Naples, Florida is a beach city on the west coast of Florida. This area is called Paradise Coast for very good reason - the beaches are beautiful, with soft, white sands and clean, clear, blue water. The Ten Thousand Islands are also easily accessible from Naples. This is a chain of remote islands and islets nestled between mangroves - the perfect place for spotting wildlife.
If you prefer to stay in the city, Naples is home to a huge number of shops, restaurants and beaches. There is more than enough to do to keep you busy during your trip and visitors always thoroughly enjoy their time in Naples, Florida.
Before we get into what to do in Naples, let's talk about when you should plan to visit. The best time to visit Naples is in the winter, as the summer can be incredibly hot. Once the fall cools down, Naples is the place to be. Long, sunshine-filled days, basking by the ocean are the absolute best.
There are lots of things to do in Naples - here are some ideas to help you plan your trip.
There are three major shopping areas in Naples and plenty of smaller shopping areas. The first is Fifth Avenue South and this is definitely the tourist spot. It is beautiful, and all the shops are along the road. There are plenty of cute, independent shops, but most are very pricey and cater to tourists.
The second area is the Coastland Center Mall. It's become a little run down over the years and mostly has the big chains. However, if you're visiting when it's warm outside, this is your respite from the heat.
The third major shopping location is Waterside Shops, and this is where all the high-end shops are. Think Saks 5th Avenue, The Apple Store, Hermes, Cartier. The shops are beautiful and the goods inside are too, if you are looking to drop some loot this is the spot.
Head to the Waterside Shops and browse through the designer stores
Stroll down Fifth Avenue South
There are many amazing beaches and activities to choose from in the city. Of course, you can start by just spending a day on one of the beautiful beaches. The Pier Beach is a great option, with wash-off stations, a long pier that you can fish from, and a local shop where you can grab snacks.
Another great option is Lowdermilk Park, with plenty of public parking, wash off stations and snacks. The third option is Vanderbilt Beach, which is in a central location in Naples, and also is a gorgeous location for watching the sunset. Or, if you don't mind taking a cruise, you can even relax on the beach on the beautiful tropical Keewaydin Island.
Fish off the wharf at Pier Beach
Watch the sunset at Vanderbilt Beach
Relax on the beach on Keewaydin Island
If you are looking for some more excitement, you can rent jet skis, or a boat out on the open water. The easiest option to is book a seat on a sightseeing cruise where you will have the opportunity to see a range of sealife including birds, dolphins, and, season permitting, manatees.
You could make your way down to 41 East Trail and take an airboat through the mangroves to see real live alligators. You can also kayak through mangrove forests and tunnels in Bonita Springs or look for dolphins in the waters of the Ten Thousand Islands.
For a romantic evening, take a sunset cruise to the Gulf of Mexico
Go on a kayaking tour in Bonita Springs
Explore the Ten Thousand Islands by boat
If you enjoy good food, there are so many amazing restaurants that it's hard to go wrong in Naples. If you are looking for very high-end restaurants, you have three options: Sea Salt on Third Street for epic seafood, Sails for American Nuevo on Fifth Avenue, and The Grill Room for high roller steak at the Ritz Carleton Beach.
If you are looking for more mid-range, you have many options, but I suggest Low Brow Pizza, or True Food Kitchen for clean seasonal food. If you are looking for some lower priced, but still yummy options, try Slicers for delicious subs, Brooks Burgers for inventive burgers, or The Crust for thin crust pizza.
Sample seafood at Sea Salt
Have steak at The Grill Room
If you're in the mood for something a little slower paced, the Naples Botanical Garden is a wonderful way to spend the day. The is 170-acre garden has a huge variety of flowers and water features, and is incredibly gorgeous.
There are a number of events which take place in the Gardens, so time your visit to coincide with them if you can. Between February and June, there is live music performances on the second Saturday of the month. The annual Naples Flower show is in March and is a colourful and vibrant event each year. Or, if you'd rather stroll through the Garden when it's cooler, visit on a Wednesday evening - the Garden is open until 8pm.
Enjoy Music in the Gardens
Spend a Wednesday evening strolling through the Garden
As mentioned above, one of the best places to see wildlife is on the water. Spend your time whale watching, see dolphins jumping or get up close to a manatee. There are also a many varieties of native birds to see, especially in the mangroves.
Another great option is the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, where you can take a lovely walk through the mangroves with views of alligators and birds. Just make sure you bring bug spray as the bugs can be crazy in the mangroves.
Watch dolphins on Marco Island
Naples is a beautiful city with palm tree lined streets, white sandy beaches, and amazingly delicious restaurants. No matter how you spend your time, you are bound to have a wonderful visit. Just be sure to pack sunscreen and bug spray to keep yourself safe and comfortable.
Last Updated 16 March 2022