The Ultimate Guide to Family Fun in Naples, Florida

Watching turtles at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida

The Conservancy of Southwest Florida Nature Center includes a sea turtle tank, where visitors can watch sea turtles swim.

Making memories is easy in Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades with miles of beautiful, white sand beaches, offshore islands and a variety of year-round attractions to fit your family’s style. Plus, you can take advantage of kids’ programs, countless options for rooms and suites, and even special deals to make the trip affordable and carefree.

Family-Friendly Outdoor Fun

Top-Ranked Beaches

Naples-area beaches are regularly ranked among the best in the world, landing on TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice Awards for the Top 25 Beaches in the U.S. Also, America’s foremost beach expert, Dr. Beach, named Barefoot Beach and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park in north Naples to his list of the top 10 beaches in America in 2015.

Learn to skimboard on Naples Beach, then take a stroll to the iconic Naples Pier where fishermen hang their lines in hopes of a bite. For a peaceful beach scene, head to Tigertail Beach Park on Marco Island. While on this barrier island, you might find yourself birdwatching from a lounge chair or searching for shells on the pristine sand. When the kids begin to lose interest in the natural surroundings, the playground and amenities come in handy.

Fishing Excursions

Reel in memories with a favorite coastal pastime. Fishing charters from the Naples and Marco Island area offer the convenience of a guided boat tour along with the equipment and know-how for catching everything from the elusive tarpon to snook, redfish, sea trout and more.

For families with small children, in-shore fishing is recommended due to calmer waters and an abundance of sea life.Companies like Naples Fishing Charters offers customized fishing tours for your crew, and for those who can’t decide, Day Star Charters offers a unique combination charter for families that incorporates three different Florida experiences in one trip – shelling, dolphin watching and fishing.

With one third of Everglades National Park covered by water, there’s prime opportunity to catch the area’s coveted redfish, bass and bluegill. Charters based in Everglades City will take you to the Ten Thousand Islands for wildlife viewing and mangrove fishing. Fish the Glades is a kid-friendly option offering half- and full-day excursions.

Boats, Boards & Fun on the Water

While there are many attractions on land, the greatest thrill may be just off the coast. Beautiful emerald waters make for a playground of watersports, from jet skiing and paddleboarding to boating and leisurely kayaking. Rent a boat and put on your captain’s hat aboard a vessel from Port of Naples Marina, or opt for a two-seater jet ski from Naples Jet Ski Rental for splash-worthy fun with the family. Stop off at Keewaydin Island – accessible only by boat – for some shore time. If you’d rather not steer the ship, sit back and relax aboard a 27-foot sailing catamaran with Off the Hook Adventures.

Exploring the Everglades

Share your love of nature with your younger travelers at Everglades National Park. This subtropical preserve is home to much of Florida’s wildlife, and the diverse terrain is well suited for hiking, canoeing, kayaking, fresh and saltwater fishing, and camping. To learn more about the area, stop into the Everglades National Park Gulf Coast Visitor Center located in Everglades City or take a guided eco-tour that explores both on land and in the water with Everglades Day Safari.

Attractions Kids Will Love

The Sun-N-Fun Lagoon

Cool off at the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon – the only water park in Naples. The entire family will be pleased to beat the heat while floating the 1,250-foot lazy river or sliding down one of several water slides. For all ages, this water park has five water slides, a 38-foot tall water tower, a family pool and a tadpole pool for toddlers six and under. Children will play on life-size lily pads with super-soaker guns in a designated pool for five to 12 year olds. For the more serious swimmers, there’s a dive and lap pool.

Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Journey into the heart of the Everglades at Audubon’s Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. Kids will delight at the sight of otters, white-tailed deer and red-bellied turtles as they stroll along Corkscrew’s infamous 2.5-mile boardwalk through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, a marsh and finally, into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. You can take on the adventure as a family or opt for a complimentary guided tour. If you have a particular nature lover on your hands, there are numerous specialty tours including an early-bird walk or an ancient forest walking tour.

The Golisano Children’s Museum

For hands-on indoor fun, the Golisano Children’s Museum is a safe bet for children of all ages. This two-story, 30,000-square-foot museum inspires learning through play, teamwork and imagination. The first of its kind in Southwest Florida, the museum is filled with non-stop brain games and interactive exhibits including an Everglades-themed maze and a “Build It!” station for mindful creations.

Resorts & Other Accommodations for Families

Children’s Programs

Is an adults-only date night in the cards? Plan ahead with one of the area’s formalized children’s programs. Resorts including the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club, Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa, Naples Grande Beach Resort, Ritz-Carlton, Naples and The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples all offer programs for children. Both Ritz-Carlton properties feature the environmentally themed Nature’s Wonders program, with a nature center filled with aquariums and other natural beauties to engage young minds.

The Suite Life for Families

Many of Naples’ hotels and resorts also offer multi-room floor plans complete with a kitchen, making it easy for parents to maintain privacy and save time on their family vacation. Accommodations with this option are available at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Naples, Bellasera Hotel, GreenLinks Golf Villas at Lely Resort, The Charter Club Resort of Naples Bay, Marriott Residence Inn, Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, Edgewater Beach Hotel, Marco Beach Ocean Resort, The Quality Inn & Suites Golf Resort and more.

Budget-Friendly Booking

Although Naples has an upscale aura, there are many budget-friendly accommodations providing a relaxing, tropical environment. The Lemon Tree Inn has a lovely tropical courtyard, bicycles for getting around and is within walking distance of downtown Naples shops and beaches. Quality Inn & Suites Golf Resort has a relaxing atmosphere, a championship golf course and a poolside Chickee Bar with entertainment Thursday-Saturday.

Area hotel rates are highest between January and April. Great bargains can be found May through December with rates 25-50 percent off normal winter season rates. Spring and summer values are excellent, but the best rates are usually between September and December, excluding the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday periods.

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