On the Gulf Coast of Florida, you’ll find one of the most beautiful Florida seaside cities — Naples. Known for its shopping and beautiful beaches, Florida’s Paradise Coast is one of the hottest destinations for those looking to vacation, retire, or just explore. And while it’s known for its high-end malls and boutiques, there is so much more to do and to see.
From amazing restaurants inspired straight from Naples, Italy, to beautiful beaches and coastline, this is a great destination for all.
Whether you’re looking for a romantic vacation, a girls trip, or a family adventure, you can find it in Naples. Here are 14 things to do in Naples that you and your crew will love.
EXPLORE NAPLES PIER
Possibly one of the most known attractions to Naples is the historic Naples Pier. The views of the Gulf from here are amazing. Sunsets are beautiful, but sunrises are even more incredible. Its history of withstanding six hurricanes since it was built in 1888 also makes you feel just as strong.
The pier is located on the West End of 12th Avenue South and is among the top hang-out areas. It’s busy thanks to its concession stand, where you can grab a bite before heading onto the beach. It also has showers and other beach supplies in case you forgot a towel or your suntan lotion.
It’s important to note that while it’s a popular destination to cast a line, there are also restrictions put in place time-to-time about when you can and can’t fish.
STEP BACK IN TIME TO THE HISTORIC PALM COTTAGE
The Naples Historical Society has kept Henry Watterson Cottage, also known as the Historic Palm Cottage, up and running and open to the public, allowing visitors to take a real step back in time. The cottage boasts a number of names such as The Cement Cottage, The Parmer Home, and the Hamilton House.
Its long history dates back to 1895, making it the oldest home in Naples. It’s filled with antiques and is a classic example of tabby mortar construction, which is why it made its way into the National Register of Historic Places. Luckily this is just a hop and a skip from the Naples Pier, making it a great educational visit on the way home from the beach.
RELAX AT LOWDERMILK BEACH PARK
Naples, Florida offers fun and safe spaces to relax all day long. One of these places that comes to mind is certainly Lowdermilk Beach Park. This incredible beachfront park has everything you need to have fun in the sun. Located just steps away from the beach, there’s also two sand volleyball courts for fun with friends.
If you’d rather chill out and watch your kids play, that’s no problem. There are two separate children’s playgrounds here surrounded by picnic tables and benches where you can eat a snack from the on-site concession stand.
If you are on your way out from the beach, two public showers allow you to get sandy feet taken care of before entering the car. This is a great spot to park the car and hang out while bouncing back and forth from the beach to the park.
TOUR A MUSEUM
Naples has a lot of history. It was designed with the original Naples in mind, which is why you will see a lot of Italian architecture throughout this oceanside town. If you are someone who wants to take a deeper dive, then it is worth checking out a number of the museums here. I can personally attest to all of them.
The Baker Museum at Artis Naples is for those who have a taste in fine art. It draws crowds from Southern Florida, and frankly, all over the United States and the world. This is thanks to its focus on modern and contemporary art spanning three stories, 17 galleries, and 30,000 square feet.
If you are anything like me, it’s a creative’s dream when you walk into their art library offering over 4300 books on art and culture. It’s truly a remarkable sight, even for those who don’t have extensive knowledge of the art world.
At the Naples Depot Museum, you can learn how Naples was originally overlooked for quite some time — until two rival railroads chugged into town. Located in downtown Naples, the museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. You’ll find interactive exhibits, and lots of interesting information on how Naples came to be.
The Naples Depot is a part of a bigger museum collective called the Collier County Museums. It’s one of five others, but the specific Collier Museum at Government Center sits in Naples. This is the best for local history spanning five acres of Florida (Naples) evergreen land.
CHOW DOWN AT CELEBRATION FOOD TRUCK PARK
Food lovers rejoice, because this next one on our list is truly something else. Naples is a culinary center, but some of us can’t quite afford to eat $60 dinners every night. Interestingly enough, one of their best food spots comes at a much cheaper price. Celebration Food Truck Park sits at a waterfront park, letting the breeze take the aromas right to our stomachs.
A fan favorite is Mega Sabor’s Elote. This corn on the cob is slathered in butter and mayonnaise that allows for the dusted chili powder to sit comfortably under the Cotija cheese. With a drizzle of lime, this may be the best Mexican Street Corn you’ve ever had.
From cold hand-crafted cocktails to modern-inspired Indian food, there is truly something for everyone. This is worth fasting for and spending a few hours trying it all.
HIKE CORKSCREW SWAMP SANCTUARY
Ready to get outdoors and explore? Then consider a visit to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. It may not sound appealing, but it’s actually a great place to take a hike and walk around. While it’s 30 minutes east of Naples, it’s worth a visit!
This swamp is home to quite a few creatures, including hundreds of alligators. Other animals you may see here are otters, white-tailed deer, and red-bellied turtles. With a visit to Corkscrew Swamp, you are in the heart of the famous Everglades.
Watch out for the gators!
STROLL THE NAPLES BOTANICAL GARDENS
For those who like something a little less scary — but still outdoorsy — then turn your attention to The Naples Botanical Gardens. Here you can explore an incredible 170 acres of plants from all over the world. This award-winning garden has been celebrating years of horticultural design, while remaining sustainable in an effort to protect its beautiful conservation.
