Unique Things to Do in Naples
The city of Naples can be found on the Gulf coast of Florida. Located about 45 minutes south of Fort Myers, it’s about as far south as you can get before you get to the Everglades. It isn’t as popular as some other destinations in Florida, but there are so many things to do in Naples!
Naples may be famous as a great place to retire, but it’s also an excellent place for a Florida family vacation. There are plenty of things for families to do in Naples. So, don’t worry, Naples isn’t just for “old people.” Although if you’re bringing the grandparents, I’m sure they’ll love it too!
This post was written just before Hurricane Ian, but our friends in Naples are doing okay, and we expect everything to be back to normal soon! Some of the locations on this list were damaged, but some are open already, and most have sustained only minor damage and plan to reopen very soon. The barrier islands were hit the hardest, so please ensure that everything is operational if you plan to visit those.
Are you flying into Naples? Get a discounted rental car!
If you decide to rent a car during your Florida vacation, I recommend renting a car from Discount USA Car Rental.
Whenever I need to rent a car, I use Discount USA Car Rental; you can use it at all major Florida airports (and even most of the smaller ones, such as Fort Myers, just north of Naples.)
Things to Do in Naples
Here are about 40 unique things to do in Naples, in no particular order. But, of course, Naples offers both family-friendly activities and adventures for adults too.
Naples Botanical Garden
The Naples Botanical Garden is located on 170 acres. The botanical gardens are separated into different categories. For example, water lilies can be found in the Water Garden. Plumeria is in the Caribbean Garden. Finally, the Brazilian Garden is where you will discover aroids, bromeliads, and South American palms.
If you get tired of walking, you can always relax in one of the hammocks in the Garden.
New York may be famous for its Thousand Islands, but Naples is renowned for its Ten Thousand Islands! Marco Island is the largest of those islands and the most popular to visit. You can also visit even more islands by boat tour.
Marco Island is the gateway to the Everglades and is 6 miles long by 4 miles wide. It is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, great nature trails, and some of the best shelling beaches in Florida. So if you want a white sand beach, this is the place to go!
Marco Island is home to one of North America’s most important archeological sites, the Calusa Indian burial mounds, and artifacts.
You can also take a tour to see wild dolphins on the Marco Island Dolphin and Cape Romano sightseeing tour.
I share some fun facts about Marco Island and Naples at the end of the post, so keep reading to learn even more about Marco Island!
Revs Institute for Automotive Research
Do you have a car fanatic in your family? If you do, visiting Revs Institute for Automotive Research should be at the top of your list of things to do in Naples.
This is an 80,000-square-foot museum. There are 4fourgalleries. Amongst those galleries are more than 100 cars.
One of the vehicles dates back to 1896. You will also see one-of-a-kind vehicles during your visit.
The best part about this museum is there are no barriers around the cars. So you can get quite close to them and see the smallest details.
Kids of all ages will love the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon waterpark in Naples! This waterpark is located in North Collier Regional Park.
You can spend an entire day on the five water slides or the lazy river. There are also super fun water toys and a diving board. I can’t forget about the rope course over in the Cove too. Those will add a little extra fun to your day!
If you’re looking for the best water park in Florida (in our humble opinion), you’ll need to head a few hours north and check out Universal’s Volcano Bay. You can read our complete guide to Volcano Bay here: 15 Amazing Volcano Bay Tips and Volcano Bay Hacks.
Now, back to things to do in Naples.
Clam Pass Park
Clam Pass Park is not too far from Naples. So you can quickly drive there in no time at all. And since there are 35 acres to explore, you can discover a lot of nature during your visit. So if you’re a nature lover, don’t miss Clam Pass Park.
I recommend walking along the Clam Pass Boardwalk. It takes you through the mangrove forest. Keep your eyes on the water when you aren’t checking out the birds because you’ll find alligators here too.
This park also has a beach area. You can go swimming in the water here. Minus the alligators, of course! This is also one of the best places to go kayaking.
Historic Palm Cottage
The oldest house in Naples is Palm Cottage. You will find this house at the corner of Gulfshore Boulevard and 12th Ave South.
