Although flea markets are as thick as, well, fleas around Florida, the Naples area only has one currently up and running, and that is Flamingo Island Flea Market, right off Interstate 75 at the Bonita Beach Road exit in Bonita Springs.
A classic flea market, it consists of two strips of covered booths – 600 spaces in all – known as the "Red Aisle" and the "Blue Aisle." On the buildings’ fringes, restaurants, produce stands and plant vendors hawk their wares.
The market opens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Down the Red Aisle at Flamingo Island — Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton
The largest restaurant, Bahama Mamma’s Tiki Bar, occupies a tent at the main entrance, with a bar and al fresco seating. It features live music and food with an island flair. Karaoke happens every Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Other restaurants and food booths are found mostly at either end of both aisles, including M & D’s BBQ; Gourmet Take & Bake Pizza; Orange Bear for New York-style pizza and Philly cheesesteaks; Jeb’s All-American Grill; The Greek Island Grille; and K & K Kantina.
Other places sell mini donuts, smoothies, beer, margaritas, pickles, hot pretzels, fresh roasted peanuts, seafood, Wisconsin cheese, gourmet food items, ice cream, hot dogs and burgers.
Strolling down the aisles, shoppers can find the usual array for electronic cigarette joints, leather goods, sunglasses, toys, luggage, cell phone cases, watches, clocks and jewelry. One booth sells sports memorabilia, another wigs.
There’s an Avon store, one specializing in garden flags, another in Santa Fe-style blankets and lots and lots of hats and beach cover-up booths.
The main entrance to Flamingo Island Flea Market — Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton
Much of the stuff is cheesy, such as the As Seen on TV inventory, but you can find some nice affordable gifts and home décor pieces if you shop carefully.
At Pictures Galore, for example, choose from a nice selection and even watch a painter at work. Flirty Toucan stands out among a slew of ladies' clothing options. Deals & Steals carries labels such as Birkenstock, Chico’s, Tommy Bahamas and Sperry Top-Sider.
Pick up bargains on household necessities at Houseware Bargains or Barney’s Kitchen Store. Tropical Gifts & More has a nice selection of wooden and metal home décor items with island style.
Collectors look for treasures at MP & D Coins & Jewelry; Vosburgh’s Antiques, Coins and Collectibles; Musical Dolls, Bears, Puppets, Night Lights; and American Fashion World for dolls and clothing for American Girl dolls. A number of furniture booths sell everything from mattresses to faux painting and hand-painted pieces.
Need your teeth whitened? A quick massage? Have a sick computer? Looking for insurance or air conditioner repairs? Miracle pain spray?
Head to Flamingo Island for everything you might need or didn’t even realize you did.