Next stop is Bonita Springs. This is just a few miles South of Fort Myers. You'll find sugar sand and shells along the ocean. Don't forget to catch a dolphin cruise.
A little farther South is Naples. This luxury town is just right for those of you that want an upscale vacation. After checking in at your hotel, take an electric trolley to Naples’ Fifth Avenue South where there’s plenty of shopping. Also be sure to take time to visit Norman Love Confections’ Naples Chocolate and Dessert Salon at 3747 Tamiami Trail North.
The drive from Naples to Miami is 195 miles. A beautiful route, but slow to see old Florida, The Tamiami Trail (U.S. 41) goes to Big Cypress National Preserve (check out the alligators) and Everglades National Park. Biscayne National Park is a must for boating, fishing and snorkeling before heading deep into Miami for some good food and pampering.
There is a brand new SLS Brickell, close to downtown Miami and the Design district. It has three pools on a deck where there are eight cabanas and al fresco dining. Shopping at Mary Brickell Village or Brickell City Centre is a must.
If you want to get into Miami culture, the Conrad Miami just launched a “1 / 3 / 5” program that immerses travelers in local settings for one, three or five hours. Activities include stand-up paddle boarding, diving, museum tours, boating and more. This hotel is also close to the new Brickell City Centre.
Time now to head down to Key West and the Casa Marina.
The 150-mile route from Miami to Key West is an iconic drive; it’s always scenic and sometimes slow since you’re traveling on a two-lane highway. But there are plenty of places to stop to imbibe, shop or dine, and if you catch it in time you might get some amazing sunset views.
Key West is lower key than Fort Myers and just a fun place to visit. The Casa Marina has a lot to offer, but if you want to take it up a notch go next door to its sister hotel, The Reach, for Spencer’s by the Sea, where you can book private beach dining.
If you don't like road trips, you can take the Key West Express Boat from Fort Myers. The cost of an adult round trip ticket is $155. Enjoy the sun deck or have lunch in the galley. The boat holds 400 people and has 2 climate controlled cabins. Check out www.KeyWestExpress.US for more information. It is recommended that you book your trip at least 8 days in advance. It departs at 8:30 AM from Ft. Myers Beach. Parking at Ft. Myers Beach is $13/day and is free at the Marco Island location. Boat time ranges between 3 and 31/2 hours depending on which port you leave from. There are several hotels close to the port in Key West.
So, whether you plan to drive through Southern Florida, or take a boat, you'll have a great time. This trip offers an alternative to a Bahama's cruise. You still have plenty of fun in the sun, but less time on the water.