On the left of the map but the right side of Florida! Why Naples? We get this question a lot in the real estate business here in Florida. Here’s a quick note with my response to a couple comparing us to the wrong side of Florida. (Okay, you know where I stand now, and I am admittedly strongly biased after enjoying the Naples lifestyle for awhile now.) For those of you comparing Naples to Sarasota and other towns north of us, feel free to apply the same bullet points below.
Dan and Cathy,
I will first briefly describe our personal experience. When we started to look at Florida for our full time residence, we checked out both sides having friends both on the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico and wanting to give a fair shake to different areas. When we landed in Naples and “discovered” it for ourselves, there was no conversation needed. We looked at each other and knew we had found our forever home.
It would take a team of wild horses to get us to move. Our only regret is not having done it sooner. We owned our own brokerage firm in Northern Virginia outside of DC and it was tough to pick up after 20 years in the real estate business there.
Here are our conclusions in bullet points:
- The water is warmer on the Gulf side and you can swim year around. We visited friends in St. Augustine in July and the water was freezing. And I grew up on Cayuga Lake in Ithaca, New York…….I know cold.
- Our beaches are better. More of them, each one has a different character, better access to ALL beaches, more state parks in our area (Delnor-Wiggins State Beach Park and Lovers Key Beach State Park), several county beach parks (Lowdermilk, Naples Pier, Clam Pass, Vanderbilt Beach, Barefoot Beach, Bonita Beach) and more stuff to collect if you are a walker or a beachcomber (shells, sea glass and sharks teeth). The sand is perfect – soft, white and cool to bare feet in the summer. Click on this link for more information on some of our local beaches StepsToTheBeach.com.
- Then there’s “Dog Beach” in Bonita Springs. Just fantastic. (Check out the video here Dog Beach).
- We are way more pet friendly. The whole town and area is dog crazy. Support systems for pet owners including veterinarians and pet supply stores.
- We are also car crazy. Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, Spaghetti and Linguine. Muscle car and McLaren mania. Rolls Royce and Bentley every day. Antiques, hot rods and RestoMods. Porsche out the wazoo. Car shows and gatherings on the weekends. Check out “Cars on Fifth” and the “Mercato” events. Also, click on this link if you think you are a car guy “Revs Institute.”
- We are off the chart for outdoor activities. On or off the water, everybody is active, social and moving their bodies one way or another. Tennis, pickle ball, golf and more golf, running, cycling, walking for exercise, swimming.
- Boating and fishing? Power boats, jet skis, sail boats, kayaks. Back bay fishing and fishing for grouper in the Gulf. Restaurants and bars by boat.
- As much as we are a “beach town,” we have the arts, music, culture, and sophistication if you want it. Nobody is going to look down on you if aren’t an art collector or a wine snob, but all of the best from around the world is at your fingertips if you want to enjoy it. It is really a unique combination……and we have lived in several different places/countries and traveled the world.
- If you go out to restaurants, we are your town. From casual blue collar to fine dining and everything in between. Cheap or reasonable or expensive – something for everyone. All cuisines. Indoor and outdoor. Pet friendly. Beachfront and Waterfront (those are two different things in Florida). Bars and nightlife. Organic. Live music. Best pizza ever. You name it, we have it.
- We are a mecca for cycling. I know cycling. Although a road cyclist myself, there is every type and level of cycling in our area. As a side note, this is the most friendly and helpful cycling community in which I have ever biked. Everybody is helpful and courteous. Although I stay on the road, I have many friends that ride gravel and trails in several nearby parks and recreation areas. They love it and feel close to the abundant nature that all of us enjoy in Southwest Florida.
- Great hospitals and medical care available.
- We know how to celebrate holidays. Christmas boat parades, fireworks on the beach for New Years Eve and the Fourth of July. And we are really good at events, benefits, shows, and street events – Greek Festival, farmers markets, art shows, 5K runs, pickle ball championships, boat shows and so much more.
- As far as the real estate goes, we have something for everyone. The water drives real estate values, as you would expect, but we have all price ranges. All styles of architecture, all sizes, all budgets.
- And here’s the clincher……the people factor. As New Englanders, you might appreciate the prevailing attitude that we appreciate here in the Naples area. We are largely a mid-West population with a good representation from New England states and a sprinkling of Canadians/Europeans. I will describe the down-to-earth attitude like this……..you are walking the beach down by Naples Pier, you greet somebody with a “Good Morning” and before you know it, you are engaged in a conversation……you will not know if you are talking to a beach bum or the guy that owns the $50-million beachfront home that you are standing in front of. The other side of Florida? Way too many people with “attitude” in your face.
There you go. Those are the highlights for us. Hope that helps!
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