Naples + The Gulf Coast

Naples + The Gulf Coast Travel Guide

Thanks to its gentle currents, the beach is a popular and lively spot, especially on weekends. For seclusion, head to the gorgeous white-yellow sands of Long Boat Key.

Swamp buggies are cheap, jury-rigged affairs of old truck parts and giant tractor tires that have been used for hunting for years. On the racing circuit, they morph into bellowing dinosaurs charging down the straightaway.

Visit the ersatz European mansion built by John Ringling.

Top tip: The little-visited port city of Khasab, near Dubai, is almost unchanged from a century ago: You can still spot men hauling in their catch with handmade nets.Years as agent: 39. Specialties: Cruising, Private jet trips.

Intact remains of Florida’s mysterious pre-European inhabitants are surprisingly rare—that’s why the 425 or so graves are so special, not to mention the two ceremonial stones marked with engravings of sun gods that show how symbolic this riverside spot was for its first human settlers.

Once you’ve watched the Weeki Wachee Springs’ mermaid show, hit the spring-fed waters yourself in a canoe. This tour operator offers three-and-a-half-hour self-guided paddling trips that span about seven miles.

A miniature circus re-creates the Ringling operation in staggering detail—2,300 pieces.

Years as agent: 15. Other specialty: Small-ship cruises. Consulting fee: Varies. donnac@preferrednaples.com

More than 60 years old, the mermaid show is the main lure at this theme park, where a troupe (currently 17 strong) of aquatic acrobats in mermaid-like fins performs Esther Williams-esque routines in the pool.