The first place that comes to mind when people hear “Naples” is the southern Italian city associated with the birth of pizza. But there is a not-so-hidden gem on the Gulf of Mexico that is home to beautiful places to explore or even live. Although it may not carry the history of its Italian namesake, Naples is a popular vacation spot boasting clear blue skies, excellent sunny weather, turquoise blue waters, and abundant biodiversity.
Nestled in Florida’s southwest Paradise Coast, the tranquil tropical lifestyle makes this city one of the best places to retire in the US. From a beautiful ecosystem to explore, multiple high-end restaurants for sophisticated dining, and sandy white beaches to relax on to year-round fun activities, there is enough to go around Naples for any tourist.
Planning to visit the “Paradise Coast” anytime soon? Here is the complete guide to things to do in one of Florida’s most exciting destinations.
UPDATE: 2023/07/05 13:46 EST BY NICHOLAS MAYAMBA
Not In Italy: The Ultimate Travel Guide To Naples & Things To Do
Naples, Florida might not be in Italy, but it has plenty to offer travelers. Find all the things to do in Naples, FL in the complete guide, with more attractions, tips, and tricks for having the best trip possible.
Things To Do In Naples
There is no shortage of activities to indulge in the beautiful city of Naples. From sandy white beaches and multiple shopping opportunities to a diverse ecosystem, tourists are guaranteed fun-filled days for the rest of their stay.
1 Take A Stroll On The Naples Pier
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Naples Pier and beach in florida USA sunny day
Located on the southwest coast of the city, the Naples Pier is a popular spot where locals and tourists converge to marvel at the magnificent sunsets. On a lucky evening, guests can spot a pod of dolphins for a free aquatic show or try their hand at fishing for more hands-on activity.
Naples Pier has concession stands where tourists can grab a quick glass of wine or a bottle of beer. Alternatively, hop into any on-site cafés and pizzerias for a snack.
The best part is that there is no admission fee, so visitors have free rein on when to go for a serene walk on the Naples Pier.
: 24 hours daily
2 Visit Naples Botanical Garden
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Naples Botanical Gardens beautifully designed with curves, water elements, colors and vertical landscaping.
Nature enthusiasts eager to experience the diversity of Naples ecology should make a date with the Naples Botanical Garden. This 170-acre tropical wonderland allows guests to marvel at the exotic species in the local flora and fauna.
There are endless charming trails where tourists can sneak in a quick workout as they explore the vegetation and take in the fresh air.
The serene atmosphere of the garden, highlighted by lush canopy trees, makes for a lovely evening getaway for those looking for a one-on-one with nature.
3 Show Some TLC At The Conservancy Of Southwest Florida
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Naples, Florida, USA downtown cityscape on the bay at dusk.
Animal lovers can look for inspiration at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. The center is a haven for injured, sick, abandoned, and orphaned animals like bobcats, pelicans, and turtles.
This is a great place to learn about conservation work and how to safeguard local biodiversity.
After that, tourists can visit the Naples Zoo and get up close and personal with more animal species.
: 1495 Smith Preserve Way Naples, Florida 34102
$75 for adults, $100 for family
: Monday-Saturday (9: 30 am to 4:00 pm), closed on Sundays and New Year’s Eve
4 Visit The Baker Museum
View of the Baker Museum at the Artis-Naples arts complex in Naples, Florida, United States.
The Baker Museum houses one of Southwest Florida’s finest collections of art. It boasts a whopping 15 galleries covering approximately 30,000 square feet of space. Several impressive works of art in the museum’s permanent collection promise to leave art aficionados in awe, including intricate glass installations like the colorful chandelier by Dale Chihuly.
Visitors to the facility are greeted with a jaw-dropping sight; the 14-foot-tall gates at the entrance offer the perfect prelude to an amazing art experience. Designed by Albert Palley, they are covered in art that first-timers can’t help but admire.
Baker Museum also offers invaluable educational resources and scholarships to enthusiasts of all ages, making it the perfect place for tourists to grow their love for art.
: $10 per adult
: Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am – 4 pm
5 Spend The Day At The Beach
Vanderbilt beach in Naples, Florida with people sitting, relaxing on sand in summer with blue sky, palm trees on coast shore of gulf of Mexico
No visit to the sunshine state is complete without touring the beaches. Fortunately, Naples is home to some of the best beaches in Florida, and the cozy weather makes for the perfect conditions for a refreshing dip. For those afraid to get wet, the soft, powdery sands and soothing breeze are ideal for sunbathing, lounging, and taking in the sights.
