Naples, FL

Two years on a Caribbean island will turn you into a bit of a beach snob. So, Tony and I were hesitant to plan our last minute holiday getaway to a US location. However, Naples did not disappoint! Each beach we visited stretched for miles with luxuriously soft, white sand that looked like sugar crystals when it stuck to my ankles. Metered public parking was available at the end of each immaculate residential street, complete with showers for feet washing. Even when the beach was packed, (at sunset and on Christmas Day) everyone had their own space, and you didn’t feel like people were on top of you.  

 We enjoyed several days lounging and reading by the beach, but we also ventured inland for a Florida Everglades Tour. Tony was super excited to see some gators, and gators we saw! Our first stop was at Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours in Everglades City. Bushman Alan got us all settled in and told us a bit of Everglades history – how the area has changed since the Native Americans lived in the area.  

 As a surprise we actually got to see some manatees, or at least glimpses of their noses and lots of their gas bubbles! The massive sea cows love the warm waters of the canals and marshland. We also saw two alligators – one sunning herself on the bank and one swimming in search of a meal!  

 These were unexpected finds because the airboat ride is supposed to be the adventure part, not the sightseeing part. And we did have some adventure! Alan would rev that gas motor, and we’d skim across the water at 30 mph through the mangroves.  

 But the fun part was when a clearing was in view, because you knew that when we got to it, Alan would turn us on a dime and the whole boat would careen side to side or do a donut!  

 In addition to the gators, we also saw some cute little raccoon-looking animals hanging out in the mangroves.  

 We even held a baby gator!   

 After lunch we went for another boat ride through the Everglades, and this time we saw dolphins! We were right where the 1,000 islands meets with the Gulf of Mexico when we came across a pod of about 20 (we estimate) of them! Everywhere we looked around the boat they were sufacing, blowing air, and even jumping out the water.  

 The last stop on our tour was a gator sanctuary and demonstration where some crazy guy stuck his hand into the mouth of a 12 foot gator.    

 We particularly liked this safety sign:  

 And we spotted several gators just on the side of the road. Tony got way too close to them, in my opinion, and snapped some pretty stellar photos.  

 
We spent a lot of time lounging on the beach reading, which is just what we were looking for! It also allowed me to finally read the manual and experiment with some of the features of our new camera.  

  

 
 We found a church holding Christmas Eve services in one of the parks in downtown Naples. It was one of the strangest services I’ve ever been to, but it was pretty cool to sit in the park on a warm evening with 2000 other people!  

Tony and I agree that every Christmas should be spent on the beach!

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3 Responses to Naples, FL

  1. Dad says:

    What a fun Christmas!

  2. Nancy Kline says:

    We love Florida too. Haven’t been to Naples yet, but all the beaches up and down the gulf coast are beautiful. We are heading there in February. Also, personally, I like my gater batter fried!!!

  3. Nancy Clewell says:

    Glad Tony returned with all fingers intact! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 🙂

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