My family has had a place in Naples, Florida for almost 30 years and it quickly became my second home over the years. Naples is known for its white sandy beaches, blue water, and its’ money and sits on the last exit before you cross over the state to the Atlantic side. It is pretty much as south as you can get besides the Florida Keys. We love the entire Southwest Florida area: Marco Island, Ft. Myers, Bonita Sprints, Sanibel, and of course Naples.
Naples is more than just a vacation spot; it is a place that I feel at home and where I can fully relax. I am never on a schedule while I am there. I recently just got back from a week long trip to Naples with my family over the holidays. I got some requests on a travel guide for Naples and the Southwest Florida area so I broke down my top picks by beaches, food, shopping, and things to do.
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Best Beaches Near Naples
This is the beach we tend to go to the most now because it is the least crowded beach with food and restrooms. The pier was recently remodeled along with During busy season parking is limited. *The food on the pier is cash only. Volleyball courts are also located on the beach. This beach is also a 5 minute walk to 3rd Street South. This street contains a ton of restaurants and the popular Naples Farmer’s Market every Saturday. (See “Things to Do” section for more info)
Doc’s is a classic. If you are wanted a beach with good beach food and plenty to do this is it. We grew up at this beach. There are beach volley ball courts, parasailing, wave runners, and paddle boarding. Doc’s Beach house Restaurant is right on the beach where you can eat fresh seafood inside or take out with you on the beach. It is the best!! I would HIGHLY recommend getting there early as parking is limited. During Spring Break we could get there before 11:00 am, Restrooms are located along the beach and in the restaurant. Doc’s Beach house is also cash only
Tiger Tail Beach :
This beach is the most private beach you will find with a parking access. Tigertail is located in Marco and costs about $5 to park if you show up past a specific time. I would park in the VERY back by driving back the entrance and the park. You will take a 10 minute walk on a boardwalk through the mangroves and will walk around the lagoon. (Make sure you don’t accidentally go to the lagoon, the beach is around it to the left) You may take a 10 minute walk to get to the ocean but you will have the most privacy. I feel like I am on an island during off season. If you want to make a day out of it, go to Doreen’s for breakfast/brunch and head to the beach after. It is about a 2 minute drive from from Doreens to the beach. *There are restrooms in the parking lot but not on the beach.
Best Naples Brunch/Coffee
Doreen’s Cup of Joe: $$
Easily one of my favorite brunch spots ever. Located right in the heart of Marco. The vibe is a farmhouse style and you have to get their freshly squeezed Florida orange juice. They are also known for their crunchy french toast. A must! I would make day and head to Tigertail beach after.*
The Bowl: $
This was the place where I got my first acai bowl. They are amazing and so refreshing on a hot day. The Bowl has a storefront and also has a tent at the Naples Farmer’s market off of 3rd Street South every Saturday.
Badass Coffee Company: $
One of my favorite coffee shops and the name describes the coffee. I love getting a bag of their coconut run coffee to take home with me. This is right off of Third Street South.
Best Dinner / Date night Restaurants
One of my favorite restaurants of all time! This is one of those restaurants that offers the whole package. They have live music at night, outdoor seating, and amazing food from start to finish. Michael and I love ALL of their appetizers, salads, and their amazing rolls with cinnamon butter. So if you are wanting the experience but don’t want to pay the cost of a main entree, we usually split 2 appetizers with salads. We recently went their to celebrate Michael’s 30th birthday so we splurged and got entrees. YOU HAVE to get their world famous coconut shrimp. There is no competition to this shrimp! We also love all of their amazing desserts! The wait here is ALWAYS long (typically 45 minutes – 1.5 hours) Every time I have gone it is always half of what they say though. Since they do the cellphone service to let you know when your reservation is ready, Michael and I like to take a 5 minute walk to the Naples Pier and take a walk on the beach.
I usually get their bungalow side salad with the coconut shrimp appetizer with a side of broccolini. Michael LOVES their grouper and creme brûlée!)
TIP: After or before dinner head over to the Pier to watch the sunset. It is soo beautiful! Keep an eye out for dolphins, they are always there by the pier on the left side.
