Clear waterways and scenic estuaries roll into the sun-bleached sand of pristine beaches in Naples, Florida. Though not as ostentatiously chic as Miami Beach or Palm Beach, Naples is a moneyed city, where mansions have been known to sell for upwards of $40 million. Its swanky atmosphere is balanced by a laid-back vibe, thanks to perpetually pleasant weather, an abundance of golf courses, and walkable streets—making it a destination for a taste of the good life.
- Naples Pier: The place to go to look out for dolphins and fish for pompano—no license required. Look out for the thieving pelicans!
- Old Naples: Inland from the pier, you’ll find this tony area of town: art galleries, upscale restaurants, and bars with outdoor patios. Walk along the brick sidewalks of Third Street South to see open plazas with antique bronze fountains and striking Mediterranean Revival houses.
- Tin City: Originally a 1920s clam-shelling and oyster-processing plant, Tin City is now a high-end marketplace, with more than 40 tin-roofed shops and restaurants overlooking Naples’s working docks. Stroll the boardwalk to pick up souvenirs and local crafts.
- Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens: Along with all the animals, highlights include wildlife shows, catamaran cruises, and giraffe feeding.
- Hit the beach: White sugar sand and deep blue Gulf of Mexico waters make Naples’s beaches a top destination for tourists and locals alike. Check out Clam Pass Park and Beach, with its long boardwalk, or Vanderbilt Beach—both are popular sunbathing spots.
- Tee off: With more than 80 championship golf courses, the city bills itself as the Golf Capital of the World. It's a lofty claim, but not unreasonable: Naples has the second-most golf holes per capita in the country, according to World Golf.
- Watch for dolphins on a dolphin-and-manatee-viewing boat tour—there are plenty of cruise options to be found around the Naples Bay port.
- Wild day trip: 20 miles east of Naples is the Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge: 26,000 acres of protected wilderness where endangered Florida panthers roams freely. Hike the trails and take a guided tour to see the big cats in their natural habitat.
Where to Stay
- Inn at Pelican Bay: A waterfront boutique hotel with a daily shuttle to Vanderbilt Beach, a hot breakfast served outside, and a stylish outdoor pool area.
- Edgewater Beach Hotel: High-end hotel overlooking the Gulf of Mexico in Old Naples; its oceanfront pool area leads directly to the beach
- The Inn on Fifth: Sophisticated hotel in the heart of Old Naples, with two award-winning restaurants and a palm-lined rooftop pool. Walking distance from the beach.