We've been coming to Southwest Florida since as along as I can remember. The draw of the most stunning beaches on the Gulf of Mexico would bring our family to Marco Island each year for spring break. We would always take day trips up to Naples and my parents fell in love with the area. They took the plunge and bought a place my senior year in college. Naples has turned into a home away from home and we look forward to visiting and escaping the freezing Midwest temps each year.
A few of you messaged me asking where to stay or what to do while you are in Naples so I'm sharing a few of insights into this Florida Gem.
Places to Stay
The Naples Beach Hotel and Gold Club Southwest Florida’s only beachfront hotel with onsite tennis & spa. I love this hotel it is quintessential Florida. Settled right on the beach it has everything you need. Side note, unlike some hotels you can enjoy the spa without being a guest at the hotel.
The Inn on 5th is nestled in downtown Naples on 5th Avenue. It's right in the heart of more amazing restaurants and more shopping than you can count. It is walking distance to the beach (a long walk) but does have a pool on the rooftop.
The Ritz-Carlton Naples If you are able to splurge there's nothing like the Ritz. You'll get beach side service, access to their world class spa. Too fancy for you? Just stop over one day for dinner and watch the most beautiful sunset at Gumbo Limbo.
For Airbnb & VBRO, I would recommend trying to stay in the Pelican Bay area. South of 41 you'll be closer to the beach
Places to Eat
HB's on the Golf is at the Naples Beach Hotel. You'll have the most beautiful ocean view. Get the pineapple boat...chicken salad, fresh berries, a pineapple cut in half with a side of banana nut bread with cream cheese. Yes, it tastes as good as it sounds!
Buzz's Lighthouse Restaurant: We love Buzz's because it's so family friendly! It's casual & comfortable you can sit outside with your children overlooking the water. You have to get the broiled grouper. They have the best coleslaw and I die for their roasted tomatoes topped with cheese. Finish your meal off with a slice of key lime pie
Vergina is our fav Italian spot located downtown on 5th Avenue. It's across from The Inn on 5th if you end up staying there. My fav is the seafood pasta Pappardelle ai Crostacei. We always treat the Twins to ice cream down the street at Kilwin's... in season the line can be all the way out the door.
The Docks is a delicious restaurant is located at Crayton Cove. More of a low-key family vibe here which is perfect for those of you with children. Jim says the sea bass would be his last meal and I always gets the king crab. After dinner, you can walk around the docks in the marina and view all the beautiful boats (and best boat names ever) and do some shopping too.
Tommy Bahama - if you're after the name sake clothing line, downtown on 3rd avenue always promises a great dining experience. In season they frequently have live entertainment and in the winter months around the holidays, they'll actually bring in machines to blow snow just to replicate what all the snowbirds are missing up north.
Fish is on Venetian Bay at Venetian village. They have wonderful seafood, sushi, and steak. Their wagyu burger is soooo good. Grab dinner early so you have time to shop after.
Kelly's Fish House: Go here for the hush puppies....delicious! The glass table tops are filled with shells and sand..perfect for that Florida experience. Seafood is brought in daily fresh. I always get the crab here too. It's waterfront and behind Kelly's is the cutest little shell shop called the Shell Shack your children would love to poke around in to take a special souvenir home with them.
Pinchers is near Kelly's Fish House at Tin City. Bring your quarters because there's an arcade in Tin City. Perfect for the kids to play in while you wait for your food. Amazing fresh seafood I always get the crab.
Things to Do
Beach, Beach, Beach from sun up until sun down you can find us there rain or shine. Granted we are from the Midwest so every second we are in town I plan on soaking up that gorgeous ocean view.
Naples Zoo is legit and a must see. We even got to feed the giraffes lunch (SO COOL) and they do an interactive show several times a day at the Safari Canyon open-air theater. The twins had so much fun getting their faces painted. I'm obsessed with the ant eater there. Don't worry about packing lunch. Wynn's supermarket offers healthy lunch options like salads when you enter the zoo on your left hand side. You can eat at a picnic table under the canopy there.
Naples Botanical Garden has the most beautiful flowers and plants you've ever seen. A fun place to walk around with your little ones or get inspired to plant yourself.
Royal Scoop makes going for ice cream a sacred event. The BEST ICE CREAM you'll ever have....trust me! You had me at chocolate peanut butter, and yes I dream about it.
Naples Princess offers the most beautiful sightseeing cruises at either lunch or dinner. Children about 4 years old + would be an ideal age or perfect for a romantic date night. The Naples princess will take you through historic Naples Bay, majestic Port Royal and you might even see a few dolphins. Papa Johns and the President of Hugo Boss have houses in Port Royal.
There are tons of daily nature tours, eco tours, and river cruises avail in Naples.
Naples Pier has the most beautiful picturesque sunsets. Take the family at night for the best sunset pics ever!
Rainy Day? Take your kiddos to the Naples Children's Museum.
Looking for a day adventure? Head down to Marco Island and go shelling to Keewaydin Island. We took family owned Hemingway Water Shuttle out of Rose Marina. You can hang for the day on the island or just go for a bit.
View from the Naples Princess, Port Royal
Shelling on Keewaydin Island
I recently went to Bonita Springs and visted the historical Shangri-La Springs hotel. The grounds are spectactual including the over 100 year old Mysore Fig tree (one of only 3 in Southwest Florida). They offer an organic lunch daily, yoga, and a Spa.
Places to Shop
Granted it's tough to leave the beach, even to go shopping. But if you can manage to take a break, here are my favorite places to go shopping.
Tracey Negoshian is my absolute fav clothing designer. She has the most beautiful patterns - anything that boasts pineapples and seahorses I'm on board! Her clothes are easy wash and wear, and are ideal for packing when you travel. Trust me, you'll love her.
Venetian Villiage Simply Natural, All About April (the most beautiful clothes for children you'll ever see; brands like Bailey Boys with the most adorable princess collar dresses) & Panache (Lily Pulitzer, Vineyard Vines, Hatley) are my fav.
Waterside renovated in the last several years has become my favorite. Definitely high-end shops but it's the most beautiful outdoor shopping experience and I love that it has Nordstroms and all my fav stores in one location.
Into resale? Well who doesn't love a good deal. True Fashionistas is fun if you are open to buying resale. You can find fun designers that you might normally pay full price for, sometimes never worn!
Speaking of deals if you have a rainy day and aren't afraid of a short drive you could do some damage at Miromar Outlets
Hopefully this gives you a good place to start. Still looking for more ideas? Check out The Scout Guide Naples. We fly into Ft. Myers airport (RSW) and Naples is about a 40-minute drive depending on traffic. It's a great family-friendly area with the most beautiful beaches...If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments below & I'm happy to respond!