On Florida’s aptly named Paradise Coast, Naples has white sandy beaches and pristine waters. Beyond the sand and surf, and the shopping, the city’s proximity to outdoor adventure and charming fishing villages makes for a to-do list that will outlast any spring break trip. Here are our picks for the top things to do in Naples.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Visit Naples beach and pier
Naples’s 100-year-old pier juts into the Gulf of Mexico, serving as the perfect fishing spot. Poles can be rented from outfitters and the city offers license-free fishing, making the pier a popular hangout for local anglers and tourists alike. At sunset, amateur photographers flock to the pier, looking for a shot of the sun dipping below the gulf, or of the dolphins that frequent the area. Grab a salty snack from the café and stroll along the nearby beach, taking in the stunning views of the gulf and the surrounding waterfront homes.
Take a trip to Everglades City
35 miles (56km) south of Naples lies Everglades City, close to both Everglades National Park and Ten Thousand Islands. To the east of this quaint fishing town, the Everglades are prime for a kayak tour or airboat ride to see the native reptiles and birds. On the gulf side of Everglades City lies an intricate waterway of small islands (Ten Thousand Islands) known for some of the state’s best fishing. A trip to the swampy city would not be complete without a taste of gulf seafood: the rustic City Seafood is dockside and serves fried seafood and gator, a Florida specialty.
Enjoy fine dining
Part of Naples’ revival in the past 20 years has been driven by an emphasis on local restaurants. Affluent residents that eat out multiple times a week have also fostered a dining scene recognized as one of the best in southwest Florida. Campiello is a Tuscany-inspired restaurant that represents luxury in food and setting. A beautiful interior includes a glass atrium ceiling, while two outdoor courtyards host a lively crowd and after-dinner drinks. Campiello’s open kitchen turns out wood-fired pizzas, homemade pastas and some of the best entrées in the city, including a delicious grilled veal chop.
Visit Marco Island
The largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island has a more secluded atmosphere than Naples, while still offering luxury resorts and restaurants. A 15-mile drive from Naples brings visitors to the long stretches of beach and incredible views of Marco. Enjoy shelling or sunbathing at South Marco Beach or the 32-acre Tigertail Beach. Those staying on the island will want to take advantage of boat tours to nearby Keewaydin Island, a pristine and secluded destination.
Explore the local art scene
The city’s 100-plus galleries and art museums make Naples one of the best small towns for art in the country. Downtown Naples is home to Gallery Row, along Third Street South, a collection of shops containing everything from Florida landscapes to modern European art. Baker Museum shows evidence of the city’s commitment to art, with an intriguing range of items. Modern and contemporary pieces are curated by a knowledgeable staff, and both the permanent collection and temporary exhibits are world class. Enjoy lunch outside in the courtyard, which contains some of the museum’s sculpture collection.
Gordon River Greenway
Those preferring a short venture into the Florida wilderness will appreciate the Gordon River Greenway. The nature preserve in the heart of Naples is frequented by bikers, runners, and dog-walkers looking for a quiet jaunt. From the elevated walkways you can look across the natural Florida vegetation and wildlife, and visitors can access observation decks perfect for birding or catching a glimpse of animals scurrying below. The greenway is a great way to escape the city, and walking or running along the trail is a daily ritual for many residents.
Enjoy some high-end shopping
Naples’s shopping centers are aimed at the city’s affluent, with extravagant stores such as Louis Vuitton sitting next to high-end boutiques. Downtown, the revitalized Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South house restaurants, galleries, and specialty shops amongst Mediterranean architecture. Gallery Row makes for good window-shopping or for purchasing souvenirs to bring home. In North Naples, visitors tired of the sun and sand can escape to the air-conditioned luxury of Waterside Shops, which offers high-end chains such as Gucci, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Burberry.
