Things to do in Naples Florida are abundant. Nestled on the southwest coast of Florida, Naples is a gem of a city that offers a blend of chic urban charm and the laid-back tranquility of beach life. Known for its high-end shopping, world-class culture, and sophisticated dining, Naples is a top vacation destination in Florida that never fails to captivate its visitors.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, an art lover, or a foodie, Naples is ready to captivate you with its plethora of attractions. Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the finest experiences and must-see destinations that make Naples an unforgettable vacation destination in the Sunshine State.
The history of Naples, located on the southwest coast of Florida, is as vibrant as the city itself. Initially inhabited by the Calusa Indians, the modern city of Naples was founded in the late 1880s by former Confederate General John Stuart Williams and his business partner Walter N. Haldeman, the publisher of the Louisville Courier-Journal. Inspired by the bay’s striking resemblance to the Bay of Naples in Italy, they named the city Naples.
Naples’ Development as a Resort Town
Naples’ development as a resort town began in earnest in the 1920s during the Florida land boom. The construction of the Tamiami Trail, which connected Naples to Miami, and the Seaboard Air Line Railway’s arrival significantly boosted the city’s growth as a vacation destination.
Today, Naples is known for its beautiful beaches, including the iconic Naples Pier, a favorite spot for fishing and dolphin watching. The city’s downtown area, particularly Fifth Avenue South, is a hub of activity with high-end shops, art galleries, and restaurants.
Naples is also home to several historical attractions. The Naples Depot Museum in the restored Seaboard Air Line Railway passenger station offers a glimpse of the city’s transportation history. The Naples Historical Society’s Historic Palm Cottage, the oldest house in Naples, provides a window into the city’s past.
Culturally, Naples holds a significant place in the United States. It has been named the “#1 small arts town in America,” thanks to its vibrant arts scene. The city is home to the Naples Philharmonic, the Baker Museum, and the Naples Art Association, among others.
Whether exploring the Naples Botanical Garden, taking a guided tour of the Everglades, or simply enjoying a day at the beach, you’ll find that the city’s rich history and cultural significance add more depth to your experience. Indeed, a trip to Naples is not just about what you do; it’s also about understanding and appreciating the city’s journey and its place in the broader tapestry of Southwest Florida’s history.
Outdoor & Water Activities in Naples, Florida
Naples, FL, is a paradise for lovers of the outdoors. The city and surrounding areas offer many outdoor and water activities catering to all travelers. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker looking for your next adventure, a nature enthusiast wanting to explore Florida’s unique ecosystems, or a family searching for fun and educational activities, Naples has you covered.
Just a short drive from downtown Naples, Marco Island is the largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands. Known for its beautiful beaches, crystal clear waters, and abundant wildlife, Marco Island is a must-visit for anyone looking for a day of fun and relaxation. Whether sunbathing on the white sand beach, exploring on a kayak through the mangrove forests, or simply enjoying the stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island offers a slice of paradise that’s hard to resist.
The Dome Houses of Cape Romano
The Dome Houses of Cape Romano are not technically on Marco Island. They are on the next island, Ten Thousand Island, which is only accessible via water.
Sadly, as expected, The Cape Romano Dome Home has been destroyed and now lies at rest. The iconic dome homes at Cape Romano didn’t make it through Hurricane Ian. Ian was too much, and the once beloved attraction and historical building are now permanently underwater.
The Dome Homes survived Hurricane Charley in 2005, Wilma a year later — when it made U.S. landfall at Cape Romano — and Irma in 2017.
Hurricane Ian claimed the homes in September 2022.
Don’t despair; you can still view them underwater as they take a new shape as a reef.
The Naples Botanical Garden is a 170-acre paradise that showcases the plants and cultures of the tropics and subtropics. Here, you can stroll through themed gardens such as the Asian, Brazilian, and Florida. The Naples Botanical Garden is a place of beauty and a center for education and conservation. It’s a great place for kids and adults to learn about plants’ importance and role.
These are just a couple of the outdoor and water activities that Naples has to offer. As you explore the city and its surroundings, you’ll discover endless possibilities for adventure and discovery. Whether you’re visiting Naples for a day or staying for a week, you’ll find that there’s always something new and exciting to do in this vibrant city on the southwest coast of Florida.
One of the best things to do in Naples, FL, is to watch the sunset at the Naples Pier. This iconic Naples attraction extends into the Gulf of Mexico and offers stunning views, significantly as the sun dips below the horizon. It’s a perfect spot for a romantic evening or a peaceful end to a day of exploring Naples.
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park is a must-visit for nature lovers. Located in North Naples, this Florida State Park is a haven for wildlife and offers a variety of outdoor activities. Here are some of the things you can do:
- Bird Watching: The park is home to various bird species, making it a paradise for bird watchers.
- Fishing: With its location along the Gulf of Mexico, the park offers excellent fishing opportunities.
- Beach Picnics: The park’s pristine beach is perfect for a relaxing picnic.
- Hiking: Explore the park’s nature trails and immerse yourself in the beauty of Southwest Florida’s ecosystems.
- Kayaking: Navigate the park’s waterways with a kayak and get close to its aquatic life.
While exploring, remember to stay hydrated. Carrying a reusable filtered water bottle can ensure access to clean water, reducing the need for single-use plastic bottles. So, whether hiking the trails or picnicking on the beach, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park offers a memorable experience with nature.
Visit Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
If you’re looking for a unique blend of hiking and bushcraft opportunities in Naples, Florida, the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a must-visit. This 110,000-acre reserve is a haven for wildlife and a paradise for nature lovers. It offers a variety of trails that wind through diverse habitats, including mangrove forests, uplands, and the waters of Rookery Bay.
The reserve is a fantastic place to practice bushcraft skills. The dense mangrove forests provide ample opportunities for shelter-building, while the abundant wildlife makes for excellent tracking and observation practice. The reserve also offers guided tours and educational programs to enhance bushcraft knowledge, particularly about local flora and fauna.
While exploring the reserve, remember to follow Leave No Trace principles to preserve the area’s natural beauty. And, of course, always ensure you have the right gear for your adventure; check out this article on the best bushcraft backpacks to ensure you are prepared.
If you’re planning an overnight trip or a larger group expedition, a spacious and sturdy shelter can enhance your outdoor experience. This excellent guide on the best 10-person tents will help you accommodate your large group.
The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a gem in Southwest Florida’s conservation landscape. Home to North America’s largest remaining stand of bald cypress, the sanctuary offers a 2.25-mile boardwalk where visitors can observe various wildlife, including alligators and many bird species. A visit to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is not just a fun thing to do; it’s also an opportunity to learn about the importance of conservation.
Lowdermilk Beach Park is one of the top Naples attractions for those seeking a day of relaxation. This beach park offers white sand, calm waters, and many amenities, including picnic tables and a volleyball court. Lowdermilk Beach Park is the perfect place to unwind, whether looking to soak up the Florida sun, read a book under a palm tree, or enjoy a family picnic.
Naples is known as the “Pickleball Capital of the World,” for good reason. The city has a thriving pickleball community, with numerous courts and clubs dedicated to this fun and accessible sport. Whether a seasoned player or a beginner, joining a pickleball game is a great way to stay active and meet locals while visiting Naples.
To enhance your pickleball experience and make it even easier to find partners and courts, check out this article on the best pickleball apps available. These apps can connect you with fellow players, help you locate nearby courts, and provide valuable resources for improving your skills. So don’t miss out on the opportunity to become a part of Naples’ vibrant pickleball scene!
Naples, Florida, is a family-friendly destination that offers a wide range of experiences for kids and adults alike. From outdoor adventures to educational attractions, The Naples area ensures every family member has something to look forward to. Whether you’re planning a day trip or a more extended stay, Naples offers a variety of fun things to do that will keep the whole family entertained.
Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is a water park that is one of the best things you can do in Naples with kids. With its lazy river, multiple water slides, and a splash playground for the little ones, this attraction is a favorite among locals and visitors. The park also features a pool for lap swimming and a diving well, catering to different interests and skill levels. Whether looking to cool off on a hot day or seeking an adrenaline rush, Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is a great place for kids and adults to enjoy.
The Village on Venetian Bay is more than just a shopping destination. Located on the waterfront, this open-air shopping district offers a variety of family-friendly activities. Kids will love the toy store and the sweet shop, while adults can browse the many boutiques and art galleries. The Village hosts regular events, including holiday celebrations and live music performances. With its beautiful bay views, visiting the Village on Venetian Bay is a perfect way to spend a day in Naples with the family.
The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a must-visit destination for families. This remarkable zoo offers a captivating experience where you can observe and learn about diverse wildlife. The zoo provides an up-close encounter with nature’s wonders, from lions and giraffes to monkeys and alligators.
Nestled in Naples, Florida, the Bird Gardens of Naples is a hidden gem for bird enthusiasts. This sanctuary is dedicated to rehabilitating, conserving, and educating about exotic and domestic bird species. Immerse yourself in the serene and lush surroundings as you encounter majestic macaws, colorful cockatoos, graceful flamingos, and curious parakeets.
Engage in interactive experiences like hand-feeding parrots and attend educational presentations to learn more about these fascinating creatures and conservation efforts. The sanctuary is vital in rehabilitating injured birds and promoting avian conservation awareness.
Explore the sanctuary’s beautifully landscaped gardens, tranquil ponds, and shaded pathways that create a peaceful atmosphere. Every visit supports their mission, contributing to the well-being of these magnificent birds.
Suppose you’re a bird lover or simply seeking a unique educational experience. In that case, the Bird Gardens of Naples, in conjunction with its collaboration with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, is a must-visit destination. Delight in the beauty, intelligence, and charm of these avian residents in this haven of tranquility while supporting their ongoing conservation endeavors.
Museums & Historical Sites
Museums and historical sites play a crucial role in connecting us with the past and present of a location. They offer a window into the history, culture, and lifestyle of the people there. Naples, Florida, is home to several such institutions that provide visitors with a deeper understanding of the city and its evolution over time.
The Baker Museum, part of the Artis—Naples campus, is a must-visit for art lovers. The museum houses a diverse art collection, including modern and contemporary works. It also has a glass dome conservatory and a Persian Ceiling by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Visiting the Baker Museum is not just about viewing art—it’s about experiencing the transformative power of creativity and innovation.
Located in downtown Naples, the Naples Depot Museum takes visitors through the city’s transportation history. Housed in the restored Seaboard Air Line Railway passenger station, the museum features a range of exhibits that showcase the impact of railroads on Southwest Florida. The Naples Depot Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the past, from Seminole dugout canoes to a restored rail car. It’s a perfect place for history buffs and families alike.
Palm Cottage, managed by the Naples Historical Society, is the oldest house in Naples and a vital part of the city’s history. This charming landmark offers a glimpse into the early days of Naples, making it a must-visit for history enthusiasts.
The Revs Institute for Automotive Research is a dream come true for car enthusiasts. The museum houses one of the world’s largest collections of significant automobiles. It’s a place to admire cool cars and a center for scholarly research and historical study.
The Marco Island Historical Museum tells the story of Marco Island’s development and showcases its rich history. From its Native American roots to its growth as a tourist destination, the museum offers a comprehensive look at the island’s past.
Take Photos at Matlacha Village
Matlacha Village is a vibrant and colorful fishing village perfect for photo ops. With its brightly painted buildings, art galleries, and waterfront views, it’s a charming spot that captures the laid-back vibe of Southwest Florida.
Naples, Florida, is not just about beaches and nature; it’s also a paradise for shoppers and lovers of local markets. The city offers a variety of shopping experiences, from high-end boutiques to unique local shops, ensuring visitors can find something special to take home. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends and unique art pieces or want to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of local markets, Naples has got you covered.
Fifth Avenue South is the heart of Naples’ shopping scene. This irresistible mix of glamour and laid-back ease is the perfect place to spend a day exploring. The avenue stretches from Tamiami Trail to the Gulf of Mexico in Old Naples and is home to upscale fashion and jewelry stores, spas, unique gift shops, art galleries, and home décor stores. Whether you’re looking for a one-of-a-kind gift, the latest fashion trends, or want to enjoy the tropical blooms and lush greenery that grace the pedestrian-friendly promenades, Fifth Avenue South has something for everyone. The avenue is also known for its fine dining and entertainment options, making it a must-visit destination in Naples.
For a unique shopping experience in Naples, don’t miss a visit to Tin City, an iconic waterfront marketplace. This historic district, once the hub of Naples’ fishing industry, has been transformed into a haven for shoppers and food lovers. With over 30 eclectic local shops, you can find everything from handmade soaps and candles to beachwear and jewelry. The “tin city” is also home to several waterfront restaurants where you can enjoy fresh seafood with a view of Naples Bay. Exploring Tin City is a must if you’re looking for things to do in Naples, FL. It’s a perfect place to spend the entire day immersing yourself in the local culture, history, and flavors of Southwest Florida.
Naples, Florida, is not just about sun-kissed beaches and outdoor adventures. The city transforms into a vibrant nightlife and entertainment hub as the sun sets. Some of the most popular activities include:
- Fifth Avenue South: Along with shopping, the heart of Naples’ nightlife is this vibrant street with various bars, clubs, and restaurants that come alive as the sun sets. Many venues here feature live performances from local and visiting musicians, offering everything from jazz and blues to rock and pop.
- Blue Martini: An upscale lounge known for its vibrant atmosphere, live music, and extensive martini menu. Blue Martini is the perfect place to dance the night away, with a buzzing dance floor and a calendar packed with live performances.
- Off the Hook Comedy Club: This venue hosts performances from some of the best comedians in the country, offering an excellent opportunity to unwind and enjoy some top-notch entertainment.
From live music performances to bustling bars and clubs, Naples offers a diverse range of nighttime activities that cater to all tastes. Whether you’re a fan of jazz music, love to dance the night away, or prefer a quiet evening with a glass of wine, Naples has something for everyone.
One of the highlights of Naples’ entertainment scene is the annual Stone Crab Festival. This beloved Naples tradition is a weekend-long celebration of food, fun, and, of course, the star of the show, the Stone Crab. The festival starts with the traditional cracking of the first Stone Claw, followed by live music performances at Tin City by Tobacco Road Band.
Visitors can indulge in delicious seafood, enjoy live entertainment, explore arts and crafts vendors, and take advantage of discounted rentals at Pure Naples. The festival also provides an excellent opportunity to explore the shops, sites, and activities in and around the beautiful Naples waterfront area. Founded in the 1880s, the Naples waterfront is now bustling with local restaurants, fishing and cruise boats, attractions, galleries, and events. The Stone Crab Festival is a fantastic way to experience Naples’ vibrant nightlife and community spirit.
The Sugden Community Theatre, home to The Naples Players, is a must-visit attraction in Naples, Florida. This vibrant community theatre is renowned for its high-quality productions, from classic plays to contemporary musicals. Known for their superior theatre experience, The Naples Players offer a variety of shows that cater to different tastes. From the timeless retelling of Victor Hugo’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” to the romantic fairytale “Beauty & the Beast, Jr.” their productions will captivate and entertain.
The theatre’s commitment to enriching, educating, and entertaining the community is evident in its diverse programming and educational programs for youth and adults. Whether you’re a theatre enthusiast, a casual viewer, or looking for fun things to do in Naples with kids, the Sugden Community Theatre offers an unforgettable experience. Conveniently located on 5th Avenue South, one of the best things to do in Naples, it’s a perfect stop for exploring downtown Naples.
Naples isn’t just about stunning beaches and vibrant nightlife; it’s also the “#1 small arts town” in America. This vibrant arts scene, led by organizations like the Naples Art Association, provides a unique cultural flavor to the city’s entertainment options.
The Naples Art Association offers a variety of activities and experiences for art enthusiasts and aspiring artists alike. Here are some things you can do:
- Attend art exhibitions showcasing local and national artists.
- Participate in art workshops and classes for all skill levels.
- Join art festivals and community events.
- Explore the local art scene during Art After Hours, a free evening of art gallery viewings and openings.
- Visit the von Liebig Art Center, home to the Naples Art Association, featuring galleries, a library, and an art resource room.
This artistic vibrancy makes Naples a hub for a diverse range of talents, including those starting their careers as content creators. If you’re an aspiring content creator, Naples offers endless inspiration. And for those looking to master the art and business of content creation, ContentCreator.com provides online courses to help you succeed in today’s digital world. So, while enjoying Naples’ entertainment options, don’t forget to explore its rich arts scene and the learning opportunities it offers.
Dining and Cuisine
Exploring the local cuisine is an integral part of experiencing Naples, Florida. The city’s culinary landscape is as diverse as it is delicious, offering many dining options that cater to every palate. With over 700 restaurants in Naples alone, you’ll never be at a loss for a meal to suit every mood. Whether you’re looking for the best breakfast in Naples or an elegant special occasion dinner on the beach, there’s a Naples restaurant. Here are some highlights to explore:
- Authentic Italian Restaurants: Naples is known for its authentic Italian cuisine. Indulge in delicious pasta, wood-fired pizzas, and homemade gelato at renowned Italian restaurants in the city.
- Seafood Eateries: With its coastal location, Naples offers fantastic seafood options. From fresh catch-of-the-day to succulent shrimp and lobster, seafood lovers will be in culinary heaven.
- Celebration Food Truck Park: For a fun and casual hangout, visit Celebration Food Truck Park. This happening spot features a variety of food bites from about a dozen excellent quality food trucks.
Craft Breweries In Naples Florida
Naples has a thriving craft beer scene. Check out these breweries for unique and flavorful beers:
- Riptide Brewery: A local favorite with two locations in central Naples and nearby Bonita Springs. They occasionally host Trivia Nights and live music for a vibrant atmosphere.
- Bone Hook Brewing Co.: Located on Vanderbilt Beach Road, this brewery offers a selection of excellent craft beers.
- Ankrolab Brewing Co.: Known for its serious approach to beer crafting, Ankrolab Brewing Co. offers a wide array of unique beer styles, ciders, hard sodas, and sours. *Note, Ankrolab Brewing Co. is closed, and unclear if it will reopen.
Experience the charm of old-world France at The French Brasserie Rustique in Naples, Florida. This restaurant offers a menu filled with classic French dishes prepared with a modern twist. The rustic yet elegant atmosphere and the exceptional service make it a perfect spot for a romantic dinner or a special celebration. Don’t miss their signature dishes like the Duck à l’Orange or the Bouillabaisse.
Try Seafood at Truluck’s
A visit to Truluck’s in Naples is a must for seafood lovers. This upscale restaurant is known for its fresh, sustainably sourced seafood and its commitment to providing an exceptional dining experience. Enjoy a variety of dishes from their menu, from succulent crab to fresh-caught fish. Don’t forget to check out their Happy Hour, where you can enjoy 25% off on all spirits under $25, wines by the glass, and chef-selected small plates. Truluck’s also offers live piano entertainment from Thursday to Saturday, adding to the overall dining experience.
Finding suitable accommodation is vital to a memorable travel experience. Naples offers a range of options to suit every traveler’s needs and budget. Below is an overview of some popular choices among travelers in Naples, Florida.
The Ritz-Carlton brand is synonymous with luxury, and the Ritz-Carlton Naples is no exception. Situated on the pristine white sands of Vanderbilt Beach, this elegant resort offers a truly indulgent experience. Guests can choose from well-appointed rooms and suites, each exuding sophistication and comfort. The resort features a world-class spa, multiple pools, a private beach, and various dining options to cater to every palate. Whether you’re looking to relax by the poolside, enjoy a rejuvenating spa treatment, or savor gourmet cuisine, the Ritz-Carlton Naples provides a refined retreat for discerning travelers.
The Inn on Fifth is charming for those seeking a more intimate and boutique experience. Located in the heart of downtown Naples on Fifth Avenue South, this luxurious hotel offers a perfect blend of elegance and convenience. The Inn features beautifully appointed rooms and suites, many with balconies overlooking the lively street below. Guests can enjoy various amenities, including a rooftop pool, a full-service spa, and fine dining options. With its prime location, guests can easily explore the vibrant shopping, dining, and entertainment scene Naples offers.
Nestled on 125 acres of lush tropical grounds, The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is an iconic property with a rich history. This beachfront resort boasts breathtaking views of the Gulf of Mexico and offers many recreational activities for guests. The accommodations range from comfortable guest rooms to spacious suites with private balconies or patios. The resort features an 18-hole championship golf course, a full-service spa, multiple swimming pools, and several dining options. The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is a favorite among leisure and business travelers with its laid-back atmosphere and natural beauty.
What are the best things to do in Naples, FL?
Naples, FL, offers various activities and attractions. Some of the best things to do in Naples, FL, include visiting the beach, exploring the Naples Zoo, shopping at Tin City, and exploring the Collier County Museum.
Are there any must-visit attractions in Naples?
Yes, there are several must-visit attractions in Naples, FL. These include the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, Naples Pier, Naples Depot Museum, Naples Botanical Garden, Baker Museum, and the Bird Gardens of Naples.
What is the Conservancy of Southwest Florida?
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting Southwest Florida’s natural resources. They offer educational programs and wildlife rehabilitation and work to preserve the unique ecosystems in the area.
Is there a brewery in Naples, FL?
Yes, Naples Beach Brewery is in Naples, FL. They offer a variety of craft beers and a taproom where visitors can enjoy a drink.
What is the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary?
The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a nature preserve near Naples, FL. It is home to North America’s largest remaining old-growth bald cypress forest and offers boardwalks for visitors to explore the unique wetland habitat.
What is Clam Pass Park?
Clam Pass Park is a beach and nature preserve in Naples, FL. It is known for its beautiful white sand beach and scenic boardwalk that runs through a coastal habitat. Visitors can swim, sunbathe, and explore the natural surroundings.
Are there any kid-friendly activities in Naples?
Yes, Naples, FL, offers several kid-friendly activities. Families can visit the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, explore the Naples Zoo, or spend a day at Sun-N-Fun Lagoon, a water park perfect for kids.
What are the best places to visit in Naples?
Some of the best places to visit in Naples, FL, include the beach, downtown Naples with its shops and restaurants, the Naples City Dock, and the various parks and attractions.
Is there a yacht club in Naples, FL?
Yes, there is the Naples Yacht Club. It is a private yacht club in the heart of Naples and offers its members a range of boating and social activities.
Are there any free things to do in Naples?
Naples, FL, offers several free things to do. You can visit the beach, explore downtown Naples, walk along Venetian Bay, or enjoy the natural beauty of the park and wildlife preserves.
Naples, Florida, is a diverse destination catering to all travelers. Its pristine beaches, vibrant art galleries, historic sites, and lush landscapes offer a rich tapestry of experiences. The culinary scene, with gems like The French Brasserie Rustique and Truluck’s, is fantastic; the nightlife, highlighted by events like the Stone Crab Festival and performances at the Sugden Community Theatre, is vibrant.
Accommodations range from luxury resorts to cozy B&Bs, ensuring comfort for all budgets. Naples promises a memorable trip filled with discovery, relaxation, and enjoyment. It’s more than a place to visit; it’s a place to explore, experience, and cherish.
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