I’m still dreaming about our family’s vacation to Naples, Florida – and I’ll tell you exactly why.
There is so much to do in Florida’s ultra-charming city of Naples. Here’s a play-by-play of the best vacation of our lives- even with an energetic toddler.
This year, we planned a trip to Naples on a whim. Our family had just gotten back from Orlando when we came up with the idea for a second sunny vacation. So, Joe and I took to Air B&B and booked a super charming condo – conveniently located in the south area of Naples.
Growing up, Orlando was my family’s go-to city while visiting Florida. Amusement parks were totally our jam so Orlando was always the clear, cut choice.
This time around, I was excited to explore a different side of Florida. While I like to dub our little crew a “Disney Family,” I was also eager to visit the popular southwest city. From doing some quick internet searches, I could tell that Naples was a city right up our alley: good food, quality shopping, beautiful beaches and plenty to do for the entire family.
Once we arrived in Naples, Florida, I was totally in love. The real estate is out of this world – with gorgeous buildings highlighting its streets, making for some picture perfect moments. Its downtown area is a place where I could stay all day (which we did for a good portion of our trip). Safe to say, that thanks to our family vacation, we discovered one of our favorite cities of all time.
Because I am incredibly happy with how our entire trip went (I’m already itching to go back), I thought it would be fitting to highlight a few things to do in Naples, Florida. Here’s a list of our family’s best activities, and restaurants we visited, while soaking in Florida’s Paradise Coast:
Our Family’s Travel Guide to Naples, Florida
If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Florida, then Naples should definitely be a city to consider. If you’re like us, and always on the prowl looking for family-friendly activities, then I’ve totally got you covered. Here are some of our favorites:
A Day at the Zoo
The Naples Zoo is a wonderful experience for kids of all ages. The entire zoo is carefully planned out, and we loved the different winding paths you could take while visiting all sorts of beautiful animals.
The Naples Zoo is actually a nonprofit institution that has so much to share with its visitors. If you love a place that’s not only fun but also offers an educational experience, then the Naples Zoo should be the first stop for your fam! Plus, you could hear monkeys singing at certain times of the day, which is SO cute.
Where? 1590 Goodlette Road, Naples, FL, 34102
Visitor Tip: Wear comfortable shoes to make the most of your experience. It’s also very stroller friendly, so your little ones could have tons of fun without getting too exhausted!
Southwest Florida’s Conservancy
Just a short walk from The Naples Zoo is the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. We had an amazing time learning how Southwest Florida puts in conscious efforts to protect their land, water and wildlife. We were given a private tour and it was a great follow-up visit after our time at the zoo. They also offer educational programs for kids of all ages – giving them an introduction on nature and the importance of protecting the ecosystem.
Where? 1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples, FL, 34102
Visitor Tip: Check out their schedule in advance to see what activities are taking place for the kiddos.
Lunch at the “Caffé”
Step into Naples’ 5th avenue and you’ll discover some fine dining. Among the impressive restaurants is Caffé Milano, where we were completely blown away (so much so, that we even returned a second time right before our flight back home).
After a busy morning at the Naples Zoo and The Conservancy, we were famished. Caffé Milano offered the best menu to fill our hungry bellies. Their pastas are impressive and their mains, incredible! We had the pleasure of meeting their chef, who carefully whipped up numerous dishes for us to try, including their signature linguine lobster and classic spaghetti carbonara.
And, to finish off our tasty meal, a tiramisu like I’ve never seen before: a bed of coffee-coated lady finger biscuits, doused with a generous amount of a mascarpone cheese, in an edible cookie bowl. You can bet that my sweet tooth was working overtime. Along with macarons, tiramisu is one of my favorite desserts and while I was more than satisfied with our mains, I couldn’t help but chow down on this sweet dish.
Where? 800 5th Ave South, Naples, FL, 34102
Visitor Tip: Their tiramisu is a must-try! Also, their lunch menu boasts really delicious sandwiches so if you’re in the market for a quick bite, Caffé Milano also offers a perfect lunch (complete with fries and soda. The service is absolutely incredible – Luis served us during both of our visits and gave his 110%.
Cruisin’ with the Dolphins
On our third day in Naples, we headed over to Marco Island for an exciting adventure – to view dolphins and cruise the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. We boarded the Dolphin Explorer and participated in activities to spot and count a number of bottlenose dolphins.
The entire experience was hands-on and didn’t let us down. The Dolphin Explorer welcomes guests of all ages and, safe to say, our little one was totally impressed!
Where? 951 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island, FL, 34145
Visitor Tip: Bring a bathing suit, because a part of the tour makes a stop off at a beach. There’s water on-board but I highly recommend bringing snacks for your little ones.
Pizza Game: Strong
During one of our nights on 5th avenue, we dined at La Trattoria and all we could say is, “Wow!” If you’re in the market for authentic Neapolitan-style pizzas, then La Trattoria should be your one and only stop in Naples, Florida.
Of course, the service was absolutely stupendous. The specials of the night were highly impressive, and from it (from them), we opted for their burrata and arugula salad as a starter. Leo was also into his meal, finishing half of a 12 inch pizza pie to himself. By the end of the night, we enjoyed a tableside tiramisu (which I had pretty much all to myself – it’s hard for me to share any form of sweets!).
Where? 878 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL, 34102
Visitor Tip: Bring your appetite! Also, if you’re one for beer, their Imported Beer Menu is something to check out.
A Place for the Kids!
The Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples was one of our favorite stops on our Naples family vacation itinerary.
Ready for your kids to explore? Our jaws dropped in awe, as we took our first steps into the building. At the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, you’ll find floor to ceiling attractions and activities – a little bit of everything for everyone!
The space offers a safe place for families to spend time together playing, learning, and discovering. It offers games and activities on their impressive property, which is 2 stories high and takes up a whopping 30,000 square feet! Interactive sections make up the entire museum, including rooms that showcase all four seasons, a train room, an outdoor water activity, etc.
Where? 15080 Livingston Rd, Naples, FL, 34109
Visitor Tip: Wear comfortable clothes and shoes, because you’ll be on your feet playing and discovering for hours on end!
Talk about waterfront dining! Our family enjoyed a luncheon at Marco Island’s Snook Inn and it’s a meal we’ll never forget.
The restaurant boasts superb dishes that put fun twists on comfort food. Personally, I was blown away by their coconut shrimp (which I could probably eat by the pound).
Dining at Snook Inn is not only a pleasure for the palette, but also for the eyes. The restaurant is surrounded by water and we were lucky enough to spot some dolphins as we enjoyed our lunch!
Where? 1215 Bald Eagle Dr, Marco Island, FL, 34145
Visitor Tip: Bring your appetite! Also, their cocktail menu is impressive so be sure to check it out!
A Night on the Town!
Heading out on the town for the night? Then Sea Salt restaurant should be your first stop. Their renowned chef, Chef Fabrizio Aielli, changes-up the menu every night, offering guests new culinary creations – using sustainable ingredients from local farmers and boat fishermen.
Where? 1186 3rd St. S, Naples, FL, 34102
Visitor Tip: Sea Salt is a beautiful restaurant with a really romantic ambiance – the place that makes for the perfect date night!
Our trip to Naples, Florida was absolutely amazing. We’ve been home for 2 weeks now, and Joe and I still gush about our perfect vacation.
Have you ever made it out to Naples, Florida?
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