Naples, Florida is my hometown. Unlike most of the population, I was born and raised here. I have been called “a rare breed,” a “unicorn” and other strange things because of where I was born. You see, most people migrate to Naples from up north. But not me– I’m truly a local! Naples, Florida is mostly a vacation spot, and I will admit, it is a beautiful place to vacation. I wanted to create a guide to this beautiful town, something from a true native and from someone who takes pride in their hometown.
If I had a three day weekend, and I could spend it however I would like in Naples, this is pretty much how it would go.
Head over to Kunjani, a locally owned coffee shop and art gallery. The mother and daughter duo that own the shop and very sweet, and very kind people, and they create a peaceful ambience in their shop. According to their site, they “constantly strive to make a long lasting positive impact.” This is the kind of place where you can sit for a while and hang out, whether it be outside on the patio, or inside their gallery.
When you’re done enjoying your coffee, take a stroll across the street to Waterside Shops. There are some great stores to shop in, and a few great restaurants too. You’ll find high-end stores like Louis Vuitton and Gucci, as well as stores like Ann Taylor, Pottery Barn, and Anthropologie. (PS- there’s a new Free People here, and it is beyond gorgeous!)
Plus, its a generally beautiful walk through the shops. You’ll see gorgeous water features, and you might even spot a few local pups walking around.
You can grab lunch at Waterside at True Food. This place is delicious, and full of lots of healthy veggie options! They also make some awesome cocktails, (I highly recommend the ginger margarita) and have a great outdoor seating area.
Another option for lunch would be to grab some Pub-Subs (especially if you have never had them before– you won’t know what you’re missing until you have one!) Publix subs are sort of a Florida tradition. I’ve linked the closest location here.
If you’re looking for a healthy snack or juice, check out Delicious Raw on your way to the beach! Delicious Raw says, “Our drinks are unharmed by additives, preservatives and pasteurization, which otherwise destroys natural nutrients in juice products bought off the shelf. Nothing is hidden – what you see is what you get.”
Looking for a place to grab an acai bowl? Delicious Raw has some great ones, but you can also check out The Bowl over on Pine Ridge Road.
After you’ve decided what you want for lunch, you’ll head over to Clam Pass for an afternoon at the beach. (I mean, what is a true Florida day without the beach involved?!) Parking is $8.00, so be ready with cash for that.
You can take a tram down the boardwalk or you can take a gorgeous leisurely walk down to the beach, both are pretty enjoyable. (PS- If there’s no parking at Clam Pass, make sure to check out Seagate Beach, just down the road.)
Once you’ve had just about enough of the beach, and you are ready for dinner, rinse off and head over to Mercado.
You’ll want to start at Masa for dinner and margaritas.Their happy hour is 3pm-6pm on Fridays, so catch it if you can! They have $5 bottled beer, select wines, and select margaritas, as well as a $6 food menu. Their guac and chips are amazing, and I highly recommend their Quesadilla con Camarones or their tacos! (PS- This place isn’t super Vegetarian friendly, but you can always substitute things to make it work. We are Peskitarian, so we eat fish while we are here.)
After dinner, have fun exploring Mercado. There are tons of places to check out. But let it be known, many places in Mercado turn into a club-like atmosphere after dark. You can grab a drink and a cigar at Burn, or grab a boozy milkshake at The Counter, whatever your heart desires. If you aren’t feeling Mercado, check out the live music until 10pm at Paradise Wine across the street! The dancing is so much fun to watch, and if you’re feeling up to it– or if you have a little too much wine — jump on in!!
Head on down to 3rd Street, bright and early. If you can, check out the 3rd Street Saturday Morning Market. (7:30 – 11:30)
After you explore, try and get a seat at at Jane’s on 3rd for brunch.
Jane’s has great food, and great service. Plus, there really isn’t a bad seat in the house, this place is adorable!
After you are full, make your way over to the Botanical Gardens to explore for the morning. This place could really take a while to go through, it is HUGE! It is truly a Naples gem.
For the rest of the afternoon I am going to give you two options:
Option #1 – Relax:
Take a stroll down 5 Ave, and grab some Afternoon Tea at Brambles Tearoom. This place is seriously adorable. I am not much of a tea drinker myself, but I highly recommend the Velvet Fog.
After that, just enjoy 5th Ave. There are lots of little shops to look in, and there is a great park just behind 5th. (Cambier Park) Often times, they have Art Fairs and concerts going on there during the weekend.
Also, don’t miss one of the best ice cream spots in town, Regina’s!
Option #2 – Adventure:
If you’re up for a little adventure, and feeling a little outdoorsy, head over to Bayfront where you can rent kayaks! Have fun exploring, and make sure you wear your sunscreen!
Get cleaned up and ready for dinner.
Tonight you’ll be eating at Campiello‘s on third for dinner. It’s a bit of a splurge, but it is one of the most well known amazing dinner spots in Naples. It is very delicious, and the atmosphere is breathtaking.
After dinner, go out for drinks on 5th!
Places to try:
Hob Knob: Great drinks, live music, lively youthful atmosphere
Bar Tulia: Small bar, mostly filled with locals, with excellent cocktails. (I recommend The Last Dragon)
Sheas at Lansdowne Street : Fun Boston-themed bar with friendly staff and a fun atmosphere
Wake up slow and enjoy your morning, then get ready for brunch at The Continental. (They don’t open until 11am, but it’ll be worth the wait.) This place is known for their steaks, but they serve a mean brunch too! Plus they have live music!
Get ready to see an amazing show at around 2pm. The Naples Players has matinees every Sunday. You might be thinking… a community theater show? But, really, you have to trust me. These guys are top notch- every show I have seen there has been truly wonderful. The people there are really passionate and they really put so much time and effort into their work. (PS- I basically grew up doing shows in this theater, so I am a bit biased. But don’t take my word for it– go see a show! Seriously!) Check out tickets and show times here.
After the show, enjoy your last moments in Naples at The Pier for sunset. (AKA – the most “Naples” thing you can do)