Attractions Destinations Florida

37+ Fun & Unique Things to Do in Naples, Florida

By
on
April 12, 2022

Are you looking for a list of the best things to do in Naples, Florida?

In this article, we’ll highlight our favorite things to do in Naples, as well as show you the many reasons that Naples is a great family vacation spot!

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, go boating, fishing, shell picking, or to a zoo or botanical garden, there are literally so many fun things to do in Naples, FL.

Regardless of if you’re dining and drinking in Downtown Naples or dipping your toes into the aqua-blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico, a Naples vacation will have you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated, and refreshed!

Look no farther for 37 fun and unique things to do in Naples with, or without kids!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. For more info, see disclosure.

Read our list of the most fun and unique things to do in Naples, Florida!

Things to Do in Naples, Florida

Located in Southwest Florida, Naples is a premier vacation destination offering exceptional year-round amenities and attractions.

With its beautiful beaches, championship golf courses, exceptional restaurants, shopping, and water activities ranging from kayaking to sailing charters – there is truly something in Naples for everyone to enjoy.

Whether your vacation style is laid back or on-the-go, you’ll find a bit of both on this list of the best things to do in Naples!

Read Next: After reading this article, return here for immediate access to our complete Naples 6-Day itinerary plus a printable travel planning worksheet!

This itinerary includes the best things to do in Naples, plus our insider tips for visiting Naples. This is a family-friendly vacation plan that you won’t want to miss!

Walking along Naples Pier

1. Visit Naples Pier

Naples Pier is one of the most popular attractions in Naples, Florida.

This long Brazilian hardwood pier stretches out 1,000 feet from the shoreline of Naples Municipal Beach into the Gulf of Mexico.

The pier is a great place to take a stroll, go fishing, spot wildlife, or watch a sunset.

You can fish from the Pier without a license 24 hours a day as it has a bulk fishing license that covers all users. Pelicans and other birds are usually always present looking for scraps left over by the fishermen.

Dolphins, stingrays, and many other varieties of fish can also be seen from the pier.

Good to know is that Naples Pier is within easy walking distance from the shops and restaurants on Third Street South and 5th Avenue South in Downtown Naples.

Additional planning tips: Though it is free to walk the entire length of Naples Pier, you will have to pay for metered parking.

In addition, there is a concession stand selling sweets, snacks, and drinks that is open daily from 9 AM – 5 PM (or consider bringing along a collapsible cooler filled with drinks and snacks).

Naples Beach

2. Relax on the Beach

With a reputation for having some of the best beaches in the United States, Naples, Florida is a tropical paradise for beach-loving families.

Naples’ coastline features five main beaches, as well as several additional beaches in nearby Fort Meyers, Marco Island, and Bonita Springs.

Beaches in Naples include:

  • Naples Municipal Beach: 10 miles of flawless white sand beach and home to the iconic Naples Pier. The beach features a concession stand, volleyball courts, picnic tables, restrooms and showers, as well as children’s lifejackets available to borrow free of charge.
  • Clam Pass Park Beach: 3,200 feet of soft white sand beach and calm waters secluded behind a wide mangrove forest. Reach it by walking a three-quarter-mile boardwalk through the mangroves, or make the trip on the free shuttle from the beach’s parking lot. Concession area, picnic pavilions, kayak and canoe launch, restrooms and showers.
  • Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park: Pristine, mile-long white sand beach. Picnic areas with grills, restrooms and showers, as well as paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, umbrellas and beach chairs for rent.
  • Vanderbilt Beach: One of the most popular beaches in Naples located on a prime spot at the end of Vanderbilt Drive in North Naples. The beach has concessions, showers, restrooms, bike racks, a parking garage, and handicap access.
  • Lowdermilk Park on Naples Beach: 1,000 feet of pristine beachfront close to downtown shops and restaurants. Family-friendly shallow water with picnic areas, playgrounds, a concession stand, restrooms, and outdoor showers. 

Though each beach in Naples is unique in its own way, they all offer the same sugar-soft white sand and picturesque views of the Gulf of Mexico.

