No trip to Naples is complete without a jaunt along Fifth Avenue South. In fact, the street is so jam-packed with shopping and dining that you'll likely find yourself returning several times within one visit. Here are my top five tips for tackling Fifth Avenue South.
1. Pace yourself. Hardcore shoppers will need at least a few hours to explore every inch of Fifth Avenue South. If you're like me, you'll want to check out all the options before you return to a shop to make a purchase. And there's a lot to see, from the Native American crafts at Silver Eagle and the delectables at Florida Olive Oil Company, to familiar faves liike Chico's and White House Black Market. There's not much shade along the way, so load up on bottled water or plan to stop in a cafe periodically to buy a cool drink.
2. Enjoy The Best of Everything. Some stores are so afforadble that you don't even have to look at the price tag before you fall in love with an item. (Dollar Tree and Ikea come to mind.) The Best of Everything (747 Fifth Ave. S, 239-262-8771) is one of these stores. Full, but well organized, the shop stocks watches, scarves, jewelry and other low-priced accessories that look way more expesive than they actually are. I'm telling you – go in with a $10 bill and leave with several items. But one note of caution: All sales are final; no returns or exchanges are allowed. So I refer you back to tip No. 1.
3. Eat cheap. My husband and I recently spent a long weekend in Naples, and we agree that the best meal we had was also one of the best values. We took advantage of the "Veally Good Deal" at Cafe Luna (467 Fifth Ave. S, 239-213-2212): two dinners and a bottle of wine for $29.99. During the summer, a lot of Naples eateries offer pre-fixe menus, so regardless of where you go, ask about seasonal discounts.
4. Save room for dessert. Walk off dinner along Fifth Avenue South as you take in the music that spills into the street from Yabba Island Grill (711 Fifth Ave. S, 239-262-5787). Then go for some ice cream or fudge at Kilwin's (743 Fifth Ave. S, 239-261-9898), where lines can be out the door with folks looking for some late-night sweets; even the kids are out late. Everything's so rich that you won't need to order much. If you're like my hubby, you'll want to wash down the treats with some ice-cold milk. Here's an insider tip from a Kilwin's employee: Instead of hitting up a bar or cafe for an overpriced glass of milk, head to the CVS around the corner (294 Ninth St. S, 239-261-8610).
5. Choose a wallet-friendly hotel. If you're looking to stay close to the action, I recommend the Bayfront Inn 5th Ave (1221 Fifth Ave. S, 239-649-5800) The hotel is within walking distance of several shopping and dining centers. Non-Floridians in particular will enjoy the tropical-themed decor, and everyone will enjoy a great night's sleep. Seriously, I've never slept on a more comfortable hotel mattress. Check out the Bayfront's specials and packages, and you'll have sweet dreams about all the money you've saved.