We decided to take the scenic route through Fort Myers and drove the length of McGregor Blvd, hereafter to be known by me as "Race Track Road." Wow, those Fort Myers folks are in a hurry! McGregor is well-known for the tall Royal Palms that line the boulevard. They are quite beautiful.
After grabbing a deli sandwich at Publix, we continued on toward Fort Myers Beach via San Carlos Blvd. We did not get far before coming to a dead stop in a dreadful line of traffic that clearly stretched to Fort Myers Beach (FMB). FMB is famous for its traffic congestion, and here we were on New Year's weekend with clear skies and temperatures in the mid 80's thinking we were going to drive to FMB at 2:30 in the afternoon. CRAZY!
I turned around and headed back to I-75. Half-an-hour later we were in Naples looking for a parking spot near the pier on 12th Street South. Parking was very tight and I'd never seen so many people at Naples beach. But within 5 minutes we found a spot within 3 blocks of the pier. I stuffed the meter with quarters and we dragged our gear out onto the beach. It was beautiful, as Naples always is.
Coconut palms, sea grapes, well-irrigated lawns and landscapes, and a very upscale, relaxed crowd make Naples beach a pure pleasure. But I still locked my car.We sat on the beach for a little while, just to relax before walking to the pier.
The pier stretches 700 feet into the Gulf, and has been sitting there in one form or another for over 100 years. Today it was very crowded. I got some great photos, many of which you can see on my web page about Naples, Florida beaches. I created a slide show about half way down that page. Also, I'm working on an article about southwest Florida piers which will appear on the VISITFLORIDA website, which I also blog for. I'll post a blog here when that article appears.
I measured the water temperature near the Naples Pier and found it to be 74 degrees, which is about 6 to 8 degrees warmer than the Gulf near St. Petersburg--which accounts for why there were so many people swimming at the beach in Naples.
As we sat on the beach in the warm December air with coconut palms as a backdrop, I couldn't help but observe that there were probably about 200 million Americans who would eagerly give a months pay to trade places with us;-)