Good evening: Watching day turn to night over Naples
For world-class shopping, dining and golf, there are few destinations finer than Naples, Florida. In addition to all that, Naples features calm seas lapping against white sand beaches and the wilderness of the Everglades within easy reach. The sunsets? They’re just as spectacular as one might expect from this jewel of Florida’s southwest coast. Watching the sun set over the Gulf of Mexico is an unmatched treat everyone should experience at least once.
Best time to watch
At the start of the year, sunsets before 6 p.m. are the norm in Naples, happening around 5:45 in early January. By the end of February they’re occurring at about 6:30. They shift an hour later in March, when the clocks move forward, and by early April, daylight ends close to 7:45. When May rolls around, days are growing long and the sun doesn’t set until about 8 p.m. Those long days last all summer – as late as 8:20 in July – and don't start ending before 8 p.m. until mid-August.
The sunset times continue moving earlier through the fall, reaching 7:15 by the end of September and making it to 6:45 by the end of October. When the time shifts again in November, sunsets are pushed to 5:45, then to 5:30 by early December and as late as 5:45 as the month progresses, which is where they stay until January. In order to catch the whole sunset, it’s a good idea to check online or with the local paper to determine an exact time for the day you plan to watch.
Weather, seasonal and atmospheric considerations
Florida, like most tropical destinations, has spectacular sunsets and sunrises because air pollution, which can cause atmospheric interference, is extremely low. Late fall and winter have even less interference because the air moves more rapidly than it does in summer, meaning that the best sunset photos in Naples will be shot then. Keep two things in mind: First, cooler weather in Naples means temperatures only as low as the 50s – still not bad for watching sunsets from the beach. Second, it isn't necessary to wait for winter to catch a beautiful sunset in Naples; they're stunning year-round.
Best places to watch the sunset in Naples
Beginning the evening by watching the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico can be memorable, and the Naples Pier is sure to be crowded with sungazers – but Naples holds lots of viewing options.
Waterfront restaurants and resorts abound in Naples. The Turtle Club at Vanderbilt Beach has an ambiance perfect for a special night out, with some of the tables right out on the sand. The flagship restaurant of Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Resort, HB’s on the Gulf, is the only restaurant directly on Naples Beach. BALEEN, at the LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort, offers fine dining with beach views.
To clinch a spot during prime sunset viewing time, it’s advisable to make a reservation at any of these restaurants.
Want to watch the sunset from the water? Sunset cruises are available from several different companies.
- Sweet Liberty Catamaran has a two-hour catamaran cruise that takes guests through the Gordon River, past Port Royal and into the Gulf of Mexico. In addition to the sunset, passengers can expect to see waterfront homes, mangroves and, possibly, dolphins.
- Pure Naples runs a 90-minute narrated sightseeing cruise that takes off from Tin City to travel along the Gordon River and the coastline. These cruises depart five times a day, so make sure to pick the right one to be able to view the sunset along the way.
- Naples Princess offers passengers a two-hour dinner cruise on a 105-foot luxury yacht where they can enjoy a chef-selected double-entrée meal as the cruise carries them through Port Royal, Naples Bay and Royal Harbor out into Gordon Pass and finally into the Gulf of Mexico.