Naples Couples Getaway: Great Golf & Island-Style Leisure

By Samantha Crespo

It’s time to dial your love life up a notch by turning the pace way down. A romantic weekend getaway in Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades offers a lineup of fun activities that you can savor at your own speed. Add golf, pristine beaches and award-winning restaurants to your weekend itinerary for two.

Link Up at One of the Area's Top Golf Courses

Lely Golf Resort & Country Club

Golf Digest lauds Naples' Lely Mustang and Flamingo Island Golf Clubs, with eye-pleasing settings and satisfying challenges as two of the top public courses in Naples. Stay right next door at the home-like GreenLinks Golf Villas at Lely Resort.

Eagle Lakes Golf Club

Just minutes from Naples and Marco Island, Eagle Lakes Golf Club will send your spirits soaring. Named after its resident pair of American Bald Eagles, this par-71 championship course boasts beautiful views of the Everglades, a challenging design and a moderate rate card.

Panther Run Golf Club

Panther Run Golf Club in Ave Maria is friendly despite narrowing fairways and ever-present water; nearly 30 lakes attract alligators, eagles and hawks.

Semi-Private Resort Courses You'll Love

The Rookery at JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort

Play lightning-fast greens known for tempering their challenges with views of the area's flora and fauna. The Rookery at Marco reveals water hazards and deep bunkers amid forests, lagoons and wetlands. A member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program, you’ll catch glimpses of Southwest Florida’s wildlife from the tee box, including bald eagles, alligators, blue herons and many other types of water birds. Score a birdie yourself with the course’s state-of-the-art GPS yardage system.

Naples Grande Golf Club

The exclusivity of a resort experience translates into first-rate service and pristine conditions on the greens. Naples Grande Beach Resort’s par-72 championship course serves up a demanding round for golfers of all skill sets. This semi-private course, open to members and resort guests, is rated four stars by Golf Digest and ranks as one of Golf Magazine’s Top 50 Courses in Florida – understandably so due to its scenic and challenging layout with water features, wooded terrain and an abundance of wildlife.

Tiburón Golf Club at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples

Home to the PGA Tour’s QBE Shootout and the LPGA CME Group Tour Championship, Tiburón Golf Club at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort is frequented by all-stars of the golf world. Two courses, both designed by golf legend Greg Norman, offer varied golfing experiences. The more popular Gold Course demands a skillful straight shot as bunkers tactically line the fairways, while the Black Course requires a strategic game plan due to narrow, bending fairways and water logged stretches. Visitor rates rotate between the two courses, so be sure to schedule your tee time in advance. Post-game, soothe golf-fatigued muscles with a sports massage at The Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort

LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort’s LaPlaya Golf Club recently completed an extensive renovation of its par-72 championship golf course. In collaboration with the original designer, Bob Cupp, the upgrade to the 18-hole course incorporates everything from rebuilding all 18 greens and enlarging the putting greens back to their original size, re-grassing all tee boxes (and rebuilding a number of them), as well as landscaping enhancements. LaPlaya Golf Club now offers more than 120,000 square feet of new putting surfaces, including all holes and practice areas. After you hit the 19th hole, stop by SpaTerre at the resort for a dip in the outdoor relaxation tubs and then turn dinner into a special occasion at LaPlaya's BALEEN Naples. Intensify the celebrated Florida flavors by reserving a barefoot beach table.

One with Nature in Naples’ Great Outdoors

Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Follow the meandering boardwalk at Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary through pine flatwoods, marsh, prairie and North America’s largest old growth Bald Cypress forest. Stroll with your honey under the impressive canopy of trees (some reach 130 feet high!) and spot wildlife like butterflies, birds, alligators, turtles, otters, white-tailed deer and more.

Naples Botanical Garden

Lovebirds will have to break eye contact for the many species of flowers and trees at Naples Botanical Garden. Here you’ll ooh-and-ah over award-winning displays, a tropical mosaic garden and the wide array of natural beauty.

Remote Island Getaways

Broaden your scope to spot dolphins and manatees as you paddle through the Ten Thousand Islands mangrove forests. Outfitters can equip you for a self-guided paddle or provide guided excursions departing from multiple locations in Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City. Or stretch your sea legs with a romantic boat ride by renting a boat for the day. Drop anchor at Keewaydin Island – an eight-mile stretch of quiet beach with the largest loggerhead turtle nesting area in Southwest Florida. The public Hemingway Water Shuttle is also available for island drop-offs and pick-ups.

Naples Bicycle Tours

Naples Bicycle Tours provides another perspective with guided cycling tours of the Naples area, including the Everglades. All equipment for your outing is included, along with a Florida Certified Naturalist Guide.

Waterfront Dining for Two

Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar

Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar is known for its exhilarating views overlooking Venetian Bay from the Village Shops at Venetian Bay.  Choose from the Downstairs Café with a casual atmosphere, the elegant Upstairs Grill for lunch or dinner with sweeping views of the waterfront, or the Upper Deck Bar, offering a laid-back dining experience in an open-air setting overlooking the water. 

City Seafood

Get back to Old Florida basics at a rustic, waterfront haven in the heart of Everglades City. Sit at one of the dockside picnic tables at City Seafood, or head upstairs to air conditioned inside  seating. Hours vary throughout the year, but be sure to check the schedule for generous portions of fresh stone crab claws (in season October 15 through May 1st), soft-shelled crab, oyster po’ boy or a basket of cracked conch.

Bay House

Trade in your bikini and swim trunks for dressier attire at this high-end date spot. The Bay House restaurant is a hidden gem located on the Cocohatchee River. Renowned for their shellfish towers and assortment of fresh, chilled crab claws from The Claw Bar & Tavern, this scenic restaurant offers three-course tastings and a Sunday brunch menu that’s decked with seafood-adapted favorites like the Lump Crab Benedict and the Sea BLT.

A Date with International Flavor

A colorful dish at Sale e Pepe, an Italian restaurant on Marco Island

Cozy up for a romantic meal with international flavor at Sale e Pepe.

Sale e Pepe

For romantic dining with international flair, it's hard to beat Sale e Pepe at the Marco  Beach Ocean Resort. The restaurant overlooks the Gulf of Mexico, and the menu features exquisite, scratch-made specialties prepared by the restaurant's Italian-born chef.

Bleu Provence

Naples' Bleu Provence serves up delicious French dishes and wines. Recipient of Wine Spectator’s Grand Award many times, Bleu Provence brings an extensive, award-winning wine list to the table. Their array of French cuisine covers everything from Viandes Mijotées (slow-cooked entrees) to poissons et crustacés (seafood).