Fort Myers and Naples in South Florida by Steve Sewell
After all said and done as much as I enjoy the "buzz" of Orlando with it's theme parks and attractions there comes a time when you just want to unwind and chill out. Or maybe it is not your type of thing to mix it up with the mouse.
Then the ideal place is South Florida and Fort Myers or Naples in particular. I love these places they are so far removed from the hustle and bustle of Orlando with an almost "Caribbean" laid back way of life.
Around a 3 hour drive from Orlando brings you to these Gulf Coast treasures. Fort Myers Beach is basically on a peninsula called Estero Island. It has a population of around 6,000 locals. It is quite close to the Airport too. The accommodation here is mainly Condo's but there are hotels too. A large proportion the Condo's can be rented and most of these are privately owned. With a price tag of around $750,000 for one on the beach with an ocean view! They are all well equipped and the ones I have stayed in were fantastic. We had an ocean view with 2 bedrooms and all the things we needed to make us feel at home. Every Condo had a jacuzzi and it was enormous, without any exaggeration you could get 4 people in it easily. I am 6ft 2in and I could lay out flat and neither my head nor my feet would touch the ends.
We had the most fantastic view of the Ocean from the master bedroom windows it was a delight to wake up to in the mornings. You could lay there for a while and watch the joggers exercising in the cooler early morning temperatures or the beachcombers walking along the waters edge looking for that elusive shell.
The communal swimming pool was a delight and a 2 minute stroll gives you access to the uncrowded, white sandy beach. You can walk for miles along this unspoilt coastline. There is a pier if you wish to maybe do a spot of fishing.
There are many places to dine in Fort Myers beach, with most of them around the pier area. One place we went to and found it quite a novelty was the dinner and a movie at the Beach Theater. You choose your movie, order your food and a server brings it to your table where you can watch the movie in comfort. The rooms are quite small so it is has quite a personal feel to it. There area few rows of seats at the front, a counter top that you can sit at and then behind them are the tables.
If you wish to do your own thing, the condo has it's own set of gas barbecues. We did it one night, went to the nearby publix supermarket and got a couple of nice steaks and some shrimp and conjured up a tasty meal.
For shopping you really have to go to Naples which is about a 20-30 minute drive. There is the Coastlands Mall which contains the usual offerings of stores. One thing you will see a lot of are high priced furniture stores that cater for the wealthy residents of Naples, some quite famous ones too such as Judge Judy and Steven Spielburg has a place here too. It is said the Naples has more millionaires per capita than any other city in the US. There are also a lot of seniors here which has earned Naples the nickname "God's waiting room"
There are a lot more hotels here than at Fort Myers. It has a lovely Mediterranean feel to it inherited from it's namesake. It has tall palm tree lined roads and is well worth a visit.
Even if you don't spend your entire vacation (holiday) here just try to get down for a few days and chill out. The condos that we stayed at were Pointe Estero and the sister property next door The Gullwing. We got our 2 bedroom condo for $180 per night. You can contact the property direct or if you are in Orlando before you visit, do what we did and go to a room wholesaler such as "Know before you go" they have 2 locations in Orlando one on Sand lake and I drive and the other non the 192 around the mile 13 marker if I remember rightly.
About the Author
Steve Sewell is a Florida Villa owner and has been traveling to Florida since 1990 and regards it as his second home. He has owned his own businesses since leaving the RAF in 1988. His current business is Orlando Villas for Rent, a vacation villa rental website, that he started in 2007 with his business partner Guy Harwood.