Beyond the Beach: All the Outdoor Wonders to Explore in Naples

Situated on the Gulf of Mexico, Naples, Florida offers plenty of waterfront fun for families at places like Vanderbilt BeachDelnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, and Clam Pass Beach Park among many others. But there are plenty of things to do in Naples beyond the beach. The area is also home to diverse ecosystems and a wealth of natural beauty and native habitats. Here’s where to explore.

Naples Florida Outdoor Activities. Eco-Adventures. Explore Beyond the Beach With Must Do Visitor Guides.
Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman

Audobon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary 

Add the Everglades to things to do in Naples with Audobon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Venture out onto the famous boardwalk for a 2.5-mile adventure winding through a unique ecosystem of flatwoods, wet prairie, and a marsh. Keep an eye out for native alligators, otters, red-bellied turtles and other wildlife. The sanctuary also features the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. 

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Nestled on the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve boasts 110,000 acres of coastal streams and waters that merge to create a diverse and unique ecosystem. The Reserve also features one of the last undisturbed mangrove estuaries in the country. Bring your binoculars and camera to capture some 150 species of birds and threatened and endangered animals.

Naples Botanical Garden

The 170-acre Naples Botanical Garden features collections and habitats from around the world. They are also the youngest garden in history to receive the prestigious American Public Gardens Association’s prestigious Award for Garden Excellence. Enjoy a selection of gardens representing Asia, Brazil, the Caribbean, old-world Florida, and orchids. Naples Botanical Garden also offer daily W.O.N.D.E.R. (Walk, Observe, Navigate, Explore, and Read) programming for children, including W.O.N.D.E.R. Activity Packs for children to enjoy during their Garden adventure and even at home. Put this charming spot on your must-do list of things to do in Naples. 

Gordon River Greenway Park

Take a stroll or bike ride on the scenic Gordon River Greenway Park and explore an ecological corridor in the heart of Naples. The 140-acre park features 2.5 miles of asphalt mulch and boardwalk trails through six native plant communities. The park is also dog-friendly and is a great spot to go fishing or find a kayak and canoe launch to glide onto the water. Bring the kids for the playground and tree-house or enjoy a picnic in one of the pavilions.

The Naples Preserve and Hedges Family Eco-Center

Visitors to Naples can explore a pollinator butterfly garden, geocaching site, and gopher tortoise day events. The park is also home to a migratory bird viewing site from the end of April until the second week of May and the first two weeks of October. The 9.5-acre preserve also offers an accessible .4-mile boardwalk through pine flatwoods and oak-rosemary scrub Florida habitats. Although the boardwalk is short, visitors are rewarded with gopher tortoise sightings and native flora and fauna.

The next time you head to Marco Island or Naples, Florida spend a day exploring the area’s pristine beauty and unique ecosystems. You’ll go home with a whole new appreciation for Florida’s natural beauty beyond the beach. 

Explore guided eco-tour options in Naples, Marco Island and The Everglades

Explore Beyond the Beach. Outdoor Eco-Adventures Naples, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides.
Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman

Written by: Susan Finch | Author Website

Susan Finch is a travel writer and content marketer for the tourism industry who spends her time obsessing over the latest travel trends, wrangling her small kids, and planning her family's next big adventure.