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If like us, you plan on visiting both Miami and Tampa, then your route along the Tamiami Trail is likely to take you through - or very near - the city of Naples, Florida. If you have the time, in your itinerary, Naples is spending a few days at - as a destination in its own right. Considered to be the jewel of Florida by many locals and tourists alike, Naples offers visitors gorgeous beaches, everglades landscapes and a plethora of cultural attractions.
There are many things to do in Naples, Florida. Here are a few suggestions -
- Naples Pier
- Lowdermilk Park
- Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
- Naples Botanical Gardens
- Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
- Delnor-Wiggins State Park
- Take a manatee tour
- Hitting the Beach
- Paddling and Kayaking
- Historic Downtown Naples
- Clam Pass Park
Visiting Naples is a chance to relax and unwind from the stress of real life. Whether you make a point to visit all of the hotspots in this guide or just a few, you'll be able to escape from the modern moment and dive into the hustle and bustle that's made Naples one of the most enjoyable vacation spots for tourists to visit. In this post, we'll explore the attractions of Naples, as well as discuss some of the common concerns visitors have.
- 11 Unique Things To Do In Naples, Florida
- Visiting Naples FAQ
- Where To Stay In Naples, Florida
11 Unique Things To Do In Naples, Florida
What's so interesting about Naples? The weather is fantastic for most of the year, diving only into cooler temperatures that come between December and March. The city itself, known as "Naples on the Gulf," welcomes a diversity of people, whether they are tourists or locals. Tourism bolsters the city's income, allowing it to continue providing a paradise for anyone looking to escape.
With that in mind, let's dive into the attractions that have put the city on the map.
Who doesn't want to start out a Florida vacation with a walkout over the Gulf of Mexico? Whether you've just arrived in Naples or have been in the area for a few days, you'll want to make your way out to Naples Pier. A low-cost attraction, this pier serves as an excellent bolster for anyone wanting to get a better view of the water. You'll be able to frequent the concessions stand, fight off seagulls, and purchase any beach supplies you may have accidentally left at home.
It's worth noting that parking at Naples pier does incur a cost. You'll have to pay $2.50 an hour via credit or debit card. The meters at the pier only accept quarters if you want to pay in cash. For more information about this Naples attraction, you can visit its website.
If you're in Florida for your vacation, you're going to want to visit the beach. Luckily, Naples provides you with many opportunities to do so. One such opportunity comes in the form of Lowdermilk Park. Lowdermilk Park provides you with perhaps one of the best views of the Gulf available in Naples. Here, you'll be able to park a beach chair in the sand and enjoy the crash of the waves around you. Alternatively, you can let the kids run amok on either of the nearby playgrounds. You can even challenge strangers to volleyball, so long as one of the two sand volleyball courts is free.
Again, parking at Lowdermilk Park will cost non-locals a bit of money, but costs will vary depending on which meters are available. If you want to forgo these costs, considering swinging by the City of Naples' Visitor Center to purchase a beach parking permit.
For more information about this attraction, you can visit its website.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
Naples is also full of non-beach related activities for you to enjoy, including the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens. A wonderful spot for adults and children alike, Naples Zoo is thrumming with energy and excitement. As of 2019, the zoo was proud to announce the birth of 3 new lion cubs, all of whom you can see in their exhibit year-round. You'll also have a chance to book a "Wild Encounter" when you visit, which will let you meet a zookeeper and greet some exotic animals in person.
Admission to the zoo varies based on whether you're purchasing your tickets online or in person. Should you buy at the gate, prices break down as follows:
- Adults (12 and older): $21.95
- Children (3 to 12): $14.95
You'll be able to visit the zoo between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM seven days a week. For more information about this attraction, you can visit its website.
Naples Botanical Gardens
For visitors less about the fauna and more about the flora, the Naples Botanical Gardens awaits. This 170-acre garden lets you explore natural habitats that exist all around the world. Not only do you get to enjoy Japanese zen gardens and strange wildlife, but you'll be able to learn more about the conservation efforts in play in Naples and throughout Florida. This hotspot is ideal for any family looking to take a break from the beach or for any garden-lovers who want to see what the youngest winner of the Award for Garden Excellence looks like.
Admission to the Naples Botanical Gardens breaks down as follows;
- Adults (14 and older): $19.95
- Children (4 to 14): $9.95
- Children under 4: Free
You can visit the Naples Botanical Gardens between the hours of 8 AM and 5 PM seven days a week. For more information about this attraction, you can visit its website.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Speaking of nature lovers: do you want to explore the Everglades on your visit to Naples? You'll have the chance to if you visit Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. While the name doesn't elicit an initial appeal, you'll find that the attraction itself is more than worth the visit.
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary takes you down a 2.5 miles boardwalk, where over the rails awaits wet prairie, a marsh, and some of the oldest Bald Cypress trees in all of the United States. You'll be able to spot alligators, otters, and a variety of turtles in the waters below your feet, so don't get too close to the railing! This natural adventure makes a great escape from the beaches for children and adults alike.
