Whether you're a snowbird staying in Naples for the winter and trying to get a feel for the area, or are going to visit Naples for a weekend, it can seem daunting when trying to decide what to do. Of course, the beach is a very important place to go - but we've also come up with a list of several other places that you should try to visit while you're in the area. This is a phenomenal destination for parents with small children, golf enthusiasts, and anyone on a budget who wants to escape the cold of winter. Without further ado, here are the ten things that we recommend doing in Naples during your weekend getaway. If you check them all off the list or decide to extend your trip, you might also enjoy these day trips.
Enhance Your Naples Weekend Getaway With These 10 Things
10. Hang out at Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
In a state that is known for its plentiful beaches, Naples’ own Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park stands out among the best of them. Views of the pristine Gulf of Mexico, snorkel-worthy reefs, and the sandy beaches make this state park one to visit. Boaters and anglers have their own designated spaces, and there is even a concession stand selling food, beverages, and water activity rentals. Check out the hiking trails to get a close up view of wildflowers and native birds, like Tricolor Herons or Egrets, or walk along the beach and collect seashells of all different shapes, colors, and sizes.
9. Spend a Day at the Zoo
Walk through the mile-long path at the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens and you’ll come across more than 70 species of animals. Not only that, you’ll also be a witness to tropical gardens that date back to 1919 when they were first planted for botanist Dr. Henry Nehrling. Visitors can take a cruise on catamarans to view the primates, which are housed on islands in a man made lake. Check out the hedgehogs, two-toed sloths, and ocelots during the zoo’s mammal programs. You can even feed giraffes by hand! Or, explore the gardens and mangroves on site for a view of Florida’s native botanicals.
8. Encourage Your Child to Use Their Imagination
If you’re traveling with kids, then this place is for you. The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples is the perfect place to let your child’s imagination run wild. They can create structures in the Build It exhibit or produce their own art in the Art Studio, which provides hands-on learning of art through creating. The museum also houses a farm exhibit, a journey through the Everglades, and much more. Whatever age your child is, there will be plenty to do at this museum. Spend the day here and get out of the heat!
7. Shop the Day Away
Fifth Avenue South is Naples’ premier spot for shopping, dining, and entertainment. From Italian bistros and English tea rooms to raw bars and Irish pubs, this street invites visitors to it through its diverse selection of food choices. Its shopping options are no different, the avenue is lined with unique, local boutique stores and nationally known clothing, house ware, jewelry, and shoe stores. Nearly 10 art galleries dot the street, and a playhouse and theater bolster this area’s entertainment selection. After a day of shopping, garb a bite to eat at Hob Nob, a local and visitor favorite, and catch the Naples Players Inc. perform a show at the Sugden Community Theater. Have a nightcap at Chops City Grill and your day is complete!
6. Stroll through Naples Botanical Garden
If the tropical weather and sandy beaches aren’t enough, Naples also has its own botanical garden complete with 3 lakes and more than 5 uniquely different gardens. Check out the Marcia and L. Bates Lea Asian Garden where the rich cultural, spiritual, and botanical influences of Southeast Asia are present. There is also the Kathleen and Scott Kapnick Brazilian Garden which houses plenty of colorful Brazilian plant species. These are just a few of the many things to see at the botanical garden, so don’t miss out on the beautiful outdoor plant life and architecture.
5. Get a Tour of the Oldest House in Naples
Built in 1895, the Historic Palm Cottage is a rare example of tabby mortar, a concrete mixture of sand, shells, and water. The two-story house was listed as a landmark in the National Register of Historical Places in 1982. It is also home to the Naples Historical Society’s Educational Headquarters, where visitors and locals alike can learn about the history of Naples. The Norris Gardens at the cottage helps tell the history of Naples through a garden lens. Take a tour Tuesdays through Saturdays from 1pm-4pm.
4. Golf, Golf, Golf
There are over 15 golf courses and country clubs in the Naples area, so you’d be remiss if you didn’t play 18 holes at one of them. The Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club is located just two miles from downtown Naples. With a beachfront Victorian-era hotel on-site and an 18-hole golf course nestled up to the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, this is one place you have to check out. Vineyards Country Club South is another gorgeous golfing option. This club boasts 36 regulation holes with beautiful, sprawling, rolling greens. Bring your racquet because the club also has tennis courts, as well as bocce ball courts, occasional concerts, and dining options. You could really spend a whole day at this club!
3. The Baker Museum
A fine arts museum located in Naples, the Baker Museum provides world-class exhibitions, a glass dome conservatory, and an educational resource room. If you find yourself at the museum on the last Wednesday of the month, admission will be free from 6pm-9pm and a local band will provide musical entertainment intended for all ages. The museum also offers kid-friendly programs, including Make-and-Take workshops where kids are encouraged to create their own artwork and take it home to keep. Enjoy the exhibitions including blown glass art by the renowned Dale Chihuly and the upcoming Origami in the Garden exhibit which is comprised of outdoor sculptures of paper cranes, a life-size Pegasus, and much more. This museum offers something for everyone.
2. Third Street South
If 5th Avenue South is the premier spot for fine dining and upscale shopping, Third Street South is its historically infused counterpart. The street is located next to the 19th Century Naples Pier and Naples Historical Society. Come on a Saturday morning and you’ll be surrounded by fresh produce, baked goods, crafts, and so much more at the Third Street Farmers’ Market. Stroll up and down the street and stop in art galleries, like Harmon-Meek Modern, the oldest gallery of American art in the southeastern United States.
1. Naples Pier
The Naples Pier was originally built in 1888 as a freight and passenger dock. Today the pier stands as a community landmark, and is one of the most popular attractions among visitors. Sightseers and fishermen alike can enjoy the spacious pier, and no fishing license required to fish. Walk the pier in the morning to take in the beautiful Gulf waters. For many, the pier is the ideal place to enjoy the sunset and wait in anticipation of seeing the elusive green flash. The pier is an easy place to relax after a long weekend and watch the sun go down over the water.
This article was written by Julianne Aiello.