Naples, Florida is one of my favorite Florida weekend getaways from St Pete. It’s a beautiful city located on the Gulf of Mexico. There are so many fun things to do in Naples – we love visiting for beaches, shopping, and dining. There are also a lot of things to do in Naples from outdoor activities like boating and golfing to cultural attractions like museums and art galleries.
So, what are the must sees in Naples, Florida? Join me as we explore all that this beautiful city has to offer and discover why Naples should be at the top of your travel list.
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Things to Do in Naples
Naples, Florida, has plenty of things to see and do for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re looking to soak up the sun on the beautiful beaches, explore the local art scene, or indulge in shopping and dining experiences, Naples has something for everyone. Here is a closer look at some of the best things to do in Naples, Florida.
Explore Naples Beaches
Naples, Florida is known for its stunning beaches, crystal clear water, and beautiful sunsets. With miles of coastline along the Gulf of Mexico, there is no shortage of beaches to explore. Whether you’re looking for a quiet spot to relax, a place to take a dip in the ocean, or a spot to catch some waves, there’s a beach in Naples for everyone. Here are some of the best beaches to visit in Naples, Florida.
Naples Pier Beach
Visiting the Naples Pier is a very popular thing to do in Naples. Right now, the pier doesn’t look the same due to damage sustained in Hurricane Ian. There are plans to rebuild the pier but as we know, this can take a lot of time. There is no current date for the completion of the project. The beach here is still open and is probably the most popular beach to visit in Naples.
Clam Pass Beach Park
Clam Pass Beach Park is a hidden gem in Naples. To get there, you can either walk around one mile to reach the beach or you can take a tram through a mangrove forest. The tram is free and runs every 15 minutes back and forth from the beach and parking lot.
Seagate Beach is a relatively small beach in Naples. It’s popular among locals and visitors for its clear waters, soft sand, and beautiful sunsets. The beach is about a one block walk to the beach from parking, which is a paved pathway with park benches along the way. It’s located in the Seagate neighborhood, which is known for its upscale homes and beachfront mansions.
Keewaydin Beach is a natural preserve, and its remote location makes it a popular spot for those looking to escape the crowds and enjoy a quiet day on the beach. The only way to reach the island is by boat, and many visitors choose to rent a boat or take a ferry from Naples to get there. Even though Keewaydin Island is quiet and only accessible by boat, there are several homes on it.
One of the unique features of Keewaydin Beach is its untouched natural beauty. The island is home to a variety of wildlife, including sea turtles, dolphins, and ospreys. It’s a great place for shelling and dogs are allowed at Keewaydin Island.
Barefoot Beach Preserve (Currently Closed)
Barefoot Beach is definitely one of the best beaches in southwest Florida. If you like big, fancy homes, you’ll love the drive to the park as you wind through multi million dollar homes until you begin to find yourself immersed in nature. Barefoot beach is more secluded and less busy than many other beaches in Florida. It’s located a short drive from Naples in Bonita Springs.
You may see gopher tortoises, so keep an eye out for them. They are often not aware of their surroundings. There is even a one mile trail among the dunes and you may see gopher tortoises here as well.
If you enjoy paddling, Barefoot Beach is a good fit for you because there are canoe and kayak rentals on site. There are also several amenities at the park such as picnic areas, restrooms, showers, and a concession stand. There are also programs such as nature tours led by rangers so you can learn more about the ecosystem and wildlife that live there.
Lowdermilk Park is in central Naples and is one of the most popular Naples beaches. It is a family-friendly beach that offers plenty of amenities. There is plenty of parking, but on nice days it can fill up fast anyway. There are picnic tables, grills, and even a playground for kids. The beach is also known for its calm waters, making it a great spot for swimming and paddleboarding.
There are also several restaurants and bars nearby, making it a great spot to spend the day.
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park (Currently Closed)
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park is a must-visit for nature lovers. The park has over a mile of pristine beachfront, as well as trails for hiking and biking. You can also rent kayaks and paddleboards to explore the nearby mangrove forest.