You can take a tour of this Florida home. While inside, there is plenty of artwork, tools, and furnishings to look at. Everything is from 1895. Outside, you can wander through the Norris Gardens.
Naples Depot Museum
If you don’t have a car fanatic in your family, you may have a train lover instead. The Naples Depot Museum is where the Naples Seaboard Air Line Railway Station was located.
A visit to this museum will have your family stepping back in time. Inside, you can walk through refurbished vintage train cars. You will also see an antique swamp buggy, mule wagon, and Seminole dugout canoes.
The unique part of this museum is the miniature railway that runs around the museum.
Go Shopping at the Village on Venetian Bay
One of Naples’ most luxurious shopping areas is the Village on Venetian Bay. This is a waterfront shopping area. There are more than 45 stores and restaurants to visit.
This is definitely one of the best things to do in Naples.
Lowdermilk Beach Park
Kids will love it when you put Lowdermilk Beach Park on your list of things to do in Naples. This is one of the best ways to spend a sunny day on the beach. This beach offers two playgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms, and sand volleyball courts.
The concession stand is perfect for afternoon snacks. If you want to head out on the water, kayak and paddleboard rentals are available at the stand.
Bright colors and charming works of art are ready to greet your family at Matlacha Village. This charming fishing village also offers a laid-back vibe.
As you wander through the village, you will see numerous homes painted in neon colors. Dolphins will have polka dots painted on them. And the palm trees will be pink.
In between taking pictures, you must check out Leoma Lovegrove’s gallery. Her work is what influenced this area’s decor.
There are more than 90 golf courses in Naples. Naples is actually known as the “Golf Capital of the World.” About 30 of these courses are open to the public and available for you to enjoy during your Florida vacation.
Go Shopping at Tin City
Tin City is another open-air shopping area in Naples. All the shops can be found within four buildings.
This is an excellent place to grab a few souvenirs. You may also find those eclectic items you have been searching for.
Wander Along 5th Avenue South
Fifth Avenue South goes all the way from Tamiami Trail to the Gulf of Mexico. This infamous street in Naples is filled with shops and restaurants. You will even discover a few art galleries. This is where you’ll find the best high-end shopping and some of the best restaurants in Naples.
You never know what you can find when you take the time to visit Fifth Avenue South on your vacation!
The Baker Museum
The Baker Museum opened back in 2000. This museum is also referred to as Artis Naples. Inside the three-story building, you will find a collection filled with diverse artwork.
Here at Florida Travel with Kids, we don’t particularly care for zoos and prefer wildlife sanctuaries and rehabilitation centers. We like to see animals living their best lives and either being rehabilitated or cared for as close to their natural habitats as possible if they are not releasable. Fortunately, there are plenty of animal sanctuaries in southwest Florida to enjoy.
That said, Naples Zoo is a popular place to visit with children if you choose to do so.
Experience Florida’s Ecosystem at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
Native plants and animals can be found at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. This sanctuary is only 30 minutes away from Naples.
Start your visit by wandering along the 2.5-mile boardwalk. You can walk the boardwalk and enjoy the rugged beauty of the area while encountering all kinds of wildlife, including alligators, otters, white-tailed deer, and red-bellied turtles.
As for the plants and flowers, the Ghost orchid is the most popular one. This orchid blooms throughout the year. However, you must be very lucky to catch it in bloom during your visit!
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
One of the best things to do in Naples with kids is visit Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. This is one of many state parks in Florida located on a small barrier island.
More than three-quarters of this island are mangrove swamps. So, it is the perfect place to capture photos of marine life, such as sea turtles, dolphins, and manatees in the wild.
You can rent a paddleboard or kayak to head out into the mangroves. This will allow you to see more of the park and wildlife.
You cannot spend a few days in Naples and not check out the Naples Pier. This is the best place to watch the sun lower over the horizon.
Naples Pier was initially constructed in 1888 and has been destroyed and rebuilt four times! Although Naples Pier was damaged during Hurricane Ian, the damage does not seem as severe as in previous hurricanes.
In the past, it was destroyed once by fire and three times by hurricanes. The pier is open 24 hours and is absolutely free.
The Naples Pier is one of the best places to catch the sunset!
