In order to get away from our adult lives, my two best friends from college and I take a trip to Florida the Spring, so for those thinking about visiting, let me answer the question about whether or not Marco Island young adults friendly (and Naples as well). This was a trip more about relaxing than site-seeing, though one activity in particular, you’d have to be in Florida to experience.
To get to our destination, we took a plane (JetBlue really is the best, especially when you get bumped up to bigger spaced seats) to Fort Myers, which is about a 2.5 hour flight. Jord’s parents picked us up from the airport, and we drove out to Marco Island, about a 40-minute car ride away (more specifically Hideaway Beach). Hideaway Beach is basically a retirement community. We had been there before for Spring Break during college right around the same time (mid-March), and there are only the occasional younger people at the community pool or beach.
So what do Marco Island young adults do? Morning activities for the very young to the very old frequently include runs/bike-rides, golf, bocce, water aerobics, tennis and several others you would expect in a retirement community. However, even taking a walk is an activity- seeing the residential houses as well as the condos- houses vary from Italian style, to Prague rooftops, to modernized homes.
On Thursday, our activities consisted of simply going to the pool, laying out in the sun, and hitting the jacuzzi. The weather was pretty chilly (thus, the reason we never managed to swim in the beach itself the four days I was there), but you can definitely still get a tan. If it’s warm, just like any other place with a beach, there are several water activities you can do- i.e. last time we went Jord took me jet-skiing. My recommendation is if you’re looking for sun and warmth, don’t go in the beginning or middle of March- wait until just a little later– then it should be perfect (I experienced the same chilliness both times I went there during this period). Also, from what Jord told me, most residents leave Hideaway during the summer, as it’s actually too hot to live there during this season.
On Friday we decided to drive to Naples (40 minutes away) and hit the Waterside Shops (an outdoor mall). This mall had everything- especially luxury brand stores including Nordstrom, Burberry, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Gucci, Tiffany&Co, Hermes, Anthropologie, and several others. Jord was more on a mission to buy than me or Winnie, but even walking around the mall was a sight that took my breath away. The layout of the mall was high-class in and of itself, the way most people were dressed just to walk around made me feel happy that we all got dressed up as well, and to top it all, the central focus of the mall were fountains that somehow made you feel at peace and that you were in definitely in Florida, not some busy city.
After our adventures at the mall, we drove through 5th avenue in Naples (their main street), where you can go if you want to have a good meal or if you want to go to a bar. When we went there for spring break during college, we went to a bar called Paddy Murphy’s Irish Pub and some of the girls participated in a scandalous contest. Let’s just say if you’re in spring break mode, that place may be just the place you need to go to. We finished off the night by driving back and having dinner at the Hideaway Beach Club, where there’s a buffet with everything you could possibly want– salads, make your own pizzas, make your own pasta combo meal, different types of poultry and fish, appetizers, drinks, and several dessert options- and everything is delicious!
Saturday was our lazy day so I’ll keep it shorter. We attempted to go to an event which we would up being late for, and thus missing, and wound up simply hanging out in Jord’s indoor hot tub (big enough for what feels like 20 people) for a solid three hours. We finished the night by going with her parents and uncle/aunt to a restaurant called Mango’s. Their primary concentration is sushi, but really you can definitely find something on the menu if you’re not big on sushi. Their main attraction in my eyes is the soap in the bathrooms. It’s a mysterious, sand-looking thing that you don’t think you should touch, but after washing off your hands, you will probably instantly run (as I did) to any waiter in the restaurant to see if you can buy it. And guess what? You can. Apparently, lots of people do, so I’m not the only crazy-fascinated person by this soap (which by the way can be used all over your body). It just leaves you feeling like a cute, soft baby’s behind, and I’m all for that. Lastly, we we went to a bar called Sand Bar, with lots of young people as the night goes on during the weekends, several video arcade games, billiards (which then turn into beer-pong tables), and fish-bowl drinks, that are quite tasty.
Sunday was my last day, and we decided to do something interesting. We went to something called the Swamp Buggy Races. These happen only once a year, and we happened to get lucky and come at the right time of the year. Imagine an atv, except elevated by massive wheels several feet, that doesn’t drive on ground, but on and literally through mud. For a $20 entrance fee, you can sit for hours watching these races with all the different types of buggies to see their designs and to see who runs. The commentators are hilarious (especially when someone gets stuck in the water), and the high-school aged pageant girls (while somewhat full of themselves) give away raffles and also sporadically comment and try to get the crowd going in the stands. Ironically, Jord pointed out that they wear prom-looking dresses with high heels, and camouflage jackets to match. Anyways, it’s definitely a spectacle and a place I would come back to again, if and only if I have Win and Jord with me, and Jord’s amazing parents there with us.