Fun Things to do in Naples, Florida
Families and beach goers alike will be delighted with the assorted fun things to do in Naples, Florida. There are a wide variety of activities that range from paddling a kayak through a mangrove forest to hiking through a stand of old growth cypress trees to lounging on a white sand beach. You can decide to go jet skiing or take a boat tour of the 10,000 Islands area where you can spot manatees, alligators and watch playful dolphins. Other splendid attractions include an interesting zoo, several museums, a family fun waterpark, a manicured botanical garden and you can go beachcombing on one of the several uninhabited islands in the area. There are opportunities for you to go snorkeling, scuba diving and you can even take a trip to Everglades National Park. No matter what type of activity you are seeking you will find something in Naples for everyone to enjoy.
Manatee Ecotour and Shelling Adventure
A great intimate way for you to view the incredible marine life of 10,000 Islands and a perfect thing to do in Naples, Florida for families is to take the Manatee Ecotour and Shelling Adventure. Your 3-hour journey begins at Port of the Islands Marina where you will meet your expert captain and board a U.S. Coast Guard certified boat that only seats six people. Once on board your captain will go over a few safety tips and explain about the exciting marine life you will view on your excursion. From here you will cruise through Faka Union Canal until you reach the pristine waterways of 10,000 Islands. While you are cruising on the water you will have the opportunity to view manatees, dolphins, alligators and hundreds of birds. During your excursion your captain will explain all the interesting items about the eco-system of Southwest Florida. Your last stop will be at the deserted island of Whitehorse Key where you will have 30-minutes to go beachcombing along the pristine white sand beach and collect shells. Your excellent day of adventure and marine life ends with a short cruise back to Port of the Islands Marina.
Kayak Tours and Rentals
Kayaking is a superb thing to do in Naples, Florida for all travelers that are seeking adventure, exercise and excitement. There are many ways to see the 10,000 Islands area and kayaking is an ideal form of sightseeing which allows you the freedom to create your own journey with a kayak rental in Naples or by taking one of the many guided kayak tour in Naples. While you are paddling you can visit stellar places such as the Rookery Bay Reserve, Everglades National Park and the Cocohatchee River as well as the Gulf of Mexico. When you are kayaking through the interesting mazes of mangroves you can expect to watch manatees, dolphins and alligators in their natural habit as well as hundreds of different bird species.
Marco Island Jetski Tour of the Ten Thousand Islands
Thrill seekers and nature lovers looking for the perfect thing to do in Naples will like the Marco Island Jetski Tour of the Ten Thousand Islands. Your 2-hour adventure begins at the Rose Marina where you will have a quick safety lesson on how to navigate your jet ski before you set out to explore the wonders of the 10,000 Islands area. While you are gliding across the water you will visit stellar places like the Dome Houses of Cape Romano and learn about the fragile southwest Florida eco-system from your expert guide. As you jet ski through Factory Bay and under Jolly Bridge you will reach Capri Island. When you are jet skiing you can watch dolphins, manatees and alligators play in their natural habitat while you travel the water ways of the 10,000 Islands. You will even have a chance to throttle up a few times to get your adrenaline flowing when cruising on the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Your grand adventure concludes when you arrive back at Rose Marina.
Mangrove Tunnels and Manatees Tour
An exciting and peaceful way to experience the natural wonders of Southwest Florida and a superb thing to do in Naples is to try the Mangrove Tunnels and Manatees Tour. When you arrive to Ships Store you will be outfitted with your kayak and take a quick 10-minute paddle as well as safety meeting before you set out on your adventure. The first part of your journey will take you to the Faka Union Canal which is a manatee protection zone where you can watch these incredible animals play in their natural habitat. After you have had your fill of manatees you will paddle several of the interesting mangrove tunnels where you will have an opportunity to spot alligators and hundreds of species of birds. You can relax on the way back practicing your paddling skills until you reach Ship Stores where your 2.5-hour paddling adventure concludes.
