Naples / Marco Island the good bad and the ugly.
Like tons of others reading and leaving comments about Naples I came here from other areas of the country. I have actually lived in Naples twice for a total of about 10 years, I have lived in all four corners of the US and in other countries, big cities and small towns, so I like to think I have the ability to write an objective review about the area.
The first thing I think anyone should know about Naples is that it is a complex little town and the people who live here make it far more complex than it needs to be. Because the grater majority of the residence have come here after making their fortunes in other cities they all bring with them the "where I am from we do it this way" attitude, and because most of them have been successful at whatever they did they honestly feel that they are correct all of the time regardless of if a better, less complicated way exists and they will expect you to conform to them.
Second Naples is highly conservative, right wing, and Republican, and will let you know it quick. If you are liberal or have liberal ideals you will be in the minority. It is so socially conservative that it took Hooters restaurants years and years to build and open even after they had acquired the land because they kept running into "issues". As one of the other reviewers mentioned no adult clubs exist and more than likely never will. That conservative attitude is not all bad however for the most part it is a rarity for children to be exposed to objectionable images, or sites that they may be exposed to in other communities. Plus it keeps the city and unincorporated areas very clean and tidy, but even with all of that said it does not exactly welcome the free exchange of ideas or other opinions.
Next thing you will need to know is that it is expensive because we have a high concentration of wealth everything is a little more expensive than in other places. If you want to shop or eat in other than chain stores and restaurants you will pay more. We have great local restaurants and stores as a matter of fact some are world class and are worth the money but they are not affordable for the average person to enjoy more than on special occasions. Rent and homes are above national average and we have far fewer open neighborhoods than association neighborhoods. Those associations on one hand are a very good thing they keep values up but you need to make sure you are ok with the rules and extra associated costs before you move in or you may end up unhappy with your new life in Naples.
The Naples demographic age wise is older if you are younger than 50 you are going to be a minority. Once upon a time not so long ago Naples was a retirement community and while the demographic is getting younger it is still up above average for most US city's. The Blue Hairs rule the roost down here it is just the way it is. You will need to be patient driving, walking, pretty much doing anything if you are a move quick kind of person or a impatient driver think twice before relocating to this area. Playing a round of golf down here is a special education in patients my advice is if you want to play at your speed play at 3pm in the middle of the summer you may get heat stroke but at least you will be at the 19th hole in under 6 hours.
Jobs: Some very good companies have moved in to the area but the vast majority of jobs are going to be service and support positions that don't pay a ton of money. Because the service industry is so big down here you may be inclined to think that means you can come and start your own company and that at some level is true, just understand that competition is wide and deep, the local laws are tuff and insurance is pricy. As I mentioned above we have tons of HOA's and most are moving to requiring vendors providing work on HOA property to carry 2 million in coverage, gone are the days of getting a million in coverage and working anywhere. Advice be independently wealthy before you get here or the best bartender in the country.
Much has been written about the city, and county law enforcement let me set the record as straight as I can. In 10 years total I have been pulled over once and I was speeding going well over the posted limit. It was 2am on a Sunday morning I was returning home from my second job and was not given a ticket. I was told to slow down and given a verbal warning. My wife in the same amount of time who speeds far more often than I do has been pulled twice and has never been ticketed. Our police officers do a fantastic job and are hard working, do we have a few bad apples probably but from what I have read they tend to be younger guys who are looking for action. If you take a good look you will see that a lot of our officers are guys who have moved here from other departments and are well seasoned and have done all of the young gun stuff and it is out of their systems.
Friendliness: Naples scores a little low but I think that it has a lot to do with the transient nature of the place. Naples has very defined "seasons". During the summer months (out of season) is the time of year when the snowbirds are up north Naples is far more friendly, service is good and your waiter will smile at you, neighbors wave, and stop to talk on the evening walk, and you can drive anywhere you want in under 15min. The stress for the most part is off. During the late fall through spring is Snowbird season this is the time of year when our population expands to tripple what it is out of season. Our part timers come back in droves crowding the streets and for some reason they bring a lot of stress with them. What I don't get is why they are so missriable when they are here, we don't have snow, the weather during this time of year is great and for the most part they are on vacation, you are supposed to be happy on vacation. These are the people who truly make it hard to live here these are the ones that the other reviewers are talking about. The attitude changes during this time of the year, locals get frustrated, snowbirds feel like if it was not for them you would not have a job and you would have a state income tax (that part is kind of true, but pointing it out is rude). This time of year that kills it for a lot of people and makes people want out. By the end of snowbird season you can't help to feel bad for every server, busser, bar owner, independent contractor, police officer, hospital worker, or anyone else who deals with the public they have been rode hard and been given no time to rest, and if you get bad service at the end May don't get mad at your server come back in a few weeks when the snowbirds have flown away I bet a new smile awaits.
Is Naples a fun place, it can be. Naples has some of the best beaches, golf, boating, fishing, and dining you will find in the US. It is not a nightlife Mecca as a matter of fact if you are looking for nightlife don't come here you won't find it. Our arts and culture offerings are growing but still in the infancy stage. We have a lot of society events and charitable black tie gatherings, if you want to be seen those are the things to search out. Like most other places we have things going on all of the time you just have to find them. Other than that we have a nice little water park, some underfunded museums, and an Indian casino out in the Orange fields.
So to wrap this up Naples is a clean, socially conservative, older, expensive place to live, but with all of that said I have come here twice and even though financially it is not the best place in the world to live something about it draws you in and makes you want to stay. It is a safe place to raise a family the schools are for the most part new safe and up to par, I feel good that my little girl can play outside and I don't feel like she is going to get hit by a car or stolen so what it lacks in some areas it makes up for in others. If you come bring patients and a smile you will need them.