What to do when you visit Naples, Florida!
Naples is the Florida destination for golf and relaxation. Golfers particularly like the Tiburón Golf Club — located on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort — but other popular resort activities include yoga classes, tennis and sailing. Most resorts will also have in-house spas, which guests and other visitors may use. Should you want more than just R & R, try shopping, gallery hopping or visiting the zoo. In the evenings, stroll past the lavish beachfront homes on Millionaires' Row. For critter-watching or communing with nature, take a daytrip to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Oh, and did we mention the spectacular beaches and warm Gulf water?
Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park
About 12 miles north of Old Naples is the Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park, one of the best beaches in the city. Covering 166 acres of land, the beach here has great facilities, including plenty of parking, bathrooms, beach rental equipment, food stands and picnic spots. The water is clear and serene while the sand, according to many visitors, is covered with shells but has plenty of soft spots to sit on. The park also offers quality spots to snorkel (you can rent gear here too) at a reef offshore.
You can also get a feel for the rest of the flora and fauna that call the park home with a nature tour. Rangers guide you through the area; if you're an avid watcher of Animal Planet, you might try and time your visit for the loggerhead turtles' nesting season (May through October). You're also bound to see a variety of colorful birds during your tour.
There is a small admission fee; vehicle entrance fees cost between $4 and $6, depending on the number of people in the car. Bikers and pedestrians must pay $2. The park is open every day from 8 a.m. to sundown.
Located at the west end of 12th Avenue South at Naples Beach, Naples Pier is an expansive boardwalk that's hard to miss. Stretching 1,000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico, Naples Pier is known for its stunning panoramic views, especially at sunset. For those visiting during July, it also acts as an ideal location to view the city's 4th of July fireworks show.
Additionally, the pier is a favorite spot for fishing since it provides plenty of space for casting lines and does not require a fishing license. Cleaning stations are located throughout the pier, and bait is conveniently sold halfway down the pier at the concession stand.
There is no fee to visit the pier. For parking, visitors can find on-street parking or use the lot one block east of the pier for a fee.
Naples Botanical Garden
Located just 4 miles southeast of downtown Naples, Naples Botanical Garden offers nature-loving visitors access to a wide variety of flora (and even some fauna). The 170-acre nature sanctuary showcases more than 1,000 species of plants throughout its nine tropical themed gardens and untouched 90-acre preserve. For those looking to learn more about the expansive plant collection, the garden offers daily tours at 11 a.m. from November to April, as well as different educational children's activities monthly in the Smith Children's Garden. When visiting be sure to budget ample time to peruse the grounds; recent visitors recommend at least a few hours.
Outside of inclement weather, the garden is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday through Monday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays. Although there is an admission fee of $14.95 for adults and $9.95 for children 14 and younger, students, teachers and military personnel qualify for a membership or holiday discount. Additionally, no outside food or beverage (except bottled water) is allowed in the preserve, but items can be purchased at the on-site Fogg Café. Restrooms are located within the Chabraja Visitor Center.
Nature lovers will find plenty to like at this preserve. Located 30 miles northeast of Naples (and about 47 miles south of Fort Myers), the 11,000 acres of marshland is home to 600-year-old trees, otters, alligators and a beautiful collection of endangered birds. A boardwalk cuts through the sanctuary on which you can take a self-guided tour and get a feel for what Florida was like before it was developed. Naturalists are stationed throughout the boardwalk to answer questions. Recent visitors say it takes about three hours to walk the sanctuary's nearly 3 miles.
Except for days with bad weather, the sanctuary is open daily from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There is a small admission fee; entrance for adults costs $14 while kids between the ages of 6 and 18 can get in for $4. No food or beverage (except bottled water) is allowed on the boardwalk; a picnic area is located by the parking lots. There are no restrooms along the boardwalk.
The Baker Museum
The 15 galleries here make up one of the best art collections in the southwest Florida region. The 14-foot-tall art-covered entrance gates provide a dramatic entrance to the museum's fantastic pieces. The permanent collection includes some impressive modern American works, including spectacular glass installations by Dale Chihuly — you'll find yourself marveling at his amazing colorful chandelier and ocean-themed ceiling decor. Recent visitors said seeing Chihuly's pieces more than justify the admission price.
The museum is located within the Artis—Naples and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Admission for adults costs $10; children younger than 17 can enter for free. For more information on current exhibits and upcoming events, visit the museum's website.
Fans of the movie "Madagascar" will surely recognize one of the Naples Zoo's inhabitants, the fosa, in Petrof's Primate Pavilion exhibit. The exhibit is also home to another Madagascar native, the lemur. As you walk around the grounds, stop and check out the rare Indochinese tigers and a collection of other interesting mammals like hyenas and leopards. Although recent visitors said it only takes a couple hours to see the zoo from top to bottom, it is unequivocably worth visiting.
If you're looking for an educational experience, take in a live show, where zookeepers show off some of the zoo's animals. You can also watch live feedings. Times for all of these events can be found on the zoo's website.
The zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for adults costs $19.95; children between the ages of 3 and 12 enter for $12.95. You can save up to $3 per ticket if you purchase your tickets in advance online.
The Revs Institute
The Revs Institute is a feast of the imagination for any automotive enthusiast. The Institute provides an unprecedented window into the rapid culture shift that the automobile sparked over the course of the 20th century.
Attended to by a staff of full time restoration technicians, these meticulously selected rare vestiges of automotive history remain operational and continue to demonstrate their engineering prowess on race tracks and roadways the world over. The Institute primarily serves as a haven for scholars, preservationists and passionate connoisseurs of automotive history. In keeping with Mr. Collier’s vision to embolden the legacy of the transformative impact the automobile had on 20th century society, The Revs Institute is also one of the leading repositories of historical automotive documents, photographs and ephemera.
The Revs Institute is dedicated to deepening our understanding and appreciation of automotive history. To fulfill this mission we are guided by the following principles:
- We will acquire and preserve materials of rich content in multiple formats that bring automotive history to the scholar;
- We will nurture an environment of inquiry and access to nourish research and teaching;
- We will uphold high standards of professionalism and conform to progressive library and archival practices;
- We will embrace technological advancements to deliver history in exciting and compelling ways that resonate with the public.