City Cheat Sheet: A Travel Guide for Naples, Florida

Photography by iStock.

WHY SHOULD ONE VISIT THE beautiful coastal city of Naples, Florida? The Scout Guide Naples editor Jennifer Adams can name a few reasons. It goes without saying that the area is considered an ideal destination as its nickname, “Paradise Coast,” implies. From pristine beaches to the palm tree-lined streets of downtown, there are few places as beautiful as Naples. The city also has an amazing dining scene, with everything from toes-in-the-sand options—perfect for watching the sunset—to super-fresh seafood and some of the best Italian fare you’ve ever tasted. Finally, according to Adams, Naples is home to some of the friendliest people you’ll meet. “Don’t be surprised if your trip to the farmers market yields a new recipe to try from someone you bump into at the produce stand,” Adams says. 

Ready to plan your visit (or staycation)? Here, Jennifer shares her favorite local finds and activities for taking in her city.

*Please note that due to COVID-19 some of these businesses might be closed or have specific guidelines in place. We recommend calling ahead and/or visiting their websites for the latest information on their status, offerings, etc. 

WHEN TO GO // Naples is most popular during the fall and winter months, thanks to its beautiful, sunny weather that makes every day an ideal beach day. Food lovers won’t want to miss the annual Paradise Coast Wine & Food Experience, which brings local and national top chefs and wineries together for an alfresco tasting event in Cambier Park. During the holiday season, enjoy festive boat parades, tree lightings, and live music in the downtown districts, and nightly “snowfall” on Third Street South (a favorite among the little ones!).

Photography courtesy of Hotel Escalante.

WHERE TO STAY // Edgewater Beach Hotel (1901 Gulf Shore Boulevard North). Situated on seven miles of prime beachfront, Edgewater Beach Hotel features 125 modern suites (each with a kitchen and private balcony), two Gulf-front swimming pools surrounded by palm trees, a poolside bar, and a fantastic restaurant with spectacular views—all with a relaxed yet elegant vibe. It’s also just minutes from Old Naples and offers an electric trolley that shuttles guests back and forth. 

Hotel Escalante (290 5th Avenue South). This boutique hotel, reminiscent of a Mediterranean villa, is tucked away at the end of bustling Fifth Avenue South. Adorned with poolside fountains, tropical gardens, and private patios and verandas, you’ll only feel secluded; this hidden gem is within walking distance of the beach and plenty of prime shopping and restaurants.

The Holiday Life (1400 Gulf Shore Boulevard North). When a bit of extra space and a splash in your private pool sounds like just what you need, a typical hotel might not cut it—so why not get a luxury vacation rental? Whether you prefer a condo on the beach or a house in town, the team at The Holiday Life knows the area well and can help you find the perfect home away from home.

Discover more of Naples’ top places to stay in the Naples Lodging Guide.

WHAT TO DO //Artis—Naples (5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard.) Artis—Naples is the premier destination for all things visual and performing arts-related in the area. Home to the Naples Philharmonic, the complex hosts a range of shows throughout the year, including music, film, dance, comedy, and lectures, as well as fine art exhibitions in its world-class Baker Museum. 

Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (15080 Livingston Road). For a respite from the Florida sun, head to C’mon, as it’s known by the locals, where kids from toddlers to age 14 can immerse themselves in fun and educational interactive exhibits, weave through a maze, climb a two-story banyan tree, and more. 

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens (1590 Goodlette-Frank Road). Naples Zoo is home to a range of exotic animals, from South African lions and zebras to giant anteaters and honey badgers. Hop aboard a cruise to Monkey Island, hand-feed a giraffe, or grab a seat at one of their daily educational animal encounters.

Discover more activities and restaurants little ones will enjoy in the Family-friendly Naples Guide.

Photography courtesy of Naples Botanical Garden.

Naples Botanical Garden (4820 Bayshore Drive). Enjoy a walk through the nine gardens and 90-acre sanctuary at Naples Botanical Garden, which features a variety of flora from around the world. If you’re hungry, Fogg Café is a great spot for a light bite, with several menu items made from produce grown at the Garden.

Miss Naples (550 Port O Call Way). Relax under shade or on the open deck for a sightseeing cruise aboard this 48-foot sailing catamaran. On your way out to the Gulf, take in some of Naples’ most jaw-dropping beachfront homes while looking for dolphins, sea turtles, manatees, and other wildlife. A public cruise runs daily, or you can reserve a private charter.

Naples Pier (End of 12th Avenue South). There are no bad views of the sunset Naples is known for from any beach, but Adams recommends heading to 12th Avenue South for a stroll along the iconic Naples Pier. Afterward, dinner and cocktails are within walking distance.

Historic Palm Cottage (137 12th Avenue South). Just across the street from the Naples Pier sits Historic Palm Cottage, Naples’ oldest home. Built in 1895, the cottage is open for house tours, and its docents also lead walking tours through Naples’ historic district, where you’ll see the sites of the area’s first businesses and hear the stories of the people who put this once-sleepy beach town on the map. 

