Being a New Yorker, it’s a given that one would travel to the southern state that borders both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, at some point in their life if not on a regular basis. Whether it is for spring break, Easter vacation or being a snowbird, Northern residents tend to flock to where palm trees sway in warmer weather and the living is easy.
While some of the most headshaking news stories can come from Florida, it’s also a place where you can eat, play, shop and explore your way from coast to coast
Welcome to Miami. The east coast of Florida covers the spring break checklist: sun, beach, drinks, food and beautiful people. However, do beware of hotel packages that do not live up to their descriptions. Make sure the hotel is within walking distance of the restaurants. Sites like Expedia however, will compensate for vacations gone awry.
The freshly renovated Fontainebleau Miami Beach is a must. If the walls could talk at this luxury hotel, they would sing – croon that is. A known hang out of the “rat pack” in the 1960s, this iconic destination is situated ideally on Miami Beach.
A visit to Miami isn’t complete without a stop at Joe’s Stone Crab (11 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139). Originally a lunch counter started by Joe Weiss, who moved to the tropical area per doctor’s orders, to help with his asthma. After he and his wife got into the society crowd, with their homegrown lunches, he discovered the bay was full of crabs. The lunch counter grew and it’s still a family-run business. A perfect dinner at this landmark would be stone crabs, hash browns, creamed spinach and of course, key lime pie for dessert.
Have a hankering for stone crabs, and more, at home? Packed on dry ice, they can be shipped north (and elsewhere)! Visit joesstonecrab.com for more information.
Nestled along the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida is the formerly sleepy city of Naples, now known for its world-class culture and sophisticated dining. It is also welcoming to families and nature lovers. No wonder it was ranked the happiest place in the United States, according to Gallup, two years running.
Situated by miles of fine white sand beaches, the adventure in Naples begins at the intersection of Fifth Avenue South and Third Street, where high-end shopping within a historic district is found. There are numerous art galleries, over 100 chic clothing boutiques, and home décor shops.
Browsing the windows in this charming and elegant, southern section of Naples, can work up ones appetite. When it comes time for lunch or dinner, choose a chic resort or funky bayside bar.
Get outside before it becomes too warm, and there are plenty of activities to choose from. Whether it’s a walk, golf, or the ever-growing popular Pickleball. The US Open Pickleball Championships are held in Naples, and it attracts the best players in the sport, as well as Pickleball enthusiasts of all ages and ability. The company responsible for creating the event recently launched the US Open Pickleball Academy, which will offer destination camps, day clinics, lessons and leagues all with top instructors.
Pack the camera and the kids and head to Naples Botanical Garden (4820 Bayshore Dr., Naples, FL 34112) where 170 acres and 10 gardens welcome you. Naples Botanical Garden is a paradise that features plants from around the world. Take a journey through different ecosystems and delight in the Smith Children’s Garden where a brightly colored cottage garden invites the smallest patrons to play in water fountains, and watch butterflies flittering above in the Pfeffer-Beach Butterfly House.
After all this activity enjoy some downtime at the Ritz-Carlton. Local residents and non-resort guests* are welcome to enjoy traditional salon services and facials at the The Salon, located on the Lobby Level. Open seven days a week, the atmosphere is enough to immediately transport clients to a luxury experience that includes hair, nail, waxing and facial treatments.
*Membership may entitle clients to a full menu of options.
Visit ritzcarlton.com for details.