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Located on the Gulf of Mexico coast in southwest Florida, Naples is one of the United States’ wealthiest cities. The city got its name due to the high cultural and environmental similarities it shares with Naples, Italy. Naples is part of Collier County, the second-largest county in Florida, with approx 80% of its total area dedicated to nature preserves and parks. 

Like any coastal city in Florida, beaches in Naples are singularly beautiful. But the city has a great deal more to offer, including state parks and preserves, zoos, and several genuinely unique museums.

Are you still wondering and what to do in Naples? No matter your taste or style, the chances are you’ll see your version of paradise. This article is focused on the top ten things to see and do in Naples, Florida.

Is Naples, Florida Worth Visiting?

Naples is continuously rated as one of the best vacation spots in the US, one of the best places to raise your children, and one of the best places to retire. If you find it hard to believe a city can have all these features, perhaps you haven’t visited this paradise of a city yet.  

Whether you are looking for a romantic vacation or want to experience a fantastic family holiday, there is no shortage of exciting activities or exceptionally beautiful places in Naples. With its multitude of beautiful beaches, golf courses, and nature reserves, Naples allows you to enjoy a unique blend of natural and recreational environments that restore and exhilarate just about everybody.

What Is Naples, Florida Known For?

Here’s our guide to the top places to visit in Naples, Florida:

Naples Pier

Naples pier is a historical monument that has turned into an essential destination for anybody who wants to visit the area. Bring your fishing pole, take a calm stroll along the wooden footbridge, or have a lovely picnic on the immaculate sands neighboring this historic landmark.

The pier is located near the city’s oldest house, called Palm Cottage, and ever since its construction in 1888, it turned into an indispensable part of old Naples, as most supplies and building materials came to the city through this structure. 

The original pier was damaged by fire and hurricane in 1910, 1926, and later in 1960, but was substantially rebuilt after each disaster. Today the pier is considered the most iconic landmark in the city and stretches 1,000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Naples pier is ideal for a leisurely stroll, and halfway along this sea lane, you can find restrooms and a concession stand that sells beach supplies, food, and bait. The Naples Pier is surrounded by ten miles of municipal beach with lots of volleyball nets and other public sports grounds.

Pier AT Sunset

Fishing from Naples’ pier is one the most calming activities you can engage in during all seasons. Since the pier has a bulk fishing license, fishing aficionados do not need a personal fishing license. 

And if you don’t enjoy fishing, you can bask in the beauty of a Florida sunset over the Gulf coast. Locals and visitors usually gather around the pier at the end of sunny days, and there you can see egrets, gulls, and pelicans sitting on the wooden railing, looking for an opportunity to steal unguarded fish or pieces of bait.

And while you’re there, keep watch for groups of dolphins that frequently make their way along the shore with their top fins and arched backs visible through the translucent waves that run parallel to the shore. Naples Pier has something to offer for everyone from every age group, so make sure to place it at the top of your list of things to do in Naples, Florida.

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is located in the north of Naples and in the heart of the Western Everglades. This fourteen-thousand-acre wildlife reserve is an excellent place to experience and see the natural habitat, flora, and fauna of Naples in their pristine form. The sanctuary takes its name after the Corkscrew River that weaves its way through the Naples region.

Corkscrew swamp sanctuary was initially founded as a bird sanctuary in 1912. The Audubon Society purchased the land in 1954 after cypress trees came under threat of being cut for timber. They built a massive boardwalk through it to make the sanctuary accessible for the general public. 

The boardwalk stretches for 2.25 miles through several different habitats: a central marsh, wet prairies, pine flatwood, cypress, and sawgrass ponds. It’s best not to rush through the whole route but rather to stop and admire this unique, pristine environment.

Crocodile on Still Body of Water

For enjoying the sanctuary from above, the authorities have built an observation platform. And If you feel two and a half miles of walking is too long, you can instead opt for a shorter one-mile boardwalk to see all the natural habitats. 