Don’t forget these important beach essentials along with one of our favorite beach bags for moms that will maximize your day at the beach!

Additional planning tip: Visitors to Naples will need to pay for beach parking via its metered beach parking spaces and lots.

Metered beach parking locations and beach access points can be found here.

Kayaking in the mangrove tunnels

3. Kayak the Mangrove Forests

When visiting Naples, be sure to take a guided mangrove kayak tour with our recommended tour company, Paddle Marco!

This kayaking experience is like no other as you’ll kayak through the mangrove tree tunnels within Rookery Bay – one of the last and largest remaining undisturbed mangrove habitats in North America.

The tours launch from Capri Blvd. in Naples and offer narration, free HD photos, and an up-close and personal experience with wildlife like tree crabs, osprey, heron, and dolphins.

Visit Paddle Marco’s FAQ page to help plan your experience as well as consider purchasing a waterproof phone pouch before you go.

Find out the best things to do in Naples from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

4. Go to the Naples Zoo

If you’re specifically looking for things to do in Naples with kids, be sure to visit the nationally accredited Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens.

Much more than a walk-thru zoo, this historic tropical garden and nonprofit conservation provides both education programs and wildlife experiences.

Here, you can enjoy its paved walking trails in a combination of sun and shade while watching lions, bears, zebras, cheetahs, gators, and more.

Don’t leave without admiring the monkeys from the Primate Expedition Cruise or taking part in a giraffe feeding experience ($5 for 3 pieces of Romaine lettuce).

A beautiful Naples, FL sunsey

5. Watch the Sunset

Thanks to its oceanfront Gulf Coast location and its endless sandy shoreline, Naples is a fantastic destination to experience (like, really experience) the daily sunset.

In fact, it is a ritualistic celebration every day for travelers to head (back) to the beach in the evening to watch the sun dip below the horizon.

You’ll be enchanted by all the beautiful whirls of color that paint the sky before the sun slowly disappears.

Popular places to watch the sunset in Naples include Naples Pier, The Turtle Club Restaurant, and BALEEN Naples (2 of the best restaurants in Naples that also happen to be oceanfront), and Vanderbilt Beach.

*Don’t forget to read our Florida packing list (that includes fun Florida ‘extras’) before you go!

Discover our favorite Naples attractions here on our blog Travel With A Plan!

6. Embark on a Catamaran Cruise

Another one of the best activities in Naples is to embark on a catamaran cruise!

Though there are a few charter companies to choose from, we recently rode the Sweet Liberty, Naples’s premier sailing charter company.

This 44 passenger, 53′ Sailing Catamaran is housed at the Naples City Dock and offers daily sightseeing cruises at an affordable price.

We absolutely love their 2-hour Sunset Cruise that includes narration and sightseeing, along with watching the sunset from out on the ocean.

After cruising along the Gordon River and viewing the multimillion-dollar homes in Naples’ prestigious waterfront community, you’ll arrive at the ocean just in time to watch pink and orange hues light up the sky at sunset.

Another great thing about this cruise is that you can bring your own cooler with drinks (including alcohol) and snacks on board.

Another great reason to purchase our favorite collapsible cooler for all of your travel needs.

Naples Bontanical Garden family photo

7. Visit Naples Botanical Garden

Naples Botanical Garden is a 170-acre garden paradise that is a must-do Naples, Florida attraction (even kids will love!).

Regular admission to Naples Botanical Garden gives you free rein to explore the gardens on your own or to join in on a guided tour led by Garden staff.

Daily tours are offered six times a day every day from 10 am to 3 pm, on the hour.

Each tour is 45 minutes with up to 16 guests per tour. 

Reserve your spot in person on the day of your visit by checking in at the Smith Entry Prow with a volunteer or staff member.

Our favorite exhibits here include The Water Garden, Lea Asian Garden, Kapnick Caribbean Garden (especially the Stickwork Sculpture), and finally, The Preserve, a mile-long paved path along a lake.

8. Browse Historic Third Street South

Historic Third Street South, located only a few blocks from Naples Pier, is a hub of high-end, antique, and boutique shopping, award-winning restaurants, art, history, and community events.

