Looking for the best things to do in Naples Florida?
The beautiful Southwest Florida city of Naples can be found just south of Fort Myers and north of the Everglades.
This beautiful stretch of cities, sand and surf is known as the Paradise Coast. Just over 20,000 people call Naples their permanent home, and another 150,000 or so visit the area throughout the year. The city is known for its abundance of high-end shops, golf courses, marinas, and of course the beautiful white sand beaches!
The closest major airport is located in nearby Fort Myers, making air travel to Naples affordable and convenient. The following list highlights what to do in Naples and some of the best ways to enjoy your time during a trip to Naples including the best activities and attractions near Naples.
20 Best Things to do in Naples, Florida
Beaches and Parks
1. Free Fishing at Naples Beach and Pier
One of the most popular tourist destinations in Naples is the downtown Pier at Naples Beach. This historic landmark was first built in 1888 and has been rebuilt over the years for repairs as well as add to its length.
The 12 foot wide pier is over 1000 feet long and made of a resilient Brazilian hardwood in order to be able to withstand salty waves and hurricane force winds. Along the length of the pier is a concession stand selling snacks as well as bait for those who want to try their hand at fishing.
No fishing license is required, as the city has a blanket license that covers residents and visitors alike. The beach itself is massive, with white sands stretching for 7 miles along the coastal waterfront.
Beach amenities include restrooms with showers, picnic areas and volleyball courts. Metered parking and pay lots are available in the nearby downtown area. If you are looking for a pleasant way to finish your day, watching sunset with an ice cream or drink on the pier is a winner.
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2. Hit the Beach at Clam Pass Park
On the northern side of Naples is the coastal habitat area known as Clam Pass Park. The park is a fantastic spot to access the beach via the boardwalk that stretches from the parking area to the waterfront.
A free tram is provided for those who would like assistance in getting to the beach with all of their gear. Besides the beach, Clam Pass has 35 acres of preserved coastal habitat for native plants and animals.
Guided nature walks are organized by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida for those who want to get to know more about the environment. The beach is open daily from 8am to sunset and has restrooms, foot showers, and a restaurant available for beach goers.
Parking is plentiful with 171 spaces, and the fee covers the entire day so there’s no need to hurry.
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3. Stretch in the Sun Lowdermilk Park Beach
Located just north of downtown, the beach at Lowdermilk Park is a great spot for viewing sunsets, catching some rays, and even doing beachside yoga. It is definitely one of the best beaches in Naples.
Amenities at the Park include gazebos, picnic tables, volleyball courts, restrooms with showers and a children’s play area. There is even an on-site concession stand selling sandwiches, salads, empanadas and more.
A yoga studio is located in the center of the park and holds regular classes on the beach for those who want to practice yoga or meditation with the relaxing sounds of the surf in the background.
The park and beach area are kept well-manicured and make for a beautiful setting to enjoy a day in the sun.
4. Climb the Tower at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
On the northern edge of the city of Naples, the 166 acre Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park can be found. For a small daily fee, visitors can access the park and all it has to offer. Delnor-Wiggins Pass is the home of a mile long stretch of beach and is a popular spot for fishing, hiking and paddling.
The on-site concession stand sells food and drinks and is also where you can arrange to rent a canoe, kayak or stand up paddle board. Scuba diving and snorkeling are also allowed in the park’s swimming area, where divers can explore a hard bottom reef that runs in the same direction as the beach.
An observation tower can be found in the northern section of the park, and is a great spot to climb and watch for osprey, eagles and other wildlife. The park amenities include several picnic tables, a boardwalk, restrooms with outdoor showers and covered pavilions.
5. Stroll the Boardwalk at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Just a short drive outside of Naples, you can find yourself at the western edge of the famous Florida Everglades. The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a 13,000 acre protected wetlands area that is home to various plants and animals that are essential to the ecosystem.
The sanctuary’s 700 acre forest of bald cypress trees is the largest known remaining grove anywhere in the world. The site is also home to wood storks, alligators, panthers, Florida black bears and more.
There is a 2.25 mile long boardwalk that runs through the park from which visitors can view and learn more about the plants and animals that are native to the park. Reservations to the park are required and can be purchased online, as can tickets to the optional guided tours and special events.
6. Take your dog to the Naples Botanical Gardens
The Naples Botanical Gardens can be found at the southern end of town and is nestled up against Naples Bay. The 170-acre garden paradise first opened in 2009 and has been continually expanding and increasing programs since then.
Open from 9-5 every day of the week all year long, over 200,000 visitors come to experience the beauty of the gardens each year. There are even designated dog visiting times several times a week so pet owners can bring their furry friends along to walk through the gardens or along the 1-mile paved lake trail.
The beautifully designed visitors’ center is made of reclaimed cypress wood and houses both the gift shop and a café where visitors can stop for a snack after touring the garden grounds.
7. Shop for Souvenirs at Third Street South Farmer’s Market
In the heart of downtown Naples is the neighborhood called Third Street South. The original settlers of the region chose that spot to begin building what would eventually become the modern city that Naples is today.
