Naples, Florida lies on the Gulf of Mexico in southwestern Florida. Although the city's population is only 21,653 (as of 2007), Naples is the center of a metropolitan area with a population of over 300,000 and serves as the county seat of Collier County. The city has long been a major tourist destination, with visitors enjoying its white sandy beaches and proximity to the Everglades. Those interested in moving to Naples will also discover an attractive place to live that was named one of America's "10 Best Undervalued Places to Live" by US News & World Report in 2009.
While Naples depends on tourism for much of the area's employment, other industries contribute to the local economy. Naples moving companies brings excited new residents to the area every day to work. A large percentage of the city's employees do work in the many hotels, resorts and restaurants located along the "Paradise Coast," as Naples is the main urban center for the local region. Technology and health care-related companies are also major employers for Naples. The technology company INgage Networks, the insurance company Health Management Associates and the medical equipment company Arthrex are all headquartered in the Naples area. Among the other companies based in Naples are March Aviation, Herbreau Creations, Loos & Co., Graybar, Lawson Aquatics, Gulf Coast American Fabrication, Interlocking Pavestones and Vitarich.
Although inhabited by the Caloosa Indians for centuries, the first European settlers, Roger Gordon and Joe Wiggins, did not arrive in Naples until the late 1860s. Although touted for its similarities to the southern Italian coast in the 1870s and 1880s (thus bringing about the comparisons to Naples, Italy), development of the town did not begin until 1887. In that year, a group of investors from Kentucky purchased most of the town's area. After building a 600-foot pier into the Gulf of Mexico for ships, property values, especially along the beaches, began to rise. In 1911, Barron G. Collier visited Naples and bought more than 1 million acres of swampland, including most of the town. He needed access roads to the town for his investment to boom, so Collier spent more than $1 million of his own money to open the Tamiami Trail. When the Trail opened, in 1926, it was the only paved road available between Tampa and Miami. Naples' proximity to the road furthered its growth.
Naples counts as major tourist destination for travelers looking to shop, experience nature, relax on sandy beaches and golf. The city's main shopping districts, which include luxury stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Gucci and Tiffany & Co., are at 5th Avenue South, 3rd Avenue South, the Village on Venetian Bay and Waterside Shops. Naples' proximity to the northern edge of the Everglades National Park makes it a major jumping-off point for nature excursions. Visitors can opt for manatee habitat viewing, dolphin encounters, nature hikes through conservation areas and swamp tours. Naples' beaches are possible the biggest draw, with six white sand beaches along the Gulf coast lying within the city limits. Golfing is also a draw, with more than 80 high-quality golf courses in the Naples area. Other activities in the city include art galleries (located primarily along Gallery Row in downtown), the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens and the Palm Cottage House historical museum. The Naples Municipal Airport only offers commercial flights to Fort Lauderdale, so most air traffic for the area arrives at and departs from the Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. Once in Naples, you can get around on the Collier Area Transit buses.