Naples Sightseeing Tour
One of the best things to do in Naples for families who want to get out on the water and view interesting marine life is to take the Naples Sightseeing Tour. Once you arrive at the Tin City Waterfront Shops you will board the Double Sunshine which a unique double decker water vessel perfect for sightseeing. As you cruise down the Gordon River your captain will start to inform you of all the wonderful items you will see on your 90-minute water excursion. While you are cruising you will be delighted with the number of dolphins that start to follow the boat and depending on the time year you will spot the friendly manatees too. You will pass by Port Royal where you will see the mansions of the rich and famous of Marco Island before reaching Keewaydin Island. After circling this pristine paradise of white sand beaches you will start to cruise back to the Tin City Waterfront Shops where your fantastic time on the water concludes.
Everglades Family Adventure Tour from Greater Fort Myers/Naples Area
If you are seeking a family friendly excursion an ideal thing to do in Naples is to try the Everglades Family Adventure Tour from Greater Fort Myers/Naples Area. Your 4.5-hour journey begins by taking a short ride in a comfortable mini-coach to the Western Everglades. While you are driving an expert naturalist guide will inform you of all the exciting items you will view while you are in the Everglades. Once you arrive you will board an air-boat for a thrilling ride through the vast sawgrass marshes where you will get a chance to watch wildlife living in their natural habitat. Don’t be surprised to see alligators and plenty of reptiles as well as hundreds of species of birds that range from herons to egrets to spoonbills. Your fantastic day ends with a short ride back to Naples.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
An exciting thing to do in Naples for families that like to learn about wildlife and walk through pristine gardens is to visit the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens. Located 10-minutes north of downtown Naples, the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens boasts more than just a typical zoo walk through. Once you enter you will be able to view incredible animals from around the world along a one mile paved path which features manicured gardens. As you are walking through the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens you can view animals like giant anteaters, honey badgers, striped hyenas and endangered tamarins. Other interesting animals include fosas from Madagascar, tigers, cheetahs and animals from Africa like kudu, slender-horned gazelles and impala antelope. There are numerous species of monkeys from lemurs to apes too and the zoo has the largest black bear exhibit east of the Mississippi River.
Photo by h2kyaks
Lowdermilk Park on Naples Beach
Lowdermilk Park on Naples Beach is a perfect thing to do in Naples for families that want to visit a beach area which offers plenty of amenities. Located in the Coquina Sands area, Lowdermilk Park on Naples Beach is a 1,000-feet stretch of white sands which boasts a nice family atmosphere. When you arrive at Lowdermilk Park on Naples Beach you will find excellent swimming conditions in the Gulf of Mexico as well as plenty of space to lounge. There are plenty of watersports available to rent from jet skis to kayaks to standup paddleboards as well as beach equipment and even cabanas. Children can play at the duck pond, on two different playgrounds and there are a few beach volleyball courts. Other facilities at the beach park include restrooms, showers, picnic tables and there is a concession stand with food as well as drink.
Photo by Marie Coleman
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
When you are ready to get out into the natural landscape of Southwest Florida and experience a plethora of wildlife, then a great thing to do in Naples is to plan a trip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Located 30-minutes east of Naples, the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is situated on 17 square miles and contains some of the last stands of Pond Cypress as well as Bald Cypress trees. Once you are inside the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary you will be amazed at the diversity of the landscape that ranges from wet prairie to marsh to flatwoods to an old growth cypress forest. The sanctuary offers a 2.5-mile boardwalk for nature hikes where you will spot wildlife such as alligators, red-bellied turtles, otters and white-tailed deer. The sanctuary is also part of the Great Florida Bird Trail and is home to hundreds of species of birds. There is a nice visitor’s center with numerous exhibits about the eco-system of the area and you can also signup for a guided tour with an expert naturalist.