Here, you’ll find landmark courtyards, fountains, and flower tubs and gardens filled with colorful wildflowers.

History buffs should check out guided historical tours at Historic Palm Cottage and Norris Gardens.

The Historic Palm Cottage is Naples’ oldest house and serves as a 3,500 square-foot museum.

Norris Gardens and Historic Naples tours showcase Naples’ history and suit all ages.

Dinner on the beach in Naples, Florida

9. Have Dinner on the Beach

We already mentioned beaches and sunsets as two of the best things to do in Naples – so now we’re combining the two, plus adding in dinner!

Though there are several waterfront restaurants in Naples, we’ve had a chance to experience (and recommend) two of them: The Turtle Club Restaurant and BALEEN Naples.

Both of these restaurants offer ‘toes in the sand’ dining as they feature magnificent outdoor patios that are only steps away from the Gulf of Mexico.

For fine dining, fresh seafood, and an overall unforgettable experience, treat yourself to dinner on the beach while visiting Naples, Florida.

*Read more about these restaurants in our article: Best Places to Eat in Naples: Fine Dining + Casual Eateries. Coming soon!

10. Listen to Live Music

If you’re looking for things to do in Naples at night, there are a few places to listen to live music.

Places to listen to live music in Naples include:

  • South Street bar and restaurant – Local artists, karaoke, and open mic nights.
  • The Bay House restaurant – Live music in the Tavern, every night from 6-9 p.m.
  • Burn by Rocky Paten cigar and fine spirits lounge – Nightly live music.
  • Blue Martini martini bar offering a global tapas menu – Live bands from 7:30-11 p.m.
  • Tommy Bahama bar and restaurant, Third Street South hotspot – Nightly live music.
  • Sea Salt restaurant – Live music every night from 7 p.m. to closing.

Other places to catch live music in Naples include The Bevy, The French, Ridgway Bar & Grill, The Continental, Vergina Naples, and The Real Macaw.

11. Rent a Jet Ski

Also known as personal watercrafts (PWCs), jet skis are a great way to get closer to nature and to see parts of Naples that you didn’t even know existed.

There are several jet ski rental outfitters in Naples as it is a very popular way to freely cruise the water – while choosing your own speed.

Get up close to dolphins and other native wildlife as well as explore the backwaters, see the mangrove forests, or make a beach stop at the beautiful Keewaydin Island.

Rental companies include Pure Florida, Marco Island Watersports, and Naples Jet Ski Rental.

12. Try a New Brew

First-time visitors to Naples, Florida may not realize that there are several great breweries in Naples, FL.

If you’re a beer lover, be sure to check out the unique brews, customer favorites, and hallmark beers found in Naples.

Breweries in Naples, FL include Naples Beach Brewery (over 20 house beers on tap), Riptide Brewing Company (Olde Naples Blonde is the local favorite), Bone Hook Brewing Company (20-minute brew tours available), and others.

Discover fun and unique things to do in Naples, Florida

13. Go Shell Picking

When visiting Naples, be sure to spend time exploring for shells as the coastline is covered with a plethora of beautiful shells including:

  • Sand dollars
  • Starfish
  • Fighting Conch
  • Moon Snail
  • Calico Scallop
  • And more…

Though shells can be found at all of the local beaches, there are also several tour companies that offer guided shelling tours.

These tours take guests to unspoiled shelling hotspots like local Keywadin Island and other areas of the 10,000 Islands Wildlife Refuge.

14. Stroll Fifth Avenue South

Fifth Avenue South is another street and shopping district in Downtown Naples that I recommend visiting when vacationing in Naples.

This popular business and arts district is home to prime dining, shopping, and live musical performances along the sidewalk.

While strolling on Fifth Avenue South, admire the gorgeous historic and modern architecture, luxury shops, lush greenery, and abundant wildflowers.

Plus, the palm trees lining the street are lit up with thousands of white lights at night!

More Fun Things to do in Naples

We’re almost halfway done with our mega list of Naples attractions!

Hopefully, you’ve added a few of these Naples activities to your vacation plans.