It’s worth taking the time to hit up Fogg Cafe to have a bite to eat or coffee while taking in some of the best views of the garden. To keep up with sustainability, the menu is seasonal, offering the freshest foods and ever changing options. Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, they do it all!
SHOP TILL YOU DROP
We mentioned that Naples is full of amazing shopping opportunities, and when I think of shopping here, quite a few spots come to mind. We can’t name every boutique and mall, but we can tell you some of the best areas to go.
If you’re ready to be inspired by Italian culture, make sure to visit The Village on Venetian Bay. This beautiful shopping center is as good as it sounds, with beautiful shops, both local and national, intertwined with great eateries that overlook moonlit waters.
For a high-end experience, check out The Waterside Shops. Here you will find cult favorites like LuluLemon, Lilly Pulitzer, and more. Shopping on a budget? It’s still worth visiting, because you’ll find beautiful architecture and water fountains, making it a great place for a walk, browse, or taking a gelato break.
The ultimate shopping experience lies on Third Street South and Fifth Avenue. Here is where the magic comes to life as restaurant-lined streets and shops attract visitors for blocks of entertainment and a fun evening out. Great for an evening walk, you are sure to find something to take home with you!
SAUNTER THE FIFTH AVENUE SOUTH
Did we mention that Naples is a fantastic place for art? At Fifth Avenue South you can find a handful of art galleries worth taking a look at. Appealing to all kinds of tastes, you can window shop or buy a piece of exquisite art by nationally recognized artists and locals.
For something on the high-end side, Cocoon is certainly on the list. From custom artwork to deliverable furniture, this is what fine art resembles.
On the other side of things, Naples Art is an award-winning non-profit that is meant to be art for the entire community. Naples Art makes a point to offer hundreds of workshops, demonstrations, and classes for those interested at any level. Conveniently located on 5th Ave, you can pop in and ask about any of these.
TAKE A NAPLES BOAT TOUR
Tin City is the ultimate antique waterfront shopping center for those in Naples. But besides all the food and shopping they offer, there are also a handful of boat tours that leave from Tin City. This is certainly one of the more beautiful ways to explore Naples! Tour companies will offer you a number of options, such as romantic sunset cruises or day-time trips around the bay.
Either way, the staff will give you both a chance to relax and give you a historical overview of Naples and its marine life. It’s also a great family activity as it’s not uncommon to see dolphins swimming off into the picturesque waters!
Taking a boat tour is one of the best things to do in Naples!
KAYAK THE TEN THOUSAND ISLANDS
Ten Thousand Islands is a National Wildlife Refuge that you just can’t miss when visiting Naples, Florida. With nearly 2/3rds of the park being mangrove forest, you can kayak while seeing tons of wildlife, such as birds and turtles, depending on the season. While kayaking is certainly a fan favorite, you can also come here to walk your dog along the trails or participate in any of the other hundreds of activities there is to offer.
Biking, fishing, hunting, and more are all fair game in the wildlife refuge. This is also a very popular destination for camping among families, as there is so much open space and so much to see. Spending a day here is certainly worth it when visiting Naples.
EXPLORE DELNOR-WIGGINS PASS STATE PARK
If you’re looking for one of the most pristine beaches in the world, look no further than Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park in Naples.
Enjoy amazing views of the Gulf of Mexico, check out the wildlife that calls the park home, or participate in amazing outdoor activities, like kayaking, paddle boarding, or hiking. Fishing and boating are also popular here.
Rent your beach chairs, umbrellas, and paddle boards from the on-site concessionaire. You’ll also find food and drinks for sale here too.
Make a day of it, and enjoy all the peace and beauty that Naples has to offer.
VISIT THE NAPLES ZOO AT CARIBBEAN GARDENS
While heading to the zoo certainly is a great family activity, The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is an awesome trip for anyone. This non-profit gets over 350,000 visitors annually, and provides an immense amount of experiences that other zoos may not offer. Here you can find a number of animals, botanical, and wildlife exhibits to explore throughout your visit.
Something interesting is the fact that they hold ties to African conservations, and offer planned group trips to places like Tanzania. Talk to one of the zoo rangers and learn more about a potential bucket list trip.
DAY TRIP TO MARCO ISLAND
The famous Marco Island has to be on the list if you are going to visit Naples. It’s a lot closer than Tanzania, and offers something different. It’s a part of the Ten Thousand Islands and is an Everglades aficionado’s dream visit. Of course, we mentioned kayaking here, but there is a lot more to see and do.
For those who love entertainment, visit the JW Marriott for sunset and catch the fire dancers perform. Open to the public, you can grab a seat at their Tiki Bar, order some food, and enjoy the beating drums. This isn’t the only beach bar, as Marco Island has an incredible food scene! Stan’s Idle Hour and Little Bar are two favorites.
And to end on the famous shopping note, it’s worth visiting the Italian-inspired section called The Esplanade. You can find retail, food, and an open-air courtyard here for a great evening out.
MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO FLORIDA
- MELBOURNE: 12 Sensational Things To Do In Melbourne Florida
- SARASOTA: 40+ Memorable Things To Do In Sarasota For A Weekend Of Fun
- ORLANDO WITH KIDS: 42 Things To Do In Orlando With Kids (Besides the Theme Parks!)
- VERO BEACH: 17 Awesome Things To Do In Vero Beach, Florida
- ST. PETE: 23 Outstanding Things To Do In St. Petersburg, FL
WHERE TO STAY IN NAPLES
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