Navigating Naples: This Might Be Southwest Florida’s Most Luxurious City

Naples Might Be the Golf Capital of the World, But There’s a Lot More to It!

Hero image courtesy of @gchristopherphotos on Instagram

Sunny skies, mild temperatures, and vibrant scenery make Naples, Florida, a city that thrives on tourism. Named for its geographical similarities to Italy’s own Napoli, the metropolitan paradise attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year—and it doesn’t take much investigation to see why. 

Among the wealthiest cities in the country, Naples is flush with luxury—from golfing and shopping to tanning and clubbing, there’s never a shortage of things to do, places to go, or photos to take (Sorry, not sorry: This is a trip that deserves a full album on Facebook!). But, as always, with so much going on, it can be hard to know where to start. Keep reading to find out what you don’t want to miss when you’re planning a trip to Naples

The Top Places You Want on Your Naples To-Do List 

Naples Beach and Fishing Pier 

White Sand, Baby Blue Water, and a Historic Boardwalk Pier

25 12th Avenue South | Old Naples |
Built in 1888 (don’t worry—it’s been renovated!), the Naples Fishing Pier has become a symbol of the city and is absolutely worth a visit when you’re in town. Image courtesy of @bill_martin56 on Instagram

The Naples Beach and Fishing Pier is one tourist attraction that lives up to the hype, for sure. Not only does the beach span 10 miles, but its accompanying boardwalk pier stretches 1,000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico. Play volleyball in the sand before tucking into a nice picnic by the ocean, or fish off of the pier—which, by the way, has a bulk fishing license so that anyone can use it—while you scan the horizon for jumping dolphins. 

With restrooms, showers, a concession stand, and bait shops, the pier has everything that you need to hang out on the beach all day. Make sure to stay to see the sunset—people have been known to applaud because it’s such a spectacular sight!  

“I remember when I first came to Naples my husband brought me to the pier and I was in complete shock. If you come here around 5 or 6 when the sun is setting.... absolutely beautiful! You can see a little bit of everything here. People fishing, kids running and laughing, couples being super romantic . . . This is a great place to bring family from out of town, or to come fishing, or just to bathe in the water.” -Linda A. on Yelp

Fifth Avenue South

Shop (and Eat) Your Way Down Naples’ Main Street 

Downtown | 
Take a stroll down this legendary street in Downtown Naples that’s lined with shops, restaurants, art galleries, and more. Image courtesy of @5thavenuesouth on Instagram

This section of Fifth Avenue is five miles of upscale boutiques, award-winning eateries, thought-provoking galleries, chic salons, lavish hotels, all types of special events, and, of course, photo ops. Whether you actually go shopping and out to eat or you just go for a walk, this bustling area of Downtown Naples is always bursting with energy. 

The district’s pedestrian-friendly sidewalks are lined with palm trees and a mix of classic and modern architecture, creating a beautiful aesthetic that you won’t be able to get enough of. Spend the day browsing for gifts and souvenirs, then stop in one of the area’s many restaurants and cafes for a bite to eat—sightseeing really doesn’t get any better than this! 

“Great street to spend an afternoon or evening visiting shops and art galleries, a little bit of fashion and some great restaurants . . . This revitalized section of Downtown Naples is one of the best neighborhoods for tourists and locals alike. Lots of dining al fresco and the added advantage that not every shop is a chain store from the Mall of America.” -Trisha P. on Yelp.

Conservancy of Southwest Florida 

Get in Touch with the Natural Side of Florida

                                                                  1495 Smith Preserve Way | East Naples |
The Conservancy is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 am to 4 pm. Admission is $14.95 and under! Image courtesy of @conservancyswf on Instagram

With a mission to protect and improve Florida’s lands, waters, and wildlife, the Conservancy of SouthWest Florida can trace its roots back to 1964 when a group of local citizens banded together to prevent construction from taking place in Rookery Bay. Since then, the Conservancy has grown into a multifaceted organization that focuses on environmental advocacy, preservation, education, and restoration. 