You will recognize different faunas and floras using a simple guidebook available in the shop. Alternatively, you can get help from volunteer naturalists who provide useful information and answer any questions. The sanctuary is also home to many rare, shy, and well-hidden mammals and over two hundred species of birds.

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

Founded in 1919, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a forty-four-acre tropical garden and the home of a great variety of exotic animals from zebras to apes and lions. This zoo is much more than an ordinary walk-through zoological garden, as guests are allowed to hand-feed the animals and experience the joy of different wildlife shows and activities.

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a nationally acclaimed zoo that is far beyond a normal zoo. A paved one-mile-long pathway with a tropical setting winds past the sanctuary of rare and beautiful animals such as bears, lions, and monkeys. You can also discover a range of rarely seen wildlife animals, such as African honey badgers and striped hyenas.

Other exhibit features of Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens include cheetahs and giraffes, a tiger forest, an African oasis, and a wildlife habitat for watching remarkable wild butterflies.

Beyond these noted features, you can expand your wildlife knowledge firsthand by taking part in a Primate Expedition Cruise to see the beautiful lives of lemurs, monkeys, and apes living in dedicated islands. 

Through its unique combination of wildlife and diverse fauna and flora, Naples Zoo offers joyous fun and entertainment for every generation and teaches us the truth of the inherent connectedness of every living being.

Naples Botanical Gardens

Naples Botanical gardens is a 170-acre garden paradise displaying some of the most elegant landscape designs and structures from all around the world, including water gardens full of water lilies, papyrus, and lotus, as well as Asian and Caribbean gardens and native Florida gardens.

Naples Botanical Garden offers several different ecosystems, such as marshes, mangroves, and intact forests where hundreds of animal species and upwards of three hundred species of native and exotic plants dwell.

Paysage Jardin Les Plantes

Naples Botanical Gardens offers entertaining, educational, and interactive programs and events for all ages. Activities range from learning programs about the garden’s numerous flora and fauna and self-guided video and audio tools to learn about the history and natural habitats of each plant and animal species. 

Furthermore, you can benefit from W.O.N.D.E.R activity packs, each of which offers a monthly theme of activities, supplies, and tours for adults as well as a maze, PlantLib, word scramble, and exciting scavenger hunts for children.

Naples Botanical Garden allows you to bring your canine friend for a peaceful stroll every Sunday and Tuesday from early in the morning to late at night. Fogg Café, located on the Chabraja Visitor Center, offers breakfast, lunch, and early dinner.

The café provides seasonal menus of Asian, Brazillian, Caribbean, and Floridian themes representing the cultural heritage of each garden as well as a lovely selection of wine and beer. It also features special menus for kids and a wide array of lighter snack options. Naples Botanical Garden is open every day from nine in the morning to 5 P.M, and it provides ample parking space.

Lowdermilk Beach Park

Considered one of the most popular beachfront parks, Lowdermilk Park is located in Naples and features two playgrounds for children, picnic tables, outdoor showers, restrooms, and sand volleyball courts, as well as rental gazebos. Lowdermilk Park has one thousand feet of immaculate white sand and is perfect for families and individuals looking for water-based recreation and fun activities.

The park is a perfect place to watch the remarkable Naples sunsets with those rare “green flashes,” or go shell hunting, take up paddling, or just enjoy a day of peaceful reading. Lowdermilk Park is a short distance away from the Iconic Naples Pier, and you can take a stroll to the pier and back in a lovely round-trip.

­By providing tasty ice creams, sandwiches, and cold drinks, Rita’s Italian Ices Concession Stand allows you to spend a relaxing day at the Lowdermilk beach park without going to the trouble of preparing any foods or bringing your refreshments.

Those using strollers or wheelchairs can easily access the beach via a special route, and if you want to use beach wheelchairs with specially-made tiers, you can rent one from the concession stand. Also available for rent are kayaks and stand-up paddleboards. You don’t need to pay to enjoy Lowdermilk Park, but parking costs $2.50 an hour.

