Naples, Florida Travel Guide
Naples is a charming resort city on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico along Southwest Florida’s Paradise Coast. Visitors luxuriate in the area’s stylish atmosphere, which includes beautiful pedestrian walks with shops, art galleries, and restaurants and row after row of palatial homes surrounded by tropical landscaping.
The area is famous for its beautiful powdery white sand beaches, golf courses, fishing, boating, water sports, and spectacular sunsets.
There are nearly 90 golf courses in the Greater Naples area, including a growing number of public courses.
Naples is great for a scenic stroll. Secluded courtyards, outdoor sculptures, and beautiful fountains highlight historic buildings throughout downtown Naples. The beach is always within easy reach for an invigorating jog or relaxing stroll at sunset. Nearby, Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary provides a 2.25-mile-long boardwalk through an ancient cypress forest, home to hundreds of bird and animal species.
In historic shopping districts and waterfront plazas, Naples visitors can find unique treasures. Third Street South, Naples’ business district at the turn of the century, has become a trendy shopping village of more than 100 distinctive shops, galleries, outdoor cafés, and restaurants – all within walking distance to the beach.
Just a few blocks away, Fifth Avenue South has been transformed into a dynamic pedestrian-friendly scene both day and night. Art galleries, clothing and design boutiques, the Sugden Theater, hotels, cafes, bars, and restaurants line Naples’ official downtown Main Street. Entertainment and special events are scheduled regularly.
Historic Tin City
A short walk from Fifth Avenue South is historic Tin City. Located at a waterfront dockside boardwalk, the eclectic tin-roofed shopping and entertainment venue features nautical and nature-themed gift shops and casual seafood restaurants on the water. Across the street, you’ll find Bayfront, Naples’ newest shopping, dining, and entertainment center. Colorful Mediterranean architecture houses a collection of upscale shops complemented by restaurants, bars art galleries, and the elegant new Bayfront Inn on Fifth, all overlooking the Gordon River.
Waterfront Village on Venetian Bay
The waterfront Village on Venetian Bay, evocative of the townhouses of Venice, is a destination for sophisticated fashion, jewelry, gourmet shops, and fine dining in a picturesque environment. Nearby at the Waterside Shops at Pelican Bay, you’ll find boutiques, shops, and restaurants surrounded by lush landscaping, covered walkways, and sparkling waterways.
Coastland Center, the regional mall in Naples, includes 150 stores and small specialty shops. Prime Outlets, located mid-way between Naples and Marco Island, is a haven for those with an eye for value.
Naples has arrived on the culinary map. Chef Robin Haas of Miami opened his signature Baleen restaurant overlooking the Gulf at the LaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort, and diners seeking the very finest cuisine have the option of dining in five-diamond style at Artisans in The Dining Room at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples.
Culture abounds in Naples. From theatre to dance, to its 134 art galleries and numerous fascinating museums, greater Naples is recognized internationally as a destination for the culturally minded. The Naples Museum of Art houses 15 galleries with both permanent and traveling exhibits. The Philharmonic Center for the Arts brings the finest in music, theatre, and dance to Naples each season. Naples Dinner Theatre provides professional productions of Broadway favorites year-round. Historical museums abound, featuring information on the area’s early inhabitants, the Calusa Indians, as well as early southwest Florida pioneers.
Whether it’s a sunset cruise aboard the Naples Princess yacht or Lady Stirling schooner, a nature cruise on the Gordon or Cocohatchee rivers, or a private charter to either the Ten Thousand Islands or the Gulf, there is no shortage of ways to get on the water from Naples. The area’s many bays, canals, and rivers provide a network of waterways for cruising, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, or relaxing. There are so many bottle-nosed dolphins living in Naples Bay and the Gulf that almost every boat trip includes numerous dolphin sightings.
One of the beauties of Naples is that it is surrounded by thousands of acres of private, state, and federally preserved land. Within short driving distance, you can be bird watching or adventuring at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, Lake Trafford, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, Collier-Seminole State Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Picayune Strand State Forest, or Everglades National Park, with an entrance in Everglades City. Right in town you can get back to nature at popular attractions including the Naples Nature Center, Naples Botanical Garden, the Cocohatchee Nature Center, and Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens.