Port Royal, Florida

Living in Port Royal

Iyna Bort Caruso

On Florida’s Paradise Coast, Port Royal sits on the southern end of Naples, enviably sandwiched between Naples Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

It is an elite waterfront community of casual elegance, with equal emphasis on both. Depending on the season, one is as likely to spot a manatee drifting along a backyard waterway as a yacht.

Port Royal was the brainchild of John Glen Sample who acquired a couple of miles of mostly swampland, undertook an ambitious dredging project and turned marshes into a network of artificial peninsulas in the late 1940s and ‘50s. Wide canals and deep water access to the Gulf of Mexico for boaters were part of Sample’s lofty vision. He named the community Port Royal after the Jamaican village of the same name, notorious for providing safe harbor for privateers and pirates in the 17th century. Some of the street names pay homage: Rum Row and Spyglass Lane, for instance. But Florida’s Port Royal offers a very different riches in its treasure chest.

For starters, there’s the prestigious Port Royal Club situated on a Gulf-front beach. The club offers tennis courts, pool and dining. Dozens of championship golf courses as well as miles of pristine beaches are within an easy drive. Wildlife refuges and state parks abound. Downtown Naples with his art galleries, shopping districts and fine dining is about three miles away. The area is served by two airports, nearby Naples Airport and Southwest International Airport in Fort Myers, which is about 35 miles north.

Port Royal homes range from around 3,000 to 12,000 square feet. The first homes John Sample had built were modest Bermuda-style cottages and, later, British colonial architecture. Most of the earliest homes were torn down and have been replaced with custom-built estates over the years. Today’s styles encompass Mediterranean, Italian and ultra modern architecture. Waterfront residences with sprawling acreage can fetch prices in the mid-eight figure range.