Naples is a place my family and I have returned to many times over the years. It’s a great area for wandering on enchanted paths and beautiful boardwalks. It’s a place for lazy beach days and slow strolls through art galleries. In the daytime one can relax on a hammock beneath swaying palms after exploring the botanical gardens. In the evening, 5th Avenue comes alive with street performers and live music.
Naples is one of the wealthiest cities in the United States. We often marvel at the homes on our morning walks. Walking the avenues is great for viewing beautiful architecture and dreaming… even if it often leaves you fantasizing about winning the lottery. Though I’m not financially rich, I can still enjoy Naples and all it has to offer. There are many free things to do like basking on the beach, walking the Naples Pier, wandering the farmers market, enjoying many live music shows on 5th and joining in on the dance party at the Naples Beach Hotel.
I have so many fond memories here: snow falling from light posts at Christmastime, sunsets on the pier, ice cream cones off of 3rd, walking through the mangrove forest at Clam Pass, watching my mother dance her heart out at the beach club, viewing the rainbow eucalyptus at the botanical gardens, touring the Palm Cottage, and gazing up into the many ancient Banyan trees that line the streets. There is so much beauty in Naples. The price for all of this is sharing it with the many others that flock here during the winter. It can be a chore just to go up to the corner store, finding a parking spot can be daunting, the traffic is terrible and the lines are long to many things.
To properly enjoy anything in Naples you have to arrive early and have patience. Go to breakfast at 8am. Get to the beach at 9 and leave by noon. Avoid the main road through town by taking the streets that run parallel to it. If happy hours starts at 4:30, get there at 4. You can still have a great time and see all Naples has to offer with a little poise and promptness.
Places to visit in Naples
The Naples Botanical Garden – For a relaxing escape from the city, visit this colorful oasis. There is much to see here and it should not be missed.
The Historic Palm Cottage – For a step into history filled with charm, take a tour of the oldest house in Naples.
The Naples Pier – Take a stroll near sunset or early morning to see this beautiful pier in all its glory.
5th Avenue – A great place to spend an evening out. Try one of the many restaurants, take in some art galleries and listen to one of the many live music performances.
Third Street South – Don’t miss this shop and restaurant filled street that takes you right by the 19th century Naples Pier.
The Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club – Arrive on early on Sunday night for the live music and outdoor dance party from 6-9.
The Old Naples Pub – The best outdoor patio in town full of beautiful ivy that winds its way up 3 stories.
Clam Pass Park – Skip the shuttle and most of the tourists by walking the beautiful boardwalk through a mangrove forest to the beach.
EJ’s Bayfront Cafe – For those with a sweet tooth, the Banana Stuffed French Toast Platter is absolute heaven.