15. Have Ice Cream at Kilwin’s

While on Fifth Avenue South, be sure to stop at the popular Kilwin’s of Naples for the best ice cream around!

They’re also known for their homemade Mackinac Island-style fudge and chocolates, as well as chocolate-dipped strawberries which are dipped fresh daily.

Tin City in Naples, FL

16. Explore Tin City

Tin City is a touristy area of brightly colored shops and restaurants that sit along Naples’ Gordon River.

Tin City’s roots date back to the 1920s when this particular stretch of the river was a prime spot for clam shelling, oyster processing, and thriving fishing businesses.

It slowly began to evolve into a marketplace and is not home to unique shops, 3 waterfront restaurants, water-based excursions, and seasonal events.

17. Stay at an Oceanfront Resort

The perks of staying in one of Naples’ beautiful oceanfront resorts are that you have immediate beach access (no need to find parking or to transport beach gear), and panoramic views of the ocean and sunset.

Our top recommended places to stay in Naples if you want an oceanfront resort with its own beach include:

*Read our entire review of LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort here! (Coming soon!)

18. Bike the Coast

Naples, Florida, is a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly city with over 30 miles of bicycle pathways and cycle-friendly roadways.

If you’re interested in spending the day, or a few hours, with your family on a bike excursion, there are several places to rent bikes in Naples.

Most bike rental companies have several sizes and styles of bikes to choose from and will even provide delivery and pick-up of the bikes from your hotel or resort.

19. Splash at Sun-n-Fun Lagoon

Another one of the best things to do in Naples with kids is to spend a day at Sun-n-Fun Lagoon.

Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is a waterpark that has four pools, a lazy river, a splash playground, five water slides, a concession stand, and other amenities like restrooms and lockers.

Parking is free and there are certified lifeguards that monitor all water attractions.

Do note that capacity is limited so admission into the park may be suspended during the day due to periods of high attendance.

20. Ride the Trolley

One of our favorite ways to explore a new city is by way of a trolley tour!

See the best of Naples on one of their vintage trolley tours that provide a narrated tour covering more than 100 points of interest!

General admission allows visitors to ‘Hop-On, Hop-Off’ all throughout Naples, or to stay on the trolley for the entire1 hour and forty-five minutes around the city for a complete guided tour. 

Celebration Food Truck Park in Naples, Florida

21. Eat at Celebration Park

Located at 2880 Becca Avenue in the Bayshore Arts District, is Naples Celebration Park.

Celebration Park is a permanent food truck park that has a large covered pavilion and a sizable, open-air tiki bar that serves wine, cocktails, and craft beer.

Offerings include Mexican and Greek food, as well as fish, sandwiches, salad, and burgers. (Upon publishing this article, there are currently 8 multi-cuisine food trucks here.)

This is a fun place to stop if you’re in the area of Naples Botanical Garden.

22. Visit a Naples Museum

History lovers will appreciate that there are 8 museums in Naples, Florida.

These museums showcase everything from modern art to ancient artifacts as well as feature both local and statewide history.

Naples museums include:

  • The Revs Institute – automobile museum
  • Naples Holocaust Museum
  • The Baker Museum – art museum
  • Naples Depot Museum – (free) train museum
  • Palm Cottage – local history
  • Collier Museum at Government Center – (free) local history
  • Golisano Children’s Museum – interactive family museum
  • Naples Train Museum

23. Check out the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Learn about Florida’s ecosystem at Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.

Here, you’ll experience Corkscrew’s famous boardwalk – a 2.25-mile walk through pine woods, prairies, around a marsh, and finally, into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. 

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer, red-bellied turtles, and birds.

Advanced online reservations are required, and there is no entrance after 1 pm.

General admission ranges from $14-$17.

Best outdoor restaurants in Naples, Florida

24. Dine Out in Naples

There are over 700 restaurants in Naples, FL ranging from fine dining to retro diners, casual brewpubs, fast food, and food trucks.

Though one cannot possibly mention all of the hundreds of Naples restaurants in one post, we share our favorite restaurants in Naples here. (Coming soon!)