With almost 16 miles of shoreline in the city, there is no shortage of beautiful beaches, highlighted by Lowdermilk Park for those who don’t mind crowds and Keewaydin for beach lovers looking for peace, quiet, and isolation.
All beaches in Naples offer direct public access, so tourists will be spoiled for choice when exploring them.
6 Visit The Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
nBoardwalk across the white sand beach of Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park with a blue sky above in Naples, Florida.”” data-modal-id=”single-image-modal” data-modal-container-id=”single-image-modal-container” data-img-caption=””Shutterstock “”>
Boardwalk across the white sand beach of Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park with a blue sky above in Naples, Florida.
The Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park offers the perfect intersection of sea and land. Sitting on a 166-acre property, the park features one of the best beaches in the city, bordering an impressive mix of flora and fauna. The clear waters and silky-smooth sands attract multitudes yearning for quality beach time.
There is ample parking space for visitors and useful amenities like picnic spots, bathrooms, food stands, and rental equipment for snorkeling enthusiasts.
A nature tour allows guests to spot some exciting species, including loggerhead turtles during the nesting season (May to October) and different types of colorful birds.
: $4-$6 per vehicle, $2 for bikers/pedestrians
: 8 am – sundown
For boaters, be sure to head to the Turkey Bay or Cocohatchee River for a greater experience at the Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park.
7 Explore Naples Art Scene
Exterior view of the Naples depot and train museum. Florida, United States
Naples boasts a vibrant art scene! A large community of art lovers is waiting to welcome visitors and absorb them into their favorite pastime.
Artus-Naples is one of the best places tourists can view fine art exhibitions and enjoy live performances.
Another great option is TheatreZone, a small and cozy theater showcasing exciting plays and musicals with a live orchestra.
13275 Livingston Rd, Naples, FL 34109, United States
: Monday-Wednesday(10 am to 2 pm) Thursday-Friday (10 am-2 pm, 7-11 pm), Sunday (closed)
8 Make A Furry Friend At The Naples Zoo
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Naples, Florida, USA: A sign for the Naples Zoo.
The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is perfect for animal and nature lovers. This 43-acre property sits on a lush tropical garden teeming with exotic plants. While the garden was planted in 1919, it was until five decades later that the animal residents started calling it home. Today, the zoo is a popular attraction in the city despite its relatively small size.
This is thanks to the diverse animals it houses, making up about 70 exotic species from around the globe. From lions, leopards, cheetahs, pythons, lemurs, hyenas, giraffes, and crocodiles to Indochinese tigers, visitors enjoy a tropical safari sure to leave them in awe.
: adults $19.95; children 3 -12 $12.95.
: Open daily, 9 am – 5 pm
Highlights include the catamaran Primate cruise, a 20-minute boat tour to “monkey island” and alligator feedings.
Visiting Naples Zoo is the perfect family activity and kids will enjoy this wonderful facility, especially on the weekends.
9 Enjoy Retail Therapy At The Village Shops On Venetian Bay
Sunset over the colorful shops of the Village on Venetian Bay in Naples, Florida.
Shopaholics with a few coins to blow can head to The Village Shops to fulfill their heart’s desires. This luxurious mall is among the best shopping spots in Naples, and its open-air design is perfect for exploring in warm city conditions.
The establishment comprises a variety of upscale stores and brands selling everything from high-fashion apparel and home decor to art and jewels.
Shopping aside, visitors will find an impressive selection of restaurants and cafés in the mall, which come in handy after a long session of sampling the different stores. These offer sumptuous servings of local and international cuisines for those keen to sample the Naples dining scene.
: Monday to Saturday (10 am – 6 pm), Sunday (Noon – 5 pm)
Be on the lookout for special events constantly held at The Village Shops, including fashion shows, wine tastings, green markets, and other celebrations.
10 Take A Boat Tour Of Naples
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View of Naples Bay in Naples, Florida
Nothing beats discovering the beautiful city of Naples from the water; a boat tour is the perfect way. Unsurprisingly, local boat tours abound in the city, offering exciting packages for couples, groups, and families fancying a relaxing cruise.
