Aspirational meet-ups: Florida’s Gulf Coast sunsets
Pictured above: Florida’s Paradise Coast, Naples, Marco Island and Everglades JoNell Modys, LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort; Terry Campbell, National Sales Manager; and VISIT FLORIDA’S Erin Owens and Sam May.
For “the perfect” sunsets, look no further than the Sunshine State. Home to almost 1,200 miles of coastline, Florida has big street cred on the sunset scene.
Groups and wedding planners don’t have to shift locations to anticipate their next event space either.
Along Florida’s Gulf Coast, a trio of places await.
In Captiva Island you won’t find stop lights, billboards or high-rises (they say the tallest structure is a palm tree), but sunset spots are a dime a dozen. At the South Seas Island Resort, located at the tip of Captiva Island, groups hit the soft white sandy beach that spreads out over 2.5 miles for the legendary sunset and luau. Minutes before the sun dips into the Gulf, a musician heads down to the water’s edge, plays a tune on his guitar and then – during the moment everyone has been waiting for – he blows into a conch shell inviting guests for the ultimate shell toss. Everyone makes a wish as the sun says its final goodbye.
The upsell: A Captiva Island tradition, the big ritual is known as the “sunset shellabration.”
In Naples, the city that’s been dubbed as the happiest, healthiest hub in America for the third year consecutively, groups have a field day of sunset choices.
At the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, wedding parties and group members are seen strewn across the white sandy beach for a nightly tradition. By the fine dining restaurant BALEEN, guests raise a glass of champagne to toast the day’s end. But that’s not all. Guests also say farewell to the day with the ringing of the bell at the nightly beach sunset celebration.
The upsell: LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort is the only luxury beachfront property in Naples.
At the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort Naples, golfers who complete their round of golf at one of the two 18-hole championship golf courses head to the main bar for what’s known as “The 19th Green.” This complimentary signature drink, which is best enjoyed during sunset, is a refreshing vodka-infused tipple with cucumber and club soda.
The upsell: The two 18-hole golf courses known simply as The Gold Course and The Black Course are uniquely designed by Greg Norman who might be spotted on the fairways, if you’re lucky. Golf clinics for groups are available.