Overall, the city prides itself on reliably excellent food and service, and you will simply not be disappointed by your options.

25. Take a Dolphin Cruise

One of Naples’ most popular marine animals is the bottlenose dolphin.

In order to get an up-close-and-personal experience with these playful creatures, consider booking a dolphin-watching tour with Pure Florida.

Pure Florida’s 3-hour dolphin watch/eco-tour includes sightseeing, dolphin and manatee sighting, and shell picking on the white sandy beach of Keewaydin Island – one of Florida’s most stunning barrier islands.

26. Explore more of Delanor Wiggins-Pass State Park

Delanor Wiggins-Pass State Park is home to so much more than just its beach.

For $6 per vehicle, visitors can sunbathe, paddleboard, kayak, hike, bird-watch, fish, picnic, and search for seashells.

In addition, there are specific areas designated for fishing, as well as a boat launch into Turkey Bay.

Last, the Naples Beach Adventures concession stand is open in parking lot number four with food, beverages, and rentals that include paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, umbrellas, and beach chairs. 

Find out the best things to do in Naples, Florida from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!

27. Photograph Historic Palm Cottage

If you don’t want to pay the entry fee to tour the Palm Cottage Museum, take time to photograph this historic Naples landmark.

It is located right across the street from Naples Pier.

28. Make Breakfast a Priority

Naples, Florida is known for its fantastic breakfast and brunch options.

Endless mimosas, anyone?

So much so that we wrote an entire article about the best spots for breakfast in Naples. (Coming soon.)

From homestyle diners to outdoor patios on the ocean, make breakfast a priority when visiting Naples as there are so many great places to enjoy!

29. Play Golf

Naples, Florida is one of the best golfing destinations in the world and is often referred to as the “Golf Capital of the World”.

Greater Naples has approximately 90 18-hole golf courses, with about 30 of those courses accessible to the public.

Courses range from standard everyday courses to challenging, professional-level courses.

Most golfing enthusiasts choose the winter months for a Naples golf vacation though golf in Naples can be enjoyed year-round.

Be sure to read up on this guide to public golfing in Naples to learn about local courses, rates, and events.

30. Enjoy the Mercato Shops

The Mercato is a chic outdoor shopping district that offers 12 restaurants and over 20 upscale retailers.

In addition, Mercato is anchored by a 12-screen luxury movie theater, Silverspot Cinema.

Mercato is by far, one of the best places to go shopping in Naples, and there is enough to keep you busy here for hours.

31. Go Fishing

Located on the Gulf of Mexico and a variety of freshwater rivers, Naples, Florida, is a prime spot for fishing.

Visitors to Naples can go deep-sea or backwater fishing on their own or via private fishing charters.

There are several places in Naples that rent rods, fishing gear, and bait, as well as charter companies that will take you to the best fishing spots.

Popular saltwater fish in the Gulf Coast include Red Snapper, Black Grouper, Red Grouper, Snook, Mullet, and Bluefish.

32. Go Mini Golfing

If you’re looking for a fun family activity in Naples, go mini-golfing at Coral Cay Adventure Golf.

Coral Cay has 2 18-hole mini-golf courses that feature caves, waterfalls, and a combination of sun and shade.

There is an indoor (air-conditioned) concession stand with seating, as well as an outdoor patio.

Both kids and adults will love it here!

32. Visit Nearby Marco Island

While vacationing in Naples, I highly recommend that you also explore nearby Marco Island and Everglades City (the gateway to Everglades National Park).

Both cities are easily accessible from Naples and provide dozens of additional restaurants, beaches, and other places to explore.

*Read about our favorite things to do on Marco Island, here. (Coming soon!)

The Florida everglades airboat tour

33. Ride in An an Airboat

From Naples, drive 33 miles (40 minutes) to the Jungle Erv’s Airboat Tour headquarters in Everglades City.

Here, you can visit the Museum of the Everglades and treat yourself to an awesome airboat experience through Jungle Erv’s.

Options include an hour-long Wilderness or Mangrove Airboat Tour, a 30-minute Grassland Airboat Tour, or a Swamp Buggy Tour.

