We had a lovely time on vacation, can’t believe we’ve already been back a couple of weeks! We went to Naples, FL. We were warned by many that there are a lot of retirees down there, which was true but suited our pace fine. John said many times that he could definitely retire there – beautiful beaches, warm weather, plenty of golf (golf courses after golf courses – what a shame thing to do to the native land, I say!), and the place itself (restaurants and such) is very nice.
We went to a different beach every day, usually in the morning in order to get back in time for Hayden to have a nap. We also went swimming in our condo complex’s pool, typically after nap and before dinner. There seemed to be plenty of families in our condo with small children, but unfortunately the place didn’t entirely cater to families. I agree with the theory John came up with, that because it is such a golf-focused area they don’t want to intentionally draw a lot of families in because it could turn off the people they really want to attract – golfers. There wasn’t a play area and the no baby pool, but we made do by swimming with Hayden in the beautiful big pool and walking around the complex with him when he would get restless in the condo. We took many walks around the complex, and it was funny because he started imitating the birds on his own. He was going “Ah! Ah!” and it dawned on us that he kept doing it right after a bird would make a “caw”-ing sound. So funny!
The photo above was the first beach we went to. You can see that he really liked the waves. What you can’t see in this picture is there were loads of sting rays that were patrolling the area right before the waves were breaking. So most people were staying out of the water. We only wanted Hayden to dip his toes in but as you can see he kept wanting to go further and further in, so that was a fun battle. 🙂 It was really crazy – the sting rays were not far from where he was. Of course, they are swimming up and down the shoreline so most of the time they were not very near but then they would come back and we would have to pull him away. We also saw a couple of dolphins on the last day, which was really neat. John had taken Hayden into the water and he saw something a little ways away. A couple of minutes later it came out of the water again and I was able to see it.
Apart from the beaches we went to the Naples Zoo. That was a nice place. They have these ‘primate islands’ and you have to wait for these boats to take you around to see the monkeys and apes, which was a cool idea. We also went to a nature center that was near our condo, and that was cool too. They had a butterfly garden which was really pretty. There was also a mangrove where we could see all these jellyfish.