Photo by Marianne Serra
Naples Botanical Garden
The Naples Botanical Garden is a superb thing to do in Naples for families and people who like viewing incredible manicured gardens while learning more about different eco-systems from around the world. Located 3-miles southeast of downtown Naples, the Naples Botanical Garden is situated on 170-acres and features ten distinct gardens, eco-systems as well as habitats. Once you are at the Naples Botanical Gardens you will be delighted with the layout which includes the Chabraja Visitor Center that features three gardens designed by Raymond Jungles including the LaGrippe Orchid Garden. Other gardens of interest are an Asian zen style garden, a Brazilian garden and Caribbean garden which feature plants and flora from these particular regions of the world. The Preserve and Scott Florida Garden concentrate on native plants from Southwest Florida and the Water Garden will remind you of a Claude Monet painting filled with lilies. The Children’s Garden also focuses on the native area of Southwest Florida with numerous exhibits to help children understand conservation and there is the Pfeffer-Beach Butterfly House.
Photo by mark_whitton
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
If you are searching for a superb thing to do in Naples that involves many outdoor activities including white sand beaches then you should stop at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. Located in North Naples, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park is situated on a barrier island and offers a plethora of outdoor activities. Once you arrive at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park you can indulge in a variety of watersports that range from surfing to scuba diving to snorkeling to kayaking. The park has plenty of beautiful white sand beaches where you can lounge or go beachcombing and there is fishing in Turkey Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and the Cocohatchee River. There are numerous land activities for you as well that range from geo caching treasure hunt game to hiking trails through the lush Southwest Florida landscape. Wildlife you might encounter includes the endangered Gopher Tortoise, Loggerhead turtles, manatees and hundreds of bird species like bald eagles as well as ospreys. Other facilities at the park include a concessions stand, watersport and beach equipment rentals and restrooms.
Photo by Melissa McMasters
Clam Pass Park
When you are ready to hit the beach and take in some of the beautiful natural surroundings then a perfect thing to do in Naples is to stop at Clam Pass Park. Located in North Naples, Clam Pass Park is situated on 35-acres and provides a great beach access point. When you arrive you can walk on the ¾-mile boardwalk through coastal habitat which includes a mangrove forest of entangled salt-tolerant white, black and red mangroves. The mangroves are packed with wildlife from butterflies to marine life to birds such as hawks and ospreys. There are also nature tours by the Conservancy of Southwest Florida available and there is a tram ride for you to enjoy. Once you have walked the boardwalk you will find yourself at Vanderbilt Beach where you can relax on the white sand, swim and enjoy a variety of watersport activities. Vanderbilt Beach is also a great place to shelling in the morning as you walk the ¾-mile stretch of beach front. Other facilities include restrooms, showers and beach equipment rentals as well as a variety of local vendors with food and drink options.
Photo by h2kyaks
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
A fascinating thing to do in Naples for travelers including families that are interested in experiencing and learning about the eco-system and conservation practice in Southwest Florida is to plan a trip to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Located near the Naples Zoo, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida is situated on 21-acres and the organization is dedicated to preserving the eco-system of Southwest Florida. Once you arrive at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida there are plenty of activities to be had from visiting the Nature Center which is packed with exhibits and hands-on learning displays to the Arx Wildlife Hospital where you can view wildlife that is being rehabilitated to the Eaton Conservation Hall and Jeannie Meg Smith Theater and the Dalton Discovery Center which has a 5,000-gallon reef aquarium touch tank. Besides learning about the wildlife, plants and flowers of Southwest Florida the conservancy also hosts guided tours that include electric boats, kayaking (both day and night time) and there are guided nature hikes as well as conservancy camps for children.
Photo by George Brett
If your family is looking for an assortment of activities in one place then a perfect thing to do in Naples is to visit Cambier Park. Located on Eighth Street South, Cambier Park is situated on 12-acres with plenty of grassy area to lounge and picnic while the children play. Within Cambier Park there are plenty of facilities such as a community built playground, a picnic area with pavilion, shuffleboard courts and the Allen Tennis Center which has 12 lighted Hydro-Grid Har-Tu clay courts. Also within the park is the Cambier Park Bandshell where free concerts are held throughout the year. You will also find the Norris Center which has art displays, recreational rooms, a variety of classes and the Gulfshore Playhouse.
