Naples Florida is located in SW Florida on the Gulf of Mexico. When you think of Naples, what comes to mind? Very wealthy older folks?
Well, you’re right. Naples has the second highest proportion of millionaires per capita in the US. and is well-known for its high-end shopping and sophisticated dining, but Naples is also an affordable family destination and appeals to nature lovers and beach goers alike.
Here is a list of my top 10 favorite things to do in Naples.
3rd Street South
Located in the southern section of Naples, the Third Street South shopping area is a great place to spend an afternoon strolling the well manicured courtyards, people watching and shopping for coastal inspired clothing and home goods.
Two of my faves are Tommy Bahama and Island Company.
When you are ready for something to eat, find a cozy outdoor table at Campiello and try the SPIT-ROASTED TURKEY BREAST with Smoked Bacon, Avocado and Red Onion Panini.
The Third Street Farmer’s Market runs from mid-November through April from 7:30 a.m until 11:30 a.m and is located between Broad Avenue South and 13th Avenue South. From May to November, the Market is located behind Tommy Bahama. The street is filled with fresh produce, flowers, pastas, cheeses, seafood, pastries, coffee and much more. There are even treats for Fido.
Fifth Avenue South, considered Naples’ Main Street, is a shopper’s dream filled with boutique shops, gourmet restaurants, art galleries, coffee shops and jewelry stores. Be sure to visit Island Trends and Kay’s on the Beach for upscale clothing and accessories.
Feeling hungry? Aqua Seafood & Steaks is a fine dining establishment that serves only the freshest seafood, steaks and locally farmed produce. The open air dining area is a perfect place to relax with a glass of wine. Aqua is open daily for lunch and dinner.
Naples Botanical Gardens
The Naples Botanical Gardens consists of 170 acres of cultivated landscape from around the world; including Florida, Brazil, Asia and the Caribbean.
Other attractions include An Orchid Garden, Butterfly House, Water Garden, Children’s Garden and River of Grass. There are also 2.5 miles of walking trails and a 90 acre restored nature preserve. Read more about the Gardens here.
Cruise Naples Bay in style aboard the most elegant luxury yacht in southwest Florida, as you experience the beauty of nature as well as fabulous homes. The schedule varies from afternoon sightseeing cruises to sunset dinner cruises, buffet lunch cruises and sunset wine tasting. Prices range from $25-$70. Visit Naples Princess for more information or to book tickets.
Mercato is a shopping area with retail shops on the first floor and high-end residences above. It is anchored by Whole Foods Market and Silverspot Cinema, an 11-screen premier-style theater. Mercato offers 11 notable restaurants including Blue Martini, Burn, Bravo and Masa and over 25 upscale retailers. Mercato hosts a vibrant year-round event calendar with most events free and open to the public. Mercato Nights Movie Series is the first Thursday of every month from 6-9 p.m. Movies On The Lawn happen the third Tuesday of every month at dusk.
The Holocaust Museum
The Holocaust Museum’s mission is to teach the lessons of the Holocaust to inspire action against bigotry, hatred, and violence. The museum and educational center contain artifacts that tell individual stories related to the Holocaust and provides educational programs to the public and activities to students at all grade levels. Both self-guided and docent-led tours are available to visitors at the museum.
Admission is $10 Adults | $5 Students 12-18
Tin City Waterfront Shops
Explore Naples’ nautical past at Tin City. In the 1920s, wealthy winter snowbirds began settling in the area, arriving at the original Tin City- a series of buildings with corrugated tin roofs that acted as the transportation and boating center. This tin city developed into a bustling center for clam shelling, oyster processing and was home to the local fishing fleet in Naples.
Today, Tin City is home to over thirty unique shops, two waterfront restaurants and a variety of water and boating adventures.
Docked at Tin City, Pure Florida offers a variety of cruises, adventure packages, fishing charters, boat and jet ski rentals. Visit Pure Florida to learn more.
Village on Venetian Bay
The Village on Venetian Bay is an upscale (budget-busting) waterfront shopping center designed to resemble the classic Mediterranean architecture of Venice Italy.
There are more than 45 waterfront shops and restaurants.
Fish Restaurant, set against the backdrop of Venetian Bay, is a perfect location to dine waterside while enjoying fresh seafood and a stunning Florida sunset.
The Naples Zoo began as a botanical garden founded by botanist Dr. Henry Nehrling and is now home to animals including lions, giraffes, monkeys, bears and my daughter’s favorite, the Madagascar lemur. The mile long path is lined with tropical gardens containing over 300 species of tropical plants.
Visitors to the zoo enjoy feature shows in the multimedia safari Canyon Theatre, a Primate Expedition Cruise which takes you up close to monkeys, lemurs and apes, a snake show and Alligator Bay.
There is a also a gift shop and restaurant.
The zoo is open 7 days a week, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Admission is $21.95 for adults and $12.95 for children 3-12
Lowdermilk Beach, located near Fifth Avenue South and Tin City, is a perfect place to soak up the Florida sun. The 1,000 feet of white powdery sand offers picnic tables, chairs and umbrellas for rent, a playground for the kids, volleyball court and a concession stand offering smoothies, milkshakes and ice cream. Just like all SW Florida beaches during season (November through April) parking is hard to find in the afternoon. Arrive early, rent an umbrella and enjoy the view.
Naples offers something for everyone. Whether you are looking for upscale shopping, pristine white beaches, nature and wildlife, elegant waterside dining or a funky bay side bar, you’ll find it here!