The best beaches in Naples
Naples has 16 miles of shoreline and beautiful beaches. This means there are plenty of white sandy beaches to choose from.
All the beaches in Naples are open to the public and have that white sand that Southwest Florida is famous for! Here are some of the best beaches in Naples:
- Lowdermilk Beach
- The Beach at Naples Pier
- Vanderbilt Beach Park
- Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
- Clam Pass Park
- Keewaydin Island
- Barefoot Beach Preserve
- Lovers Key State Park
- Tigertail Beach Park (on Marco Island)
Celebration Food Truck Park
Food trucks are continuing to grow in popularity. But, of course, that isn’t surprising since they offer delicious food!
One of the best things to do in Naples is to grab a bite at one of the many food trucks in Celebration Food Truck Park. There are approximately 12 food trucks to choose from.
Gather Seashells on Keewaydin Island
Keewaydin Island is another barrier island near Naples. You can only reach this island via boat. Therefore, you must plan your vacation in Naples carefully if you want to visit this island.
If you do, you can wander along 8 miles of deserted beach as you look for seashells to take home.
Breweries in Naples
There are multiple breweries in Naples. You can quickly grab a craft beer from any of them during your vacation.
Visit in the evening to unwind from the day. Or in the afternoon to take a break from the sun. There really isn’t a bad time to visit a brewery in Naples.
Some of the breweries in Naples include Riptide Brewery, Naples Beach Brewery, and Bone Hook Brewing Company.
You may be surprised that you can hike in Naples. There are plenty of flat hikes in this area.
The CREW Bird Rookery Swamp is an excellent place to begin. However, you can consider many other trails during your vacation in Naples.
Visit Koreshan State Park
If you want free things to do in Naples, consider Koreshan State Park. This is the perfect place to learn about the early settlers in Florida.
You can hike the trails as you learn the history.
Take a Boat Tour
There are a few different boat tours in Naples. I recommend the Ten Thousand Islands Boat Tour.
You can choose from a lunch or dinner boat tour or even a sunset cruise on the water. Choose the boat tour that meets your family’s needs!
Check Out the Street Art
Naples is full of culture, and not all of that culture is within the insides of buildings. You will need to wander around different neighborhoods to discover this area’s street art.
I recommend starting in Old Naples and venturing into the newer neighborhoods from there.
Naples is also home to over 100 art galleries.
Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
Visiting the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples is one of the best things to do in Naples with kids. There are plenty of interactive and hands-on activities to keep everyone busy.
Watch your kids as they climb a banyan tree or pretend they are a doctor. Wander through the Everglades with them or get lost in a maze. There is even a water play area.
It may be best to plan an entire day at this museum. A few hours really aren’t enough!
Collier Museum at Government Center
Collier Museum at Government Center is one of the five Collier County Museums. Local history is abundant within this museum.
You will learn about the Calusa Indian and Seminole people during your visit. Then, step back in time as you learn about life in Florida more than a century ago.
The exhibits include a Native American village, old cottages, and a historic boat. There is also a Sherman Tank from World War II. If you love history, you’ll want to stop here! This museum is found at 3331 Tamiami Trail E, Naples, FL.
Crayton Cove was the very first boat landing in Naples. Now it is a bustling area filled with hotels, boutiques, and galleries. You will even find a few restaurants during your visit.
This is one of the best places to visit while on vacation in Naples.
Von Liebig Art Center
Art lovers will enjoy visiting the von Liebig Art Center. Festivals and events are held regularly at this art center. You may even find studio art classes to attend while you are there.
Third Street South
Third Street South might not be as popular as Fifth Avenue South. However, walking along it is always at the top of the list of things to do in Naples.
You will discover stores, galleries, restaurants, and wineries during your walk. And if you are visiting on a Saturday during the months of November through April, you can visit the farmers market.
Everglades National Park
Although it’s not technically in Naples, Everglades National Park is very close. So, you can easily explore it while on vacation in Naples.
This is one of the best things to do in Naples if you have a free day. You can hike along the Anhinga Trail. Kayaking through the mangroves is another option. The most popular thing to do is climb to the top of the observation tower in Shark Valley. The views are worth the climb up 65 feet.
