Most of the time, I write about family friendly getaways, and fun things to do with kids. Yes, I visited Vegas with just hubby, and Minneapolis and Baltimore with some girlfriends, but little man and baby girl do prove to be my best travel companions. Traveling with a 5 and 7 year old can be fun but busy and hectic. However, on our recent two-week trip to SW Florida, I realized there are a lot of calm and relaxing activities to be had in the Naples, Florida area.
Relaxing Activities in SW Florida
As a family, we hit some great spots in Naples, Florida. In fact, I recapped our favorite activities in this post. But some of the things we did were just relaxing and scenic. And I did sneak away to do a few restorative activities myself. Here are my recommendations for your calm and relaxing getaway to the SW Florida area.
Stand-Up Paddle board Yoga
I caught the SUP Yoga bug last summer when I tried it in Hawaii and then found a friend who teaches it locally. Since it’s been too cold here in NY to be out on the water, I knew I wanted to look into doing some SUP yoga in Florida. I found Naples Kayak Company and booked a Saturday morning class through them.
I paid $38 for the class that met behind the Naples Zoo at the mouth of the Gregory River. That area is called the Naples Greenway and there is a parking lot (with a restroom) that you meet the instructor at. He had the boards and into the river we went. Unlike SUP Yoga in both Hawaii and Long Island, we were sticking to low poses to ensure not falling into the river. I do not think you wanted to be in that water. All the other times I’ve done SUP yoga, I have fallen in trying to do standing poses!
This was such a great experience, paddling through the mangrove trees, so low in some places you had to sit or lay on your board. The lagoon where we dropped our anchors was shady and picturesque. Simon the instructor was so calming and the yoga practice challenging but manageable. I highly recommend this experience, even if you are new to Stand Up Paddle or new to SUP Yoga.
Yoga on Vanderbilt Beach
I don’t usually write about things I haven’t actually done, but I was planning to attend Simon’s Wednesday morning yoga class at Vanderbilt Beach, but it was pouring rain the one Wednesday I was in town. From taking Simon’s SUP Yoga, I knew I really missed out and that his class would have been excellent. This is a must-do for next time!
Last spring, a Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant opened in North Naples. We actually ate here on Easter 2016. This year, we returned to do a wine tasting and to have dinner. Hubby, mom and I ubered over to Cooper’s Hawk to spend about 30 minutes doing a wine tasting in the designated tasting area. The tasting costs $7 and included 8 tastes. Hubby and I split one, since I like white and he likes red. Each month the tasting changes. And the bartender was so sweet, she let me taste an additional wine, the Prosecco when she heard me proclaim how much I love Prosecco!
I love experiences like these where you can try new things and figure out what you like! You can then order that wine (or others) at dinner, at the bar, or buy something to take home in the retail restaurant. And for what its worth, the gnocchi I had at dinner that night was one of the best restaurant meals I have had in a long time!
Pro-Tip: Book early if you want to dine here, reservations fill up fast!
If you are on the East Coast of the United States, the only place to see an overwater sunset is on the Gulf Coast of Florida. SW Florida is famous for its beautiful sunsets and I highly recommend going to see one if you are in this area!
One night we took the kids down to Vanderbilt Beach around 5:30 for a 6:21 sunset. This is a very popular sunset watching spot, so the kids were able to play in the sand while us grown-ups took in the gorgeous views from our beach chairs. Lots of folks bring picnics or wine. You can park in the Collier County garage for $8, which allows cars to enter up until sunset, and then lets you to stay until 10pm.
On a different night, hubby and I scored a date and started with drinks at the Gumbo Limbo bar at the Ritz-Carlton right on Vanderbilt Beach. We hung out here until a few minutes before sunset (we were lucky enough to grab seats) and then headed onto the sand to see the actual sunset. This was a great spot to have a cocktail with a beautiful view.
Pro-Tip: Go early to snag a seat at the bar.
I find sitting on the beach so relaxing. But of course some beaches (like Vanderbilt) are very crowded and can be loud. The times we have visited Barefoot, it has been less crowded and so relaxing.
This beach is a little hidden. You have to drive west down Bonita Beach Road until you come to a small sign pointing you to turn left into a private community. It’s not a public road, but you are allowed to drive it the 1.5 miles to access the beach. I think this secret entrance keeps the crowds away.
You can read more about Barefoot Beach here, it was one of our favorite Naples activities!
What are you favorite ways to relax on vacation?
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