Disclosure: Hotels.com asked me to share my ideas on free things to do in Naples Florida.
Located on the Paradise Coast, Naples Florida is known for its great beaches, stunning sunsets and luxury lifestyle. Despite being known for its swanky style, there are still lots of free things to do in Naples Florida. The city is also a well-known retirement destination for well-heeled (and doting) grandparents which means it’s also a family-friendly area. You are in luck if you are a family traveller because there are also lots of things to do in Naples for free with kids.
- 1 Accommodation in Naples Florida
- 2 Free Things To Do in Naples Florida
- 3 Map of Free Things To Do in Naples Florida
Accommodation in Naples Florida
Naples Florida has plenty of choice in hotels and other accommodation, including condo rentals. Many of the better condo rentals have a four week minimum rental period so you may find that hotels are your only choice for shorter vacations.
Naples Florida hotels run the gamut from motels to hotels from all the big-name chains and luxury resorts. Here is a selection of some of our favourite Naples Florida hotels that we have visited over the years.
- Our favourite all around luxury resort for families is the Ritz Carlton Naples. It was love at first sight as soon as I saw the champagne bottle dispenser!
- When our children were toddlers, we loved the Edgewater Beach Hotel because they had a great pool area that lead straight onto a white sand beach. The children could toddle back and forth easily.
- For older children, we recommend the Hyatt Coconut Plantation which has an amazing water park and pool complex on site but technically this hotel is in nearby Bonita Springs.
- For older children and couples, we love the Inn on Fifth. The location is super convenient for shopping and entertainment. The pool is nice but on the small side by Florida standards so best for teens who only want quick dips before going back to their phones.
Free Things To Do in Naples Florida
Naples Florida is known for its beautiful beaches and the Naples Pier. At the nature reserves, you can also get outside and see what the area looked like before it was full of resorts. Among the free things to do in Naples Florida are a variety of cultural events and festivals. Naples Florida is also the perfect place to bask in the sunshine and people watch.
Visit the Public Beaches
The glorious white powder sand beaches of Naples Florida are not to be missed. The sunsets of Naples Florida are a beautiful blast of colors. Shelling is a popular past time at the Naples beaches, too, with over 400 different types of shells to collect, including sand dollars, starfish and moon snails.
Here are some beaches to which you can bike (or walk if you want to keep the experience totally free) or drive (for a small parking fee):
- Naples Municipal Beach is extensive and runs for 10 miles! There is a metered parking lot if you choose to drive to Naples Municipal Beach (12th Avenue South and Gulf Shore Boulevard). Alternatively, Naples Beach is walkable from Downtown.
- Lowdermilk Beach Park is a firm family favourite because it has a beachfront park and playgrounds. There is metered parking at Lowdermilk Beach Park (Mooring Line Drive and 5th Avenue South).
- To access Clam Pass Beach Park, you need to take a 3/4 mile boardwalk through a mangrove forest which is part of a 35 acre nature reserve. There are free morning nature walks guided by volunteer naturalists from December through April. Clam Pass Beach itself is 3200 feet of beach. Clam Pass Beach Park (Seagate Drive 34108) has paid public parking as well.
- Vanderbilt Beach is another beautiful beach that stretches for several miles. Part of a nature reserve (a small one of 5 acres), it is next to Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park. Vanderbilt Beach is located at 280 Vanderbilt Beach Road. There is metered parking and a parking garage nearby with paid parking. If you stay at the Ritz Carlton Naples, Vanderbilt Beach is your backyard beach.
Naples Municipal Pier
Naples Municipal Pier is a part of Naples Municipal Beach. Built in 1888 as a dock, the Naples Municipal Pier is 1000 feet long and a local landmark.
You don’t need a fishing permit to fish off this pier all day and every day. The pier is a popular spot to watch birdlife and sea animals. We have seen dolphins from the Naples Pier. And, the sunsets from Naples Pier are legendary.
Naples Municipal Pier is located at 12th Avenue South and Gulf Shore Boulevard. When we stayed at the Inn on Fifth, we would amble on down to the Naples Beach and Pier.
Get Close To Nature
Big Cypress National Park is a nature reserve that is open all year. The first national preserve in the US, Big Cypress is 732,000 acres of swamp. There is lots of wildlife from alligators and birds to the rarely spotted panther. Big Cypress National Preserve is located at 52105 Tamiami Trail East, Ochopee 34141.
Located near downtown, Naples Preserve is a small nearly ten acre nature preserve. You can take a self-guided tour on the approximately half-mile boardwalk which goes through the preserve. There are lots of birds and occasionally you can spot a tortoise. Naples Preserve shows what all of Florida would have looked like thousands of years ago. Naples Preserve is located at 1690 Tamiami Trail North 34102.
There are plenty of things to do in Naples Florida for free if you are looking for culture. For example:
- You can spot public art up and down Fifth Avenue South.
- If you are in town in February, don’t miss the Naples National Art Show which is held in Cambier Park. It is supposed to be one of the best art shows in the country. In the evening, there is a free musical concert as well.
- During the summer months, The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club hosts a free concert series on its lawn called the Summer Jazz on the Gulf.
- Located on the edge of Cambier Park, the Norris Center has free art shows.
Hang Out at Cambier Park
When they were younger my children would always want to go to Cambier Park every afternoon. There is a great and extensive playground area for children.
There are regular events held at the park, like India Fest in March and the annual Butterfly Release in April. The Naples Concert Band puts on regular free concerts at the Bandstand (or Bandshell so named because of its shape).
Cambier Park covers nearly 13 acres in downtown Naples. It is located at 755 8th Avenue South 34102.
Visit a Museum
The Collier County Museums are a group of museums in and around Naples with free entry focussed on the history of the area.
- The Collier Museum at Government Center focuses on the early history of South Florida from prehistoric to pioneer times. The Collier Museum is located at 3331 Tamiami Trail East 34112.
- The Naples Depot Museum tells the story of how trains transformed Naples from a sleepy backwater into a glamorous resort. The Naples Depot Museum is located at 1051 Fifth Avenue South 34102.
- Other museums in the group are the Museum of the Everglades, Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch and the Marco Island Historical Museum.
Browse a Farmers Market
There are a selection of Naples Farmers Markets but they tend to run on Fridays and the weekends. Farmers markets are fun to browse, make for great people and dog watching. Here are two that we like:
- The Vanderbilt Farmers Market is located in the parking lot of the Galleria at Vanderbilt in North Naples on Saturdays from November to May. It’s super convenient if you are staying at the Ritz Carlton or the Hyatt Coconut Point. This farmers market has a range of stuff from food to gift products. My husband highly recommends the stall that sells the specialty liquorice.
- The Third Street Farmers Market is located on Third Street South in the parking lot behind Tommy Bahama and runs from November to April. This farmers market also has a range of stuff from food to specialty products.
When you are in Naples Florida, you need to have a wander around the charming Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South which has numerous cafes, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. Riverwalk at Tin City is a shopping area which is converted from a working dock and a clam factory. There is shopping, bars and restaurants all in a charming waterfront setting.
Participate in Local Festivals
Free things to do in Naples FL include the assorted local festivals the city provides. For example, Halloween on Fifth Avenue South is a hoot with a best dressed doggie runway contest. October also has the Stone Crab Festival at Tin City. On national holidays like July 4th and New Year’s Eve, there are fireworks over Naples Pier to celebrate. The annual July 4th Parade and St. Patrick’s Day Parade goes around downtown Naples.
Map of Free Things To Do in Naples Florida
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