WHERE TO SHOP // Cypress & Palm Boutique (821 Vanderbilt Beach Road). This women’s boutique in North Naples is a go-to for fashionable apparel, accessories, and gifts. Shop brands you won’t find anywhere else in town, and enjoy personalized, friendly customer service in a chic, coastal-inspired setting.

Patina Collection at Third Street South. Photography courtesy of Third Street South.

Third Street South (Downtown). Nestled among the charming courtyard and fountains of this historic, tree-lined street are some of Naples’ best boutiques, galleries, and upscale gift shops. Be sure to stop into Scouted favorites including John Craig Clothier, Carter & Finley, Purple Poppy, Pierre & Harry, Joseph Wendt Custom Clothiers, and Patina Collection.

Monkee’s of Naples (4320 Gulf Shore Boulevard North, Suite 208). If prints and color are your preferred style, Monkee’s is your spot! Their selection of quality dresses and resort wear is unmatched, with a range of fabulous accessories to round out your perfect vacation wardrobe.

Discover more of Naples’ top spots to shop in the Naples Shopping Guide.

WHERE TO EAT // Tony’s Off Third (1300 Third Street South). Sip your coffee in Tony’s courtyard with a view of the fountain and beautiful Third Street South. They create pastries and baked goods daily from scratch in their on-site baker’s kitchen, and to-go breakfast and lunch options are also available—perfect for picking up on your way to the beach.

The French (365 Fifth Avenue South). The French pays homage to turn-of-the-century Parisian brasseries, so nab a spot on their courtyard patio and dig into delicious country and coastal French dishes. Live jazz music is an extra perk during season.

Discover more of Naples’ top brunch spots in the Naples Brunch Guide.

Photography courtesy of Hogfish Harry’s.

Hogfish Harry’s (600 Neapolitan Way). At Hogfish Harry’s, you’ll have lunch feeling like you’re tucked away in a tropical oasis. Its away-from-it-all ambiance and fresh seafood make it a must-visit spot.

Campiello (1177 Third Street South). Housed in the century-old Mercantile building on Third Street South, this local favorite combines top-notch Italian cuisine and a variety of cocktails. For a cozy cabaret vibe, opt for Campiello’s The Club Room, which offers live acoustic musical performances nightly. 

Bleu Provence (1234 Eighth Street South). This Zagat-rated, family-owned French restaurant overlooking Crayton Cove is both elegant and relaxed, with a carefully curated menu and accompanying wine list representing more than 4,000 different wines. Private dining in the Wine Cellar or Outdoor Garden is also available.

Captain & Krewe (629 Eighth Street South). A visit to Naples isn’t complete without a taste of its famous local delicacy: stone crab claws, which are served chilled with a side of tangy mustard sauce. Get yours from Captain & Krewe restaurant, seafood market, or raw bar, only from October through May.

WHERE TO DRINK // Kunjani Craft Coffee (780 Seagate Drive). This cozy coffee shop serves up organic, locally roasted coffee, tea, kombucha, and all-natural food, perfect for enjoying on their shaded patio. It’s also an art gallery and boutique that showcases fair-trade goods created by artists in Africa.

Narrative Coffee Roasters (9106 Strada Place; 1103 Central Avenue). For quality in-season coffee, locally made pastries and sandwiches, and a cool, Instagram-worthy vibe, Narrative has become a fast favorite on the Naples specialty coffee scene. 

Juicelation (4947 Tamiami Trail North). Visit Juicelation for organic cold-pressed juices, made daily in small handcrafted batches. You can also pick up bottles at the Third Street South Farmers Market in downtown Naples every Saturday morning from 7:30-11:30 a.m.

Photography courtesy of Bar Tulia.

Bar Tulia (462 Fifth Avenue South; 9118 Strada Place, Suite 8150). Bar Tulia exudes a rustic Italian vibe that will make you feel miles away from Florida (in a good way). They offer craft cocktails, local beers, and a good selection of wine, and the bartenders are always spot on with cocktail recommendations. Plus, it’s the only place to get late-night food on Fifth Avenue South. 

Bayside Seafood Grill & Bar (4270 Gulf Shore Boulevard North). For several decades, Bayside has held a top spot as one of Naples’ most beloved waterfront restaurants. The open-air setting at the Upper Deck Bar is unmatched, with sweeping views of picturesque Venetian Bay. Don’t be surprised if you see a dolphin or two!

Discover more of Naples’ best happy hour spots and specials in the Naples Happy Hour Guide and list of Scouted Naples Craft Breweries.

LOCAL PRO TIP // The best seashells can be found at Gordon Pass at the southern end of Gordon Drive. It’s also a great spot to watch the boats come and go.

For additional information for what to do, see, and experience in Naples, follow The Scout Guide Naples on Instagram, visit The Scout Guide Naples website, or email [email protected] for personalized recommendations.