Located at the southern end of Florida's Gulf Coast, Naples brings together the best of Florida in one glittering, sunswept package. Visitors can enjoy 17 miles of soft, white sand and emerald-green waters lined with laid-back resorts and golf courses. Old Naples is a picture-postcard town complete with pastel stucco buildings, fountain courtyards, outdoor cafes, and chic boutiques. The destination is also known for its delicious food options (think: dozens of small, chef-driven restaurants).
Intrigued? Read on for our ultimate guide to Naples.
Where to Stay
Located in the heart of Naples, the 119-room Inn on Fifth impresses with big-resort amenities like spacious bathrooms, a pool with food and cocktail service, a complimentary beach shuttle (complete with chairs and coolers), and a full-service spa. Book a Club Level Suite, and you'll have access to a lounge where breakfast is served late and Champagne is free-flowing. Summer rates start at around $350 and more than double during the high season. Club Level Suite rates are about twice the regular rate.
It's all in the details at the 23-acre Naples Grande Beach Resort. Families will love the giant waterslide, while wellness-seekers will appreciate the spa's zen-inducing outdoor sanctuary. Outfoot enthusiasts can admire the views from the boardwalk, which weaves through a mangrove forest to the beach. Other highlights include an outdoor restaurant perched right on the sand and an expansive golf course. Summer rates clock in around $320, while winter rates skyrocket to a staggering $500+.
Where to Eat and Drink
This buzzy Fifth Avenue restaurant is also one of the city's most stunning, with a curving marble bar, handcrafted mosaics on the floor, and tufted leather banquets. The food is equally curated, with fish flown in each day from Europe and beef — Wagyu —weekly from Australia. Don't let anyone talk you out of ordering a soufflé for dessert. Expect to pay between $11 and $19 for starters and $22 to $39 for mains.
Set with twinkling lights and shady trees, the outdoor garden at this Paris-inspired brasserie will have romantic types swooning. Inside, the vibe is lively and welcoming. Classic bistro fare — steak frites, cassoulet, garlicky steamed mussels, and trout amandine — are well prepared and generously portioned. Most starters are under $20, while mains run from $22 to $45.
Trulucks serves up big steaks — plus some of the freshest stone crabs around. Locals love it for indulgent old-school desserts like Baked Alaska, multi-layer carrot cake, and Key Lime Pie. Expect creative after-dinner drinks like the raspberry-hued Voila!, which arrives in a cloud of dry-ice smoke, and the black walnut-infused Upper Manhattan. The nightly live music is a bonus. The splurge-worthy eatery offers cocktails from $14.50 and mains from $36.
Ladies who lunch flock to Sea Salt to nibble on gorgeous, nourishing salads (from $20) topped with fresh tuna, pink shrimp, and oysters. Those with bigger appetites can dig into updated classics like crispy chicken sandwiches (from $19). The fries and freshly baked bread are also fabulous. You can also book a table for dinner.
What to See and Do
Beaches in Naples are some of the prettiest on the Gulf; some have services, others are wonderfully undeveloped. Just a few blocks west of downtown, Naples Beach fronts calm water. You'll want to bring your own drinks, food, and chairs: no vendors are allowed on this sea grape-lined expanse of coastline except on the pier. When they're tired of swimming and building sandcastles, kids can play in one of two playgrounds at Lowdermilk Park, where you'll find bathrooms, showers, and a snack bar.
Hundreds of dolphins live in the calm bays that dip in and out of the coastline. Guests aboard The Dolphin Explorer (tickets from $46), which is crewed by a team of marine biologists, get to spend three hours learning all about these friendly mammals that gleefully surf the boat's wake as it zips through the water. It pays to keep your eyes peeled: the first passenger or youngest child on board who spots a yet-unnamed member of the pod (or newborn calf) gets naming rights.
The 2.5-mile-long boardwalk set atop the boggy landscape within Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary ($17 admission for adults) offers views of stunning flora and fauna (think: cypress forests, thousands of birds species, alligators, and, if you're lucky, you may even be able to catch a glimpse of the rare Florida panthers). Kids programs and ranger-led tours are free with park admission.
Shoppers will find both national brands and local boutiques scattered throughout Naples. Tony Third Street South is home to a collection of one-of-a-kind shops like Gattle's Fine Linens, where you can find fancy gifts, French tea towels, and La Perla nightgowns. Marissa Collection is another unique shop with designer duds from the likes of Armani and Oscar de la Renta. On Fifth Street South, you'll find beachy gifts at Blue Mussel, preppy duds (including Nantucket Reds) at Castaway Clothing, and a wide selection of colorful scarves at Marilyn's. The Waterside Shops are studded with designer boutiques like Lululemon, Tiffany & Co., Nordstrom, and Louis Vuitton. Meanwhile, bargain shoppers will dig Saks Off 5th, Neiman Marcus Last Call, Kate Spade, and more at Miromar Outlets.