24 hours in Naples, Florida

Hey readers!

This past April, I went on a road trip to Naples with my bestie. With 10 miles of municipal beaches, plenty of palm trees, and sparkling seas, Naples is truly a must visit along Florida's Gulf Coast. Although our trip was just a quick 24 hours, we were able to pack a ton of fun in a short amount of time. Read on for my recommendations and tips!

Guide to activities in Naples, Florida

*Disclaimer: Some of the links on this page might be affiliate links. Meaning I could make a small commission if you make a purchase through links in this post, at no cost to you! You are simply supporting my job as a blogger and content creator. My views and opinions are never swayed and I only recommend places or products that I approve of and love.

RESTAURANTS
Did you know Naples, Florida is home to over 500 restaurants!?!?! Crazy, right? We had a hard time deciding on where to go and what kind of food we were in the mood for. (Plus I'm a picky eater so it makes it hard for me to find places with lots of options for me!) But ultimately these were the places we stopped at.
Restaurants in Naples Florida

-Old Naples Pub

When we first got there it seemed like a "local's" place. It's a relatively small restaurant, with outdoor seating beneath a tall patio covered in vines and flowers. We sat next to a hundred-year-old tavern piano on the inside of the pub. (Which we later found out is used by their live entertainment groups on Wednesday-Sunday nights.) Since it's only a couple blocks from the Naples Pier and beach, the Old Naples Pub is a great spot for your mid-day lunch break.

Restaurants in Naples Florida

-Cheesecake Factory

Cheesecake is a really popular restaurant chain with locations all over the United States. They are most famous for their extensive menu of mostly Italian inspired dishes, and of course their delicious cheesecake varieties. My go-to meal is Chicken, Mango, and Avocado Salad. It is packed full of flavors and Asian-tropical elements that are sure to tickle my taste buds with every bite.
Cheesecake Factory

-Shane's Cabana Bar

Shane's is a relaxed waterfront cabana bar right on the marina. It was nighttime, so the city lights were reflecting beautifully on the water. Its a great spot for a cocktail and nice views!

-First Watch
Almost everyone I know has gone to First Watch and told me how delicious everything is. If you follow me on Instagram, I'm sure you know of my obsession with avocado toast lately... So I just had to order it from First Watch with a side of fruit. OH MY GOD. It was probably my favorite thing I ate on the trip. And easily the best avo-toast I've ever had!!!
First Watch Restaurant

-Mel's Diner
I love going to diners when I visit cities, and this one was SO GOOD. My bestie and I had a hard time deciding what to eat because there were so many options! It's not often I find a place with more than five healthy options for me to eat, and all at a great price. I even went with a $3.50 margarita, in a cute cup, and gave me a good afternoon buzz.πŸ‘πŸ‘ Their menu has something for everyone, perfect for the whole family to enjoy! I highly recommend checking this place out.
Mel's Diner Naples, Florida

-The Bowl

After a long day in the Florida sunshine, I needed a cold refreshing smoothie for the journey back to Miami. The Bowl was the perfect place for that! It's very much a "good vibes only" kinda place, with various acai and pitaya bowls, smoothies, and other drinks. They only use healthy and organic ingredients and serve them fully compostable cups and bowls. Which is a win-win in my book!
The Bowl in Naples Florida

BEACHES

As you head up and down Gulf Shore Blvd, you may notice lots of beach access points on the avenues. They are all available to use by the public. However, much like the other specific beaches that I'm about to mention, there is a fee for parking there. (Keep reading to learn more about beach parking fees.)
Naples Beach

The smaller beach access points on every avenue are great because it's typically less crowded areas than the pier or parks. But that's because there are less parking spots at each one. If it's a busy season, you may have to drive by a few of them to find a spot!
Historic Naples Pier

-Naples Pier

The Naples Pier is a staple landmark along the Gulf Coast. (Located at 12 Avenue South and Gulf Shore Blvd.) I couldn't help but notice just how long the pier is, so I asked a few locals for some history. They said that when it was originally built in 1888, it was the only way for outsiders to get to the island by docking their boats on each side. Of course, it's gotten some much-needed renovations over the years, and now features large restrooms and a concession stand at the halfway point. The Pier is one of the largest ones I've personally been to, and found out its 1000 feet long! 
Historic Naples Pier

Naples, Florida Pier

Naples, Florida City Pier


While there were plenty of people fishing off the side of the pier, I was there for the gorgeous Gulf views. I spent about an hour on both days just watching Bottlenose Dolphins chase after schools of fish. It totally made my day, cause dolphins have always been my favorite!
Gulf of Mexico

Dolphin in Gulf of Mexico

Dolphin in Gulf of Mexico

View of Naples Pier

-Old Pilings

Along the beach of the Gulf of Mexico, between 2nd Ave S and 3rd Ave S along Gulf Shore Blvd S, lies some wooden pilings from the Old Naples Pier. It's a popular spot for photographers since it allows for some creative subjects to include in waterscapes. Every time I walked by them on my trip, pelicans were perched on top of most of them!
Old Pilings Naples, Florida

Naples Beach Old Pilings

Naples is also known for its spectacular sunsets. So the Old Pilings is where we stopped to watch the magic. We made it just in time for it to turn some shades of pink!
Sunset at Old Pilings Naples

Sunset Old Pilings Naples, Florida

-Lowdermilk Park

Further North along the Gulf lies Lowdermilk Park. It has a large parking lot with a concession stand, two playgrounds, picnic tables, restrooms, and two gazebos available for rent. If you're up for some beachside activities, there's also a sand volleyball court, kayaks, and stand-up-paddleboards. (You can rent the kayaks or SUPs for at least an hour and seem fairly priced.)
Lowdermilk Park Naples

Lowdermilk Park, Naples

GoPro photo at the Beach

PARKING
One thing I was not prepared for was the number of quarters we needed to park along the beaches. At most of the meters, you can pay with MasterCard or Visa, but I personally prefer paying meters with coins while on trips.