These boat tours offer an excellent opportunity to escape the city, discover its neighboring islands, or simply savor the sights. One of the tours worth considering is The Conservancy of Southwest Florida, which takes guests through the mangroves, highlighted by amazing wildlife sightings.
For boaters looking to charter their own vessel for some peace and privacy, half-day rentals cost between $250 and $400, depending on the type of boat.
Naples’s tropical climate makes it a potential destination for most of the year. Generally, the sweet spot for tourists is between March and May, when the Gulf water is warm and pleasant, and the temperature is just about perfect.
Daytime temperatures average around 80 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing guests the ideal opportunity to enjoy the water.
Winter is the peak season for tourists, with seasonal snowbirds from the north searching for a sunny spot to perch on. The average temperatures range in the mid-70s (Fahrenheit), and the city is bustling with activities.
However, the influx of visitors results in winter price hikes, so tourists should watch out for exorbitant prices.
Summer is slightly more peaceful in the city, with the school calendar closed and students making the most of the summer festivities in Naples. However, temperatures reach the 90s, and the humidity can be too much for some.
Tourists should pack an umbrella for a visit in the summer as the city experiences the most precipitation in the year.
Another great time to visit Naples is from late September to November. The scorching summer heat has subsided, and the crowds are smaller.
Florida, especially the south and central sides, are prone to hurricanes and storms. Hurricane season falls between June and October.
12 What to Know Before Visiting Naples
Oakes farms Seed to Table grocery store supermarket shop parking lot exterior with people as local grocery in Naples, Florida
Naples is located on the Gulf Coast of Florida and borders the Everglades. Despite its reputation as a top tourist destination, the city retains a small-town vibe with tree-lined streets. This makes it a nice getaway for lovebirds looking to chill by the beach or even families on vacation.
The self-proclaimed “Golf Capital of the World” boasts the second most golf holes per capita. Considering the around 280 days of sunshine in the year, Naples is perfect for golfing year-round.
Shopping is an Olympic sport in Naples, with Fifth Avenue South acting as the epicenter of it all. From local brands to international powerhouses, tourists will have no expenses to spare for all kinds of shopping.
The same can be said about fine dining in the city. Naples is a culinary hub of more than 700 restaurants, serving the best local and international cuisines.
Naples is about 30 minutes from the Southwest Florida International Airport. Visitors can rent a car at the airport to move around the city if they choose to.
13 Best Hotels To Stay In Naples
View from marina at Naples Bay Resort & Marina, Naples, FL
Being one of the top tourist destinations in Florida, Naples offers high-end and affordable accommodation options to suit any budget. From majestic beachside resorts and charming boutique hotels to comfortable vacation rentals, there is something for everyone.
Naples is a foodie’s wet dream, with over 700 restaurants in the city to take tourists on a culinary adventure like no other. Depending on the depth of their pockets, tourists can sample small eateries and local food houses like Captain & Krewe serving coastal seafood or high-end Italian restaurants for fine dining at Caffe dell’Amore.
The downtown area is rife with cafes and bistros where guests can hop in for a refreshing beverage. Historic buildings from the 17th century house the old pubs and restaurants around this area, giving tourists a unique dining experience.
Guests can try out various top-end eateries in the Fifth Avenue South shopping hub for top-quality service.
If tourists are looking for something more than everyday dining, they should consider visiting the Ten Thousand Island and Florida Everglades on the outskirts of Naples. Here, they can initiate their taste buds with exotic dishes like fired frog legs, stone crab, fried alligator, catfish, and other offbeat offerings.
Best places for breakfast:
Bad Ass Coffee, Goldies Restaurant, Cove Inn Coffee Shoppe, Joe’s Diner, Kunjani Craft Coffee & Gallery, Fifth Avenue Coffee Company & 6th Street Diner
Best places for lunch and dinner:
Campiello, Caffè Milano, Osteria Tulia, BrickTop’s, Chops City Grill, The French, The Continental, Bha! Bha! Persian Bistro
Best pubs and bars:
Rusty’s Raw Bar and Grill – Naples ,
Ben Allens Backyard Music Kitchen ,
The Pub Naples,
A visit to southwest Florida can’t be complete without a tour of at least one of the gorgeous (and safe) beaches. Luckily, Naples has plenty of them, with silky white sands and clear blue waters ideal for swimming.
