Imagine the jazz and flair of the Roaring ’20s, where everything is gilded in gold and glamour. Now apply that concept to a region and you’ve discovered Collier County.
Sunday, 7 a.m.
This one is perfect for the early birds, but the night owls should still make sure to get in on it. If you’re spending the weekend in Collier County, visiting the Naples Pier is a bucket-list item. The pier resembles an amusement park at night, bustling with all kinds of people—couples (young and old), families, tourist groups and people who come by themselves to seek the peace and quiet of the Gulfshore. Everyone is there to see the spectacular sunset, a painting of cotton candy and gold that stretches across the sky every evening, guaranteed.
These sunsets are gorgeous and deserving of all the visiting eyes imploring them to linger just a few minutes longer. But many people miss the magic of Naples Pier in the morning, when the world is still waking up. The waters are unbroken and still—like glass—and only a handful of dedicated fishermen dot the edges of the pier. An even smaller handful plod along the shore below, delicate older women wistfully dragging their bare feet through the sand, immersed in their thoughts.
There’s no fighting over open spots to jam your umbrella in the sand and plunk your cooler down. The beach is wide open, quiet, empty, as it lets the sun flood over the landscape.
It’s early, but you’ll be rewarded with a slice of peace without even having to work for it.
Address: 25 12th Ave. S., Naples
Mimosa of Naples
Ahh, the morning bubbly. Or bubblies. Mimosa of Naples is a tucked-in treasure that you would miss if you weren’t looking for it. The quaint little restaurant offers breakfast, brunch and lunch with bottomless mimosas every day of the week, in a laid-back atmosphere that beckons you to stay for one more glass. And if the bottomless mimosas aren’t enough to pull you to this savory spot, then maybe consider the eight benedict options (the salmon benedict, at $11.99, will forever have a spot in my heart), or the Belgian waffles with M&Ms ($8.99). Whatever breakfast food you’re in the mood for, consider it served.
Address: 4910 Tamiami Trail N. #310, Naples
Hours: 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Monday through Sunday.
After you’ve savored that last sip of mimosa, head just two minutes down Tamiami Trail to Waterside Shops, one of Naples’ premier luxury shopping destinations. Saks Fifth Avenue and Nordstrom anchor the shops on either end, and names like Kate Spade, Banana Republic, Tiffany’s, Brooks Brothers, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Swarovski, Tesla and several more are sprinkled between them. The courtyard boasts pools of crystal blue water and an assortment of vegetation that makes you feel as though you’ve mistakenly landed in Bermuda. But fear not, and come with a thick wallet, as you’re likely to spend more than just a lot of time here.
Address: 5415 Tamiami Trail N., Naples
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Saturday; 12 p.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday.
Naples Botanical Garden
if you were in awe of the plants and pools at Waterside Shops, then just wait until you step foot in the botanical gardens. Expect to be greeted by a flurry of green palm fronds and stubby bushes, which soon part as the rest of the garden welcomes you in. You’ll quickly forget the bustle of Naples as you course through the quiet property and experience the lush beauty of the Asian, Brazilian and Caribbean Gardens. There’s even the whimsical Smith Children’s Garden for your little ones, where they’re welcome to play in the water fountains or pump water to shower the surrounding plants. Lily pads dot the ponds and a wide assortment of colorful flowers wave at you when the breeze rustles by. If this starts to sound suspiciously like the grounds beyond the pearly gates, rest assured that it’s here on earth, and better yet, in Naples.
Address: 4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., daily;
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays.
Price: $19.95 per adult, $9.95 per child
walking into the bevy for dinner is kind of like being whisked to an oceanfront rooftop lounge, where, as the name implies, you get to flock to those you love to be around. The retractable roof lets the milky blue of the evening sky pour in. A tangle of leaves and plants reach out of the walls on either side, giving guests the feeling of dining in a garden oasis. If the forest vibe isn’t your thing, the bar is smack dab in the middle of the restaurant, bathed under soft golden lights and unique wall art. Upbeat music pulses through the restaurant but is quickly drowned out by steady chatter and lazy laughter. Each menu offers a variety of dishes that show impeccable taste in even the most minute of ingredients. They brandish a broad selection of signature drinks that pair well with each dish. Tip: For a crisp taste of Florida, try the Swedish Paloma ($14).
Address: 360 12th Ave. S., Naples
Hours: 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Saturday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday.
Off The Hook Comedy Club
get your laugh on at Off The Hook Comedy Club. Since opening in 2005, the club has hosted award-winning talent such as Steve-O, Pauly Shore, Carlos Mencia, Kevin Hart, Sinbad and countless more. If you missed out on dining earlier, dinner options are available here through ROW by Capt. Brien and Crew, so you can enjoy a meal with the show. Off The Hook even has an open mic night.
Address: 2500 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Suite 1100, Naples
Hours: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., Monday through Sunday.
Prices: Ticket prices vary from show to show.