Located on the southeast edge of the Florida peninsula, the cozy coastal town of Naples is a wonderful choice for your next weekend escape, romantic getaway or family trip.

The area offers plenty of water sports, fine dining and upscale shopping, though its pristine beaches alone are enough for a relaxing vacation, and the super friendly people here are more than willing to reveal their insider tips about the Paradise Coast.

While reports show that Naples is home to some of the wealthiest people in the US, the cost of living here is still more affordable than other popular Florida cities like Miami or Palm Beach. And despite the rumors that the city isn’t the most diverse, I, as a Black woman, feel very safe and welcomed by the locals.

Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your first time in Naples. 

Springtime has the best weather in Naples, but winter is best for birdwatching © Shaw Photography Co / Getty Images

When should I go to Naples?

The best time to visit Naples is between March and May. Notably, it has yet to become a popular spring break spot, so you'll find it peaceful this time of year. The weather is at its most pleasant, and accommodations are reasonably priced. 

From June to September, Naples gets very hot, with lots of rain and average temperatures over 90ºF (32ºC), sometimes even exceeding 100ºF (38ºC). If you visit around this time, be sure to bring an umbrella, as hurricane season for the Sunshine State is July through October. Although the weather is dicey, you'll find some decent deals around this time. 

Winters in Naples are mild but still offer an escape from the cold weather, as average temperatures linger around the mid-70s Fahrenheit (around 24ºC). This is also an ideal time for birdwatching and wildlife spotting. 

How much time should I spend in Naples?

Naples is the perfect destination for a three-day weekend trip and, in my opinion, works best for anyone looking for a quick solo or romantic getaway to experience the white sandy beaches and great food. Stay longer, and you can make time for day trips to nearby destinations like Fort Myers and Everglades National Park.

Cars are parked alongside white buildings on a street lined with palm trees at sunset
It takes around 35 minutes to drive from Southwest Florida International Airport to Old Naples (pictured) © Mihai_Andritoiu / Shutterstock

How do I get to Naples? 

Although Naples does have its own airport, it’s primarily reserved for those flying on private airplanes. In fact, while you’re in the city, you can often see stylish jets in the sky throughout the day.

That said, you’ll likely want to fly into Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), located in Fort Myers, which is roughly a 35-minute drive to Old Naples. The average price of a rideshare is roughly $50 or so, depending on the time of day. 

Is it easy to get around Naples?

Naples is certainly a very walkable town in most areas – especially near and around the bustling 5th Ave South. For those looking to rent a car, it’s also a driveable city without heavy traffic, and it has a decent number of both paid and free parking options. 

From personal experience, rideshares are your best bet for getting around, especially for short weekend getaways. Uber pick-up times are fast, with average waits of three to five minutes, and prices range from roughly $7–16 per ride.

Sunloungers are arranged around a stylish rooftop pool, which is illuminated with pale blue lights
The rooftop pool at the AC Naples Marriot is a perfect spot for R&R © Courtesy of AC Hotel Naples 5th Avenue

Where to stay in Naples

The AC Naples Marriott opened its doors in 2023 and is a great option for a cozy yet luxurious stay. It’s just a five-minute drive to 5th Ave South, where you’ll find plenty of luxe boutiques and dining options. In the heart of Old Naples, this three-story property offers an intimate and boutique-like experience with excellent service, modern rooms, a rooftop pool and Mediterranean bar, Limón. A one-night stay will cost roughly $160–200.

If you’re looking for slightly more budget-friendly hotels during your stay, try the Courtyard Naples (around $114–240 per night) or the Residence Inn Naples (approximately $118–175 per night).

There are also plenty of lodging options for easy beach access, such as the Naples Grande Beach Resort (roughly $197–235 per night) or the Naples Bay Resort & Marina (around $190–219 per night.)

Top things to do in Naples 

Explore the picture-perfect beaches

Southwest Florida's beaches are certainly worth the hype, with plenty of gorgeous white-sand stretches to choose from. My personal favorite in Naples is, hands-down, Clam Pass Park. It’s free to access (except for a $10 parking fee) and open to the public daily from 8am until sunset. When you first arrive, you’ll need to walk down a three-quarter-mile wooden boardwalk, which is more easily covered on the free tram service. The 35-acre beach features plenty of marine life and coastal birds. There’s also no shortage of activities like nature walks and fishing.