All are equally fun and entertaining, as well as introduce you to Florida’s unique plant and animal life.

33. Take a Day Trip

It’s hard to vacation in Florida and only stay in one spot.

After all, the United States state of Florida offers so many bucket list destinations that provide phenomenal options for a fun family vacation.

If you have additional time to spend in and around Naples, consider taking a day trip to its surrounding cities and beachside communities.

Here is the driving distance to some of our favorite day trips from Naples:

  • Marco Island – 18 miles
  • Everglades National Park – 37 miles
  • Fort Meyers – 43 miles
  • Sanibel Island – 53 miles
  • Fort Lauderdale – 109 miles
  • Siesta Key – 115 miles (Check out the best things to do in Siesta Key!)
  • Sarasota – 117 miles (Check out the best things to do in Sarasota!)
  • Miami – 125 miles

Best Time to Visit Naples

Though Naples is a great place to be enjoyed year-round, the best time to visit Naples is during the months of March to May.

From early March to late May, daytime temperatures range in the mid-80s (perfect beach weather!), and this is also the season when you’ll enjoy moderate crowds and comparatively fair prices.

Another popular time to visit Naples is during the winter months of December to February.

During the winter months, you can expect clear skies and average temps in the mid-70s (perfect for golf!).

It is during the winter months that you’ll experience peak crowds and price hikes, however.

For those looking to get away during the summer months, Naples offers the same great attractions but with high humidity and temperatures in the high 80s and 90s.

In order to make these months more tolerable, it is important to understand how to stay cool in the Florida heat as it is quite intense.

Closest Airport to Naples

The most direct way to get to Naples is the Naples Municipal Airport (APF) which is located 5 miles from Downtown Naples.

APF has restricted public access, however, and only services chartered domestic flights via Naples Jet Center, Naples Air, and Gulf Coast Airways.

The Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Meyers, Florida, on the other hand, is the best and most popular option for commercial flights when looking to visit Naples.

RSW is located 45 minutes south of Naples, so you’ll either need a rental car, shuttle, or rideshare service to get you to your final destination.

Additional planning tip: Naples is about two hours by car from the international airports in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, FL.

LaPlaya Beach and Golf Resort, Naples, Florida

Best Places to Stay in Naples, Florida

As previously mentioned, our favorite places to stay in Naples if you want an oceanfront resort with its own beach include:

If you want to save some money and don’t mind staying inland, our top recommendations include:

Finally, for more space, if you’re traveling with your pet, or are planning an extended stay, other options include a Naples vacation rental home or condo via VRBO vs. Airbnb.

Naples Activities Conclusion

Hopefully, our list of things to do in Naples has provided you with helpful information for your upcoming Florida family vacation.

My hope is for you to have an amazing and carefree experience!

Before you go, don’t forget to read our family packing tips.

Last, consult our top tips on flying with kids, and road-tripping with kids (depending on how you plan to get there) to keep the kids calm and happy while traveling!

Finally, if you’re looking for some additional family-friendly Florida vacation itineraries, be sure to check out our other favorite spots:

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

"If you like it, Pin it!" quote
Check out the best things to do in Naples, Florida from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!  #Floridavacations #familytravel
Check out our list of 37 fun and unique things to do in Naples, FL!
TAGS
RELATED POSTS

LEAVE A COMMENT

Welcome Friends!

Hi, I'm Jen - founder of the award-winning travel blog, Travel With A Plan! I help families plan fun & fulfilling family vacations by sharing our exact itineraries and "best things to do" lists to popular US vacation spots. Take the stress out of planning a family vacation by using our detailed destination guides and ultra-convenient packing lists to help you travel better. We'll show you how hassle-free family travel is possible - when you travel with a plan!

Looking For Something?
Travel With A Plan packing checklist

Get Your Free Family Vacation Packing Lists Here!

TMOM Travel Writer
Must-see stops on Going-to-the-Sun Road The Ultimate Glacier National Park Itinerary For Families A complete 6-day San Diego itinerary for families Our Ultimate List of Things to Bring to the Beach 10 Tips for a Planning a Family Road Trip