If you’re looking for a perfect destination for a sunny family vacation, you’ll want to explore Southwest Florida. In fact, we’re kind of infatuated with all of the fun things to do in Naples with kids. Whether you’re looking to spend a week trying different Gulf beaches, kayak, and cruise to small islands scattered with the perfect shells, or explore the parks and city attractions inland, you’ll love your time here. Of course, this posh Florida town also boasts high-end shopping and golf courses, along with its sugar-sand beaches. Plus, you can’t miss the Naples Pier. From the moments you spend on the water and in the sand to the evenings when you shop and dine along 5th Avenue, we’ve gathered a helpful list of all the best family things to do in Naples. Most importantly, when you visit Naples your family will make amazing vacation memories together.
Explore Naples Beaches
In a state known for its beautiful beaches, Naples offers many of the state’s best, making a day at the beach one of the best things to do in Naples with kids. When you check out local beaches, you’ll find soft white sand and shallow warm water, which makes these beaches perfect for swimming with littles. If you’re looking for shells, Naples beaches are well-known for shelling. While it’s hard to narrow down our favorite beaches in Naples, the most iconic is Naples Beach at Naples Pier. A town landmark and gathering place for fishing and dolphin-watching, the Naples Pier is also an Instagram-worthy option for catching gorgeous sunsets. Not only is the pier a destination in itself, but the beach is very family-friendly with life jackets available to borrow for the kids, a concession stand, and restrooms with outdoor showers.
Another family-friendly beach in Naples is Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. When you come to play at this beach, you’ll encounter the wilder side of Florida’s beaches. Along with the sunshine on the beach, you’ll also find shady spots among the palm trees for picnicking. For breaks from the water, check out the short boardwalk path at the far end of the park. Another plus of Delnor-Wiggins is the Naples Beach Adventures rental station, offering concessions, paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, and beach chairs. Looking for more time at the beach? Try Lowdermilk Park, providing a beautiful beach, playgrounds, and sand volleyball courts. Finally, beautiful Clam Pass Park is also popular and your kids will love the free tram that will ferry your family to the sand.
Play and Learn at the Golisano Children’s Museum
C’mon down to the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples for interactive learning and fun at one of the best things to do in Naples with kids. From the hands-on exhibits to the changing daily activities, this is a fantastic place to add to your southwest Florida vacation itinerary. We love when attractions tailor to specific ages and C’mon does this. For example, kids aged 8-14 can visit the Curious Kids space. Infants through age 3 can explore the ABC Tot Lot, a gated area designed for the youngest visitors. Of course, there are exhibits designed to excite all kids. Specifically, there are exhibits for young artists, inventors, and future veterinarians. Your outdoor enthusiast will love the C’mon beach environment, as well as a giant Banyan tree. Kids can even climb from floor to floor! Before you leave, head outside and find your way through the hedge maze.
Splash Together at Sun-N-Fun Lagoon
When you take a family vacation to South Florida, you’ll want to plan activities for your kids to cool down. Of course, the beach is perfect for that, but for days when you need to change things up, why not visit the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon waterpark? Even though the Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is undergoing a major makeover (set to reopen in Summer 2021), we couldn’t leave it off our list of best things to do in Naples with kids. While specific attractions at this waterpark are being upgraded, we’re confident it’ll be a place your family will want to spend the day. From multiple waterslides to a lazy river to a splash ground, there will be water activities for everyone from toddlers to teens. No doubt the things families have loved about Sun-N-Fun Lagoon in the past, like the chairs, umbrellas, and cozy feel will continue to describe this Naples waterpark!
Soak in Tranquility at Naples Botanical Garden
Naples has a sub-tropical climate where winters are very mild, which makes this a perfect place to seek out the cultivated beauty at the Naples Botanical Garden. Although this world-class garden is relatively young, curators excel at creating a paradise in Southwest Florida. When you take the family to soak in all of the natural beauty here, your kids will have adventures at the Smith Children’s Garden. This “whimsical and wonderful place to explore”, is sure to delight your kids! In addition to the fun they will have climbing through the treehouse and splashing in the water fountains, your kids can learn about the habitats of Florida. From cypress swamps, hardwood hammocks, and shell mounds, you can check out all of Florida’s native ecosystems in one place. Finally, the Gardens offer a daily W.O.N.D.E.R program with fun activities and lessons centered around a different monthly theme.
Before visiting Naples Botanical Garden, check out their COVID safety planning information. Also, note that events and programs are temporarily suspended, but visit #stayplanted for at-home family educational activities.
Take to the Water on a Naples Cruise
A Naples family vacation can’t help but feature water fun. In addition to spending time at the beach, families love cruise adventures. While there are several types of cruise companies to choose from, here are three that come highly recommended by the members of our Families Love Travel community. First, we’ve had great experiences with Pure Naples. Whether you want to dolphin watch, view the sunset, fish, or simply sightsee around Naples, they have a cruise for your family. Plus, Pure Naples launches from the convenient location at Tin City. Another great option is Sweet Liberty Sailing which will take your family on a sightseeing, shelling, or sunset cruise aboard their sailing catamaran. Finally, our third recommendation, located in Marco Island, is Pirates of Marco Island. Along with standard cruise options, they also run a pirate interactive adventure cruise. Your swashbuckling kiddos will delight in this unique opportunity!
Before booking your time on the water, please review the COVID-19 practices for each location, which can be found on their respective websites.
