Naples Florida
June of 2020

Photos taken in June of 2020 - Copyright held by Robert L. Vaessen


In June of 2020 (Jun 11-19, 2020), Kim and I took another one of our 'Retirement Scouting' vacations. We tend to alternate our bigger vacations. One year will be a leisure vacation, and the next year we'll have a retirement scouting vacation. While I'm not planning to retire anytime soon, Kim and I have been planning for some time now. We've got a lot of criteria for our eventual retirement destination, and that requires some scouting trips to check out one of the eventual locations for our retirement. We'll probably have two places, one for the summer (Somewhere in Wisconsin - Possibly Door County), and another along the Gulf coast, because it fits a lot of our criteria. This year's trip had us scouting locations and options in Naples, Ft. Myers and Cape Coral, Florida - R. Vaessen

More photos <> at Rob's World!

  • Kim and I didn't get many opportunities to enjoy the pool... The hotel where we stayed (A DoubleTree in Naples) had a very nice pool (and Hot Tub), but we didn't get a chance to enjoy it until our last day there (Last full day on the 18th of Jun, 2020). Thankfully we had the pool all to ourselves from 1000-1200. It was relaxing, refreshing and rewarding - After our 'Retirement Scounting' vacation. I especially enjoyed the hot tub.
  • Kim and I spent plenty of time 'working' during this 'vacation'. This was one of our 'Retirement Scouting' vacations. Here we are taking a break from the scouting work to enjoy lunch on the town. The shops and restaurants in the 'Tin City' section of 'Old Town' Naples were all independently owned/operated. Thankfully this scene wasn't infested with fast food and chain restaurants.
  • We didn't drink too much while we were on vacation. Here's Robert enjoying a drink with lunch (the Tito's Riverwalk Lemonade). It wasn't the best, but then again, I always think Kim got a better drink - She had a 'Lava Flow'. We haven't had those since our trip to Hawaii back in 2006.
  • The view from the Riverwalk was great. We had some excellent dock-side seats with a good view of the Port of Naples Marina. We saw plenty of boats and the weather was perfect.
  • The Segway tour (on the 16th of Jun, 2020) lasted a little more than 1.5 hours, and we didn't get done with our shopping until a while after that. As a result, we didn't manage to get lunch until approximately 1300. We stopped to eat at 'Riverwalk', one of the restaurants in the 'Tin City' section of Old Town Naples. The food was pretty good, the drinks mediocre and the prices a bit high.
  • The pier wasn't very crowded at all, and the 'crowds' respected everyone's 'space'. While the concessions carried the normal tourist fare (hot dogs, pizza and burgers), I noticed that the prices weren't too bad. $9.95 for a cheesburger and potato chips. Those prices are a bit lower than the Denver/Aurora area. We really didn't have time to eat (at the pier), and didn't want to spoil our lunch (after the tour), so we only spent a few minutes at the pier (as part of the Segway tour).
  • Southwest Florida enjoys some outstanding white sand beaches, and the Naples shoreline attracts plenty of swimmers, recreational boaters and people fishing for food and leisure. I wish we could have spent enough time to enjoy the coast more thoroughly. Maybe we'll get to spend more time on the beach the next time we visit.
  • I'm not sure why I took so many pictures of the beach and the pier. It might be because we've been living in Colorado since 2001, and I miss living by the sea (We lived in San Vito, Italy; Ft. Meade, MD; Pensacola, FL; Misawa, Japan). Most of my military assignments had us living close (within 5-10 minutes) to the sea, and we plan to retire (eventually) somewhere on the Gulf Coast.
  • The narrow Naples pier is made of actual wood. While we were there no fishing was permitted, but the small concession stands were open. Thankfully we didn't have to pay for parking. Apparently it's $2.50 and hour (billed $0.25 for every six minutes).
  • The Public Beach in 'Old Town' district of Naples had pristine white sand beaches. We were surprised that there were so few people. I don't know when the beaches opened, but it might be that it wasn't hot enough to attract large crowds yet (we visited during the begining/to middle of Jun, 2020).
  • Part of the Segway tour brought us to the Naples Beach and Pier. The pier had some pretty strict social distancing requirements. Thankfully there weren't that many people on the pier. We walked out on the pier, took a look around, but didn't stay long. The tour must go on!
  • Of course no one noticed. Kim and I have 'ridden' on many segways. This model is considerably smaller, lighter, more difficult to control and 'cheaper'. These were a newer type of Segway product (the Ninebot MINIPro?). I didn't care for them. More difficult to control. The panel where you place your feet isn't large enough to accomodate my entire foot, and that caused some control and comfort issues.
  • Kim and I enjoyed a leisurely tour of the Naples harbor area. It took us about an hour to complete the tour. We zipped around the quiter streets of downtown/old-town Naples. The tour started in the Tin-City shopping section, and we arrived early so we could do some scouting work (for shopping afterwards). The area of the tour covers Fifth Ave S. all the way down (south) to 14th Ave S.
  • A local favorite. The 'Seafood Tower' is served at many seafood restaurants in the area. A multi-tiered serving of seafood. Starting at the top with the oysters, I 'clawed' my way through at the expense of my diet. I love seafood and this place had some excellent offerings. This was the smaller (The 'Low Rise') of two different seafood towers available. The more expensive option (The 'High Rise') featured a 'High Rise' price of $105.00. Food in this area is certainly more expensive than I had hoped.