Collier County Museum

Collier County Museum is an award-winning museum and a must-see sight for all Naples visitors and residents. The museum comprises an indoor gallery of ten thousand square feet and a five-acre open-air park displaying an assortment of tools and machinery from Calusa Indian chickees to giant swamp buggies.

Collier County Museum exhibits the change and development of southwest Florida from now-extinct boog tooth Megalodon sharks and Seminole Wars to Spanish colonization and other historic events closer to modern time.

To gain the most from this massive world-class museum, it’s best to pick up a visitor’s guide that provides you with the map and necessary information about different indoors and outdoor exhibits featured in the collier collection. 

Detailed storyboards and glass-fronted display cases narrate the history of Southwest Florida, Naples, and Collier County in a visual chronological sequence. You’ll learn about Spanish silver Reales, see colorful and stunning exhibits about Seminole and Creek Indian history, and watch the latest archeological findings.

Thereafter, it’s time to leave the fascinating indoor galleries and go to the outdoor museum park. Through a series of paved paths, you can see an array of historically significant preserves and buildings such as Kokomis Ferry that connects Naples to Keewaydin Island and the very special “Deuce” Baldwin Logging Locomotive.

One of the Collier County Museum’s tourist attractions is Naples Cottage, furnished in its original 1926 form. You can experience the harsh lives of early settlers in humid swamplands by taking a walk through the different rooms of the cottage. 

Collier County Museum vividly depicts Florida history for all ages, and you’ll learn a great deal about the history and development of Naples. 

The Baker Museum

One of the best fine art museums in Naples, Florida, The Baker Museum emphasizes contemporary and modern art worldwide. The museum is made up of more than 3,500 American and Mexican works of art from the 20th and 21st centuries.

In addition to its permanent art collections, the Baker Museum annually displays several itinerant exhibitions. Furthermore, they offer a unique combination of programs, including lectures, music, comedy, dance, and featuring internationally celebrated artists.

With 15 galleries distributed through 3 floors, you can see some of the greatest works of art, including renowned miniatures, Impressionist and post-Impressionist paintings, and a series of genuinely dazzling glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly. If you are making a list of things to do in Naples, Florida, make sure visiting Baker Museum is one of them. 

Collier County Museum’s and Baker’s Museum are considered among the best Naples attractions, and if you’re making a list of top five things to do in Naples, make sure these are at the top of your list.  

Marco Island

Located just twenty-three miles north of Naples, Marco Island is the largest populated Island of the ten thousand islands in Florida. Marco Island is a fishing and boating paradise best known for its beautiful waterways and beaches. There are plenty of boats waiting to take visitors for back-country fishing and sightseeing tours.

Marco Island has an area of twenty-four square miles of land, one hundred miles of waterways, and six miles of beaches, with countless restaurants, hotels, shops, and parks. Since only two bridges connect the neighboring city of Naples to Marco Island, the island enjoys a more relaxed and tranquil vibe. The Macro Island and Everglades area are great destinations for those who want to bask in natural peace and serenity.

Three Person on White Motorboat at Daytime

There are numerous things to do on Marco Island. Among the most popular is dock hunting in the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, which also offers other activities such as canoeing and boating. You can even paddle through the mangrove tunnels in a wonderful kayaking tour.

Macro Island’s specialty shops and resort boutiques can satisfy all your needs. You can find good dining options, upscale retailers, small specialty stores, and visual entertainments at Marco Islands Esplanade Shops. To learn about the rich history of the island, check out Marco Island Historical Museum for free. While you’re there, don’t forget to see the native manatees roaming the open waters and participate in the unforgettable backwater adventures guided tours.

Naples Depot Museum

Naples Depot Museum is located in downtown Naples in the fully restored Seaboard Air Line Railway passenger station. The Depot Museum tells the visual story of how Naples has progressed through history and the critical role of railroads in transforming this originally humble place from a primitive fishing village to a wealthy tourist destination.