Naples also has a rich cultural scene with numerous museums that showcase everything from ancient artifacts to contemporary art? In fact, Naples has become a hub for the arts in Southwest Florida, attracting artists and art enthusiasts from all over the world. In this blog post, we’ll take a closer look at some of the top museums in Naples, Florida and what makes them such fascinating and enriching destinations to visit. Whether you’re a history buff, art lover, or just looking for something different to do during your stay in Naples, these museums are sure to leave a lasting impression.
The Revs Institute
The Revs Institute is a car museum founded in 2009 by Miles Collier. He had a passion for automobiles and a dream to create a museum showcasing them. He did just that. The Revs Institute is one of the top car exhibits nationwide with rare and significant automobiles. They also have the second biggest Porsche collection globally.
The collection at the Revs Institute is truly impressive, with over 100 automobiles on display at any given time. The collection includes cars from some of the most significant and influential manufacturers in automotive history, including Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, and many others. Each car in the collection has been carefully restored to its original condition, and many of the cars are in working order, allowing visitors to experience the sights, sounds, and even the smells of these amazing machines.
One of the highlights of the Revs Institute is the research library, which is home to one of the world’s most extensive collections of automotive literature and documentation. The library contains over 4,000 books, magazines, and other publications related to the history and technology of the automobile, making it an invaluable resource for scholars, historians, and enthusiasts alike.
In addition to the museum and research library, the Revs Institute is also home to a state-of-the-art conservation and restoration facility, where skilled technicians work to preserve and restore the collection’s cars to their original condition. The facility is open to the public, allowing visitors to see the restoration process up close and learn about the techniques and technologies used to preserve these amazing machines for future generations.
Revs Institute is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10 am – 4 pm with last admission at 2:00. You have to have tickets ahead of time and walk in visitors won’t be allowed in.
Naples Holocaust Museum
Located in the heart of Naples, the Holocaust Museum stands as a reminder of the atrocities committed during World War II. The museum opened in 2001 and features a wealth of artifacts, exhibits, and testimonies that shed light on the Holocaust’s causes, events, and aftermath.
The Holocaust Museum’s exhibits offer an immersive experiences. There are also photographs, personal testimonies, original artifacts, and educational displays. One of the museum’s notable exhibits is the boxcar, which an actual railcar used to transport victims to concentration camps. The Wall of Remembrance is etched with the names of victims and pays homage to the six million Jewish lives lost during the Holocaust.
Naples Depot Museum (Currently Closed)
The Naples Depot Museum is currently closed for hurricane recovery from Hurricane Ian. It is definitely worth visiting once it re-opens.
The Naples Depot Museum is conveniently located in downtown Naples, making it an easy stop while you’re out exploring some of the other fun things to do in Naples, Florida. This Naples museum is actually located in a historic train station, the Seaboard Air Line Railway, which was originally built in the 1920’s. You’ll learn about the history and role of rail travel and history of transportation in Florida, as well as about some history and growth of Naples. They have several exhibits, including vintage train cars and locomotives, artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays. One of the best parts of the museum is an authentic restored passenger car.
Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
I highly recommend adding the Golisano Children’s Museum to your list of things to do with kids in Naples, Florida! This museum is huge with over 30,000 square feet of exhibit space. There are several different themes such as science and technology, arts, and culture.
One of the museum’s themes is the “Wonder Garden,” an outdoor play area that combines nature and imagination. Children can embark on adventures in the mini Everglades, dig for fossils in the Dino Dig, or engage in imaginative play in the Story Garden. In the “World Cafe,” children can step into the role of chefs, waiters, or customers as they prepare and serve dishes from different cultures. The “Physics Forest” has hands-on experiments and interactive displays using principles of physics. Children can build and test structures, experiment with magnetism, or explore the concepts of light and sound. The “Art Studio,” lets kids use their creativity in a number of ways from painting and sculpting to printmaking and digital art.