Despite the slightly overpriced beach chairs and umbrellas, this family-friendly beach has calm, blue waters and some of the most beautifully glistening seashells scattered across the sands. There’s also a snack bar, restrooms, bike racks and foot showers. Be sure to bring your own towels, though, as there aren’t any available for the general public to rent; they’re reserved for guests staying at beachfront resorts.

Other popular beaches to visit include Vanderbilt Beach, Tigertail Beach and Marco Island Beach. If you’re looking for dog-friendly beaches, take your pup to Bonita Beach Dog Park, Gulfside City Park Beach and Lighthouse Beach Park. Various water-based activities to try at local beaches include parasailing, jet skiing and dolphin spotting.

A pond filled with water lilies reflects the many tropical trees and plants that surround it at the Naples Botanical Gardens in Naples, Florida.
Naples Botanical Gardens is a haven filled with tropical plants © SunflowerMomma / Shutterstock

Enjoy some off-the-beach activities

If you’re a nature lover, head to the Naples Botanical Gardens to see rainforest plants, succulent displays and waterlily-laden pools in tropical-themed gardens. They also host regular kid-friendly events and have a restaurant with garden views called the Fogg Café.

Popular festivals throughout the year include the Naples Seafood & Music Festival, the Naples Craft Beer Fest and Naples Downtown Art Fair

Take a boat tour

If you’re looking for fun local boating experiences, La Gondola offers private tours in the heart of Naples on authentic Venetian gondolas – perfect for a romantic date night in the town. Another fun option is Naples Princess Cruises. You’ll want to book both in advance as they sell out quickly.  

Eat and drink at Naples’ top restaurants

Campiello: If there’s one spot that will make you mistake Naples, Florida, for its Italian namesake, it’s Campiello. This award-winning Italian restaurant features a rustic contemporary menu with wood-fired meats and pizzas – get the Margherita.

D'Amico’s Continental Naples: This upscale butcher steak house restaurant was ranked not only one of the best in Florida but also one of the best in the country – and rightfully so. Commonly known as The Continental, this spot has a menu full of premium steak, seafood and cocktail options, as well as an impressive 39-page wine list. 

Jane's Café on 3rd: Included in nearly every Naples food guide and raved about by all the locals, the celebrated brunch spot Jane’s Café on 3rd definitely lives up to the hype, from its “lobster smashed avocado Benedict” to its French toast.

Rocco’s Tacos and Tequila Bar: If you’re looking for something more casual, Rocco’s Tacos is a great choice for tacos, birrias, quesadillas and taco burgers. For anyone traveling on a budget, it also has regular happy hours and Taco Tuesdays specials.

A fountain with palm trees stands in front of a row of tall, colorful, European-style buildings
You'll find EJ's Cafe in a colorful building overlooking the bay in Naples © Orietta Gaspari / Getty Images

My favorite thing to do in Naples

As a cafe lover, I enjoy frequenting coffee shops everywhere I travel to enjoy a good cup of joe alongside the locals. Something about the ambiance and environment just makes me feel at home no matter where I am in the world. EJ’s Bayfront Cafe made for a simple yet lovely experience on a recent trip to Naples. 

There’s often a short wait to get in, but the menu is a brunch lover’s dream, and it's known for having some of the best comfort food in town. It's just steps away from the ocean and has plenty of outdoor seating. A fan favorite is the banana-stuffed French toast platter with thick-cut challah bread, stuffed with sliced bananas and rolled in cinnamon and sugar. The food arrives extremely fast, and the service is top-notch.

How much money do I need for Naples?

Despite Naples being one of the most affluent towns in America, travel accommodations are fairly reasonable – especially if you limit excursions. Shopping at local boutiques will set you back the most, especially along 5th Ave South. Food and drinks are fairly priced, and the majority of restaurants don't have additional service charges.

You could easily plan a two-night stay for under $1000, including a roundtrip non-stop flight from New York City, for example.

Average costs:

  • Dinner for two: $80–215 (or more)
  • Brunch for two: $60–90+
  • Mid-range hotel off-peak, midweek in summer: $100–250+
  • Beer/pint at the bar: $7–10
  • Cocktail: $15–18
  • Ice cream: $6–8

Mariya traveled to Naples on the invitation of Marriott Bonvoy. Lonely Planet does not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage.

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JEKYLL ISLAND, GEORGIA, USA/MARCH 20, 2019: A guide takes a couple on a leisurely horse-drawn carriage tour past Crane Cottage, built in 1918 in Mediterranean revival style, on this historic island.

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