Everything you need to plan a fun family trip to Naples! My parents live in (very north) North Dakota, so we were beyond thrilled when they purchased a winter home in Florida. We’ve been going to the Naples area as a family every Christmas and Spring Break for the past five+ years, and absolutely love it. Because I am a crazy planner, I’ve spent a lot of time researching the best places to eat and things to do–and by this point, we’ve tried them all and have our favorites. This list should make planning your next trip to Naples a little easier. Enjoy!
- Baleen: Located beachside in the beautiful La Playa hotel, this place has the most stunning views! We originally came here on a date night away from the kids and absolutely fell in love with this spot. Dinner is pretty pricey, so I’d recommend grabbing a drink and heading to the beach for sunset before dinner elsewhere. The food is amazing though, so if your budget allows–go for it! It’s also a great place to come for lunch with the kids. They have a really good kid’s menu and the kids have fun playing in the sand and running around while we eat and take in the stunning water views. TIP: The La Playa valet parking is only around $5 and is a headache-free way to park and access Baleen.
- The Bay House: We usually make two stops at The Bay House while we are in Florida: once for Sunday brunch and once for dinner + live music. Just give me a mimosa and the buttermilk ricotta pancakes, and I’m a happy lady. My husband loves the Bloody Mary as well, and it’s full of all the good stuff–like bacon! This is another great date night spot, and isn’t too far from Baleen if you want to stop here after sunset. We like to sit in the bar area to take in the live music. People are encouraged to dance, and there’s usually a couple of cute kids breaking it down on the small dance floor. TIP: The Nashville Chicken is life changing. You won’t regret it! And be sure to make reservations during the busy season.
- Coconut Jack’s: Nothing says Florida vacation like a frozen fruity drink with a little umbrella in it, am I right?! You absolutely have to stop here, if you are in the Naples area. It’s super kid friendly, and they even have (non-alcoholic) frozen fruity drinks for the kids! We usually opt to sit outside for the water views and warm weather. It’s beachy and casual, but the food is really good. I usually order the grouper sandwich or mahi mahi tacos and ALWAYS the key lime pie. TIP: They have little stuffed animals when you first walk in the restaurant, which work as great bribery to get the kids to cooperate through dinner (wink!) and also serve as an inexpensive Naples souvenir.
- Turtle Club: Okay, I would not say this place is buzzing with kids, but we always come with the kids anyway (+ iPads), and the food is incredible. Because it’s located on the beach, we usually arrive 30 minutes beforehand to let the kids run around and burn some energy before dinner. It’s also a great spot to take beautiful beach photos, since we are usually dressed nice for dinner (it’s a little fancy here). They have a great wine menu, and you absolutely have to try their signature seafood chowder. TIP: Make sure you check the time of sunset for your visit, and make a reservation to coincide. The sunset views are beautiful both inside and out!
- Royal Scoop: The best ice cream in Naples! With several convenient locations, we often hit up more than one location during our stay. My son loves the superman flavor best, with its bright blue color, and I usually go with the dulce de leche. You definitely need to try this place while you are in Naples!
- Chartered Dolphin Cruise: This is one of my FAVORITE Florida experiences. As a Midwesterner, it’s not every day you see a dolphin in the wild. It is a truly magical experience! They will often swim right up alongside the boat. We’ve actually used several different chartered boat companies to see dolphins and manatees, and all of them were very good. It can be expensive though, and the ride usually lasts a couple of hours, so I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it for kids under the age of 4.
- Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples: Naples is home to a wonderful Children’s Museum! Next to swimming at my parent’s house, this is my kids’ favorite thing to do in Naples. They have so many great “pretend play” areas in the Museum, as well as a fun outdoor area that includes a stage on which the kids can perform. TIP: If you buy a membership, you can get in the museum an hour earlier than everyone else. During the busy months, this is so nice! There is also a great playground right across the street.
- Naples Zoo: You have to check out the Naples Zoo! One of our favorite exhibits is the giraffe exhibit, where you can buy lettuce and actually hand feed the giraffes! This is always a great vacation photo op. We also love to ride the boat to see the monkeys. It kind of gives everyone a chance to rest, while also getting a unique view of the monkey exhibits. The Naples Zoo is walkable and has plenty to see and do without being overwhelming.
- Congo River Golf: We’ve been to a few of the miniature golf courses in the Naples area, and Congo River Golf in Bonita Springs is our favorite. The whole course is so cool, and they even have live gators that you can feed! TIP: We try to save this activity for one of the cooler days in our trip or get there in the morning before it gets too hot.
- Waterside Shops: Okay, this is not necessarily the most kid-friendly place in Naples, but it is MY favorite place in Naples! My mom and I usually sneak away for a day to shop and eat lunch at the Waterside Shops. If you love to shop, this place is like a dream! It has all of my favorites: Nordstrom, lululemon, Anthropologie…etc. It is exceptionally clean and is never over-crowded. My favorite lunch spots are BrickTop’s and True Food Kitchen.