Naples, Florida, offers an escape to warmer weather

Naples Pier is a popular destination for sunset views.
Naples Pier is a popular destination for sunset views. Photo Credit: Getty Images/Spencer Platt

In Florida’s Paradise Coast, along the Gulf of Mexico, Naples has it all: white-sand beaches, fine dining, craft breweries, high-end stores — and, of course, warm temps. Bonus: It’s in proximity to the Everglades and Marco Island for easy day trips.

On the waterfront

Naples Pier (naplesgov.com), at Naples Municipal Beach in downtown Naples, stretches across the Gulf of Mexico, and is a destination for fishing, bird and dolphin watching and sunset views.

Free public beach access can be found at the west end of most avenues (public parking is limited and requires payment). Popular spots include Vanderbilt Beach Park and Clam Pass Park, with a boardwalk through a mangrove sanctuary. Head to Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park (admission $2-$6) for kayaking, fishing, snorkeling, hiking and more.

Natural attractions

The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens ($22.95/ages 13-64, $21.95/seniors, $14.95/ages 3-12; 1590 Goodlette-Frank Rd., 239-262-5409, napleszoo.org) is home to a variety of birds, reptiles and mammals such as the Florida panther. The Naples Botanical Garden ($19.95/adults, $9.95/ages 4-14; 4820 Bayshore Dr., 239-643-7275, naplesgarden.org) features native and non-native plant species and landscapes inspired by the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, Brazil and, of course, Florida.

For souvenirs

Fifth Avenue South (fifthavenuesouth.com) and Third Street South (thirdstreetsouth.com) are prime retail areas, with apparel stores and art galleries. Tin City (1200 Fifth Ave. S., 239-262-4200, tin-city.com), a waterfront marketplace, features dozens of shops. Founded in Naples 10 years ago, Naples Soap Company (614 Fifth Ave. S., 239-302-6909; 1200 Fifth Ave. S. Suite 102, 239-352-7627, naplessoap.com) sells premium body, facial and hair products.

Food . . .

Jane’s Garden Café on 3rd (1209 Third St. S., 239-261-2253, janesgardencafe.com) is a beloved breakfast and lunch spot with outdoor seating. French Brasserie Rustique (365 Fifth Ave. S., 239-315-4019, thefrenchnaples.com) prepares rustic French country and coastal dishes for lunch, brunch and dinner. Modern Italian steakhouse Dorona (2110 Ninth St. N., 239-529-2819, doronanaples.com) has a prime cuts menu and dishes inspired by the Adriatic coast. Nighttime spot Bar Tulia (462 Fifth Ave. S, 239-228-7606, bartulia.com) serves up appetizers such as charred octopus, pizza and pasta alongside crafty cocktails.

. . . and drink

Naples’ craft brewery scene is hopping. RipTide Brewing Company (987 Third Ave. N., 239-228-6533, riptidebrewingcompany.com) has a beer garden and taproom open daily. Naples Beach Brewery (4120 Enterprise Ave. Suite 116, 239-304-8795, naplesbeachbrewery.com) regularly rolls in local food trucks and keeps daily taproom hours. Bone Hook Brewing Co. (1514 Immokalee Rd., 239-631-8522, bonehookbrewing.com) features more than 20 craft beers on tap, live music on weekends and a brewpub.


Getting there: The closest airport to Naples is Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, with nonstop flights on Delta, United and JetBlue in about three hours. From the airport, Naples is under an hour; Naples Airport Shuttle (from $70; naplesairportshuttle.com) goes between the airport and major hotels.

Getting around: A car would be convenient to get between most attractions, though the downtown is walkable.

Day trips: Marco Island, the largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, is a half-hour south, with highlights including tidal pool exploration at Tigertail Beach Park, catamaran cruises with the Dolphin Explorer and the Hemingway Water Shuttle to Keewaydin Island. Explore the Everglades by boat or kayak with Everglades Area Tours.

Where to stay: In Naples, find plenty of rooms, a rooftop pool, spa, fitness center and two restaurants at the Inn on Fifth (699 Fifth Ave. S., 239-403-8777, innonfifth.com); beachfront views at the 125-suite Edgewater Beach Hotel (1901 Gulf Shore Blvd. N., 239-403-2000, edgewaternaples.com); and luxe accommodations at the Naples Grande Beach Resort (475 Seagate Dr., 239-227-2182, naplesgrande.com).