Speak of which, admission to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary breaks down as follows:
- Adults (18 and older): $14
- College students with ID: $6
- Students (6 to 18): $4
- Children under 6: Free
You can visit Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary between the hours of 7 AM and 5:30 AM seven days a week. For more information about this Naples attraction, you can visit its website.
Delnor-Wiggins State Park
If you want to spend a day outdoors, but you don't necessarily want to wash sand out of your bathing suit, why not head to Delnor-Wiggins State Park? While there's ample opportunity to hit the beach there, it's more of a fishing park than it is a sunbathing park. You can take a boat out into Turkey Bay and follow the currents towards the Cocohatchee River. There are a number of guided tours provided by rangers on a daily basis that'll let you explore the surrounding areas, too!
Parking at Delnor-Wiggins State Park costs $6 per vehicle, but there are no admission fees. You'll want to bring your wallet, though, in case you want to rent a kayak, paddleboat, or canoe. You can visit between 8 in the morning and sundown every day, regardless of holiday, weather, or other obstacle.
For more information about this attraction, you can visit its website.
Take a Manatee Tour
Do you have a child who wants to see a real-life mermaid? Or have you been dreaming of living your best underwater life for the better part of your adulthood? Either way, the closest you're going to get - that isn't a Disney show - is by taking a manatee tour in Naples.
It's long been believed that sailors mistook manatees for the now-mythical mermaids. Nowadays, tours like the Manatee Eco-Tours in Naples will let you see why that correlation was drawn in the first place. Captains Barry and Carol will guide your family on an hour and a half tour during the day or a 3-hour sunset tour that'll let you see where manatees nest in the Everglades.
Note that manatees were recently removed from the endangered species list, and that you should try to limit your personal interaction with them as much as you can. Captains Barry and Carol will let you know how close you're allowed to get and will ensure you an enjoyable trip through Naples' Everglade arm.
Tours take place at the following times during the day:
- 9:15 AM
- 10 AM
- 10:45 AM
- 11:30 AM
- 12:15 PM
- 1 PM
- 1:45 PM
- 2:30 PM
- 3:15 PM
- 4 PM
Note that you'll only be able to take a tour if you've scheduled an appointment with Manatee Eco-Tours in advance. Costs will vary based on the size of your party and the length of your tour. For more information about these Naples attractions, you can visit its website.
Hitting the Beach
We've already mentioned a few key beaches that you'll want to visit while you're in the Naples' area. There's no better way to spend a day, though, then by kicking back and letting the water rush over your feet. While you can visit Delnor-Wiggins State Park, Lowdermilk Park, or Naples Pier, there are a number of other public beaches available for you to spend your time on.
This includes Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park. Considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the area, Barefoot Beach opens up both onto the Gulf and onto a litany of multi-million dollar homes. This means you'll have ample opportunity to sunbathe and spy out celebrities making their way around Naples. Alternatively, you can enjoy glimpses of the architecture while walking the park's one-mile nature trails, where gopher tortoises and their nests await you underfoot.
There is a parking fee at this beach for non-residents, as there is at most beaches in Naples. That said, you can access the beach anytime between sunrise and sunset. For more information about Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park, you can visit its affiliated websites.
Padding and Kayaking
The state parks in Naples will often allow you to rent a paddleboard or kayak at your leisure. If you deliberately want to spend your day out on the water, though, there are two attractions you'll be interested in visiting: Rising Tide Explorers and Adventure Paddle Tours.
Rising Tide Explorers is a kayak rental service that takes you on guided tours of southwest Florida. Their outlet in Naples will guide you through the Everglade estuaries and mangrove groves. These tours are ideal for nature lovers or for anyone who wants to try their hand at kayaking for the first time.
Alternatively, you can try paddleboarding with Adventure Paddle Tours. The folks here make paddling easy for the whole family by providing guided paddleboard eco-tours. As with Rising Tide Explorers, you'll be able to take your paddleboard out onto the waters of the Gulf to explore what Naples has to offer. You can opt to paddle independently or in a group, with prices varying based on your preference.
Historic Downtown Naples
If your credit card finger is itching, you can move away from the beach and into Naples' historic downtown. This part of the city breaks clean in two. You can tour the shopping strips and old Naples on your own, or you can head over to Tin City for full immersion into Naples' past.
Tin City, specifically, is one of the best-known attractions in Naples. Here, you'll have access to Riverwalk and Pincher's Crab Shack, two of the city's most popular eateries. Beyond the food, you'll be able to find the M&M Cafe and a plethora of shops for you to peruse. You can even head down to Cruise Naples, a venue through which you'll be able to take a boat tour of the nearby Gulf.
Hours at Tin City will vary based on the location you intend to visit, as will pricing. For more information about this awesome Naples attraction, you can visit its website.
