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1st time in Naples

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posts: 70
1st time in Naples

First time visiting - staying at Briar's Landing (hubby & I) 8 days & will have a car. Any advice as to must or should do's. Love beaches, nature, etc., also is there a good gym in the area? Thanks for any info.

posts: 2,441
reviews: 7
1. Re: 1st time in Naples

If you really are into nature, I would recommend a few things:

1) Take a trip into the Everglades and bike Shark Valley. You can rent bikes at SV or bring your own and it takes approximately 2 hours, depending on how many times you stop. You will see TONS of alligators and exotic birds. WELL worth the trip for any nature lover!!

2) Go on a kayak tour. In the winter, you can get free tours through Big Cypress, but if you're going soon, you will have to pay for the tour you choose. You can kayak through the mangroves and see sharks, manatees, etc.. You could also rent a boat for the day or take a jet ski tour, but no matter what you choose . . . GET OUT ONTO THE WATER!!!! That is the allure of Southwest Florida.

3) Go down to Marco Island for the day and visit TIgertail Beach. You will have to cross a small lagoon to get to the actual beach area, but it is a very natural beach and has a lot of opportunities for wildlife viewing (crabs, osprey, etc).

4) If you don't mind traveling and you want a great experience, drive to the Keys (don't go all the way to Key West, but get as far as the middle keys/Islamorada area) for the day. It will be a LONG day, but an enjoyable one. Go to Robbie's in Islamorada to feed the tarpon, go snorkeling at Pennekamp State Park if you don't mind allotting a big portion of your day to that, and just have a blast!!!

Good luck and HAVE FUN!!! We will be down there (Marco) in another week for a two week stay and I seriously CAN'T WAIT!!!!

Naples, Florida
Destination Expert
for Naples
posts: 256
reviews: 19
2. Re: 1st time in Naples


Stop by the Naples Visitor Center to pick up information and discount coupons for various activities in the Naples/Marco/Everglades areas. The staff there is helpful and there are computers for you to check your email, if necessary.

In one of the books you pick up at the visitor center, will be a list of all of the beaches in Naples. Bring quarters for beach parking. After the visitor center, you could take a stroll down 5th avenue or go to Tin City. Many restaurants to have lunch/dinner or cocktails.

Marco Island is just a short trip. We went on the Dolphin Explorer tour that leaves from a marina in Marco Island last July and thought this was great. The trip is 2 or 3 hrs, we saw plenty of dolphin and wildlife and we went to a secluded beach for shelling and swimming. You can pack your own snacks/drinks.

Don't forget to visit the Naples Pier (beautiful pictures at sunset), you could go to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, or the Naples Zoo.

Sanibel Island will be a little further of a drive than Marco (also $6 toll) but that is another possibility for a day of shelling or nature exploring (Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge).

Remember to take time to just enjoy the beaches and the Gulf water! 8 days goes fast once you are there :(

Saw your other post re: car rental- we have had great success with Hotwire. Sometimes it is a waiting game, but we tend to get the best rates on that site. Have also used Priceline in the past. We rent from Ft Myers airport.

Have a great trip!

New York City, New...
posts: 3,031
reviews: 5
3. Re: 1st time in Naples

In addition to the Zoo and Corkscrew you have the Conservancy Of South West Florida and the Botanical Gardens



As for gyms, I work out at the County Gym In North Naples so I cannot comment on how good the gyms are in East Naples. I do know there is a Retro Fitness on Davis and a Planet Fitness on the East Trail.



Enjoy Naples!

posts: 70
4. Re: 1st time in Naples

Thanks so much - great info. Leaving next Friday - can't wait.

posts: 70
5. Re: 1st time in Naples

Great tips and info - thanks so much. We live in the mountains and it's still pretty chilly - can't wait to lie on a beautiful beach. Thanks much

posts: 70
6. Re: 1st time in Naples

Thank you - will check them out.

posts: 3
reviews: 1
7. Re: 1st time in Naples


I'm going to be in the area next week. I'm looking into the everglades but now thinking of skipping this because I hear there isn't much wildlife in the summer and the mosquitoes are horrendous. Do you know about going during this time?

Also question about the kayaking. I have my own kayaks I'll be bringing, when you talk about seeing manatees and sharks, where is this at?


posts: 2,441
reviews: 7
8. Re: 1st time in Naples

TravelGirl- We spend most of our summers on Marco and make several trips into the Everglades while there. We usually visit Shark Valley and NEVER fail to see dozens of alligators and some pretty impressive bird species! I wasn't even interested in birds until touring the Everglades!! If you just drive through, you probably won't see much . . . You have to spend some time and go to the right places. I HIGHLY recommend biking Shark Valley to see wildlife. Also, we don't usually have problems with mosquitoes unless we are driving through at dawn or dusk. Then, you will be swamped with them!! Stay away from vegetation, too. I would take spray with you just in case, but you probably won't even need it.

As for kayaking, I would go out of Caxambas toward the ocean and then visit some of the islands that are visible from the launching point. This is probably as good a place as any to spot manatees and sharks. It is also BEAUTIFUL with or without the wildlife spottings! Enjoy!!

Tampa, Florida
posts: 87
reviews: 29
9. Re: 1st time in Naples

Just got back, stay at the Cove Inn, on the public marina, wonderful....Just a half hour ride to the Everglades, Marco Island, Goodland..

posts: 3
reviews: 1
10. Re: 1st time in Naples

Thanks for the advice 'marcomamma'. I do hope to see some sharks and manatees! Although it may be beautiful minus the wildlife it is a highlight of all my trips the 'wild' animals I get to see.

Thanks 'GreatNeck'. Since you were just there you would be best to ask about the weather and experiences going on right now. I'm going down this weekend. Did you go to the Everglades? If so, any suggestions? I was going to go, never been, but everyone is telling me that it's too hot, the mosquitoes are horrendous and the wildlife is non-existent as they are too hiding from the heat. If this is the case any other ideas, thinking of just skipping the everglades stuff therefore have more time to explore the naples/fort myers area.


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