Perched on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida, Naples is well known for its high-end shopping, world-class culture and sophisticated dining, but it's also an affordable family destination that appeals to nature lovers and beach aficionados.Fifth Avenue South
and Third Street South
are the focal point for Naples shopping in the historic downtown area, with numerous art galleries, chic clothing boutiques and home decor shops. At Waterside Shops
, find Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Burberry and other specialty stores. Savvy shoppers take advantage of savings at Naples Outlet Center
's name-brand discount stores.
When it comes time for lunch or drinks and dinner, Naples takes full advantage of its waterside location. Enjoy your meal with a water view (and a glorious sunset come evening), whether you choose a swank beachfront resort or a funky bayside bar. Dine directly on the water – climb aboard a dinner cruise on either the Naples Princess
or Marco Island Princess
The iconic Naples Pier
draws plenty of folks more interested in the views than catching dinner, but if you want to wet a line, it's free, since the city provides a blanket fishing license for all anglers. At Vanderbilt Beach
, take off your sandals and splash in the gentle waves. Visitors and residents flock to Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
's mile-long stretch of sugar-white sand. Picnic tables, a playground and restrooms make Lowdermilk Park
popular with families. Naples beaches were recently named among the nation's best in TripAdvisor's 2011 Travelers' Choice Awards.
Beyond the beaches, families will find more than enough fun to fill their days. The Golisano Children's Museum of Naples
is a must-see, as is the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
, with its popular giraffes, black bears and boat rides to view primates living cage-free on islands in the zoo's Lake Victoria. Cool off at Sun-n-Fun Lagoon
waterpark with five waterslides, water fountains and a lazy river.
The whole family will enjoy exploring remote islands and winding waterways on a rented powerboat or Waverunner. Nature tours deliver sightings of playful dolphins and manatees. Kayaks, canoes and stand-up paddleboards (the latest craze) are perfect for meandering along the Paradise Coast Blueway, a network of paddling trails that uses GPS waypoints. Get a glorious view on high on a parasailing adventure, or dive below the waves to see fish and other marine life.
With nearly 90 courses in Collier County, Naples ranks at or near the top of the National Golf Foundation's Golf Holes Per Capita list. Numerous public and semiprivate clubs offer challenging courses that make the most of lush, tropical surroundings. Keep an eye out for osprey, herons, bald eagles and wood storks.
Visitors looking to unwind and feel rejuvenated can find pampering at a luxury resort or day spa. Water treatments and golf massages are among area spas' specialties.