Fittingly, residents call Third Street South the birthplace of Naples. Every Saturday throughout the year, Third Street South plays host to an amazing Farmer’s Market. Over 50 vendors set up their stalls each week to sell local produce, gourmet foods, handmade crafts and more.
If your visit to Naples doesn’t happen to coincide with the market, there are plenty of other shops in the area where you’ll find that perfect gift or souvenir to take back home. Third Street South is also the home of several annual holiday events, and even has a pet parade each March where pets and owners can benefit charity by strutting down the red carpet wearing themed costumes.
8. Hit the Links at Hibiscus Golf Club
Naples has been called the “Golf Capital of the World”, and when you look at an aerial view of the city, it’s easy to see why. There are over 80 golf courses in the area, 30 of which are accessible to the public.
One of the highest rated public courses is the V. This 18-hole course was first designed in 1969 and has been updated and renovated several times since. The wide fairways and numerous water features make the experience of playing a round both scenic and enjoyable.
In addition to the course there is a pro shop and an onsite pub that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner 7 days a week. If you want to get in a round but don’t have clubs, the pro shop has high quality sets available for rent.
9. Shop and Dine at Village Shops on Venetian Bay
Along with beautiful beaches and gorgeous golf courses, Naples is also well known for is its high-end shopping areas. One of the most popular is the Village Shops on Venetian Bay.
As the name suggests, the shops are located right alongside the waterfront of the Venetian Bay just north of downtown. Designed to look like its namesake city of Venice, Italy, the buildings have a distinct Mediterranean style.
The Village has over 50 shops and boutiques selling art, jewelry, clothing, gifts and more. Doing all that shopping is sure to work up an appetite. Luckily, waterfront dining at its best can be had at any one of the several nearby restaurants.
In addition, the organization behind the Village has a strong philanthropic side and supports many local and national charities by donating tens of thousands of dollars each year.
10. Take an Eco-Cruise with the Conservancy
The Conservancy of Southwest Florida is an environmental advocacy organization who is dedicated to preserving the waters, lands, and wildlife of Naples and the surrounding areas. Several times a week, the Conservancy leads eco-cruises on a pontoon boat around Rookery Bay for those who want to combine sightseeing with an educational component.
The naturalist led cruises last around 2 hours and you can take your pick of either mid-morning or a sunset departure. Riders are allowed and encouraged to bring along a snack and a small cooler with refreshments for their enjoyment while on the boat.
While cruising the waters of the bay it’s possible to see dolphins, manatees, and a wide array of local birds such as herons, storks and pelicans.
Food, Drinks and Shopping
11. Fresh Fish from Swan River Seafood
For over 25 years, the Swan River Seafood Restaurant and Fish Market has been supplying high end seafood to the Naples area. Fresh seafood and salads can be purchased in bulk at the gourmet Fish Market for you to take home or to the beach for a picnic.
Or if you prefer, you can visit the restaurant and let them do the cooking for you. The lunch and dinner menus are chock full of seaside favorites like Maine lobster, stone crabs, oysters, and a wide range of fish straight from the market that can be cooked in your favorite style.
If seafood isn’t your style, the restaurant also offers several alternative dishes like a 16oz bone-in pork chop and filet mignon. The market and the restaurant are both open seven days a week.
12. Have Ice Cream at the Tin City Waterfront Shops
One of the most unique shopping districts in Southwest Florida is the Tin City Waterfront Shops in downtown Naples. The colorful shops are known as Tin City because of the roofing materials chosen when they were first built in the 1920s.
Seven of the original buildings were preserved and the area is now a popular shopping area that boasts over 30 boutiques selling clothing, home accessories, jewelry and specialty items. In addition to the shops there are several restaurants, a winery, and an ice cream parlor to round out the experience.
The Tin City location on Naples Bay makes it an ideal spot to enjoy some waterfront activities. The on-site tourism company Pure Florida offers boat tours, rentals, and fishing expeditions for those who want to get out on the water.
13. Hang out with the Bear at Brambles English Tea Room
Hidden away among the shops and boutiques of the 5th Avenue South shopping district is Brambles English Tea Room. The quaint store is a great spot to take a break from shopping to enjoy a cup of tea. With over 50 varieties to choose from, you’re sure to find something to your liking.
The store’s mascot is a teddy bear named Mr. Brambles, and he can often be seen joining customers at their tables. Besides tea, there is an onsite café with a full lunch menu containing items like chicken salad, shepherd’s pie, quiche and more.
Carry out is available if you don’t have time to stay and dine. Brambles is an ideal space to celebrate a special occasion such as a bridal or baby shower, a birthday, or any group gathering. Reservations can be made by calling ahead of time to make sure there is plenty of space for your group.
14. Have a pint at the Old Naples Pub
For over 30 years, patrons have been dropping by the downtown Old Naples Pub to enjoy a pint or two. Just two blocks from the Naples Pier, the pub is the perfect location for downtown visitors stop in for a bite to eat.
