Dave & Ann's Top 10

We are proud to present our top 10 list. Whether you are new to town or just looking for a fresh perspective, feel free to use our experiences as a point of reference.  If you find that one of our "top 10" members is not worthy of the title, please pass along your experience.  Thank you for your confidence in our recommendations!  Click on each title to go to each website. These change periodically, so visit this link often!

Winter Outdoor Excursions

Shark Valley Tram Tours

This is a two-hour, open air tour that loops around for fifteen miles through a section of the Everglades National Park.  Park-trained guides describe the Everglades ecosystems, always on the lookout for wildlife in the sawgrass prairies.  A 45-foot high tower with observation deck offers a beautiful view for 20 miles. 

Corkscrew Swamp

A National Audubon Society sanctuary provides a 2.25 mile boardwalk meandering through pinelands, cypress swamps, and wet prairies and hardwood hammocks.  It is a breeding area for endangered Wood Storks and throughout the year almost 200 birds permanently or temporarily reside in the sanctuary.      

 

J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Located on the island of Sanibel, the refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystems in the U.S.

It has a large diversity of species:  60 species of reptiles and amphibians, 33 species of mammals and 102 species of fish.  It provides feeding, nesting and roosting areas for spectacular migratory bird populations.  Several endangered species of alligators, storks, manatees, and turtles benefit from its habitats. 

Corey Bille's Airboat Rides

A true native Seminole, Billie understands and is committed to preserving the Everglades. The 45-minute airboat ride glides through the natural, scenic beauty of a 200-acre preserve in the Everglades.

Rookery Bay

The Environmental Learning Center offers a variety of interactive exhibits addressing research ongoing within the Reserve as well as a 2,300-gallon aquarium, a nature store and a picnic area.  Outdoor activities include walking trails, canoeing/kayaking trails, birdwatching on a half-mile boardwalk, and fishing. 

Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

The Naples Zoo's one-mile natural pathway winds through lush habitats around the 52-acre area.  Huge ficus trees provide a shade canopy over the paths.  At times the animals are just steps away in the main exhibits:  Alligator Bay, African Oasis, Leopard Rock, Lake Victoria, Lion's Lair, Panther Glade, Black Bear Hammock, Tiger Forest and Backyard Habitat. 

 

Naples Botanical Garden

Naples Botanical Garden offers six cultivated gardens featuring the plants and cultures of Brazil, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia and Florida, a hands-on interactive Children's Garden and a Butterfly Garden.  There are 2.5 miles of walking trails and 90-acres of beautifully restored native preserve.  This 170-acre world-class garden paradise offer educational entertainment and enjoyment for people of all ages. 

 

The Dolphin Explorer

Professionally crewed by a USCG Master Captain and Mate, who is a master naturalist and wildlife photographer, the 36-foot powered catamaran navigates the Gulf and the backwater estuaries.  It is perfect for getting very close to observe and photograph marine life. The Explorer visits remote barrier island beaches where the naturalist explains the different sea shells.  Guests have the opportunity of participating in The Dolphin Project, by sighting, counting and confirming individual dolphins.  www.dolphin-explorer.com

Old Naples Cycling Tour

Enjoy a leisurely bicycle ride through Historic Old Naples and the surrounding neighborhoods.  Visit the Naples City Dock to view the bay and the Naples Pier to see the fishermen catching dinner!  Another tour, led by a Certified Naturalist guide, takes riders through a portion of the Everglades that offers excellent viewing of wildlife, birds, butterflies and plants. 

Naples Kayak Company

Guided tours are available by reservation from this kayak outfitter which won multiple awards from major paddle sports magazines.  They offer rentals and guided tours to five great water locations, as well as private and group lessons.  www.napleskayakcompany.com

Summer Dining Options:

1)  Naples Boathouse  Feel like you are dining al fresco in this fabulous waterfront setting, but enjoy the comfort of air conditioned dining.  Prices are reasonable, lots of choice, and food is great.  Old Florida charm abounds in this olde Naples favorite.

2) Turtle Club at Vanderbilt Beach Dine watching another fantastic Naples sunset at this beachfront gem.  Inside or out, you'll catch the famous Gulf Coast breezes and enjoy a super menu of goodies from the sea.

3) AZN at Mercato From the energy of Mercato to the fabulous, high quality Asian treats, you will not be disappointed.  For a night on the town or just a Sushi appetizer, this spot is a treat.