Photo by Marie Coleman
Naples Depot Museum
Making a stop at the Naples Depot Museum is an ideal thing to do in Naples for everyone who wants to view a gorgeous historic train depot and a museum loaded with interesting exhibits. Located on Fifth Avenue in the heart of Naples, the Naples Depot Museum is situated within the historic Seaboard Air Line Railway Station. The restored 1920s building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features style elements of Greek as well as Spanish Revival which is highlighted by stained glass. Inside you will find plenty of interesting exhibits that concentrate on technology and transportation. You can view a Seminole dugout canoe, an antique swamp buggy, numerous rail cars, a diorama of the city and a mule wagon. Also onsite is the Naples Train Museum which features an interactive train model as well as a train ride for the kids.
The perfect thing to do in Naples for all types of travelers including families who want to learn more about history, culture and natural areas of Collier County is to make a stop at the Collier Museum. Located on Tamiami Trail East in the heart of Naples, the Collier Museum is situated on 5-acres and features a 10,000 square foot museum which concentrates on the history of Southwest Florida. The Collier Museum is full of interesting exhibits that range from large pre-historic shark and mastodon fossils to ceremonial masks of the Calusa Indians who occupied the area and you can find out about the Seminole Indians too. You can learn about the early settlers of Collier County who were railroaders, cattlemen, rum runners and clam diggers. Outside there is a great picnic area with a garden full of native plants and you can view a Seminole village as well as check-out a Calusa Indian camp.
Taking a trip to the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is a great thing to do in Naples for families who want to have a superb day in the water. Located within North Collier Regional Park, Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is packed with exciting water features and one million gallons of water that will bring a smile to everyone’s face. The family atmosphere at the park is highlighted by four freshwater swimming pools, an extensive lazy river, five thrilling water slides and a lighted splash playground with plenty of interactive water fun for the children. Families will like the variety of swimming pools which range from a dive and lap pool to the 4-foot deep Family Falls pool. Kids will be delighted with the fun to be found at the Turtle Cove and toddlers laugh playfully at the Tadpole Pool. The waterslide will have you dropping 38-feet into a splash pool and Sunny’s River is almost ¼-mile long.
Segway Tours of Naples
One of the most popular things to do in Naples for travelers who want to see the downtown area in a relaxed fashion is to take a Segway Tour of Naples. You will start Segway tour with a brief instructional lesson on how to navigate your Segway i2 Generation 2 vehicle safely. From here you will set-off to explore the sights and sounds of Naples with an experienced guide who will inform you about all the interesting sites you will see. As you glide through the downtown area you will view the historic architecture along Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South before cruising to the Naples Pier as well as City Dock. Your journey will continue with a look at Naples Landing, Crayton Cove and a pass through the gorgeous flowerbeds of Cambier Park. There will plenty of time at each spot for photographs and you can catch a beverage or two along the way to help quench your thirst.
Golisano Children's Museum of Naples
The best thing to do in Naples for families with children is to spend a day at the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples. Located on Livingston Road, the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples specializes in providing an exciting and inspirational atmosphere for children and families learn, play and dream together. Once inside the museum children will be able to explore the Everglade swamps, climb a two-story banyan tree, spend a day at the beach, and practice their baseball skills. Children can try to escape from a maze in Johnsonville Backyardville as well as play with the interactive water station in the outdoor area. Children can also think about their future while pretending to be an artist, a farmer, a weather forecaster, an architect or a fisherman. Other great exhibits include Mother Nature’s House where children learn about seasonal weather change, an art gallery and a farmer’s market.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
When you want to experience one of the last remaining mangrove estuaries in North America then a must thing to do in Naples is to plan a trip to the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve. Located at the northern edge of the 10,000 Islands area, the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is situated on 110,000-acres of undisturbed mangrove forests and the surrounding waters. The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a fantastic place for you to learn about the eco-system of Southwestern Florida and contains a 16,500-square foot Environmental Learning Center which features a 2,300-gallon aquarium, plenty of interactive exhibits, daily environmental awareness lectures and an art gallery. The reserve also offers a variety of fun activities that range from guided bird tours to kayaking tours to boat tours. These excursions are a great way to experience a pristine mangrove forest and your expert naturalist guide can answer any and all questions you might have about the eco-system or the wildlife.
Naples Historical Society's Historic Palm Cottage
The Naples Historical Society’s Historic Palm Cottage allows you to learn and view the lifestyle of Old Naples and is a superb thing to do in Naples for all types of travelers including families. Located 12th Avenue South and Gulfshore Boulevard, the Naples Historical Society’s Historic Palm Cottage is the oldest remaining house in Naples and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The Historic Palm Cottage was constructed in 1895 with a hand-made concrete which contained shells and sand. The two-story Craftsman style home is over 3,500 square feet and was the home of Walter N. Haldeman, one of the founding residents of Naples. The house is packed with original furnishings, tools and artwork from over 100 years ago. The associated Norris Gardens has five themed areas and is a peaceful place to rest after touring the home.
The Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida
An interesting thing to do in Naples when you want to learn more about one of the more horrifying episodes of 20th century history is to stop at the Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida. Located in the Park Shore area, the Holocaust Museum and Education Center of Southwest Florida has a collection of more than 1,000 artifacts which are on exhibit in a chronological order and tells the story of the Holocaust. Exhibits start with pre-World War II and run through the post-World War II Nuremburg Trials. The artifacts were donated by camp liberators, World War II veterans and local Holocaust survivors. Artifacts range from historic photographs to driver’s licenses to children’s toys to camp uniforms. Also onsite is a restored 1919 boxcar that was used to transport victims to the concentration camps and is now used for educational purposes as a traveling exhibit.
CREW Land & Water Trust
If you are searching for a unique place that offers plenty of outdoor activities for nature lovers and is a great way to learn about the Southwestern Florida eco-system then an ideal thing to do in Naples is to make a visit to the CREW Land & Water Trust. Located northwest of Naples in the Orangetree area, the CREW Land & Water Trust is situated on 60,000-acres which supplies habitat area for wildlife and offers numerous outdoor activities for people to enjoy. Within the area you will find three trails including the Bird Rookery Swamp Trail which has 12-miles of hiking and biking trails and a 1,500-foot boardwalk. Other trails available include the Marsh Trail with a 5.5-mile loop trail that circles a 5,000-acre sawgrass marsh and the Cypress Dome Trail that features a 6-mile loop trail through oak hammocks, pine flatwoods and two cypress domes. The trails will take you deep into nature where you will have the opportunity to view alligators, turtles and hundreds of bird species. Other activities permitted within the CREW Land & Water Trust are horseback riding, hunting and there are camping facilities available for overnight stays.
The Revs Institute
If you are interested in antique and collectable cars then an ideal thing to do in Naples is to visit the Revs Institute. Located north of the Naples Municipal Airport, the Revs Institute is dedicated to preserving the history of automobiles and features the Collier Collection of more than 100 rare as well as vintage cars that were manufactured between 1896 thru 1995. The Collier Collection of cars is stunning with such models as a 1939 Mercedes W154 Grand Prix, a Panhard et Lavassor Wagonette, the very first Porsche 550-01 and a short-chassis 1935 Duesenberg SSJ owned by Gary Cooper. Other incredible cars you can see are a 1963 Elva Porsche, a 1962 Lotus 23 and a 1914 Simplex. Along with the beautifully restored cars there is plenty of automobile memorabilia from posters to gas pumps to oil cans. Also onsite is a world class archives which is perfect for scholars as well as everyday people who are interested in automobile history.