Clam Pass Park
Going to the beach doesn't always have to be a massively public affair. Instead, you can hide away at Clam Pass Park. Here, you'll find a mile-long boardwalk stretching out onto a mangrove grove. Just past that leafy paradise, you'll find a hidden beach. While there will definitely be other people there, given Clam Pass Park's popularity, it can still serve as a welcomed break from the roar of other public beaches.
Here, you'll be able to kayak, fish, and wade while enjoying the sun on your face. Clam Pass Park offers you access to a snack bar and public restrooms to make your trip to the beach a little more enjoyable. Watch out for high tide, though - anyone with their beach chair close to the water's edge may find themselves damper than when they first sat down!
Parking costs will vary at Clam Pass Park based on where you're able to find a spot. However, you can park at the Naples Grande Hotel and take a free tram down to the boardwalk if you want to save money. For more information about this attraction, you can visit its website.
Visiting Naples FAQ
Even with your itinerary spelled out, you may be wondering: what else does a visitor need to know about Naples?
Is Naples Expensive?
Naples is considered the jewel of Florida. While it holds a number of Florida's appealing, non-Disney attractions, it is also a little expensive to visit. The city is one of the wealthiest in the United States, after all, meaning that any visitors will have to, for a short while, endure price spikes that seem normal to residents. So long as you budget, though, and shop with care, you shouldn't have to worry about overspending on your next vacation.
Is there Zika in Naples?
Thus far, there has never been an outbreak or local transmission of zika in Naples, not to mention the whole of Florida's Gulf-facing side. That said, a few cases did crop up in Miami as of 2016. Since then, however, there have been no cases of zika reported in the area.
Is Naples Safe?
Naples presents its tourists with the same dangers as any other big city would. There are muggings and robberies, yes, but any visitors making an active effort to watch their belongings and protect themselves should be able to visit the city without any worries.
What Is There To Do in Naples for Free?
Visitors on a tight budget may have to get creative while visiting Naples. Naturally, you'll be able to take advantage of any free activities your hotel of choice makes available to you, but there are also a few attractions in the city that you can visit for free. These include, but are not limited to:
- Window shopping in Tin City and downtown Naples
- Hitting the beach (though watch out for parking fees!)
- Naples Pier
What Is There To Do in Naples at Night?
Like any bustling city, Naples has a thriving nightlife. If you're looking to put the kids to bed early to enjoy a vacation with your partner, you'll be able to head out of your hotel and enjoy the city at its height by visiting attractions like:
- Tin City and downtown Naples
- Naples Pier
- Late-night manatee tours
Naples is full of restaurants, clubs, and night-friendly attractions for you to take advantage of if you want to stay up until the sun comes up.
What's the Coldest Month in Naples?
Naples is at its coolest between December and March. "Coolest," however, is subjective. You'll find the weather during this time resting at a balmy 77 degrees, on average. At night, lows may dip into the 50s, but when the sun rises the temperatures will return to a more comfortable range. If you're visiting between December and March, be sure to pack a jacket alongside your swimsuit!
Where To Stay In Naples, Florida
Have we convinced you to visit? Should you make your way down to Naples on the Gulf, you're going to need a place to stay. The city is full of lovely bed & breakfasts, resorts, and other lodgings, so you'll have your choice of where to bunk down after a long day of sunbathing. Some of your options include the following:
Cove Inn takes Naples' vivacity and brings it to you. If you stay here, you'll be a mere five minutes away from downtown Naples, giving you excellent access to the city's attractions.
If you want to take your time heading out, though, the hotel has plenty for you to enjoy. Cove Inn has three on-site restaurants for you to choose from, and every room comes equipped with a balcony from which you can enjoy a Florida sunset. If you're in the mood for a drink, why not head down to the pool? You can float while drinking one of the many cocktails provided by Chickee, the hotel's poolside bar.
Cove Inn is ideal for couples and families alike. To book a room at this location, you can visit its listing on Booking.com.
For families or couples looking for a more laid-back experience in Naples, La Quinta awaits. Seven miles out from Naples' beaches, this hotel takes you away from the immediate rush of the city and provides you with a quiet getaway.
Here, you'll be able to eat a complimentary breakfast every day while also enjoying free Wi-Fi and an outdoor pool. Each room includes a flat-screen, cable television as well as a coffee machine. Additional appliances are available upon request.
Ramada by Wyndham, Naples
What if you want to stay at a place that marries the excitement of Cove Inn and the quiet of La Quinta? We suggest Ramada by Wyndham, Naples. Closer to the city's beaches, you'll be able to walk from your hotel to Naples Beach and Naples Sightseeing Trolley Tours without any trouble. The rooms themselves at a Ramada come equipped with coffee makers, microwaves, and refrigerators as a standard. You can also readily enjoy the fitness center and outdoor pool.