4) M Waterfront Grille This lively environment offers state of the art preparation and uniqe presentation.  The large, lively bar provides a great gathering place for large groups and the food is great.  Situated in Venetian Village it can be a great end to a day of shopping.

5) Brio at Waterside Dine outside in the air conditioning (yes, really) in a cozy booth behind the covered outdoor bar.  The food is reasonably priced and predicatbly quality and delicious.  Another super dining and shopping combination.

6) Naples Tomato Certainly not the least expensive of the Italian Restaurants in town, but excellent food, uniquely or traditionally prepared and just as good of an option for lunch OR dinner.  Almost in Bonita Springs, this place is understatedly located in a plaza off Route 41.

7) Big Al's Catch your favorite summer ball game on one of the hundreds of TVs hanging from the wall (well, maybe 50!)...Food is reasonable and basic, but good.  A real sports bar, but it doesn't feel like a chain, located across from Pelican Bay.

8) Campiello Inside or out, summer or winter, this place never changes.  The menu, the ambiance, the quality of food, and the terrific 3rd street location are all winners in our book.

9) Tropical Smoothie Cafe, Carillion Shopping Center on Airport Rd.... OK, it might not be the most glamorous place in Naples, but the King Caesar Chicken Wrap is to die for!  The quality of the food, friendliness of the staff, cleanliness,  and the price are all winners!  And you will love the entrepreneurial spirit of the owner...and the prime employee in our book, our son Scotty Renner! 

 

 Dave & Ann's Top 10 Service Providers

 Handy Man Service:  JJF Construction   239-777-1393

 Air Conditioning:  Conditioned Air  239-643-2445 

 Flooring:  Floors 'N More Direct  239-643-3336

 Landscaping:  Darling Landscape  239-821-3999

 Pest Control:  Massey Services  239-643-2828

 Rodent Control:  Dame's Pest Control  239-775-8855

 Exterior Painting:  Jim Messina, Messina Construction  239-293-6895

 Lighting:  Wilson Lighting  239-592-6006

 Carpentry:  Andy Guerra, Classic Finish Carpentry  239-939-4960

 Custom Builder:  Distinctive Communities, Dave Sturdyvin  239-594-9596 

 

Top 10 Beaches 

1.  Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park

      Barefoot Beach Blvd., Bonita Beach, FL

2.  Clam Pass Park

     410 Seagate Drive, Naples, FL

3.  Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

     11135 Gulf Shore Drive, Naples, FL

4.  Dog Beach Park

     8800 Estero Blvd., Bonita Beach, FL

5.   Lovers Key State Park

     North end of Bonita Beach

6.  Lowdermilk Park on Naples, Beach

     1301 Gulf Shore Blvd. N, Naples, FL

7.  Naples Beach & Fishing Pier

     25-12th Avenue South, Naples, FL 239-213-3062

8.  South Marco Beach Access

     South Collier Boulevard, Marco Island, FL

9.  Tigertail Beach

     400 Hernando Drive, Marco Island, FL

10.  Vanderbilt Beach Park

     280 Vanderbilt Beach Road, Naples, FL 

 

 Top 10 Year-Round Activities

 

Cool Beans Cruises            Extreme Bicycle, Kayak & Paddleboard

278 Capri Blvd., Naples, FL                 Rentals      423 Bayfront Place, Naples, FL

239-777-0020                                   239-774-0061

www.coolbeanscruises.com                  www.etremefamilyfunspot.com

 

Mangrove Outfitters                    Marco Island Water Sprots

4111 E. Tamiami Trail, Naples, FL          Marriott Beach Resort  239-642-2359

239-793-3370                                     Hilton Marco Island   239-642-3377

www.mangroveoutfitters.com                  Marriott's Crystal Shores  239-394-4344

                                                          www.marcoislandwatersports.com

 

Naples Kayak Company              Pure Naples Jet Ski Rentals & Tours

183 10th Street South, Naples, FL            1200 5th Ave South, Naples, FL

239-262-6149                                        239-263-4949

www.naplesdayakcompany.com                 www.purenaples.com

 

Scootertown                                      Segway of Naples

1095 Bald Eagle Dr, Marco Island, FL         1010 6th Ave South, Naples, FL

239-394-8400                                         239-262-7300

www.islandbikeshops.com                          www.experience-naples.com

 

The Spa at Naples Beach                 Sunshine Tours & Charters

Hotel & Golf Club                               Rose Marina, 951 Bald Eagle Drive

