PLACES WITHIN 3 HOURS OF
Keewaydin Island is a barrier island located between Naples and Marco Island with nearly eight miles of untouched white sand beach. (Eighty percent of the island is undeveloped, and the rest is populated with private homes.) This island beach is only accessible by boat, and it is the only pet-friendly beach in the Naples/Marco Island area.
The Hemingway Water Shuttle departs seven times daily for drop off and pick up trips to the beach at Keewaydin. The shuttle is pet-friendly, so leashed, well-behaved dogs are welcome to ride, too.
Boat rentals are available from conveniently located marinas in Naples and Marco Island. Also, several regular sightseeing boat trips feature stops at the island for beach walking and shelling. These include trips on the Sweet Liberty sailing catamaran, Miss Naples sailing catamaran, Dolphin Explorer boats and others operated by Pure Florida.
The city of Naples, perched on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida, is famous for its high-end shopping, world-class arts and culture, and sophisticated dining, family fun, and wild outdoors.
Within an hour of Naples and Marco Island are millions of acres of federal and state parks, preserves and wildlife refuges. At one, a special orchid’s every bloom is recorded by caretakers. At another, endangered Florida panthers wear tracking devices. This corner of Florida is both a destination for ecotourism and a base for exploration of the vast Florida Everglades.
Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South are the focal points for Naples shopping in the historic downtown area, with numerous art galleries, chic clothing boutiques and home decor shops.
When it comes time for lunch or drinks and dinner, enjoy your meal with a water view, whether you choose a Naples beachfront resort or a funky bayside bar.
See America's only subtropical wilderness by airboat, explore the Ten Thousand Islands, or claim a remote piece of paradise on Cape Romano Shoals.
THE DRY TORTUGAS
You take a boat or seaplane, but only if weather permits. You can camp near Fort Jefferson on the island called Garden Key, but don’t forget the can opener because the nearest convenient store is a long way off. You can visit for the day, but again be prepared for whatever. This is a special, isolated park where the screeching birds and the breeze rustling through the treetops provide the soundtrack.
This is a tropical playground. Snorkelers exploring the clear water will see mangrove snapper, barracuda and the wiggling antennae of a spiny lobster hiding in the crack of a seawall.
For birdwatchers, the Tortugas are a treasure -- the only place in the continental United States where endangered sooty terns nest, a rest stop for migrating birds from Cuba, Central America, and South America.
In Jupiter, you can experience beautiful beaches, luxury amenities and an easygoing lifestyle.
Take the family on a turtle hatchling walk, hike or bike the many park and beach trails, paddle a kayak along the Loxahatchee River, or climb the Jupiter Lighthouse for the view.
Jupiter's Roger Dean Stadium is Spring Training home to both the Florida Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals.
And Jupiter's beaches have served as retreats for surfers and beachgoers for decades.
Stop by Dubois Park, with more than 1,200 feet of tropical palm-lined beach, plus playgrounds and picnic pavilions. Carlin Park offers an exercise trail and well-equipped picnic areas. Ocean Cay Park features a playground, showers, pavilions and restrooms.
Sarasota, one of Florida’s primary Gulf Coast cities, offers visitors a visual blend of fine art and fine dining, circus thrills and pristine beaches, and a wide array of shopping opportunities.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota pays homage to the Ringlings, the family behind America’s most famous circus. Check out the old costumes, wagons, and the world’s largest miniature circus. Art lovers can appreciate the largest collections of Rubens canvasses in the world right in Sarasota, plus works by Old Masters.
You can also tour Ca' d'Zan Mansion, a magnificent 56-room Venetian Gothic palace and the Ringlings' old family home.