Here are a couple of great options that will take you in very different directions—both geographically and in terms of what you’ll see.
Head South on the Tamiami Trail
Florida is much more than just great beaches and golf courses. It’s also home to one of the most unique collections of plants and wildlife anywhere in the world. The Everglades are a source of fantastic views of animals and vegetation. Some people tend to fly through the area on “Alligator Alley” (I-75) and catch a few glimpses of nature. If you’re interested in a more “up-close-and-personal” look, you might want to take the Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41).
There are a number of interesting stops along the way, including Shark Valley, one of several entrances to Everglades National park (on the south). Shark Valley provides options for walking, biking, or taking a tram ride on a 15-mile paved trail where you can spot plenty of alligators and wading birds. Many consider the bike trail one of the best in the whole state of Florida. While you’re in the area, you may want to visit the historic (and decidedly quirky) Joanie’s Blue Crab Café for a bite of lunch.
Another side trip you may want to consider is Loop Road, a 26-mile road through the Big Cypress National Preserve. Count on taking an hour or two to explore this scenic old gravel road and its colorful history. The area was long considered Florida’s version of the Wild West. These days, however, Loop Road offers a different kind of wildlife that includes alligators, birds, deer and even otter. Chances are, you won’t have to fight with crowds to see the wildlife.
There is a section of the Tamiami Trail that is designated as a scenic highway that passes through the Big Cypress National Preserve. On this stretch of road, the dense cypress swamp comes right up to the edge of the highway. There is wilderness right outside your window!
If you want to get out of the car and try a little canoeing or kayaking, you can do that at the Turner River Canoe Access site. You can paddle upstream or downstream and back—take advantage of the livery service to make the all-day trip downstream to Chokoloskee and Everglades City. It’s a great way to view spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife.
Everglades photo courtesy of skeeze
Go North and Go Back in Time
You may decide to take things in a completely different direction—in terms of both geography and interesting sights. A visit to historic St. Augustine will show you a different side of Florida.
St. Augustine is called, “historic” for a reason. It’s the oldest city in the United States and offers unique scenery with a generous side of history that dates back 450 years. You can stroll brick-lined streets and bask in the multi-cultural European atmosphere among centuries-old buildings. Take a horse-drawn carriage down the streets, and explore living history museums such as the Castillo de San Marcos or the Lightner Museum (once a grand old hotel). You can even stop by the Oldest Wooden School House (pictured above) for a lesson or two.
There are plenty of historical sites in and around St. Augustine that hint at the rich heritage that made this place so special. Here’s a list of some of your options.
St. Augustine photo courtesy of paulbr75
Try a Gourmet “Staycation”
You really don’t have to go anywhere in order to get away. Maybe you’d prefer to stick closer to home and explore some of the great eateries right here in Naples. Check out this article that highlights the top 5 restaurants in Naples and take your taste buds on a tour of some of the finest cuisine around!
Whether you go north or south—or simply head downtown, Naples is a great place to call home!