Naples, Florida is an awesome place for a vacation. Located on the Gulf of Mexico below Tampa, this area has been a playground since the early 1900’s. The history of the town includes a 1932 flight by Charles Lindbergh that ended with Lindbergh landing near the golf course of the then quiet little coastal community. He and his family had a retreat in nearby Sanibel and they would fly in for supplies.
Naples is directly across the state from Miami. However until the Tamiami Trail East was completed in 1928, travel to Miami required a journey north to and then back south along the Atlantic side of the state. The completion of this road opened Naples up for expansion.
Several of the old historic buildings still exist in the town. The old train depot building saw years of service as a starting point for the Orange Blossom Express that ran to Miami. The last train left the station in 1971 after serving the community since 1927. The building is now an historic landmark.
Vanderbilt Beach is north of downtown Naples. This stretch of pure white sands flanked by hotels, condominiums and some private residences is one of the most pristine beaches in the state. Not only are the gulf waters nearly perfect for bathing, but the wildlife, primarily the birds, are most enjoyable to observe.
Pelicans frequently skim the waves until they spot fish. Then they dramatically climb and then dive straight into the water to snatch a fish in their large “pouches”. Egrets and ibis roam the beach at the point where the waves break on the sands. With long beaks to probe the wet sands these sea birds have a ready made smorgasbord of morsel to devour.
Dolphins are often seen broaching the surface of the water mere yards from the shore. It is always exciting to see these marine mammals in their natural habitat. It is common to see three or four dolphins spending quite a bit of time in one relatively small area much to the delight of those on the beach lucky enough to see them.
During late June and early July Vanderbilt Beach is the home to many sea turtle nests. These nests are protected both by law and by posts and bright yellow caution tape. Wildlife experts watch for the tracks of the female sea turtles and spot the new nests and mark them.
All in all Naples is a great place to enjoy a vacation filled with history as well as the fun and sun of pure white sandy beaches along the Gulf of Mexico.