It’s a cool day in Miami with rain in the forecast. So we decided to take a family trip to Naples through the Old Alligator Alley which is now called Tamiami Trail. It’s the old road that drives through the Miccosukkee Indian villages and the Everglades National Park. Overcast weather followed us through to our fist stop at the Oasis Visitor Center which is about 60 miles in to the Everglades. We spend about half hour watching the birds and alligators on the small boardwalk they have in front of the visitor center. The employees in the visitor center are very friendly and we got some important information about the park. Since weather was about 65 degrees most animals were hard to spot. They said we could see some manatees in the Big Cypress Welcome Center about 20 miles West. We made a quick stop but the Manatees were nowhere to be found. We were getting hungry and decided to drive straight to Naples without stopping in Marco Island.
I have been to Marco Island many times in the course of the past 10 years. It’s very nice if you’re a beach goer. It has a very long white beach with calm waters. If you’re lucky you can get the crystal clear blue waters if the wind is right. If the wind is towards the shore water becomes dark gray and waves pound the shores. Lots of people visit Marco Island and Naples for collecting shells. The white beaches offer shell pickers a variety of shells from the ocean. Along the beach you’ll see condos and luxury hotels that have their sun loungers lined up with beach umbrellas catering their guests. If you stay in the hotel or not, anyone can rent these chaise lounges and umbrellas. We usually like to lay on the beach on our towels but sometimes if the sun is very strong rent umbrellas and chaise lounges. When I lie on the chaise I usually fall asleep in five minutes. The outdoor chaise lounges on Marco Island is usually sling chaises made with resin frames where you don’t need a cushion. Once you go to the attendant and ask for chaises they bring the umbrella and set it where you like it. Also you can get drinks and food service if you like. We usually go to the beach bar of the Marriott where I eat dolphin sandwiches. The bar is next to the big pool in the property. It has beach access as well. It’s nice to sit on the patio and watch the beach as you are having your drink and sandwich.
The weather wasn’t beach weather so we decided to skip Marco Island and drive straight to Naples. When we arrived at the waterfront restaurant it was about 2:00 pm. We got our table right next to the water. The restaurant was very crowded. After eating our appetizers we had our main dishes. Salmon, sea bass, calamari, shrimps and steamed vegetables. The whole meal was very well prepared. I highly recommend restaurants in Naples. They serve quality food with reasonable prices. Once we’re done we drove to Naples Pier to watch the dolphins and fishermen. However the winds were too strong. The water was dark gray, and all we could see were surfers. It was very wavy and the surfers were really enjoying the rides. We lasted 10 minutes and decided to go back to the car. We drove to the main street and had some coffee to warm up. Then we walked through the restaurants where people were gathered around patio heaters. Around 6 o’clock it was time to drive back to Miami. This time we took I-75 which is the new Alligator Alley.