So if you want to plan ahead of time, I would calculate how much quarters to bring:

25 cents = 6 minutes (but a minimum payment of $1.50 is required.)
So paying $2.50 = 1 hour of parking/beach time.

The meters only accept quarters or MasterCard/Visa. And require you to put in the parking spot number you chose. (I recommend taking a photo of your spot so you don't forget your number!) 
Naples Pier Florida

I did notice that at the Naples Pier meter, they offer "Extend-by-Phone". Which is basically a text message to notify you your time is up. If you reply properly to the text, you can fund extra minutes without having to walk back to the meter.

Also, if you forget your quarters, a lot of the places near the beach will not change your cash for coins. Just make sure you plan accordingly and you shouldn't have any issues! Unless you are a Naples resident with a permit, you must pay to park at any and all beach access points.

SHOPPING

Although I didn't do any shopping on this particular trip, there are still a few great spots you may want to check out. #ShopTilYouDrop
Third Street South Shopping Center

-Third Street South

After eating lunch at the Old Naples Pub on our first day, we walked through the area of Third Street South. To which I was constantly taking photos of the pretty plants everywhere! There are a few stores, with my favorite being Tommy Bahama, a bunch of restaurants, and even a Farmer's Market (open on Saturdays!)
Naples Flowers

-Tin City

I've come here a few times when I was a kid, and I'm glad to see it still holds the same Old Florida charm it's known for! Tin City is essentially a mini-mall, with 30 boutique shops and a couple restaurants. My favorite store was always the Naples Soap Co, where my Mom and I would test out different body lotions, scrubs, and serums.
Tropical Hibiscus Flower

-5th Avenue Shops

I admit I only drove through this area, but I thought they had a great selection of boutiques and restaurants! There's a few coffee shops, sweet treats, pubs, bistros, and grills. As well as a few name-branded stores like White House Black Market, Chico's, and Sperry. Fifth Avenue South is also a great area to just take an afternoon stroll and admire the "island life!"
Naples plants

-Coastland Center

The Coastland Center is what I consider a typical mall with stores like Macy's, H&M, Forever21, Victoria's Secret, JCPenney, and Old Navy. (There are 110 stores in this mall, so I've only named a couple!) And, much like the other shopping spots I just mentioned above, Coastland Center also has a few eateries in the area. (Which is where we came for dinner at Cheesecake!)

-Village Shops on Venetian Bay

I actually came to these shops a few years ago. It's a bit too upscale for my personal budget, but I still recommend checking it out! It's right by the water with gorgeous views of the marina. The architecture of Venetian Village was inspired by Venice, Italy. So until I plan my bucket list travels to Italy, the city of Naples, Florida will have to do!

-Waterside Shops

If you're up for a premier shopping experience, then Waterside Shops is the place to go! With stores like Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom, Rolex, Tiffany & Co, and even Tesla. Plus high fashion labels such as Gucci, Tory Burch, Kate Spade, and Louis Vuitton. The stores surround a sparkling water fountain and lush tropical plants... So even if you don't live the lavish lifestyle, you can still walk around and admire it like I do!
4ocean Bracelet

THE VIBE
While in Naples, the more West you go, (aka closer to the beach), the prettier everything is! My bestie and I couldn't get over the gorgeous architectural homes, with pretty manicured lawns of tropical plants. It definitely has the "island vibe" that I'm attracted to. A place where people ride bikes along the street, its perfectly acceptable to wear a bikini under a t-shirt everywhere you go, and everyone just seems to be in a good mood. 
Beachfront Property Naples, Florida

WEATHER + TIDES
On our first day, we thought a torrential downpour was coming. (I even packed a raincoat and umbrellas because the Weather Channel kept saying it was a 90% chance of rain and thunderstorms.) But we got lucky! It never really rained and we were able to enjoy the beach for a few hours.
Rainstorm Naples

Naples Fishing Pier

Our second day was PERFECT beach weather. Really warm with clear skies and calm tides. My bestie actually had to attend a conference in the area, so I spent the morning walking up and down the beach, just enjoying the Florida sunshine and watching birds chase after a shoal.
Naples Beach, Florida

Shoal of fish Gulf of Mexico

I was trying out various reef-safe sunscreens on the trip, and by far my favorite was from Stream2Sea. They only make mineral-based sunscreen that has been tested and proven safe for both humans and coral larvae. (They're packaging is even made from sugarcane resin to reduce plastic!) While testing it out, I learned so much about the Stream2Sea brand and how harmful regular chemical sunscreen is for our world. I really encourage you to check them out and make the switch to be more reef-friendly. (And you may use my code: "LauraG10" to save some money in the process!πŸ˜‰) I reapplied it with no issues, and never got a sunburn! πŸ‘πŸ‘
Reef Safe Mineral Sunscreen


I know this post was super long, so thank you for making it to the end! I really loved getting to spend time with my bestie in the beautiful city of Naples, Florida.

What beachy town do you think I should visit next? I'm always open to suggestions!
Also, feel free to DM me on Instagram or comment below with any questions you may have.πŸ’–

xx
-Lala
Blenders Eyewear Pink Sunglasses

-Sunglasses: Blenders Eyewear code: "LalaMermaid20"
-Watch: Freestyle Watches code: "Mermaid10"
-Sunscreen: Stream2Sea code: "LauraG10"

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