The Naples Depot Museum is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and offers astonishing exhibits that visually narrate the local history through a transportation point-of-view. It features the tools used for transportation, from early rail cars and swamp buggies to dugout canoes made by the native Seminoles. The museum offers many other delightful exhibits for train aficionados, as the Naples Train Museum is also located on its premises.

The Depot Museum was founded in 2000 and can vivify in your mind the golden age of railroads in the Roaring Twenties. Furthermore, the museum showcases Florida’s upsetting history of racial segregation through a series of fascinating railway-related placards and posters. You can also enjoy an array of old restored vehicles, such as ancient swamp buggies, several 1950s Chevrolets, and a recently restored lounge car. 

At the Naples Train Museum, visitors can ride along a railway that circles around the property lot. If you are interested in the history of transportation or just want to enjoy a calm and informative excursion, then the Depot Museum is an ideal site to visit in Naples.

Naples Revs Institute

The Revs Institute is a nonprofit museum located in Naples, Florida, specializing in automobile history and research. Housing the Miles Collier Collections of more than a hundred important automobiles made in one hundred years between 1896 and 1995, the Revs Institute features some of the rarest automobiles and racing cars across the globe and one of the largest automobile libraries in the world.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Furthermore, the Revs Institute has dedicated a vast twelve-thousand-square-foot workshop to advance innovative ways to care for antique machinery and restore unique automobiles. The institute was founded in 2008 by Miles Collier, and it is considered the number one destination to explore and study the fascinating history of cars for experts and novices alike.

The museum’s race car section is located on the second floor. It showcases some of the most legendary sports cars ever produced, including a 1948 Ferrari Tipo 166, 1939 Mercedes-Benz W154 Silver Arrow, and 1959 Porsche RSK.

Naples Tin City

Naples Tin City is another colorful and historic attractive tourist location for dining and shopping. Located on the edge of the waterfront, Tin City is a unique historical area with an extensive array of restaurants, independent boutiques, and lots of other water-based funs and activities for all ages and family members.

Tin City was initially settled by early pioneers in the 1860s. Later, when tourists and visitors started to arrive by boat, many of them came to Naples through this six-hundred-foot-long pier and a series of tin-roofed buildings acting as a hub for boating and transport. With their rustic shop fronts, the buildings gradually came to be known as an exotic maritime marketplace for those looking for an off-the-beaten-path environment for dining and shopping.

Tin City stores offer a wide variety of products and artifacts, from gifts, crafts, and exquisite jewelry to designer clothing and high-end wines. There you can also enjoy a jet-skiing tour, a relaxing cruise, or even old-fashioned fishing right from the waterfront. And if you get hungry, there are plenty of restaurants and dining options to choose from, serving everything from steaks and raw foods to tasty ice creams and a rainbow of cocktails. If you’re making a list of things to do in Naples, Florida, make sure to visit the gorgeous Tin City.

Is It Safe in Naples, Florida?

Besides being one of the most stunning cities in the world, Naples, Florida, is one of the safest cities in America. Average crime rates in Naples are 90% lower than the rest of Florida and 75% lower than other US cities.

Designated as the best beach town in the United States by the reputable WalletHub website, Naples enjoys pristine sand and Gulf waters and some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world. If you’re thinking about moving to a city with unique architecture, extremely low crime, excellent weather, and a plethora of great outdoor activities, then Naples, Florida, is just the right place for you.

Conclusion

Moving to a new city and buying a home can be a daunting task. When it comes to buying or selling property in Naples, Florida, it’s best to work with someone who knows the local real estate market inside and out. Maggie Ives is a licensed realtor in Naples with decades of experience in high-end real estate properties, and she is ready to help you every step of the way. If you’re looking to buy your dream home or just pondering whether Naples, Florida is the right place for you, do not hesitate to contact Maggie right now.

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