Palm Cottage and The Norris Gardens
The Historic Palm Cottage and The Norris Gardens will take you on a journey through Naples’ history. Palm Cottage is the oldest house in Naples, built in 1895! The cottage will give you a glimpse into the Naples’ past, while the adjoining Norris Gardens showcases the beauty of nature.
The interior of the cottage has been restored to reflect the lifestyle of its original inhabitants. It is complete with period furnishings, artifacts, and historical photographs that provide insights into the lives of early Naples settlers. Guides are on hand to share stories and answer any questions you might have.
The gardens on site are named after Lester and Dellora Norris, philanthropists who played a vital role in preserving Palm Cottage and other historical sites in Naples. You’ll find native plants such as orchids, bromeliads, and tropical palms. You can also wander the garden’s pathways.
The Baker Museum
The Baker museum has an impressive collection of contemporary and modern art. It has rotating exhibits from a variety of artists, from paintings to sculptures. The last Wednesday of the month, they have an event called Art After Hours with free admission to the museum from 6pm-9pm.
Collier Museum at Government Center
The Collier Museum at Government Center is a small but informative museum in Naples. The museum is a great way to learn about both Collier County and Florida history with both inside and outside exhibits. Some highlights are a steam locomotive and historic vehicles. Admission is free, though donations are encouraged.
Check Out The Art Scene
Naples, Florida may be known for its beautiful beaches and upscale shopping and dining, but it’s also home to a thriving arts community.
The Naples Museum of Art is a must-visit destination for any art lover visiting the city. The museum boasts an impressive collection of American and modern art, with works by artists such as Frank Stella, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Roy Lichtenstein. The museum also hosts a variety of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, showcasing works by both established and emerging artists.
For those looking for a more immersive art experience, the Baker Museum is a hidden gem in Naples. The museum is located on the campus of the Artis-Naples performing arts center and features a collection of contemporary art and photography. The museum also hosts a variety of educational programs and events, including lectures, workshops, and tours.
Naples is also home to a vibrant local art scene, with numerous galleries and art fairs throughout the city. The Naples Art Association is a nonprofit organization that promotes and supports the arts in the area, with a focus on local artists and community engagement. The association hosts a variety of events throughout the year, including art shows, festivals, and workshops.
In addition to the traditional visual arts, Naples also offers a variety of performing arts experiences. The Artis-Naples performing arts center hosts a variety of concerts, plays, and ballets throughout the year, featuring both local and international performers.
Overall, Naples, Florida is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the arts. From world-class museums to local galleries, the city offers a diverse range of art experiences that showcase the talent and creativity of both established and emerging artists. Whether you’re a seasoned art collector or simply looking to explore the vibrant cultural scene, Naples has something for everyone.
Visit Naples Pier
If you visit the Naples pier right now, it might not look quite how you expect due to damage sustained in Hurricane Ian. An ominous and small reminder of how powerful Mother Nature can be. However, the Naples Pier is a staple so I still wanted to include it in this article. Luckily, the city does plan to rebuild the pier. Given that the pier requires a total rebuild, it could take a long time to rebuild.
Visit Naples Botanical Garden
The Botanical Garden in Naples, Florida is nestled in the heart of Naples. This beautiful garden is a must-visit for anyone who loves nature, plants, and flowers.
With over 170 acres, the Naples Botanical Garden boasts a variety of ecosystems, including tropical, subtropical, and even arid regions. This means that visitors can expect to see a wide variety of plants and trees from around the world, ranging from the towering palm trees of the tropics to the cacti of the desert.
It’s also a great place to visit if you have kids. The Smith Children’s Garden was designed for kids with interactive exhibits. You’ll find a butterfly house, a treehouse, and a water play area. The garden also offers a variety of educational programs for children, making it a great destination for families.