851 Gulf Shore Blvd. North, Naples, FL         Marco Island, FL

239-659-4304                                          239-642-5415

www.naplesbeachhotel.com                         www.sunshinetoursmarcoisland.com

 

 Top 10 Family Friendly Attractions

 1.  Cambier Park

755 8th Ave South, Naples, Florida

239-213-3058    www.naplesgov.com

Grassy Play areas and a community-build playground, covered pavilion, picnic area and restrooms cover the basics for fum.  Also features a premier public tennis facility with coin-lit courts for evening play.  the Cambier Park Bandshell was named the "Best Place for Live Music" and "Best Free Fun".

 

 2.  Collier County Museum

3331 Tamiami Trail East, Naples, Florida

239-252-8476  www.colliermuseums.com

More than 10,000 years of Southwest Florida's history comes alive.  Learn about mastodons, saber-toothed cats, Calusa Indians and pioneers who called the area home.  Explore native gardens, swamp buggies, a logging locomotive, a World War II Sherman tank and more.  Open year-round.  Admission is free, but donations are accepted.

 

3.  Extreme Family Fun Spot

 423 Bayfront Place, Naples, FLorida

239-774-0061   www.extremefamilyfunspot.com

Fun activities for all ages.  Rent a boat and explore Naples' waterways on your own, take a Bayfront CoveRunner narrated dolphin watch or shelling-picnic tour.  Segway PT Gliding Tours are great fun for adults and kids over 90 lbs.  Also offers bicycle, single and tandem kayaks and standup paddleboard rentals

 

4.  Golisano Children's Museum of Naples

 15080 Livingston Road, Naples, Florida

239-514-0084   www.cmon.org

The Golisano Children's Museum of Naples (C"mon) is an environment devoted exclusively to child's play and the serious business of discovery.  The 30,000 square-foot Museum is considered to be one of the finest children's museums in the U.S.  It is fully accessible regardless of physical or learning abilities.

 

5.  Mackle Community Park

1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island, Florida

239-642-0575   www.cityofmarcoisland.com

 Features covered basketball courts, shuffleboard and bocce ball, an indoor game room with ping pong and an X-box and the Kid's Cove playground.  As well as a 10 acre lake surrounded by a walking trail, Canine Cove Dog Park, and the little ones will love the splash fountain at Spray Park.

 

6.  Naples Botanical Garden

Smith Children's Garden

4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples, Florida

239-643-7275   www.naplesgarden.org

A carefree world of flowers, butterflies and a hidden garden.  Cool off in the splash court and discover the Butterfly House before climbing the two-story tree house in the center of the garden.  Explore kid-sixe habitats from tree to sea, including the Everglades and waterfall cave. 

 

7.  Naples Municipal Beach & Fishing Pier

25-12th Avenue South, Naples, Florida

239-213-3062

A community landmark since 1888.  The beach and the Pier extending 1000 feet into the Gulf of Mexico is a hub for activity and gathering to watch sunsets.  Fishing from the Pier 24 hours a day.  Frozen shrimp bait available, no license required.  Concessions and restrooms available.  

 

8.  Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

1590 Goodlette Road, Naples, Florida

239-262-5409  www.napleszoo.com

Discover a widly fun day from apes to zebras in the tropical jungle of this historic botanical garden.  Hand-feed giraffes.  Get close to tigers, bears and more at glass walls. Enjoy feature shows,alligator feedings, and a cruise through islands of monkeys.  Voted "Best Place to Take the Kids".

 

9.  Pure Naples

1200 5th Avenue South, Naples, Florida

239-263-4949    www.purenaples.com

Cruise at your own pace with a Hurricane Deck Boat rental.  New, easy operation boats are equipped with GPS, life jackets, cruise chart and safety equipment.  Bimini top offers sun protection.  Lee luxurious real estate, enjoy lunch on Marco Island or take the family fishing in Naples Bay.  Available Daily.  

 

10.  Sun-N-Fun Lagoon  

 15000 Livingston Road, Naples, Florida

239-252-4021   www.napleswaterpark.com

Enjoy 1 million gallons of water fun located inside the North Collier Regional Park.  The variety of water features will keep the kids busy for hours.  Amenities include water slides, water pistols, Sunny's River, four pools plus a tadpole pool for the little ones.  Operating hours vary... see add for details.

 

 

 Top 10 Tours

 1.  Big Cypress Swamp Walk

52388 Tamiami Trail, Ochopee, FL

239-695-2428     www.clydebutcher.com

*Experience this unspoiled treasure on a guided 90 minute eco-tour.  Traverse through vibrant colors and mysterious sounds while learning about the fragile Everglades ecosystem.   Knowledgeable guides point out exotic orchids, bromeliads, native birds and a host of swamp critters.  Tours are offered each Saturday.  Private walks also available.  Reservations required.

 

2.  The Dolphin Explorer

Marco River Marina

951 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island, FL

239-642-6899  www.dolphin-study.com

*Join a survey crew on a daily three-hour expedition in sighting and studying the dolphins of Southwest Florida.  View and photograph them as they play and travel with friends.  More than 200 are named and cataloged.  Learn their names and what they do.  When you sight a new dolphin, you get to name it.  

 

3.  Extreme Bayfront Cove Runners Tours

423 Bayfront Place, Naples, FL

239-774-0061  www.extremefamilyfunspot.com

*See Naples by water on a unique tour boat offering 360 degree views from comfortable padded seats with sun protection under its bright yellow canvas top.  Daily narrated dolphin, Bay. and sunset cruises complete with island music.  Keewaydin Island shelling and picknicking trips can be arranged.

 

4.  Island Bike Tours

1095 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island, FL

239-348-5667   www.islandbikeshops.com

*Explore Marco by bicycle.  Nature Tour highlights the Island's beautiful homes and waterways, rich history, and abundant nature and wildlife.  Sunset Tour is similar, but includes watching the sunset.  Bicycles upright riding position, and comfortable seats, are easy to pedal and brake for both the beginner and avid cyclist.

 

5.  Marco Island Water Sports

Marriott Beach Resort  239-642-2359

Hilton Marco Island   239-642-3377

Marriott's Crystal Shores  239-394-4344

www.marcoislandwatersports.com

*Experience an unforgettable 1 1/2 or 2 hour WaveRunner adventure into the Everglades 10,000 Islands with a professionally trained guide.  Cruise through subtropical mangrove forest passages on a new deluxe Yamaha WaveRunner.  You'll be thrilled by eco-sensitive encounters with dolphins, manatees, native birds and other wildlife in their natural habitat.

 

6.  Naples Bicycle Tours

Location Varies, Naples, FL

239-455-4611   www.naplesbicycletours.com

*Observe the area on a Guided Bicycle Tour.  Explore Old Naples with exceptional Gulf and Bay views, restored old-style homes and modern-day architecture.  Find the hidden treasures of Marco Island or experience the amazing Everglades.  All equipment included for a unique and memorable bicycle outing.  Reservations required.

 

7.  Naples Trolley Tours

1010 6th Avenue South, Naples, FL

239-262-7300    www.experience-naples.com

 *See more than 100 points of interest during a narrated tour aboard a vintage trolley.  Learn the history and legends of Naples.  Hop-on hop-off privileges at numerous trolley stops to eat, sightsee and shop.  Two-day and monthly passes avilable.  Special group rates and charter services also available.  No reservations required.

 

8.  Orange Jeep Tours

5076 Annunciation Circle, Ave Maria, FL

239-434-5337   www.orangejeeptours.com

*Engaging 90 minute narrated off-road tour through wetlands and uplands include local history and an opportunity to see native Southwest Florida wildlife including alligator, deer, bear and birds.  Each custom-outfitted, open-air Jeep can accommodate up to six passengers.  The area's newest authentic eco-adventure tours depart form the Ave Maria Information Center.

 

9.  Pure Naples Cruises

1200 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL

239-263-4949   www.purenaples.com

*Experience Naples from the water aboard the M/V Double Sunshine.  Five 1 1/2 hour narrated cruises daily.  See dolphins, manatees, bald eagles, mansions and more while discovering Gordon River and Naples Bay history.  Sunset cruise departs 1 hour before sunset.  Specialty, private and Event cruises available.  Beer, vind bar and facilities on board.  Reservations recommended.

 

10See Manatees Guaranteed

525 Newport Drive, Naples, FL

239-642-8818   www.see-manatees.com

*Join captains Barry and Carol on a fascinating 1 1/2 hour Eco-Boat Tour into a remote manatee Everglades hideout for a guaranteed up-close and personal visit with these amazing, gentle creatures.  If you don't see a manatee, you don't pay for the tour.  Maximum of 6 passengers with fully covered boats.  Reservations required.

 

 

Dave & Ann's Top 10 Area Attractions

 

1.  Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

375 Sanctuary Road West, Naples, FL

239-348-9151    www.corkscrewaudubon.org

This Preserve is home to the largest remaining stand of old growth bald cypress in North America, to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer and red-bellied turtles, and is the Western Everglades gateway.  Wading birds, songbirds, and raptors can be seen year round.  Features a 2.25 mile boardwalk trail.

 

2.  Marco Island Historical Museum

180 South Heathwood Dr., Marco Island, FL

239-642-1440   www.colliermuseums.com

Explore the museum complex designed to portray a Calusa Indian Village.  Located on a shell mound featuring unique Marco area pioneer artifacts, historical information and displays.  Grounds include a lagoon with fishing pier, natural wetlands, observation platform and Gift Shop.  Open Tuesday through Saturday 9am to 4pm.

 

3.  Naples Art Association at The Von Liebig Art Center

585 Park Street, Naples, FL

239-642-1440    www.naplesart.org

This cultural resource and community art center located in downtown Naples features art exhibitions, adult and children's art classes, top ranked art festivals, informative lectures, an extensive art library and gift shop.  Open Monday through Friday 10am to 4pm and Saturday Seasonally.

 

4.  Naples Botanical Garden

4820 Bayshore Drive, Naples, FL

239-643-7275   www.naplesgarden.org

This 170-acre tropical garden oasis showcases designs of world-renowned landscape architects featuring cultivated gardens of Florida, Brazil, Asia, and the Caribbean.  Enjoy the Water Garden filled with water lilies, lotus, and papyrus.  Explore 90 acres of restored natural habitats and trails.  The Smith Children's Garden is a delight.

 

5.  Naples Princess Cruises

550 Port-O-Call Way, Naples, FL

239-649-2275    www.naplesprincesscruises.com

One of the most elegant yachts in Southwest Florida, the three level 105 foot air-conditioned Naples Princes can accommodate up to 149 passengers.  Daily Sightseeing, Lunch, Sunset Hors d'oeuvres and Sunset Dinner cruises.  Enjoy beautiful sunsets and majestic scenery.  Dine on delicious items prepared fresh daily.  Private charters and weddings available.

 

6.  Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens

1590 Goodlette-Frank Road, Naples, FL

239-262-5409   www.napleszoo.org

Discover a wildly fun day from apes to zebras in the tropical jungle of this historical botanical garden.  Hand-feed giraffes.  Get close to tigers, bears and more at glass walls.  Enjoy feature shows, alligator feedings, and a cruise through islands of monkeys.  Voted "Best Place to Take the Kids."

 

7.  Philharmonic Center for the Arts & Naples Museum of Art

 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., Naples, FL

239-597-1900     www.thephil.org

 Features both the performing and visual arts in a single complex and also hosts a resident orchestra.  Naples Museum of Art's 15 galleries and glass-dome conservatory showcase world-class paintings, sculpture, drawings and other art forms.  Museum Store and Garden Cafe'.  Closed Mondays and major holidays.

 

8Pure Naples Jet Boat

1200 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL

239-263-4949    www.purenaples.com

Explore Naples' waterways; see dolphins and more aboard a  23 passenger jet boat that's fun for all ages.  Thrill to 360 degree adrenaline turns.  Pure Naples Jet Boat eco thrill rides reach speeds in excess of 35 miles per hour.  Daily departures offered.  Private or group rides are also available.

 

9.  Seminole Casino Immokalee

506 South 1st Street, Immokalee, FL

800-218-0007    www.seminoleimmokaleecasino.com

Just like Vegas, Seminole Casino is open 24/7.  With over 1200 slot machines and tons of high paying progressive games, there's plenty to do and lots to win.  Try your luck at Blackjack, Pai Gow, Mini-Baccarat or catch a game in the award winning Poker room.  Just like the action, the fantastic food is nonstop.

 

10.  Tin City

1200 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL

239-262-4200    www.tin-city.com

Once the hub of Naples' fishing industry, this nostalgic shopping destination now offers a colorful maritime mix of shops and eateries.  Today, Tin City is home to 3 unique buildings, more than 30 charming boutiques, 2 waterfront restaurants and a variety of water adventures including jet boat thrill rides, cruises, fishing charters and more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

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