What’s so special about the beaches in Naples is that each offers a unique experience. For instance, Lowdermilk Park is perfect for families who want to spend quality time with loved ones, whereas Delnor-Wiggins Pass provides an intimate level of peace.
Tourists who wish to escape the crowds for some alone time can head to Keewaydin, an isolated beach in Naples that is best accessed via boat. The area is also famous for its nesting Florida turtles.
Location: 8 2nd St S, Naples, FL 34102, United States
Those who don’t mind crowds can check out Naples Municipal Beach on the Naples Pier. This beach welcomes the most number of visitors in the city, and the atmosphere is pretty exhilarating.
25 12th Ave S Naples, FL.
Whichever beach tourists visit, they are assured of an unforgettable time swimming in the water or basking under the tropical sun.
15 Best Way To Get Around Naples
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Naples, FL, USA: City life on 5th Avenue at sunset
There are multiple ways tourists can get around the city of Naples while exploring the attractions.
The most convenient for most, tourists residing in beachside resorts can rent a car since a little bit far from the action. The grid system is nicely laid out, and the streets are visibly marked.
Numerous car rental companies are available in Naples, including National, Hertz, and Thrifty.
Rates: $60 for a compact sedan carrying 4 adults, $73 for a standard SUV carrying 5 adults
But if keeping their eyes on the road will take away from viewing the sights, tourists can always opt for a taxi. While there aren’t many taxi services on the streets, apps such as Uber will allow them easy access to one.
Airport taxis generally charge a fixed rate, which may differ in the surrounding regions.
Tourists staying in the Old Naples and downtown areas will find it convenient to explore the city on foot. Most of the town’s attractions are within walking distance, and the streets are pedestrian-friendly, with designated walking paths.
Naples has a functional public transportation system, but it’s still new and not the most reliable, at least not for tourists. Only the major routes in and out of the city are covered, so this may be a little limiting.
Service hours: 6 am-7:30 pm
One-way Fare: $2, free for kids under 5
By Trolley Tours
Naples Trolley Tours are tailored to handle tourist movements with fun rides featuring informative commentary on different points of interest.
The tours last around two hours and provide a good perspective while exploring the city. Tourists should, however, know that the tickets can be a little pricey.
While there is no way to spend a perfect day in Naples, tourists can come close to it with the ideal itinerary.
Mornings are best-spent sightseeing. Guests can head for a self-guided tour around town, marveling at the architectural gems and historical sites, including the Naples Pier, which offers the best views in the city.
After the tour, they can find a nice Italian restaurant for a sumptuous meal or a local seafood house to sample some fresh seafood menu.
In the afternoon, take advantage of the city’s numerous water adventures with a marine boat safari and a chance to witness alligators, dolphins, or even Florida Manatees. Alternatively, go stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking for a more adrenaline-filled activity.
To wind up the day, take a romantic walk on the Naples Pier while waiting to glimpse the magical sunset on one of the most photo-worthy spots in Florida before heading to Fifth Avenue South to discover Naples’s nightlife in any of the local pubs and taverns.
Q: What is Naples Florida, best known for?
Naples is famous for many things, but most tourists are attracted by its high-end shopping opportunities on Fifth Avenue South. It also boasts a rich arts and culture scene and a sophisticated dining experience with more than 700 restaurants.
Finally, the gorgeous beaches and wild outdoor adventures prove irresistible for vacationers!
Q: Does Naples have a boardwalk?
Naples’s boardwalk is located on the Naples Pier at the end of 12th Avenue South. It stretches 300m+ into the Gulf of Mexico and is quite popular with tourists and locals who go there to witness stunning sunsets and dramatic sea views.
Q: Is Marco Island or Naples better?
Both islands are impressive, but Naples slightly pips Marco Island with its more elegant vibe and vivacious atmosphere. This is why it receives more tourists looking for shopping experiences, high-end beachfront resorts, and buzzing nightlife.
Q: Is Naples worth visiting?
Naples will definitely offer tourists looking for a Gulf of Mexico vacation a bang for their buck! There is much to do there, from exploring the broad biodiversity and touring both historical and hip sites to dining in sophisticated restaurants and relaxing on the silky-smooth sandy beaches.
Q: Is Naples safe?
Naples has a very low crime rate that is nowhere near the national average. It is also one of the safest cities in Florida, so tourists shouldn’t worry too much about their safety.
However, it is never a bad idea to take extra caution.