Nature lovers, historians, shoppers, boaters, gardeners, shell collectors, and fishing enthusiasts will all find ample things to do in Naples, Florida. This upscale modern city has developed over the last 60 years from a quiet beachfront community into the thriving principal city of Collier County. It attracts thousands of winter visitors and snowbirds to its beautiful beaches, museums, and parks.
Historic Attractions in Naples, Florida
Naples is proud of its history and heritage and has several fascinating historic attractions for visitors. Located on the waterfront, Tin City is referred to as the birthplace of Old Naples, serving as a camp for travelers from the late 1860s. It’s hard to imagine this historic collection of tin-roofed buildings was once the economic hub of Naples. Now preserved as a maritime-themed collection of over 30 independent shops, cafés and waterfront restaurants, it is home to Pure Naples fishing and sightseeing tours.
To get a real taste of Old Naples, join a guided walking tour around Naples’ historic district with a member of the Naples Historical Society. Tours begin in Palm Cottage, Naples oldest surviving home. Right next door are the historic Norris Gardens which can also be explored on a fascinating docent-led tour.
More excellent historic attractions can be found in the 10,000 square-foot Collier County Museum. It’s an excellent place to escape the sun (or showers!) with exhibits covering everything from prehistoric mastodons and Calusa Indians to more recent settler history. Beyond the Exhibition Hall is a five-acre garden filled with relocated buildings of historic interest, from a 1926 Florida Cottage and recreated Seminole Village to a 1910 locomotive and an original 1920s Swamp Buggy.
This family-friendly attraction in Naples Florida is complemented by the Naples Depot Museum which focuses on local transport. View a dugout Seminole canoe and a historic mule wagon and step aboard a 1909 Caboose. This unique collection of exhibits is housed in the former Railroad Station which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Model train lovers will certainly enjoy the Naples Train Museum and train ride next door, which is open to visitors on Saturdays.
Culture and Art Abound in Naples FL
Naples’ cultural attractions include two performing arts theaters and over 100 galleries earning it the title “No. 1 Small Art Town in America”. Many are located in Artis–Naples, Crayton Cove, and in Naples’ upscale shopping area on Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South.
Naples Botanical Gardens is an outstanding 170-acre garden with themed gardens and water features complementing a 90-acre wetlands preserve. Kids will certainly enjoy the interactive Children’s Garden and water jets while dog walkers are welcome on certain days of the week.
Nature and Wildlife Attractions near Naples, Florida
Visitors to Naples will not want to miss seeing some of the wildlife attractions in Southwest Florida. Get up-close to local birds and wildlife at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center or feed giraffes at the award-winning Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens. Arranged in a botanical garden setting, zoo admission includes interactive ranger-led shows and boat trips around the primate-inhabited islands.
Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary’s 2.2-mile boardwalk takes visitors through different habitats which are home to white-tailed deer, otters, red-bellied turtles, herons, songbirds, eagles, and other migrating bird species. It’s a must-do for any nature lover visiting Naples, Florida.
Naples, Florida Beaches, Parks and Fishing Piers
Families and sun seekers can enjoy some of Florida’s most beautiful beaches, many of which are protected by county and state parks. Naples beaches offer a range of watersports rentals, guided ranger walks, fishing, birding, and shelling on beautiful beaches including Bonita Beach, Barefoot Beach Preserve, Delnor-Wiggins State Park, Vanderbilt Beach, Clam Pass Beach (served by beach trolley), Lowdermilk Beach, and beautiful Naples Beach and Pier. Whatever your budget, there are plenty of things to do around Naples Florida for every age and taste.