Whether it's alligators or kangaroos that make your kids smile, Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades is the perfect place for a family vacation.Day 1: Naples
Start your visit in Naples, with trips to a must-see family attraction: Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
. Spend the morning with the rare and exotic animals at Naples Zoo, and check out the three children's play areas as well as live-animal presentations Safari Canyon and Alligator Bay. The Naples Botanical Garden
also is a treat, with a spectacular interactive Children's Garden that is sure to delight kids of all ages. Lunch at the Dock at Crayton Cove
, a laid-back, family-friendly waterfront restaurant. Or, check out Tin City
, which overlooks the working docks of Naples Bay and features tin-roofed shops and restaurants.
End your day with a stroll along the white sands near the Naples Pier
, one of the best places in Florida to watch a sunset.Day 2: Marco Island
Head south from Naples to the shores of Marco Island, since no family vacation to the Paradise Coast is complete without spending some serious beach time. Tigertail Beach Park
is popular with families because of its tidal pools, offshore sandbar, playground and full facilities.
To take your day at the beach a step further, take a guided WaveRunner®
eco-tour of the mangrove jungles of the Ten Thousand Islands with Marco Island Ski
Airboat ride in Everglades City
When you've had your fill of sand and surf, head to Captain Brien's Seafood & Raw Bar
, a casual, New England-style restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining.Day 3: Everglades City
If your kids love adventure, visiting the Florida Everglades will likely be the highlight of their vacation. But even the most timid of tykes find loads of fun in the Everglades City area.
One way to see the Everglades and its wildlife – alligators, wild boars and all types of birds – is by airboat. Kids love riding in these propeller crafts, which speed through mangrove tunnels and skim alongside the "River of Grass." Check out Everglades Island Air Boat Tours
for a trip to Totch's Island or Speedy Johnson's Fun Cruise
for a fast ride through mangrove tunnels. Eden of the Everglades
offers both airboat and small boat tours.
For dining Everglades-style, head to The Oyster House Restaurant
, which features frogs' legs and 'gator on the menu (as well as other less exotic fare) and a spectacular view of the Ten Thousand Islands and Chokoloskee Bay.
Before leaving Everglades City, drive south to Chokoloskee to see the Smallwood Trading Post
, a general store established in 1906. When it closed its doors in 1982, 90 percent of the original goods remained, and the store was later reopened as a museum. Smallwood's celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2006.