One of the fastest-growing metro areas in the country since the 1990s, the southwestern Florida city of Naples (look to the Paradise Coast Tourism Office for more information) has a population of just around 22,000, but is home to some 320,000 residents in the surrounding metro region. It's an attractive, temperate beach destination along Florida's scenic Gulf Coast, and a western access point for exploring the immense and naturally stunning Florida Everglades.
It's also the base for getting to beautiful Marco Island, which is home to some elegant hotels, golf resorts, and nature preserves.
The Naples area isn't one of Florida's top choices among GLBT visitors, but the area does has a great gay establishment for both dining and nightlife in Bambusa Bar & Grill (600 Goodlette Rd., 239-649-5657), which draws plenty of "family" to its karaoke nights on Fridays and Mondays, and Bitchy Bingo on Sundays. This is an excellent restaurant, too, serving far above-and-beyond the usual pub fare, with well-prepared and healthful renditions of a number of pasta, chicken, seafood, and veggie dishes. There's also an extensive martini selection, the kinds of tropical drinks that immediately spring to mind when one pictures a breezy evening in Florida, and a reasonably priced wine list.
This is the only current gay bar in Naples (since another, Snappers, closed), but Naples also has a terrific seafood restaurant with a very strong gay following, the Real Macaw (3275 Bayshore Dr., 239-732-1188).
This festive spot with live music on weekends and an inviting patio, serves creatively prepared Florida-Caribbean-inspired cuisine, such as Trinidadian crab cake and snapper with bananas in phyllo dough.
Also keep in mind that just 45 miles north, in Fort Myers, you'll find a few more popular options for dancing and drinking - here's a look at the gay bars you'll find in Fort Myers.
Naples is also just 2.5 hours from gay-popular St. Petersburg.