Southwest Florida: Top Attractions

Sanibel Island, southwest Florida  (courtesy, Visit Florida)

Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club (Naples)
Let's see . . . a 125-acre tropical paradise, a beachfront location with the Gulf of Mexico stretching out over the horizon, an onsite championship golf course, an award-winning tennis center, a glorious spa, inventive activities for kids, four mouthwatering restaurants, and a sunset beach bar. This is one enticing spot for action and relaxation. The par-72, 6,488-yard golf course is over 80 years old and necessitates meticulous care and upgrade by such designers as Mark Mahanna and Ron Garl.

Casa Ybel Resort (Fort Myers)
This luxurious resort exudes a secluded, old-island spirit in the midst of a beachcomber's paradise. Swim in the resort's lagoon-sized pool, enjoy a round of golf, start a friendly game of pick-up volleyball, and savor the freshest possible seafood and steak at the Thistle Lodge Restaurant. Explore the wilder side of the island at nearby J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, or let your worries float away with the tides at the seaside massage cabana.

Marco Beach Ocean Resort (Marco Island)
A white-sand crescent beach and the shimmering Gulf of Mexico constitute your front yard here, and the staff at this posh resort will outdo themselves to pamper you. Flanked by 100 miles of islands, bays, and estuaries, Marco Island is perfectly situated for beachcombing, bird-watching, boating, shopping, the arts, and golfing. Enjoy delectable dining options—from a casual beachside grill to exquisite Italian gourmet meals. Then continue to feed your soul with a heavenly pool or beachside massage.

La Playa Beach and Golf Resort (Naples)
There is nothing between you and the white-sand beach at La Playa, and when the sun dips down to the horizon, there's nowhere else to be. Except, perhaps, playing the Bob Cupp-designed championship golf course, or following your bliss at the Indonesian-inspired spa, or going on a shopping spree in nearby Naples. Take a boat and snorkel gear out into the Gulf, or do nothing but stretch out and relax under swaying palm trees.

Sanibel Harbour Resort and Spa (Fort Myers)
A sprawling plantation-style resort, Sanibel Harbour reflects the epitome of wish fulfillment. The resort offers everything from great tennis and watersports to sublime lounging. The height of pampering happens at the spa, where the wisdom of the ancients meets the modern. You'll feel more relaxed by just walking into this tropical Eden where massage, hot-stone, and skin-care treatments rejuvenate from head to soul. Friends and couples are given a unique opportunity to apply body care treatments to each other in specially designed steam rooms.

Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island (Sarasota)
The 104-year-old lighthouse may just be the tallest building on Boca Grande, a quiet gem surrounded by a tranquil sea. Pop over for eclectic shops, historic buildings, and some of the best fishing, boating, and beachcombing around. White-sand beaches and serpentine mangroves offer hundreds of thousands of acres, andboth land and sea harbor exotic wildlife.
Additional Info: 941.964.0568,
Tropic Star Cruises: 239.283.0015,

Shopping on 3rd Street South (Naples)
Beautifully landscaped promenades make treasure hunting an absolutely pleasurable quest in this elegant section of historic Old Naples. Linger over a chilled drink in an outdoor café or nip into a pub for a pint and a bit of live music. Fine apparel, jewelry, local and international artworks (Thursdays and Fridays are often special gallery nights), antiques, gifts, gourmet meals…the more you wander, the more you'll discover.
Additional Info:

Philharmonic Center for the Arts (Naples)
This locus of fine performing and visual arts hosts a resident orchestra, a main performance hall, black-box theater, and four museum-quality galleries. The 85-piece Naples Philharmonic Orchestra features world-class soloists, conductors, and musicians who stage classical, pop, and groundbreaking concerts. Performances are top-drawer, and children's performances are not to be missed. The visual arts center's metallic entrance gates, Persian-style glass ceiling, glass-dome conservatory, and spectacular chandeliers are as stunning as the works it contains.
Philharmonic Center for the Arts: 239.597.1900,

Mad Hatter (Captiva Island)
This cozy island-cottage restaurant serves four-star New American cuisine, and its sunset views sends the romance quotient off the charts. The inventive menu changes frequently, keeping both the patrons' experiences as fresh as the food. The wine selection is superlative, the appetizers a delightful adventure. Leave your waistline watch at home: This is not the place to pass on the dessert tray.
Mad Hatter: 239.472.0033

Chop's City Grill (Naples)
First the turf: Each steak is dry-aged onsite to Chop's own specifications for 14 to 21 days—all the better to hit the perfect pitch of flavor and tenderness. Now the surf: Sweet, fresh, and bountiful, Chop's stylistic variations (including sushi) make choosing possibly the hardest part of your trip. The bar boasts a 300-bottle wine list and serves the best martinis, margaritas, small-batch bourbons, and single-malt Scotches in town.
Chop's City Grill: 239.262.4677,

Published: 26 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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