There are people who avoid Florida in the summer months because they’re concerned about the heat. That’s actually a bit of good news for those of us who stick around all year long. It means fewer crowds to deal with while we explore our very own state! And besides, long-term residents aren’t all that bothered by a few extra degrees. We know how to keep cool in the summer months (Here’s a little reminder, just in case). Now that the crowds are gone, let’s take a look at a few summer getaways near Naples, Florida.
It’s less than 50 miles from Naples to Sanibel Island—a trip that shouldn’t take much more than an hour. Sanibel Island is a great spot to enjoy the tranquil ambiance and indulge in a laid-back getaway. The area is known for its world-class shelling. You can spend hours strolling on the beach, searching out unique treasures from the sea. You can take a side trip to nearby JN Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Or drive across the bridge to enjoy the small-town vibe of Sanibel’s sister island, Captiva Island. And if you feel like venturing out more, you can check out the nearby Lovers Key State Park for an array of spectacular natural landscapes.
While Naples has plenty of history, St. Augustine still holds the title of America’s oldest city (in addition to being one of the most charming cities in the country). After a quite manageable 5 ½ hour drive, you can stroll the 450-year-old cobblestone streets and explore the quaint cafes. You may want to observe one of the well-known historical re-enactments in the Colonial Quarter. If you have kids or grandkids, you can show them the oldest schoolhouse in the United States (just to remind them of how good they have it). For a fresh perspective on the city, you can climb the local lighthouse. And of course, there are great beaches at Anastasia Island.
In the winter months, the Florida Keys can be overrun with northern tourists. It’s a much slower pace in the summer. It takes about 5 hours to reach Key West by car— over the stunning Seven Mile Bridge. That drive in and of itself is a wonder! The Keys offer a wide range of paradise-like landscapes. You don’t even have to go all the way to Key West (although the key lime pie and the allure of Ernest Hemingway’s home may make it worthwhile). You may want to take advantage of the snorkeling opportunities at Dry Tortugas National Park instead.
Go (Old School) Wild
Florida offers amazing wildlife experiences unlike anything else in the United States (or the world for that matter)! Because summer is less crowded, it’s a great time to visit some of our state’s unique parks and preserves. Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Preserve are massive parks that have so much to offer. You can explore Big Cypress National Preserve via boat with a park ranger or a commercial provider. Or you can camp out in this internationally designated Dark Sky Park and see the stars like you’ve never seen them before! Or you can explore the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States with a visit to Everglades National Park.
Naples is a great place to live, but with fewer crowds in the summer, you have a chance to get away to explore some of the other great places that the Sunshine State has to offer.