Of course, you can’t forget about a boat tour, especially if you want to see gators out in the wild. We recommend an airboat tour with Everglades Day Safari.
Enjoy Family Time at Sugden Regional Park
Sugden Regional Park is a wonderful place to enjoy family time. There is plenty of room to walk, picnic, and relax by the lake.
You can also play volleyball, enjoy water skiing, and fishing with your family.
Visit the Rosemary Cemetery
Not too many people will take the time to visit a cemetery on vacation. However, the Rosemary Cemetery is where many people who turned Naples into the area it is today are buried. This is another great spot for history lovers.
However, not much is known about who is truly buried there. This is because all the records were destroyed when a hurricane devastated the area.
Segway Guided Tour of Naples
If you do not feel like walking through the streets of Naples, you can always take a Segway guided tour. Segways are easy to operate. Plus, they allow you to cover more ground in a shorter amount of time. This might not be the best idea for young kids, but older kids might think it’s fun!
The best part is your tour guide will point out items of interest you may have missed if you were out on your own.
Naples Museum of Military History
Visiting the Naples Museum of Military History is one of the best things to do in Naples for military history lovers. There are more than 12,000 artifacts within this museum.
The exhibits are filled with photographs, weapons, and helmets.
Take a Manatee Tour
Most people will choose to head out on a dolphin tour while in Naples. However, you may want to decide to venture out on a manatee tour instead. We recommend Manatee Sightseeing and Wildlife Adventures.
Most of these tours take between 2 and 3 hours. The goal is to see manatees, but there may not be too many near the water’s surface. So, keep your eyes open.
Of course, you may also see manatees on a dolphin tour or vice versa. So feel free to book a dolphin tour because the manatees may also show up! Remember that these are wild animals, but your best chance of spotting them will happen during the winter months.
If you love manatees (like we do!), check out the 12 best places to see manatees in Florida.
I’m sure you know about Naples boat tours, but what about planes? Plane tours are popular in Naples. They allow you to see the views from above. But did you know you can also learn the basics about flying during these plane rides?
Barefoot Beach County Preserve
You can easily wander along the main roads at this preserve with your family. However, if you want to experience the best Barefoot Beach County Preserve offers, I recommend taking a tour.
The tours are about 2 hours and take you through the mangroves to see the local wildlife. Before you leave, don’t miss the butterfly garden.
Tiniest Post Office in the US
You’ll find the tiniest post office in the United States in Ochopee. This post office has been serving the population of Ochopee since 1953.
Imagine getting all your postal services met inside this 7×8-foot building!
Fun facts about Naples
Now that we’ve explored some of the best unique things to do in Naples, let’s learn some fun facts about Naples:
- Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States; it is believed to be home to the most millionaires per capita in Florida.
- Naples has more golf holes per capita than any other city and is known as the “golf capital of the world.”
- The average temperature in Naples is 75 degrees F
- The iconic Naples Pier is over 1000 feet long. Unfortunately, it has been destroyed many times by hurricanes, fire, and more hurricanes.
- The Naples Pier is free with no admissions charge.
- The Florida Panther Wildlife Preserve in Naples is the primary home of endangered Florida Panthers.
Unique things to do in Naples, Florida
These are some unique things to do in Naples, along with a few fun facts about Naples. Did I miss anything? Let me know some of your favorite Naples activities in the comments so I can add them to the list.
More Florida Travel Tips
Planning a Florida vacation? We’ve got you covered! We love traveling all around Florida, and we know you will too. No matter where you’re visiting, you’ll find some great Florida travel tips here on the blog, including:
- 15 Things to do in Siesta Key
- Things to do in St. Augustine with Kids
- 30 Things to do in Clearwater with Kids
- 16 things to do in Crystal River with kids
- Where to find Dole Whip at Disney World
- 2023 Universal Orlando Planning Guide
About Florida Travel With Kids
Florida Travel with Kids was started by a family who loves to travel the state of Florida with kids! This site will help you explore the fun state of Florida and all of the kid-friendly activities you’ll find here.
Did you enjoy this post? I would love it if you pinned it for later! Or, make sure to share it with your friends on social media if they are looking for things to do in Florida with kids.