Things To Do In Naples, Florida for 2024

One of my favorite weekend getaways I have taken was to Naples, Florida. We stayed at the coastal Hyatt House Naples and spent the four days looking for dolphins and indulging in delicious eats. It was just the relaxing vacation we needed and since then, I always recommend Naples to those needing an escape.

However, just because the main activities here involve hanging out by the water, doesn’t mean there is not plenty of things to do in Naples, Florida. This is a city with a rich history and a unique climate and so many interesting experiences to be had. Every year, about three hundred thousand people, mainly retirees, escape to Naples for the winter and fill the streets with bustles of shoppers and restaurants with live music. Because of this, I prefer the off season when discounts are plentiful and the vibe is slower. Regardless of when you visit, I have listed below 20 fun things to do in Naples, Florida for whatever type of vacation you are going on. naples florida things to do

Nature Things To Do in Naples

You really can’t visit Naples, Florida without taking in all the nature. From finding shells to spotting manatees, there are so many ways to enjoy the outdoors here. There are many nature things to do in Naples besides going to the beach and I have included a few ideas below.

Walk The Naples Pier

My absolute favorite thing to do in Naples was walk along the Naples Pier. We ended up doing it every day because each time, we saw so many dolphins! A lot of people fish off the pier and the dolphins like to hang around and catch the fish. The best time to see them is before lunch in the morning and we would watch them swim around for over an hour. The pier itself is also really nice to walk along and even has some shady spots. If you come back in the evening, stick around to see the gorgeous sunset from here

naples pier things to do

Check Out The Naples Botanical Gardens

If plants are more your thing, then the Naples Botanical Gardens is an amazing spot to see all sorts of flora. This garden spans 170 acres and is full of trails to explore. Most people spend around two hours here viewing sights like the succulent garden and habitats including a Brackish Marsh. For those who like to learn, free tours are included in the ticket every hour.

Visit The Naples Zoo

Another Naples must-visit is the Naples Zoo which includes wildlife and botanical exhibits. Here you can find mammals like Lions, Clouded Leopards, and Black Bears, as well as many reptiles and birds. There is plenty of exhibits that come with the price of the ticket, but you can also upgrade to a wildlife encounter and get close to your favorite animal! It’s the perfect way for animal lovers to spend the day.

Go To The Beach

Of course, I have to mention one of the most popular things to do in Naples, Florida, which is going to the beach. Everyone recommends Lowdermilk Park, so that is where we went and it was wonderful. Not only was it easy to get to and park at, but the sand is white and soft and the ocean is completely flat and clear. If you are lucky, you may find some intact shells and sand dollars too! Other favorite Naples beaches are Vanderbilt Beach and Clam Pass Park, which both have concession stands and beach rentals.

naples things to do

Active Things To Do in Naples

For those who rather not be idle on their vacation, Naples offers a host of activities to get your adrenaline pumping. There are obviously many things to do on the water, but also a few for land lovers as well. Here are my suggestions for active things to do in Naples, Florida.

Go For a Paddle

Naples is the perfect spot for a variety of paddle sports. You can find rentals at the beach or at the marina for kayaks, paddleboards, paddleboats and canoes. They are usually between $20-$60 for a session and are a great way to see the waterways, and often manatees! If you want a better chance of seeing wildlife though, look for an Eco Tour where you can get a guided tour of hidden nature spots.

Take a Hike

For those wanting a walk with views, there are some excellent trails in the area. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is the favorite, as this 13,000 acre preserve is home to a variety of wildlife. You can talk a 2.5 mile walk on the boardwalk that goes through the Bald Cypress Forest or go further off the trail and look for deer, birds and turtles. Another memorable experience is the Bird Rookery Swamp where there are over 12 miles of trails to explore the swamp, where you may even see some gators!

nature things to do in naples

Enjoy a Game of Golf

One non-aquatic activity Naples is known for is golf! There are over 90 golf courses in the area for all sorts of skill levels. Serious players should visit a resort, like the Naples Grande Beach, with close by courses and deals. Casual players can find plenty of public courses like the Arrowhead Golf Course. And if the whole family wants to play, there is Coral Cay Adventure for a game of mini golf.