The menu is loaded with traditional pub fare as well as a selection of local favorites like Grouper and Chips, Mahi Mahi Tacos, and Key Lime Pie. Every visit to the pub starts with the unique tradition of a glass jar of pickles being delivered to the table for guests to munch on while they wait for their food.
On many nights, pub patrons are treated to musical performances on the pub’s century old piano while they dine. Seating at the Pub can be found both in the air conditioned indoors, as well as on the outside patio where they have propane heaters if needed.
It’s a fun fact that the spacious, free parking area next to the restaurant happens to be located on the site of the original Naples Hotel where visitors could stay during hunting or fishing trips to the area.
Activities and Attractions in Naples – Museums and Culture
15. Learn about Trains at Naples Depot Museum
Naples development can be traced back to the era of the railroad boom in the early 1920s. The Naples Depot Museum was established as a tribute to how the railroad factored into the transformation of Naples from a sleepy fishing village to the booming resort town that it is today.
The museum is a restored passenger railroad station and is open to the public from Tuesday to Saturday. Entrance to the museum is free and visitors are welcome to tour it at their own pace. Many displays and informational placards throughout the building explain the history of Naples from ten thousand years ago until today.
In the back of the museum building is the Naples Train Museum that houses large displays of model trains. Enthusiasts will love seeing the wall of trains, showcasing hundreds of train cars including some rare models. The train museum is open on Fridays and Saturdays and there is a small fee to enter.
16. Take a Class at Naples Art
The Naples Art center is located on the edge of Cambier Park, right in the heart of Old Naples. The 16,000 square foot facility hosts an array of temporary and permanent exhibitions of local and international artists.
The building also houses a large art resource library, a gift shop, and several studios. Acting as the hub for all things art related in the Naples area, the Art center is a working space where people of all ages and abilities can come together to take part in classes and workshops as well as special events.
Each spring Naples Art hosts the world class Naples National Art Festival in Cambier Park that has gained national recognition. Other shows sponsored by Naples Art are the Downtown Art Festival in March and the New Year’s Art Show in January, both of which are held in the downtown 5th Avenue South district.
17. See a tank at Collier Museum at Government Center
Located in East Naples on 5 acres of natural Florida landscaping, the Collier Museum at Government Center attempts to offer a complete historical account of Naples and Collier County.
Exhibits and galleries inside the museum showcase prehistoric animals, Native American artifacts, and the lifestyles of settlers in early Florida.
The exhibits continue outside the museum building in the surrounding gardens. Outdoor displays include an actual World War II Sherman tank, a swamp buggy, a reconstructed Seminole war fort, and restored homes from early Naples. The museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday, and admission is free to all Collier County Museum locations.
18. Tour the Palm Cottage
The 127-year-old Palm Cottage is oldest house in Naples and is just a block east of the famous Naples Pier. With 12’ tall ceilings and walls made of shells and sand, the house has withstood the tests of time through many tropical storms and hurricanes.
The Cottage is located in the Naples Historic District and has been recognized as a landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The 3500 square foot building has been converted to a mini museum of sorts, and houses artwork, furnishings and tools dating back to the late 1800s.
Guided tours of the house are available Tuesday through Saturday with the purchase of a ticket. The cottage and its surrounding gardens are a popular spot to rent out for events, private parties, and weddings.
19. See the cars at Rev’s Institute
Near the Naples airport one can find Rev’s Institute, a car museum and more. The working institute is known for the preservation of notable automobiles from days’ past. Rev’s was founded and established in 2008 both as a way to display as well as study cars and their impact on society.
Visits to the Institute are by advanced reservation only – no walk-in visits are permitted. Plan for at least 1.5 to 2 hours to tour the entirety of the Institute’s 3 floors. Over 100 automobiles of significant historical importance are on display throughout the various galleries.
In addition to the cars on display, the Institute is host to a voluminous library of over 600,000 online images, 25,000 books and nearly 1000 magazines. The gift shop at Rev’s, both online and inside the Institute building, sells automobile related clothing, collectibles, toys, and souvenirs.
20. Watch alligators eat at Naples Zoo
The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is just north of the downtown district and is a favorite place for visitors of every age. The 52-acre zoo was established over 50 years ago in an existing tropical garden, making for impressive display habitats for the zoo animals.
A walking path throughout the gardens is nearly a mile long and often takes visitors within steps of the various exotic animals that call the zoo home. A unique feature of the zoo is a 15-20 minute boat guided tour of the primate islands, at no additional cost to zoo guests.
One of the crowd favorites is the alligator feeding session held at 3pm daily. During the session, visitors can watch as zookeepers feed the large reptiles while they teach the audience all about these impressive native animals. Parking is available for free in the zoo’s spacious nearby parking lot, and advanced tickets can be purchased online for faster entry to the facility.
One of the best Naples fl tourist attractions.
With all of those activities and many more, it’s a sure bet that there is no shortage of places and ways to have fun during a trip to Naples. Make sure you consider adding it to your short list of places you need to visit soon!