I’ve never thought of myself as a “Florida” person. In over 30 years, I’ve only been there twice…. but in the past 6 months we’ve taken 2 trips to the Florida Gulf Coast. At the tail end of last year’s hurricane season, we found ourselves on a few of the pristine Panhandle beaches, with their blindingly white stretches of sand. And it’s funny how a few run-ins with Old Man Winter can send you scrambling for 80 degree weather anywhere you can find it. D was invited to a work conference in Florida, so mid-month we ventured further south to Naples.

Our winter warm-up began in Fort Myers. Right after landing, we stopped in to see Rick & Carolyn (remember them from Antarctica armchair travel post?) for lunch and a tour of Pelican Preserve.

What’s better than sunset and that warm late day glow on the beach?
I also noticed the Gulf was much calmer (like glass) in the mornings. As for the weather: bravo Naples! It was absolutely perfect every day.

Most of these photos are from my early morning walks. While I got my bearings with my new camera, the shore birds were busy fishing. NB: There are a lot of bird photos. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. They are unpredictable creatures and a good challenge to photograph.

Touchdown at Outer Clam Bay.

Our hotel calls itself a beach resort, but in order to stick you toes in the sand there’s a a 1/2 mile trip along a raised boardwalk. There is a 6 person golf cart (tram), but I found it was easier to walk on my own schedule. Even if you aren’t a guest of the Naples Grande, there is public access via Clam Pass Beach Park.

Quiet morning at Outer Clam Bay

On the Gulf shore

Conference dinner on the beach.

Hunting for sea shells (left) and scoring some breakfast (right)

Next up: alligators, pelicans and a fan boat. We’re headed to the Everglades!