Stretch Out With Yoga

If you want to be completely relaxed on your vacation, you can’t go wrong with a yoga class. While there are studios all over the area, this is a great opportunity for some beach yoga! You can weekly classes on the beach, like this one at Lowdermilk. For those who rather not deal with sand, the Naples Zoo also hosts weekly yoga classes for stretching in nature!

Go on a Boat Ride

Lastly, it is hard to resist that bright blue water, so for a bit of speed and excitement, you can always take a boat ride on it! There are dozens of charter options all over Naples from sightseeing tours to sunset catamarans to jetskiing. There are also fishing excursions you can take out to the deep sea for a chance at catching a delicious dinner! Boat rentals or tours usually cost at least $200 for a couple of people, but it varies by experience.

things to do in naples florida

Cultural Things to Do in Naples

If you are seeking a little culture or some learning experiences on your trip to Naples, Florida, you will not be disappointed. In addition to all the outdoors experiences above, you can learn a lot about the area at museums and galleries inside. Naples also has quite a food scene, with all sorts of tasty options, so be prepared for plenty of new things to experience while you are here.

Go Shopping at a Downtown

Second to Palm Beach, Naples is one of the best-known shopping areas in the state. You can find fashion, jewelry and art galleries lining the avenues here. My favorite spot to walk around and browse was Third Street South where you can spot coastal fashion like Lilly Pulitzer and J. McLaughlin. This was a quick walk from Fifth Avenue South, which also had stylish stores and antique collections.

Continuing downtown, art enthusiasts will love the galleries like Big Cypress and Shaw Gallery. Many of these even have a water bowl out for your dog to enjoy while walking around in the heat! I find this area to be the most versatile for shopping, but for more of a tourist scene, there is Tin City. This has many different souvenir options to bring home to friends. We like to get a Christmas ornament at each place we travel to, and these shops by the water had many options!

things to do in naples florida

Visit a Museum

You may not find traditional museums here, but you will find history! The easiest to visit is the Historic Palm Cottage which was constructed in 1895. You can take an informational tour of this house or a whole one mile tour of the Historic District, where you will learn a lot about Naples, Florida.

Other educational opportunities include the Holocaust Museum and the Revs Institute. The former offers a somber look at artifacts and photos from the Holocaust, as well as informative tours, whereas the latter offers a collection of 100 classic cars and a way to visually see the transformation of the auto industry. For families with little ones, the Golisano Children’s Museum is an interactive experience where kids can have fun learning about nature, architecture and art.

Check Out The Foodie Scene

One of the best things to do in Naples, Florida, is eat! This town has restaurants for every cuisine, budget and experience. Whether you want a casual meal by the water or a romantic, candle lit dinner, there are dozens of options to choose from.

For a meal unlike one anywhere else, I recommend seafood, as most places source it fresh and serve it creatively. However, I also found some of the Italian restaurants here to be better than any other part of Florida! I have a full guide of restaurants here to help narrow down the selection. Don’t miss the weekly Farmers Market on Third Street either where you can get groceries and snacks from a variety of Vendors every Saturday. And for craft beer enthusiasts, there are half a dozen breweries in the area, such as Ankrolab Brewing, where you can taste all sorts of house made brews.

See a Show

If you are a theater nerd, then you will be happy to hear there are a couple of options for enjoying community theater. The Naples Players are a nationally known group that puts on both iconic and original performances at the Sugden Theater on 5th Ave. It has been rated the best live theater in South Florida and locals love coming to see classics, such as the seasonal White Christmas. There is also the Gulfshore Playhouse which puts on performances of everything from Shakespeare to Monty Python! For a way to experience a night on the town, be sure to check what is playing at these theaters.

