Naples, Florida is known for its pristine beaches and luxurious resorts, but it also offers a wealth of unique experiences that many visitors may not expect. From discovering hidden historic sites to indulging in one-of-a-kind culinary creations, there are plenty of unexpected activities to explore in this charming Gulf Coast town. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time resident, here are some of the most fascinating and lesser-known things to do in Naples, Florida.
Naples, Florida is a city full of exciting things to see and do. Among the top attractions is the Naples Botanical Garden, which is located just three miles south of downtown Naples. With its 43 acres of land and a mile of paved paths, visitors can explore various gardens, including a butterfly garden and a water garden. Another must-see attraction is the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, which offers a chance to see a variety of animals, including lions, tigers, and bears. The zoo also has a primate exhibit and offers boat rides through the islands of monkeys and apes.
For those who love shopping, the Fifth Avenue South district is a must-visit destination. This open-air shopping district offers a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, with a mix of high-end boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Additionally, history buffs will enjoy visiting the Naples Historical Society, which showcases the city’s rich history. The society offers guided tours of the Historic Palm Cottage, a restored 1895 house that offers a glimpse into Naples’ past.
Finally, nature lovers will appreciate a visit to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida’s Nature Center. The center offers visitors a chance to explore the area’s unique ecosystem, including a variety of habitats, such as mangrove forests and estuaries. The center also offers educational programs and guided tours, making it a great destination for families and school groups. Overall, Naples, Florida offers something for everyone, from shopping and history to nature and wildlife.
Here are my top 10 favorite things to do in Naples, Florida:
1. Kayaking through Mangrove Forests
One of the most unique and exciting experiences to be had in Naples, Florida is kayaking through the stunning mangrove forests that line the coast. With options to explore either the backwaters or the coastline, kayakers are sure to come across some incredible wildlife, such as dolphins, manatees, and more. For those interested in eco-tourism, joining a local biologist on the journey only adds to the educational and thrilling experience. But kayaking is just one of the many adventures to be had in Naples, from dining at the over 700 restaurants to exploring hidden beaches and historic sites. And with year-round outdoor activities and championship golf courses on offer, there’s never a wrong time to visit this beautiful coastal city.
2. Dining at One of Over 700 Restaurants
As mentioned earlier, Naples boasts of an impressive 700 restaurants to choose from, ranging from casual brewpubs to fine dining establishments. Whether visitors are craving fresh seafood or want to indulge in an Italian feast, there’s no shortage of options to satisfy their taste buds. The restaurant scene is vibrant, constantly evolving and introducing new dining experiences. From dining on the water to enjoying a meal at a retro diner, Naples will satisfy any foodie’s cravings. And with Naples being home to the arts and endless outdoor activities, a night out at a local restaurant is the perfect way to cap off a day of exploring the city. So, when visiting Naples, be sure to treat yourself to an unforgettable culinary experience at one of the over 700 restaurants Naples has to offer.
3. Exploring Eco-Systems
The excitement continues in Naples, Florida as visitors explore the unique eco-systems that surround the area. From kayaking through the serene and tranquil mangrove forests, to venturing deep into the woods and prairies filled with wildlife, nature lovers will have an unforgettable experience. But that’s not all, visitors can also bask in the beauty of the Gordon River Greenway, or take part in Pure Florida’s 3-hour dolphin watching eco-tour. Naples truly is a playground for nature enthusiasts, offering year-round outdoor activities and adventures that will leave visitors in awe. So don’t hesitate, add exploring eco-systems in Naples to your list of unique things to do and experience nature’s beauty like never before.
4. Outdoor Activities Year-Round
When it comes to outdoor activities, Naples is the ultimate destination. And what’s even better? You can indulge in outdoor fun year-round! From kayaking and sailing to hiking and golfing, Naples has something for everyone. Not to mention, the stunning beaches are perfect for soaking up the sun and enjoying some water activities. Whether you’re into exploring nature or just looking for some fun in the sun, Naples has it all. So pack your bags and get ready for an unforgettable adventure in this outdoor enthusiast’s paradise!
5. Playing Championship Golf Courses
Naples is truly a golfer’s paradise, boasting an incredible array of exceptional championship golf courses. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out, the courses in Naples are sure to challenge and delight you. And with its year-round mild weather, you can tee off in Naples no matter the season. But it’s not just the golf that’s exciting – Naples offers so much more for visitors to experience. From kayaking through mangrove forests to dining at one of over 700 restaurants, there’s no shortage of unique things to do during your trip. Don’t forget to explore the eco-systems, go shopping, admire the beautiful plants at Naples Botanical Garden, and discover the hidden beaches and historic sites that make Naples so special. With so much to do, Naples truly has something for everyone.