At the Conservancy, you’ll find wildlife hospital exhibits nature trails, a discovery center, a wildlife and nature preserve, and even a kids’ play zone. But your visit doesn’t have to stay limited to dry land—you can also take a tour of the nearby waters on an electric boat or kayak tour! 

“My family and I love the Conservancy. Each time we come we do/learn something new. I love how the staff members are so passionate about their work and how you can get so hands-on and up close with the animals. Boat trip/kayaking opportunities are fantastic. Love all the activities they have organized for children—great facility for the whole family.” -Louisa C. on Yelp

Naples’ Trendiest Restaurants

EJ’s Bayfront Cafe

The Best (and Most Scenic) Brunch in Town

469 Bayfront Place| Old Naples |
With its colorful architecture and beachy vibes, Naples’ Bayfront is one of the most iconic parts of the city—and this cafe will give you a front-row seat to it all (plus, of course, an awesome meal!).  Image courtesy of @daniellabueno.xo on Instagram

Open from 7:30 am to 3 pm daily, EJ’s Bayfront Cafe is the perfect place to grab breakfast, brunch, or lunch when you’re in the Bayfront area. Casual and fun with free Wi-Fi and bottomless Colombian coffee, this popular cafe is dog-friendly and has outdoor seating. 

Image courtesy of @sundace on Instagram.

Image courtesy of @foofoonyc on Instagram.  

Image courtesy of @insearchofgreatfood on Instagram

For breakfast, you can dig into favorites like benedicts, scrambles, skillets, omelets, pancakes, french toast, and waffles. If you’re looking for lunch, options include salads, nachos, burgers, paninis, wraps, sandwiches, and soups. Hitting EJ’s for brunch? Don’t forget to check out the drink menu (mimosas, anyone?). 

“Favorite breakfast/lunch spot; food is always great and the service is quick. Saw great reviews, and checked it out myself, and now have become a regular. MUST try for anyone in Naples.” -Christine A. on Yelp

Naples’ Trendiest Restaurants 

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Coastal Mediterranean Food and Outdoor Seating

336 13th Ave S | Third Street South |

Flowers and famed turquoise-and-white decor add elegance to the al fresco dining experience at Mediterrano. Image courtesy of @jenalinder on Instagram

Sample cuisine from Spain, Greece, Italy, Morocco, and more—all without leaving Florida! Known for its diverse menu and excellent service, Mediterrano is the best of the best, and the artistic arrangement of your meal might make you feel almost reluctant to dive into it (almost). 

Image courtesy of @jilliancarterr on Instagram

Image courtesy of @sizzleswfl on Instagram

Image courtesy of @vegan_muchiez on Instagram

With meat, seafood, and vegan entrees, Mediterrano has something for everyone. But don’t skip out on the appetizers—hummus, vegetable spread, keftedes, and flaming cheese saganaki are just a few of the options you’ll have to choose from. The drink menu is equally extensive, and it even features beers and wines from different Mediterranean countries! 

“Absolutely wonderful! Could not have asked for better cuisine, service, and personal touch by the owner! Beautiful presentation of the food, and the atmosphere is fun and pretty. We will definitely return when in Naples!” -Lori A. on Yelp

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Citrus Seafood

Fresh, Local Seafood—What a Catch! 

455 5th Ave S | Downtown |
If you’ve never had hogfish (a Florida specialty!), Citrus is a great restaurant to try it—you can order it whole (grilled, fried, or roasted) or as a butter-poached fillet. Image courtesy of @_jackshumway on Instagram

You can’t go to Florida without indulging in some seafood, and at Citrus, you can order dishes that have come straight out of the surrounding waters. Having been a Naples staple for more than 10 years, Citrus has perfected its menu, execution, and customer service to continue its success among downtown diners. 

Image courtesy of @patrickgannon1 on Instagram

Image courtesy of @kabliathao on Instagram

Image courtesy of @goodfooodies on Instagram

Owned and run by a married couple, Citrus is a local treasure that’s sure to delight any seafood-lover. From shrimp, lobster, and crab to oysters, octopus, and ahi tuna, you’ll find a wide variety of seafood dishes on the menu on Citrus, including escargot! 

