Florida is well-known as a couples getaway, a family vacation haven, or a mecca for singles...but what about your pet when you go away? Vacation-less pets either get stuck with sitters found on Craigslist or in kennels at the vet, but Naples and Florida's Paradise Coast is making strides to allow families to include their pets in ALL of their travel plans. From your hotel stay to dining and recreational activities...this gorgeous area of Southwestern Florida can be labeled the most pet-friendly travel destination outside of New York City.
On a recent visit to Naples, I realized that many air travelers don't know they can book their pooches for on-board travel. Most airlines only charge $100-$150 each way, which is better most kennel prices over the length of a vacation. Smaller pets can travel in the cabin in an airline-approved carrier, which is way better than hearing barking, anxiety-ridden animals in the cargo area.
For fall and winter travelers, Naples and Paradise Coast are the perfect getaway once the East Coast weather starts to turn into tundra. Below, I've mapped out some great things for you to do while spending some time on Paradise Coast!
EAT: Sea Salt - This beautifully styled restaurant has a great central location to some of the best shopping in Naples. Sea Salt's menu will satisfy your need for surf or turf, plus serving lighter fare makes this a perfect lunch destination. Right in line with their name, each table comes with a selection of salts from various parts of the world that make dining more interesting.
- Yabba Island Grill - With a Caribbean-inspired menu and great cocktails, Yabba Island Grill is a great spot for a fun dinner with friends. The menu is spot-on for seafood lovers and those looking for more spirited dining. The waitstaff is on point and friendly...did I mention the cocktails?
- Campiello Italian Restaurant - You'll only get the full scope of this restaurant if you go for dinner, so do yourself a favor and end your evening here. Housing the most delicious branzino I've ever eaten, Campiello has a diverse menu for lovers of Italian food. The wine selection is extensive and with surprise menu items like Nutella pizza, you'll be glad you dined here.
STAY: Naples Bay Resort - Perfect for extended stay customers who are looking for a home-like atmosphere, but all the amenities of a 5-star hotel. Rooms are equipped with a full-size fridge, a dishwasher, granite countertops, and a washer/dryer. With everything from restaurants, clothing stores, and Fergie's Closet pet boutique (where you will find handmade clothing designs and organic, local pet foods)...you really don't HAVE to leave the grounds if you don't want to. Naples Bay Resort is the only property in Naples that features it's own private marina...and it is luxurious!
- Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort - It's really hard to go wrong when you book a room at the Ritz, so if you are looking for top-notch service, luxury, and staff...this is the place. Great views of the golf course are all around and you just feel happy being here. The Ritz is pet-friendly, so expect your pooch to get pampered too. My dog got so much swag that I began to feel jealous!
DO: Marco Island - It's difficult to be sad or angry when you arrive on Marco Island. This gorgeous island has some of the most amazing sunsets I've seen in the U.S. A perfect place to tie the knot, Marco Island also features fun vacation rentals, great nightlife, and tons of outdoor, pet-friendly dining options.
- Keewaydin Island - My experience on this tiny island was amazing! Accessible by boat only, Keewaydin Island feels like one of those untouched places that you really don't want to publicize. It's absolutely gorgeous, dotted with protected wildlife area, and bluest water Florida has to offer. Dogs are welcome on the beach, but please clean up after them (and yourselves!) to preserve this pristine piece of land.
- Naples Botanical Garden - Beautifully manicured gardens mix with great information on Florida's flora and fauna at this dog-friendly location. I've never heard of a dog-friendly botanical garden, but it's a perfect idea! Walking your pooch around this serene locale is perfection. Also...if you're traveling with children, this is a great place to sneak in a little education while on vacation.
- Naples Green Market - If you're on the hunt for local produce and hand-made goodies to take home or enjoy while on vacay, the farmer's market is the place to be on Saturday mornings. In addition to food, you'll find everything from homemade jerky, soy candles, and hand-woven baskets at this dog-friendly market.
- Naples Bay Boat Tour - Naples Bay Resort has an amazing boat tour package for it's guests...and that includes the furry ones! This tour allows you to leave from the property's private marina with your dog in tow. Your boat powers past amazing multi-million dollar real estate while viewing Florida's natural beauty. Dolphins, rare birds, and mangrove trees dot the landscape on your way to the secluded beaches of the Paradise Coast.