Visit the fishing village of Goodland
Filled with more fishermen and crab traps than hotels, Goodland is a popular weekend destination. Located on the southeast corner of Marco Island, 24 miles south of Naples, this small city is laid-back and sleepy during the week, but hosts one of the area’s biggest parties on the weekends. Stan’s Idle Hour is a waterside dive that draws a crowd of residents and bikers for its year-round Sunday outdoor concert: patrons sit at wooden picnic tables, sip beer, and eat fried fish while bands play on the outdoor stage. Tasty rum punches and tropical mixed drinks are also on the menu, resulting in a scene not unlike the sort depicted in Jimmy Buffett songs.
Stay at a luxury beach resort
Staying at one of Naples’s waterfront resorts is well worth a splurge, as experiencing beautiful stretches of beach while being showered with luxury is a hallmark of the city. The Naples Grande, five miles from downtown Naples, is a secluded option with incredible views of the gulf. Guests here can either take a short tram to the beach or sunbathe from their gulf-side patios. A poolside bar and restaurant, complete with local fish, highlight the Grande. For a spot mere steps from the beach, the Edgewater Beach Hotel is also one of the city’s favorites.
Visit Naples Zoo
Loungers and sunbathers may not be keen to stray from the beach, but the Naples Zoo is a top attraction in southwest Florida. It combines both botanical gardens and a zoo, offering a tropical setting for animal viewing. The Naples Zoo is not too large and easy to get around, an easy walk for families who want to spend an afternoon outside of the resort. The primate viewing is the highlight, as monkeys are housed on an island, and guided boat tours take visitors close to the animals. Feedings and zookeeper excursions also make the zoo a top spot in Naples.
Walk through a mangrove forest
Just eight miles north of Naples is Clam Pass Park, where you can walk a boardwalk 1.8-mile (3km) long, cutting through a dense forest of black, white and red mangrove trees. This path eventually brings you out onto a secluded white beach where you’ll find a small but lively beach bar – one of the most romantic spots in the area for a sunset cocktail. Swimming in the Pass itself is safe and, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can cross to its northern side, where you’ll find a stretch of completely unspoilt shoreline.
The Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is another must-visit for outdoorsy visitors to Naples. Located 30 miles (48km) north of the city, it’s home to the biggest forest of bald cypress trees in the United States, some of which are more than 130 metres (425ft) tall. The best way to explore this swampy haven is by strolling along the 2¼-mile boardwalk, which traverses pine flatwoods and marshlands and provides ample opportunity to spot the sanctuary’s resident alligators, otters and white-tailed deer. Flora includes the “super” ghost orchid, the largest of its kind to have been found in the world.
Shop at Tin City
Beach chic meets vintage at Tin City, a quayside shopping centre a couple of blocks east of 5th Avenue South. Housed in colourfully restored, tin-roofed buildings from the 1920s, it offers more than 30 boutiques selling high-end clothing, accessories, children’s toys and jewellery, as well as two waterfront restaurants. These are the perfect spots from which to enjoy a long lunch as you watch the boats come and go in Naples Bay; indeed, Tin City is the starting point for some of the most popular Gulf of Mexico outings.
Take a boat trip into the Gulf of Mexico
One of the most enjoyable ways to spend a few hours in Naples is to take a boat trip out into the Gulf of Mexico. Many of the best tours are available on Viator and feature wildlife-spotting, offering travellers unmissable chances to see dolphins and manatees swimming in the gulf’s turquoise waters – but there are also trips to the Ten Thousand Islands, romantic sunset outings and kayaking explorations of the area’s dense mangrove forests. Adrenaline junkies might also want to hire a jet ski to get around a little more quickly.
Visit the train museums
Naples’ quaint 1920s railway station, located in the heart of downtown, now houses two museums that are well worth a visit, especially if you have little ones in tow. Key highlights at the Depot Museum include beautifully restored old coaches, memorabilia from the “Roaring Twenties” and an old swamp buggy. When you’re done there, wander over to the privately run Naples Train Museum, where you can marvel at a detailed scale model and where kids can hop on a miniature locomotive for a tour of the site.
Additional reporting by Mark Nayler
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.