Visit an Island

Lastly, for those who want to see what life is like on an island, there are a few nearby to check out. Marco Island is the closest and a wonderful option for a daytrip. Here you can check out local tiki bars, explore the JW Marriott hotel even if you aren’t staying there and go on a tricycle tour. For a chance to visit other islands, there is also Sanibel Island and Captiva a little over an hour away and also have plenty of ways to explore.

marco island things to do

Events to Experience

Though there is always something to do in Naples, Florida, there are a few yearly events that are worth a visit to the area alone. If you happen to be here when any of the following is going on, I highly recommend getting a ticket. I have attended food and art festivals when traveling out of town and it is such a convenient way to fully experience a place. Here are four events to look out for when traveling to Naples!

Paradise Coast Wine and Food Festival

Every November, hundreds of local restaurants and chefs from Naples, Marco Island and beyond, come together to craft delicious bites and beverages for a wine and food festival. It is a one-day experience that includes all you can consume samples and drinks. There is even live music and celebrity appearances including chefs like Martha Stewart. It’s an excellent way to try many different restaurants all at once and have fun doing it!

Naples Craft Beer Fest

If you prefer beer to wine, the Naples Craft Beer Fest occurs every March for a four-hour tasting experience. This includes breweries from all over Florida, including favorites of mine like Sailfish Brewing. There are also a dozen local restaurants serving bites to pair with brews competing for best in show! Brew festivals are the perfect way to support local breweries and try unique beers and this is one of the best in South Florida.

Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival

Another event in March is the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival. This goes for three days with bands performing until 9 PM each day!  Along with this are seafood vendors offering all sorts of seafood delicacies from crab legs to jambalaya. Though seafood is the main focus, there is something for everyone, including pizza, barbecue and ice cream and even craft vendors as well! Unlike the other festivals mentioned above, this one is a la carte, so you only have to pay for what you eat, making this a day with endless possibilities.

Downtown Naples Festival of Arts

March is really the time to visit, because there is also the Downtown Festival of Arts too! This is a free event where you can browse the art of over 200 vendors! Whatever creations you are into, you will find here from paintings and sculptures to wood carvings and jewelries. It goes all weekend mid-March and is the ideal way to enjoy the gorgeous downtown and find some meaningful souvenirs.

naples florida festivals

Know Before You Go: Things To Do in Naples, Florida

Some may think Naples is strictly a retiree spot, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth! There are so many things to do in Naples, Florida for people of all ages. If you are a local, I hope this guide provided you with some new ways to experience your town! And for those visiting, I recommend spending some time at the beach and doing at least a couple of nature or active activities on this list during the day. Then in the evening, head to Third Street or Fifth Avenue South for dinner and some shopping. Here are some other things to keep in mind for your time in Naples.

  • The best times to visit Naples, Florida is April through June and September through November. You may have to deal with very hot weather and possibly even a hurricane, but it is better than going during peak season and having to pay a lot more for hotels and dining.
  • If you are going in the ocean, use sunscreen without oxybenzone. Sunscreens that contain this ingredient can be harmful to sea life.
  • For flying into Naples, I recommend the Southwest Florida International Airport which is half an hour north of Naples.
  • If you are visiting the area, I highly recommend renting a car. It’s a large area, and though you can use Lyft/Uber, a rental car is probably cheaper
  • For nightlife, you will mainly find live music at restaurants on Fifth Avenue South and Tiki Bars. Things are pretty casual here and there is not much in the way of nightclubs, but there are lots of bars.

Have you been to Naples, Florida before? I think it’s one of the best vacation spots in Florida! For more ideas of things to do in the Sunshine State, check out my 101 Things to do in Florida Bucket List!

Naples things to do 2021
20 things to do in naples florida

If you would like to get a printable bucket list Naples, check out my Etsy shop here and get one to download!