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Introducing Naples

For upscale romance and the prettiest, most serene city beach in southwest Florida, come to Naples, the Gulf Coast's answer to Palm Beach or California's Marin County. As on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, development along the shoreline has been kept almost strictly residential. The soft white sand is backed only by narrow dunes and half-hidden, perfectly manicured mansions. More than that, though, Naples is a cultured, sophisticated town with a clear, adult sense of self. On the one hand, it is unabashedly stylish and privileged, a place where couture-wearing matrons clutching pocket dogs shop for organic vegetables. But it is also welcoming and fun-loving: families, teens, grandparents, middle-aged executives and smartly dressed young couples all mix and mingle as they stroll downtown's 5th Ave on a balmy evening, everyone queuing up eagerly for Kilwin's ice-cream cones just like anywhere else. Travelers sometimes complain that Naples is expensive, but it's equally true that you can spend as much elsewhere for a whole lot less.