Sporty Sweethearts

Michelle Avola
Ex Director of NPC

Whether you are in a new relationship, have been with that special someone for years, or you’re blessed with the opportunity to focus on treating yourself right these days, we can all get in a rut when it comes to planning something fun to do.

Since it is Valentine’s month – why celebrate something as wonderful as love for just one day – I thought it would be fun to write about some active ways to have fun with the one you love.

Have you ever tried geocaching? Think of a fun scavenger hunt, add some technology (just a smart phone or GPS), throw on your walking shoes and head out the door.

There are thousands and thousands of geocaches all over the world, and a bunch right here in Naples. Check out to learn more about it and find one near you.

When was the last time you went to the zoo? I mean, who doesn’t enjoy creatures and critters of every shape and size imaginable, from a safe distance, of course? If you haven’t been to the Naples Zoo in a while, put on some comfy shoes, make sure your phone has enough storage to take lots of pictures with your sweetie and the animals, and make a day of it.

Another fun activity to do solo, with that someone special, or as a family is a bike ride along the Gordon River Greenway. Looking for a longer route to ride? Stop by any of our local bike shops, community centers, or City Hall and pick up the newest edition of the Naples Bicycle and Tourism Map published in partnership by Naples Pathways Coalition, the City of Naples and the Collier Metropolitan Planning Organization.

This great resource shows where to find the multi-use pathways, sidewalks, bike lanes and paved shoulders across Collier County so you can plan a safe route to ride wherever you live.

Parking in Naples this time of year can be a challenge but finding a bike rack or post to lock your bike on is easy.

Why not take the map I just mentioned and pedal to lunch, dinner or wherever your sense of adventure takes you? Errands are just errands when you go by car but biking with your honey to pick up the ingredients for a special dinner you prepare together at home makes the errands a lot more interesting!

We can’t overlook the obvious simply because we live in paradise, but what about mixing it up a little? A sunset stroll on the beach is always great, but what about a late night stroll on the beach? Like looking for shells? How about making a friendly competition to see who can find the most of a certain shape or color, the smallest and the largest, etc.?

A few tips: low tide is the best time for shelling, only take a few home if you must but it’s better to leave them for someone else to discover, and if that shell has someone using it as its home, just take a picture and leave it be!

One last suggestion for something fun for anyone to do, signup for the Naples Bike Brunch that will be held on Sunday, March 3rd at Fleischmann Park. There will be rides for any fitness level: 5, 20, 40, 62 and 100 mile routes with well-stocked rest stops along the way and help from several Naples bike shops if needed, a delicious and hearty lunch catered by Moe’s, craft beer, music, a silent auction and vendor expo with games and prizes.

Visit for all the details!

Michelle Avola is the Executive Director of Naples Pathways Coalition (NPC), a non-profit organization that works to create safe, bikeable, walkable communities in Collier County.

For more information or to join, visit the NPC website at or contact Michelle directly at

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