Romantic Natural Attractions on the Paradise Coast
Romance in Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades is served in many flavors, not just ritzy resorts, spa treatments and award-winning dining. Romantics planning an off-the-map getaway will find alluring natural attractions throughout the area – everything from private seaside dwellings to blooming botanical gardens and swamp life.
Refresh with an early morning walk hand-in-hand on Clam Pass Beach Park's three-quarter-mile boardwalk. You'll take a path through sea oats and along shallow tidal bays dotting the beach.
Located in north Naples, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park is a more secluded and natural beach on the Great Florida Birding Trail with vast surroundings and wildlife sightings. For an equally private spot, Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park just to the north of Delnor-Wiggins is known for its thriving flora and fauna – you might spot gopher tortoises, shorebirds and soaring bald eagles.
From Marco Island, search for prized keepsake seashells that haven’t been picked through by the public on a shelling cruise to a nearby uninhabited island and enjoy some quiet beach time.
For more off-the-coast happenings, climb aboard the Sweet Liberty for an open-water sail. Go whichever way the wind blows on this 53-foot catamaran setting sail daily. Or, spot dolphins and manatees in the mangroves during a WaveRunner tour through the Ten Thousand Islands with Marco Island Ski & Watersports or Capt. Ron's Awesome Everglades Adventures.
Nature Parks & Gardens
Let the flutter of butterfly wings remind you that romance is a sensory experience at the Naples Botanical Garden's butterfly pavilion, part of the delightful Children's Garden. Also check out the cultivated gardens of Asia, Florida, Brazil and the Caribbean.
Audubon's Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is another great place to see nature in its purest form. Stroll together along the boardwalk through pinelands, wet prairies, hammocks and cypress ponds. At Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, see wild orchids and other rare plant and animal species. Keep you feet dry on the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk, or venture into the strand swamp on a guided adventure. Looking for an overnight adventure? Pitch a tent at Collier-Seminole State Park and head into the wilderness by foot, bike or canoe.
If your idea of romance sneaks you off to unknown, undiscovered areas, Florida's Paradise Coast has three secrets for you: Goodland, Everglades City and Chokoloskee Island. These small fishing villages are sure to delight. Try sweet stone crab just pulled from a trap that morning (during stone crab season October 15 - May 1st) or jump aboard a charter boat headed to the wildlife-rich Everglades backcountry.
Everglades National Park, Ten Thousand Islands, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Big Cypress National Preserve and state-protected public lands give couples plenty of space to experience nature and solitude with a twist of adventure.
Outfitters in Everglades City can prepare you for a kayak journey in Everglades National Park or Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge. For landlubbers, rent bikes and binoculars from the Ivey House Inn, where Everglades Rentals & Eco Adventures directs you to the best routes through the quaint Old Florida town of Everglades City. Chart birds of every color and note with surprise the size of the alligators.
Although charming seaside restaurants like The Dock lend Florida's Paradise Coast a salty flavor, the city scenes in Naples and Marco Island exude a distinct air of culture and class. Think the Riviera but more sedately exclusive: sunny beach vistas, the embrace of warm and soothing sea and enough shopping, dining, theater, arts and nightlife to keep your off-the-beach hours enriched and enchanted.
Marco Island blends the romance of island isolation with top-shelf dining. Some of its finest restaurants reside in luxury resorts such as Marco Beach Ocean Resort and JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort.
Put your toes in the sand while enjoying fine dining at one of the beach tables at The Turtle Club on Vanderbilt Beach. Feel like you're in a brasserie in Paris while dining at The French Brasserie Rustique on Fifth Avenue South in downtown Naples.
Gulfside Resorts in Naples
From spas offering couples massages to romance getaway packages and wedding planners, resorts cater to "amore" types in a full-service way. Among Naples' Gulfside resorts, The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, and Naples Grande Beach Resort are destinations unto themselves offering spa treatments, luxe accommodations and next-level dining. and the Naples Bay Resort delivers pampering services from its location on the waters of Naples Bay.