When Vacationing in Naples, Talk Like a Native

New to Naples? Master these Gulf Coast and Neapolitan phrases and soon you’ll be talking like a native — or at least, like a longtime snowbird.

Alligator Alley. Not quite as scary as it sounds, Alligator Alley is the locals’ name for Interstate 75 that extends from Naples (on the west) through the Everglades to Weston (on the east).

Grouper. The Florida Gulf Grouper is a type of fish related to sea bass. Considered a delicacy, grouper has become scarce in recent years. Recreational fishing for grouper is often restricted. There are occasional scandals when restaurants are caught passing off another type of white fish as grouper. Here are tips for avoiding fake grouper.

Key Lime. Little Key Limes are renowned for their appearance in tart/sweet Key Lime pies.

The lanai at the Tuscan Vacation Home in Naples, Florida.
The lanai at the Tuscan Vacation Home in Naples, Florida.

Lanai. Other places have patios, porches, or verandas; Florida homes have lanais. Covered, screened, and often protected by hurricane shutters, a lanai can be as breezy as a patio — or as private and well appointed as an extra sleeping room. The fanciest lanais include hot tubs or small swimming pools. You’ll also hear these called “Florida rooms.”

Marco. This is the short name for Marco Island, an island city in Collier County, just south of Naples. Celebrities, including a number of country singers and retired pro athletes, live on Marco.

Old Naples. This neighborhood, near the Naples Pier, is literally the oldest part of the city, dating back to the days before highways, when you had to take a boat to get to the city. All the east-west avenues in Old Naples lead to the public beach.

The Phil. This casual nickname belies the international reputation of Naples Philharmonic Center for the Arts, which includes a symphony hall and art museum.

Snowbird. This term, used throughout Florida, refers to people who spend most of the winter in Florida but their summers “up north.”

Stone Crab. Formally known as Menippe mercenaria, the small, sweet, delicious Florida Stone Crab is available locally from October 15 – May 15. But only if the octopi don’t get to them first.

Swamp buggy. Yes, swamps are buggy, but that’s something different. A Naples’ swamp buggy is very off-road vehicle designed to navigate both trail and swamp at high speeds. The annual races are January, March and November in Naples.

Tamiami Trail. Tamiami Trail North runs from Tampa to Ft. Myers, having evolved from its beginnings in 1918 as a shell-paved trail to a major commercial road. Tamiami Trail East, completed in 1928, goes from Naples to Miami.

Tin City. At the junction of U.S. 41 and Goodlette Road, Tin City is a shopper’s paradise featuring local merchants.