Go wild, break claws and enjoy a food holiday in Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City also known as the Paradise Coast, Florida.
The natural environment in and around the Paradise Coast creates the picturesque tropical dream worthy image equivalent to what you will find outside the United States. A Caribbean- esque destination yet you do not need a passport to go there. Although similarities are present; pristine waters, lush fertile land, white sands and daily sunshine(with some chances of precipitation), these beautiful islands elevates the similar aspects of the beachy, laid back lifestyle to one you never had before.
From strolling on the beach and hearing the sounds of waves crashing on the shores mixed with the subtle sounds of melodic tunes streaming from a nearby Tiki bar. The lifestyle in the Paradise Coast is more than what meets the eye, the ear and especially the mouth. From must try restaurants serving fresh bites in Naples, key limes in Marco Island and stone crabs in the Everglades. The Paradise Coast is flowing with sensational cuisine, focusing on seasonality, naturalness and superb quality.
Naples: A charming resort city on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico along Florida’s Paradise Coast. Here a flurry of new restaurants are bringing some fresh perspective to the Naples dining scene.
Some of the Naples area’s top local favorites are seafood centric, including The Dock at Crayton Cove, Riverwalk and Pinchers Crab Shack in the central downtown area, and farm and sea to table restaurant the Local. Other than reading about it here, only a local will be able to inform you about The Local. Led by Chef Jeff Micheal, the restaurant operates with no freezer in the kitchen. By doing this Chef Micheal emphasizes the importance of free range, natural, grass fed and other elements connected to serving fresh cuisine. Imagine biting into a signature fried grouper sandwich the same day the fish was caught. Now if this is not fresh, I am not sure what is.
Marco Island just 15 miles south of Naples, it is home to locally loved Jimmy Buffet , Sale e Pepe, Café de Marco, Crazy Flamingo and other great restaurants. In Marco Island expect the unexpected from classic Floridian meals such as key lime pie and fish sandwiches.
Key lime pies in Marco Island are the real deal. This scrumptious gem is made from the actual key lime fruit picked off the tree on the effervescent grounds of the island. The key lime pie you experienced before using the juice in the green bottle is incomparable to this refreshing treat. Expect your palette to tingle and become flooded with bursts off fresh tangy limes and sweet cream. Have it fancy or classic, but as the locals suggest you can never go wrong with a classic.
It is highly recommended to try the classic key lime pie at Snook Inn.
Also known as the Stone Crab Capital of the World is the ideal destination for seafood enthusiasts.
Grab, pull and gnaw, steamed stone crab served on a bed of ice. Sweet and delicious, stone crabs are prized addictive possessions of the Everglades. Freshly prepared like most food in the Paradise Coast, once you try a stone crab from the Everglades, it will be hard to wait for the next season. Stone crab claws are harvested during the annual season from October 15 to May 15, so it is not available all year round. Also only the claws are harvested from the stone crab, fishermen are required to return the live crab back to the ocean, where it regenerates new claws, for addicts to enjoy in the following season.
Between October 28th to 30th in Naples, you can get your fill and more of the sweet claws at Stone Crab Festival. Seafood vendors and restaurants feature fresh stone crab claws and other seafood and culinary treats, along with live music, kids’ activities, vendors and more.
Another festival where can get you can score more claws and other fresh eats are at the Everglades Seafood Festival which occurs in the first full weekend of February. At the festival prepare to taste the best of Florida’s flowing waters, from their locally caught shrimp, grouper and other sea creatures.
As cliche as it may sound, expect the unexpected in the Paradise Coast, it is a luxurious destination to fit every budget. Each island perfects their specialty by using simplicity and relaxed aspects of life and serving it in a manner unlike anything you have experienced prior. This is the destination for all to live a sun drenched, fresh and colorful lifestyle where you can pull and gnaw at a claw while watching dolphins swim by.
For more information on Naples, Marco Island, the Everglades, Paradise Coast visit www.paradisecoast.com
Alyssa Holder is a writer specializing in food and travel topics since 2015.