Top 10 Things to do in Naples, Florida
By: Riley Benson
High-end shopping, white sandy beaches, and gorgeous gulf courses are just some of the best things about Naples, Florida. Whether you’ve lived in Naples for years, planning to move, or visiting for vacation, there’s so much to do in the town that you may not know about! Here are some of the best things to do in Naples, from the locals. What’s your favorite secret place in Naples? Share in the comments below!
1. Naples Botanical Garden
The Naples Botanical Garden, located near Naples Manor and Lely Resort, showcases beautiful habitats and walking trails featuring plants and culture from Brazil, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Florida in their 170-acre world-class gardens. The beautiful ecosystem within, the garden is sure to provide all-day fun for all ages. Not to mention that depending on the date of your visit, you may be able to experience a special exhibit, such as immersive sculptures or live music. There’s also a gift shop and the Fogg Cafe, with a morning, lunch, and kids menu. The cafe has a variety of different soups, sandwiches, desserts, and pastries. One last amenity of the garden is the yearly membership, which starts at $90. With the membership, you’re allowed early morning entry, free unlimited access to the garden (during operating hours), 10% off at the cafe and bookstore, and exclusive members-only exhibits and previews. To see a quick video of our recent Holiday trip to Naples Botanical Garden click here.
2. Naples Zoo
The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a nationally accredited zoo and charitable institution in Southwest Florida that features a full day of fun activities. The beautiful 43-acre zoo was founded by botanist and ornithologist Dr. Henry Nehrling in 1919. In this tropical setting, you can experience seeing many of your favorite animals like lions, giraffes, monkeys, pythons, and bears. In addition, you’ll also discover feature exhibits and an array of more rarely seen creatures like a giant anteater. Not to mention, the Zoo is a trusted nonprofit, as the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is an award-winning charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization reaching over 350,000 guests a year with its conservation and education mission. The Zoo cares for rare flora and fauna here and around the world, including planting over 25,000 trees a year in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.
3. The Naples Pier
No license required to fish on our Pier! Open 24 hours, 7 days a week, the historic Naples Pier is located on the Gulf of Mexico at the West end of 12th Avenue South. The Naples Pier is a favorite location for locals and tourists alike. The Pier features restrooms, showers, ADA beach access mat, and a concession stand with a covered eating area, and beach supplies. Parking for
beach access in the City of Naples requires the resident or visitor to have a beach parking permit or pay-by-space. While this is enforced year-round, city residents may obtain a beach permit from City Hall and Collier County residents from Collier County Park or Library. Nevertheless, the Naples Pier sits on miles of beautiful beaches and crystal clear water that surround the town. Overall, just a great place to watch a sunset or just take a walk to look at all the beautiful views it has to offer.
4. Waterside Shops
Waterside Shops is the Gulf Coast’s premier shopping and dining destination where the finest names in luxury retail and fashionable lifestyle stores are set amid a lush landscape of 30,000 tropical plants and flowering shrubs, a 550-foot-long, hand-laid rock wall punctuated by cascading water, and dramatic lighting features. Opened in 1992, the mall features Saks Fifth Avenue as the anchor tenant, along with dozens of amazing shops like Vineyard Vines, Free People, Anthropology, Gucci, Dior, Sephora, and the Apple Store, Lilly Pulitizer, and more. There are also a variety of places that serve food like California Pizza Kitchen, Bricktops, Haagen Dazs, and others. The perfect place for when you need to take the day off and do some shopping.
5. Fifth Avenue South
Fifth Avenue South is the heart of the Naples Downtown area. Filled with businesses ranging from fashion boutique shops, gourmet restaurants, cafes coffee and ice cream shops, delicatessens, European and American antique stores, traditional and contemporary art galleries, gift stores, jewelers, home furnishing and design showrooms, beauty salons, hotels, financial houses, bookstores, apartments, realtors, travel agencies, banks, a famous family food market, neighborhood pharmacy, and professional offices. It has become a popular place for visitors and residents alike to stroll along the freshly landscaped promenades and enjoy sidewalk dining. Here’s where you’ll find the aura of small-town friendliness and historical landmarks amid the sophisticated boutiques, neighborhood shops, and colorful buildings of downtown Naples.
6. Tin City
When you’re looking for things to do near Naples, check out Tin City Waterfront Shops in Naples, FL! This district for boutique shopping and dining is located right on the waterfront, the charming historic area is home to independent boutiques, a choice of waterfront restaurants, and plenty of water-based activities for all ages. Two of Naples’ finest waterfront restaurants can be found here– Riverwalk and Pincher’s Crab Shack. Both offer fabulous food, prompt service, and a glorious waterside view. Head over to M&M’s Cafe to grab some great sandwiches and ice
cream so you can cool down during one of Florida’s famous hot summer days. With Cruise Naples, Tin City patrons have a wide variety of boat charter and touring options. The best ways to explore the water can all be found in the heart of the Naples waterfront district.
Anchored by Whole Foods Market, Nordstrom Rack, and Silverspot Cinema, a 12-screen premier-style theater, Mercato offers 12 notable restaurants, over 20 upscale retailers, and luxury residential condominiums. Mercato hosts a vibrant year-round event calendar with most events free and open to the public. Some of the most notable monthly events include “Mercato Nights Music Series”, on the first Thursday of every month from 6:30-8:30 pm. Enjoy live music for the entire family in every genre. “Movies on the Lawn” are on the third Tuesday of every month at Dusk. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs & enjoy a free film on the lawn. “Cars & Coffee 239” is on the third Sunday of every month from 9-11 am. The largest, most diverse gathering of cars and car enthusiasts in Southwest Florida plus live music and great coffee!
8. Palm Cottage
The Naples Historical Society is the guardian of the Historic Palm Cottage in Naples, Florida. The cottage is Naples’s Oldest home, built-in 1895, and just a block east of the famous Naples Pier. We are open for guided house tours, walking tours of the historic district, archival viewing centers, and special event rentals. Naples Historical Society offers two exceptional tours: Tours of Historic Palm Cottage and Walking Tours of the Naples Historic District. Both are exceptional and regardless of which tour you choose, you will have an enlightened understanding of local history. Naples Historical Society is committed to informing, inspiring, and involving locals and visitors with Naples history. The Society hosts a series of educational programs, for our youth and mature audiences, as well as offers many events throughout the year. The navigation bar invites you to explore all of this. There is something for everyone!
9. Mangrove Tunnels Kayak and Paddle Board Eco Tour
Get an up-close view of Florida’s spectacular, coastal mangrove forests—and enjoy an active way to explore—on this kayaking or paddleboarding tour. Pick from multiple tour times, head to the departure point, and meet your guide: after an introduction to your kayak or paddleboard, you’ll hit the water. Paddle through mangrove tunnels has the chance to spot wildlife like dolphins and manatees and learn more about the forests from your guide.
10. The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples is a children’s museum in Naples, Florida, United States C’MON was founded in 2002 and is a 501 not-for-profit charitable organization and a member of the Association of Children’s Museums. The building is two stories and 30,000 square feet, with various exhibits for children of all ages. The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples is comprised of a diverse group of experienced community leaders and well-educated professionals who continually strive to stay current with the changing trends in the children’s museum field. Each member believes in the Museum’s mission to provide an exciting, inspiring environment where children and their families play, learn, and dream together.