If you are looking for a seafood restaurant that is by the water Coconut Jacks is the best pick. When you pull up it will look crowded but I promise it is never a long wait. I haven’t waited longer than 20 minutes there. They run that place like a ship. Coconut Jacks is a big island vibe restaurant and has amazing coconut shrimp with a blackberry sauce. I also love their chowders.
One of my favorite Mexican restaurants! I love Iguana Mia because of their chips and salsa. They give you three different types of salsas and you can ask for their hot sauce tray. it is SO GOOD! I love their fajitas and their sateed zucchini (I know, weird, but its SO good ok! haha)
Yabba Island Grille: $$$
Yabba’s is a fun restaurant located right off of 5th avenue in downtown Naples. It is in the heart of downtown and right by one of my favorite stores: “The Best of Everything” (for more info see below under “Hidden Gems”). They have amazing seafood and spicy cornbread! I love their caesar salad, coconut rice, and salmon! After dinner head over to Kilwin’s for some amazing ice cream!
Best Casual Dining / Take Out
Rosatti’s Pizza: $$
A Chicago classic. If you are from Chicago you already know how amazing this pizza is. This pizza is perfect for those nights where you want something casual to eat or you want to take home and eat with a movie. The owner’s are amazing and are from Chicago. Rosatti’s actually won best pizza in Naples this past year! Hands down best pizza in Naples. If you happen to stop by, tell Mr. and Mrs. P. I said hello!
Joey’s Pizza: $$
If you are closer to the Marco area and want more of a New York style pizza Joey’s is a popular place to do to and very good. The only downside is the wait. I would get there before 6 to make sure you don’t have to wait as long. Definitely try their frozen key lime pie. Amazing!
Royal Scoop Ice cream: $
You can’t go to Southwest Florida without stopping by the famous Royal Scoop Ice cream. This is a little further north of downtown Naples and is a great place to stop after going to Doc’s Beach, Coconut Jacks, or Iguana Mia.
Best Shopping in Naples Area
Coconut Point is a huge outdoor mall with just about every shop. I would say if you are a person who wanted your everyday stores go to Coconut Pointe. Grab a juice or green smoothes at Delicious Raw Kitchen Juice Bar if you get the chance! The TJ Maxx here is one of my favorites!
This is more of a designer, outdoor mall. I love all of the shops here and it is a beautiful mall. I mainly go shopping at Waterside for Nordstrom, Anthropologie, Free People, and Barnes and Noble. I would highly recommend eating at Tru Food for lunch and Brio for dinner.
Gulf Coast Town Center:
This is another large mall with just about every store. I love Belk, Apricot Lane, and of course Kilwin’s Ice Cream! I do not normally go to this mall as much because it is the furthest away from us. It is closer to Ft. Myers area.
Hidden Gems / Things to Do
3rd Street South Naples Farmer’s Market – Saturdays 7:30 am – 11:30 am:
This is a must and come hungry! The entire street is blocked off with live music and local venders with fresh fruit and veggies, freshly caught seafood, locally grown flowers, herb spices blends, handcrafted jewelry, and the BEST food trucks. My favorite is the guacamole tent, the Kathy’s spice blend tent, “ The Bowl” tent, and the granola bar tent. Mike’s is the cronut tent.
**I would highly recommend going to the farmer’s market and then heading to the beach right after. The Naples Pier is a 5 minute walk from the Farmer’s Market. Parking is limited at the beach so this allows for you to get their early enough to get parking but it gives you something to do if you don’t want to get to the beach that early.
The Best of Everything:
Hands down my favorite jewelry and accessory store! You can find great pieces for under $20 and sometimes even under $10. They truly have the best of everything: jewelry, purses, scarves, hair accessories, kitchen wear, bags, etc) This is the place where you will see tons of husbands sitting outside because the inside is flooded with women! They section off the store by style which I love! This is a must. I would look up the hours before you go as they close pretty early sometimes. My favorite location is the one in downtown Naples off of 5th. As I am typing this I just found out you can shop online!!!! BEST DAY EVER!! Click HERE to shop
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More Pictures of my Most recent trip: