Things to Do in Naples, FL
by Erika Mehlhaff
Naples is one of the most popular cities in the United States, well-loved by residents and tourists alike. Located on the Gulf of Mexico in southwest Florida, this city is a popular destination for people looking for relaxing sunshine and sand, but it has even more to offer than beautiful beaches. There is so much to do in Naples! Read on to learn more about five great things to do in Naples, Florida.
1. Take a stroll down Naples Pier.
The city’s central landmark is the historic Naples Pier, built in 1888. The Naples Pier is a favorite location for visitors, located at the white-sand Naples Municipal Beach. It offers a large boardwalk for strolling and taking in scenic views of beautiful sunsets, soaring seabirds, and dolphins splashing in the Gulf. And it is a great fishing spot, too, where a variety of saltwater fish can be caught including redfish, grouper, trout, and more.
2. Make a stop at the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.
The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary consists of about 13,000 acres of pine flatwood, marshlands, wet prairies, and the largest old-growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. The boardwalk at the Sanctuary is close to 2.5 miles long; visitors can see alligators, otters, red-bellied turtles, white-tailed deer, and multiple species of birds along their walk. There are also guided walks and interpretive programs offered, and other activities and workshops like nature photography courses.
3. Visit Naples Botanical Garden.
Located on Bayshore Drive a few miles south and east of downtown Naples, Naples Botanical Garden is home to some of the region’s most beautiful plants, flowers, and trees. The 1000+ species are spread throughout nine gardens, which are part of a 100+ acre nature preserve. Visitors can explore at their own pace or enjoy a guided tour; there are monthly children’s activities offered as well. Make sure to check the seasonal and daily hours of Naples Botanical Garden as they vary.
4. Spend the day at Delnor Wiggins State Park.
Delnor Wiggins State Park is one of the most popular destinations in Florida and the world, owing to the pristine white-sand beach and crystal-clear water. This beach is especially beloved by sunbathers, swimmers, and snorkelers; but there are tons of other activities like paddleboarding, boating, fishing (in designated areas), hiking, and geocaching. Another highlight of this spot is that park rangers offer guided nature tours for wildlife watching, especially popular during the loggerhead turtle nesting season.
5. Experience the Naples Art District.
South Florida is one of the most arts-focused areas in the US. The Naples Art District is a “new cradle” of fine arts in southwest Florida from its conception in 2006, and since becoming a 501c-3 nonprofit organization in 2016. It has grown into a network of over 70 creatives, including fine artists specializing as painters, ceramicists, sculptors, jewelers, photographers, fiber artists, glass artisans, and more. The District is known for its commitment to the fine arts—its mission is to promote the arts by providing access through arts education and community events during which the public can interact with artists in their working studios and galleries.
The Naples Art District boasts the largest concentration of working artists in Southwest Florida. The District gives professional artists a place to share their talents, which range across a wide variety of mediums and methods. It has a calendar of events and classes available online for anyone who wants to explore the fine arts; contact the organization for more information.