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.
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.
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
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
Naples Kayak Company Pure Naples Jet Ski Rentals & Tours
183 10th Street South, Naples, FL 1200 5th Ave South, Naples, FL
Scootertown Segway of Naples
1095 Bald Eagle Dr, Marco Island, FL 1010 6th Ave South, Naples, FL
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
Top 10 Family Friendly Attractions
1. Cambier Park
755 8th Ave South, Naples, Florida
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
*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
*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
*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
*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
*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
*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
*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
*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
*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.
10. See Manatees Guaranteed
525 Newport Drive, Naples, FL
*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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
8. Pure Naples Jet Boat
1200 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL
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
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
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.