“This place is amazing! If you want excellent seafood and great dishes, then check this place out. With its casual elegance, Citrus is a great spot for an easy lunch or dinner . . . The lobster tower salad is probably my most favorite dish. I have taken lots of friends here to share this experience with and all have been very pleased.” -Daniel C. on Yelp

Hotspots for Nightlife in Naples

Shane’s Cabana Bar

Bayfront Views and a Low-Key Atmosphere

495 Bayfront Place | Bayfront |
Sit by the docks and watch the boats come in when you stop by this outdoor bar in one of the prettiest spots in town. Image courtesy of @Shanes CabanaBar on Facebook.

An open-air cabana overlooking Naples Bay, this Bayfront bar will give a whole new meaning to your bay breeze cocktail. If you’re looking to relax and soak in the beauty of Naples with a drink in hand, Shane’s is the place to go. 

Sip on frozen drinks in the shade of Shane’s chickee, or bask in some of that legendary Florida sun at a table nearby. With Happy Hour every day from 2 to 7 pm and live music on the weekend, Shane’s will is sure to put you in prime vacation-mode and ruin the indoor dives from back home forever. 

“Great service and view!  Such a fun spot to go and have a few drinks and enjoy the water. Visited Shane's on Saturday and our bartender was awesome! She was super friendly and very attentive . . . Can't find many places that are laid back and on the water like this in Naples.” -Hally K. on Yelp

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Blue Martini Lounge

Time to Hit the Dancefloor 

9114 Strada Place | Mercato |
In town for something special? You can book a private party at Blue to ensure that your night is perfect! Image courtesy of @sergeiev_vadym on Instagram

Dancing, drinks, live music—you can find all of the components of a great night out when you head to Blue Martini Lounge at the Mercato. With specialty drinks like the nominal Blue Martini (Van Gogh Blue Vodka, Bols Blue Curacao, sour, and orange juice) and food items like baked brie and lobster tacos, Blue has all of the fuel that you need to dance the night away. 

Whether it’s the first stop of the night or the last, Blue has the party atmosphere that you want in a nightclub, thanks to live DJs and an upbeat crowd. And if you’re trying to keep things more laid-back, it’s also a great place to go for Happy Hour! 

“Blue Martini is the spot to feel spoiled! Rich Servillo welcomed myself and four girlfriends at the door, had us seated and we received a complimentary bottle of Prosecco to start the evening off! Blue Martini was filled with music, great atmosphere and lots of Naples finest!” -Julie C. on Yelp

South Street City Oven and Grill 

Craft Beer and Live Music 

1410 Pine Ridge Road | Park Shore | 
Make sure you check the music calendar on South Street’s website to see who’s playing during your stay! Image courtesy of @johnnya.official on Instagram

Named after the iconic street in Philadelphia, South Street creates an urban atmosphere with graffiti-covered brick walls, a stage that hosts local bands, and fresh, hot food served with a hearty helping of friendliness. On the food menu, you’ll find a mix of starters, sandwiches, pizza, quesadillas, tacos, and desserts. 

Meanwhile, the bar is stocked with craft beer, cocktails, and wine to provide the libations of your choosing to go along with the food and music. You’ll also find Happy Hour specials and seasonal drinks—and, of course, a homey atmosphere that’ll make you forget that you’re not at your local pub. 

“Your local neighborhood hangout. Great pizza and decent service. Long list of craft brews to choose from. Have to come to try several other beers. Can get crowded quickly in-season.” -Bill H. on Yelp

Italy, Who? Naples, FL is the Place to Visit

Naples might be known as the Golf Capital of the World, but don’t let that (self-proclaimed) title fool you: There’s plenty of other activities in the city to keep you busy during your stay, and these were only just a few of them. So, move over, Italy—Naples, Florida, is a dream vacation all on its own!

Albion Skeldon

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