  • One of the restaurants we went to was the 'Bay House' restaurant. Less than a mile from our hotel, we were hoping to get a river view (of the Cocohatchee river), but we got seated at a less than favorable table near a serving station, as far away from the view as possible.
  • Having lived in the highly arid clime of Colorado's eastern plains (We live in Southeast Aurora, CO), we really haven't seen this kind of 'Jungle-like' forest in many years. I love trees, and I really liked the fact that there were so many in this area of Florida. Of course, the humidity felt great too. Kim and I have lived with cracked skin and dry air for way too long.
  • The Delnor-Wiggins State park isn't quite as isolated as this photo might otherwise indicate. Despite the fact that it looks like we're in the Jungle, we're only a few hundred feet from the million dollar condos of Verbilt Beach.
  • There aren't really any hiking trails inside the State park. Here, Kim and I are walking from one of the northern parking lots back towards the entrance (at the south end of the park). We only hiked a few miles, but it felt like it was further.
  • There's plenty of nice beaches in Naples Florida. Here I am enjoying a brief hike along the shore inside Delnor-Wiggins State park. Pristine white sand and clear waters make this beach especially attractive to swimmers.
  • Kim and I enjoyed our walk along the beach in Delnor-Wiggins State park. I just wish we had a bit more time to find and enjoy a beach that was a little less crowded. The further north we went along the beach, the less crowded it became.
  • The beach inside Delnor-Wiggins State park was very clean and well maintained. I can see why it was attracting such a large crowd. Kim and I weren't dressed for swimming, but we did get our feet wet as we walked along the beach.
  • Here's a view of the walking trail inside Conner park. We ended up following this group of people, but they were just as lost as us. They (like us) were confused by the trail which seemed to lead towards the Delnor-Wiggins State Park. Instead it was just a loop under the bridge and around Conner park.
  • The Delnor-Wiggins State Park had just recently re-opened (during SARS-CoV-2 pandemic) on the the 10th of June, and the park was packed. There were State police monitoring the entrance to the park, and the 'Social Distancing' signs indicated that people were supposed to be '50 feet' apart. As you can see from these photos, people weren't 50 feet apart.
  • The Delnor-Wiggins State Park was difficult to get into. When we went there (on the 14th of Jun, 2020), the parking was full. We had to park outside the State Park (at Conner Park) and walk in. Walking in cost us $2.00 per person, but the Park Rangers wouldn't make change, so I 'donated' a dollar ($5.00 total) in order to pay for entrance to the park.
  • These condos (Verbilt Landings &amp; Monte Carlo Club condos) are located along one of the canals in Naples, Florida. Situated very near the Delnor-Wiggins State Park. The Verbilt Beach area of Naples features multi-million dollar codos. With prices ranging around $4.5 million for a 2BR/2BA condo, Kim and I certainly can't afford to live this close to the gulf (not in Naples, Florida).
  • This view of high rise condos along a canal came as we crossed a small bridge onto a small peninsula along Florida's western gulf shore.
  • Conner Park in Naples, Fl. Offers an open play area where visitors can enjoy a game of 'frisbee' or simply kick a ball about. It's not set up for any sort of orgainzed sport or play, but the well maintained grounds make the area an attractive spot to relax.
  • Conner Park is a small public park in Naples, Fl. It's out of the way, quiet and walkable. It's main reason for existing appears to be it's use as overflow parking for the nearby state park. Other than that, its completely unremarkable.
  • While our suite had a large patio (with two sets of patio chairs and table), the patio had no 'exit'. I couldn't explore the grounds easily from our suite. The railing was just high enough to make it difficult to 'escape'. I didn't like the fact that we were on the ground floor, but there were only six suites with this floor plan. Next time we book a room we'll try to get off the ground floor. Despite the fact that our suite was advertised/promoted as 'River View'. It was pretty much impossible to see the river because of the overgrown undergrowth.
  • The bedroom with a king size bed was separated from the main living area, and there was a separate entrance/door that led to the bathroom. In general the bedroom could be sealed off from the other areas of the suite. That's good news for me and Kim. I'm usually awake hours before Kim, and the doors allow me to pursue morning activities without waking Kim.
  • The suite we rented at the DoubleTree had three rooms. A bathroom (first door on the right), the main living area (pictured here), and the bedroom (second door on the right). The main living area included a sink (kitchenette area), refrigerator and a desk/table, as well as a couch (sleeper sofa) and chair. Access to the large patio was situated on the left side of the living area.
  • We saw plenty of these ducks on our visit to the Naples/Ft. Myers/Cape Coral area. They roamed wild all around the Naples area. The more black the plumage, the wilder the bird. They whiter ones are more domesticated. They lived in/around the canals and rivers in the area. Our hotel was adjacent to the Cocohatchee river, and the ducks (with their odd red caruncles on/around their face) were a common site near the hotel.

Author: Robert L. Vaessen e-mail:
Last Updated: June 29, 2020