For those who love water features, the Naples Botanical Garden offers several beautiful ponds, fountains, and streams throughout the property. Visitors can relax and enjoy the soothing sound of water while taking in the beauty of the gardens.
In addition to its natural beauty, the Naples Botanical Garden also features several art installations throughout the property. These works of art complement the natural surroundings and provide visitors with a unique and engaging experience.
Overall, the Naples Botanical Garden is a must-visit for anyone who loves nature, plants, and flowers. With its wide variety of ecosystems, educational programs, and interactive exhibits, it’s a destination that the whole family can enjoy. So next time you’re in Naples, make sure to put the Botanical Garden on your list of places to visit.
The zoo isn’t huge, but it’s a great activity to do with kids in Naples. Plus, you’ll be able to explore the entire zoo and all of the exhibitions in one day. The staff will often walk around with some of the animals so you can learn more about them. You can even feed the giraffes! There is also a primate expedition cruise where you can watch the primates on a variety of small islands as they roam freely.
Shopping in Naples
Mercato is an outdoor shopping center with boutiques, including 20+ upscale retailers. There is also a Whole Foods, Nordstrom Rack, and movie theatre. It is so much more than shopping, though, with plenty of events. Most events are free to attend. The first Thursday of every month they have live music from 6:30-8:30 pm and they have movies on the lawn the third Thursday of every month. However, there are always additional events popping up at Mercato as well. Mercato’s Facebook page is a great way to find out what is going on.
Tin City is a historic shopping district on the water. They have Naples souvenirs, handmade jewelry, art work, beachwear, and more. There are also several seafood restaurants here, making it easy to spend as much time as you’d like in the area. Several boat tours/charters leave out of Tin City as well.
5th Avenue South is a great fun place to spend a few hours wandering. There are plenty of shopping at high end boutiques and restaurants. It’s kind of like a mix of Europe and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. 5th Avenue South is more expensive, which is not a problem if you have a budget for it and if you don’t have a budget for it, you may find it fun to people watch (like I do.) The area is upscale, trendy, and clean. There is a free parking garage in the area as well.
Waterside Shops is an outdoor shopping mall. For the most part, stores are more high-end (such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Tiffany & Co.). However, there are affordable options (such as J. Crew, Ralph Lauren, and Sephora) as well.
Village Shops on Venetian Bay is a smaller shopping area that’s also waterfront. There are over 40 luxury stores here and plenty of restaurants as well. The views here are really nice and you can walk along the water on the boardwalk as well.
Coastland Center is your average indoor mall. It has everything you’d expect in a mall and probably isn’t anything you don’t have at home (think department stores like Macy’s and JCPenney). But if you need something, you’ll find it here. Of course, there is also a food court and a movie theater.
Where to Stay in Naples
We stayed at the Hyatt House on 5th Ave. In the travel hacking world, Hyatts are well known for having some of the best redemptions, and we had points to use, so that’s why we booked there!
It worked out nicely because the location is perfect – walking distance to Tin City, and 5th Avenue South. As noted above, both areas have plenty of shopping and dining. They really couldn’t be much different from one another but we found them both fun to explore – Tin City for a more laid back vibe and 5th Ave South for a fancy night out. It’s also a very short drive to the beaches and downtown Naples. It’s bayfront so you can book a room overlooking the water. We redeemed points for a standard room, so our view wasn’t anything fancy, but the room was nice and so were the hotel grounds. There is on site dining, a nice pool, and fire pits.
Hyatt House on 5th Ave
We liked Hyatt House on 5th Ave in Naples for its location (walking distance to Tin City and 5th Ave South). They have a nice pool, gym, and on site food as well!
While we have personally stayed in the Hyatt House on 5th Ave and enjoyed it, there are plenty of options in Naples. For a more upscale stay, the Ritz-Carlton is one of the best consistently high ranking options for places to stay in Naples.
There really are so many fun things to do in Naples, Florida and I hope that this has been a helpful guide for you in planning your trip there.