6. Shopping in Naples
Naples, Florida, is a shopper’s paradise with its numerous outdoor malls, stylish boutiques, and top fashion stores catering to every style and budget. The city boasts picturesque shopping districts scattered throughout, making it easy for visitors to indulge in some retail therapy while enjoying the coastal paradise. The Waterside Shops in Naples are a must-visit, with over 60 stores to choose from, including Tiffany & Co. Other top shopping destinations include Naples’ famous 5th Avenue South, home to independent stores, galleries, gift shops, and specialty boutiques, and the upscale Mercato mall with its high-end shops and boutiques.
Fifth Avenue South is the ultimate destination for luxury shopping in Naples, Florida. Located near the best beaches in the city, the downtown shopping area features an array of upscale brands, high-end boutiques, and specialty stores. Visitors can also explore the art galleries and wine bars while shopping. While Naples is mainly known for its upscale shopping, visitors can also enjoy a quaint shopping experience at Tin City Waterfront Shops. The shopping mall has a rich history dating back to the 1800s when it was settled by pioneers.
Or, for a more local experience, head to the Naples Farmers Market for unique finds and fresh produce. Outdoor shopping centers, like The Village Shops on Venetian Bay and Waterside Shops, offer a mix of both high-end and casual stores, along with delicious dining options. No matter your preference, the shopping scene in Naples is sure to impress. And after a day of exploring eco-systems, kayaking through mangrove forests, or admiring plants at the Naples Botanical Garden, treating yourself to some well-deserved shopping is the perfect way to end the day in this paradise.
7. Sailing and Water Activities
Heading into the seventh section of the blog on unique things to do in Naples, Florida, the excitement level rises as the focus turns to sailing and water activities. With a stunning coastline and beautiful bays, Naples offers an array of activities for water lovers. The adventurous can take a tour kayaking through the mangrove forests, while the laid-back can relax on a sunset catamaran sail. For those seeking some active fun, there are activities like paddleboarding, surfing, and parasailing, among others. The list of unique things to do in Naples just keeps growing! And why not? With some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and year-round good weather for water activities, Naples is the perfect destination for sailing and all kinds of water activities. Combined with the other sections of the blog, exploring Naples has never looked more enticing!
8. Admiring Plants at Naples Botanical Garden
After exploring the various eco-systems of Naples and indulging in outdoor activities, a visit to the Naples Botanical Garden is a perfect way to admire the beauty of the local flora. This garden offers an exquisite collection of exotic, tropical plants like orchids, bromeliads, and water lilies. Strolling through the garden’s various themes like the Brazilian Garden or the Caribbean Garden, visitors can marvel at the stunning symphony of colors, fragrances, and textures on display. The Naples Botanical Garden is truly an oasis in the heart of this charming city, where visitors can rejuvenate and connect with nature. After spending time admiring the plants, visitors can continue exploring hidden beaches and historic sites or savor some local cuisine at one of the many restaurants Naples has to offer.
9. Visiting Iconic Naples Pier
After exploring the many eco-systems and outdoor activities that Naples has to offer, a visit to the iconic Naples Pier is a must. This historic pier is not only a top tourist attraction, but also a beloved spot for locals to spend a day in the sun. Lounge on the beach or try your hand at fishing while enjoying breathtaking views of the Gulf. And don’t forget to grab a bite at the concession stand halfway along the pier. With its modern amenities and stunning scenery, the Naples Pier is the perfect spot for a breezy stroll or a romantic sunset walk. Be sure to add this unique experience to your list of things to do in Naples!
10. Discovering Hidden Beaches and Historic Sites.
In addition to kayaking, dining at amazing restaurants, exploring eco-systems, enjoying year-round outdoor activities, and playing championship golf courses, Naples also boasts hidden beaches and historic sites just waiting to be discovered. These secret spots hold rich history and breathtaking views, providing the perfect backdrop for a relaxing day on the shore. Visitors can explore North America’s most important archeological sites, the Calusa Indian burial mounds and artifacts on Marco Island, or take a bike ride through Naples’ Gulf-front neighborhoods with their lush landscapes. Families can also enjoy touring historic sites with the Naples Historical Society or embarking on boat tours that take you to hidden Florida treasures like Gordon’s River or Naples Bay. With so many unique experiences to be had, it’s no wonder why Naples continues to be a top destination for travelers seeking an unforgettable vacation.