Discover Animals at the Naples Zoo
The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens will be a highlight of any animal-loving family’s Florida vacation. Given that the zoo was a tropical garden before animals were added, you’ll not only discover exciting animals, but you will do so in a beautiful setting that brings you close to the animals. Along with the variety of mammals, reptiles, and birds you’ll see, your family will also enjoy taking the Primate Expedition Cruise. This brief experience is jam-packed with action and is also included with general admission. You won’t want to miss this adventure aboard a guided catamaran that takes you past islands of primates in their natural habitats. After the cruise, check out the Safari Canyon Show featuring animals only seen during the show. Finally, if you’re there at the right time, watch the Alligator Bay Feeding and see trainers hand-feed alligators.
Pick a Naples City Park and Play
Naples has a variety of fun parks and playgrounds that are perfect free activities for low-key days. Knowing this and knowing that sometimes parents need a chance to sit and chill while the kids run around and play, we’re adding a couple of parks to this list of best things to do in Naples with kids. One park that is super close to the shops and restaurants of downtown Naples is Cambier Park. The castle-like playground at Cambier is definitely a highlight. When you visit, you’ll find designated sections for younger and older kids. In addition, there are plenty of nearby shaded picnic areas. Baker Park is another gorgeous park in Naples. Featuring beautiful boardwalks and a fun playground, this is a great place to spend a few hours. Also, know that several Naples beaches also have playgrounds that your kids will want to explore too!
Kayak through Mangrove Forests and Around the Shelling Islands
With so many waterways in the area, kayaking is a perfect thing to do in Naples with kids. Whether you’re looking for a guided tour or to rent a kayak for self-exploration, this is a great experience for your family. Of course, you’ll find several kayaking outfitters in Naples, and we’ve picked two of our favorites. First, Eco Endeavors is an option that offers either a guided tour or the convenience of kayak delivery to you in either Marco Island or Naples. Second, we recommend the small outfitter operated from the Capri Fish House restaurant. Here, launch your kayak journey to explore mangrove waterways or an isolated barrier island where you’ll find rare shells. We love the laid-back experience with Capri Fish House – especially the opportunity to watch dolphins as you paddle this gorgeous waterway.
Before booking your kayak tour, please review the COVID-19 practices for each location, which can be found on their respective websites.
Adventure to Everglades National Park
Nature lovers will want to check out Everglades National Park when visiting Naples with kids. In fact, you can reach the park in under an hour. Everglades National Park offers families the opportunity to canoe through mangroves while looking for migrating birds, manatees, and, of course, Florida’s infamous alligators. What’s more, Everglades National Park is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist! One popular activity your family will love in the Everglades is to take an airboat tour. Our Facebook community recommends Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours and Speedy’s Airboat Tours. Take one of these adventures and you’ll experience one of the most unique natural wonders in the United States. Hopefully, you’ll see alligators or manatees, but you’ll definitely have a blast with your family. If you want to explore more of the Everglades, why not take a tour, a hike, or rent a canoe?
Pro Tip: The Everglades are truly a memorable destination for your South Florida vacation. However, if you run out of time for a day trip and still want to explore nature in the Naples area, check out the Naples Preserve. Its perfect short nature walks over stroller-friendly boardwalks makes it one of the best thing to do in Naples with kids. Your kids will love spotting tortoises and rabbits, as well as butterflies flitting around.
What Our Families Say
“Touring the Everglades on an air-boat was the best way to discover the hidden waterways and the wildlife blending in. Although very loud, the kids loved flying through the different water paths and stopping along the way to check out alligators and beautiful birds. An airboat is the best way to see the Everglades if you only have a short time.”– Alison Netzer
Get Your Style on While Strolling Fifth Avenue
Next on our list of kid-friendly activities in Naples is 5th Avenue South. This historic and trendy district is located in downtown Naples. As soon as you turn onto the street, you’ll admire the charm. With palm trees that line the sidewalks and floating, lit orbs, this is a great place to explore and experience Naples at night. Be sure to duck into cafes and shops on a whim, but if you’re stopping by after playing at nearby Cambier Park, your kids will delight in ending the day with a sweet treat. No doubt, your family will find something you love at Grace & Shelly’s Cupcakes or Regina’s Ice Cream. If you have time, take the Naples Trolley Tour (departing from Tin City). You can hop on and off at 5th Avenue. This stress-free option means you won’t need to worry about parking!
Get Inspired at the Edison and Ford Estates on a Fort Myers Day Trip
History lovers, when you visit Naples, plan a day trip to Fort Myers and visit the Edison and Ford Estates. Located about an hour’s drive from Naples, these are the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. During your visit, you’ll see their homes and surrounding botanical gardens, as well as find inspiration in the Edison Research Botanical Laboratory. If Ford and Edison were to step forward into these laboratories today, they would find their original equipment and machinery. What a great place to inspire young inventors. While at the Estates, visit the museum and learn about the innovative minds of these great inventors. Several other nearby experiences may be intriguing options for your family, like the River Cruises and the Smithsonian Spark Lab. Be sure to check their availability before you go. In addition to these experiences, a variety of tours are also offered.
Thank You To Our Community!
A special thank you to the Families Who Love To Travel Facebook community who generously shared their travel advice and top picks for this list of Best Things To Do In Naples With Kids We could not have compiled such a thoughtful and helpful list without their dedication to our community. Families Who Love To Travel is a group of amazing families who love exploring through travel. For more family vacation recommendations and inspiration, be sure to join us on Facebook at Families Who Love To Travel. We’re a community of experienced traveling families who love adventure and seeing the world with kids. Plus, follow us on Instagram (@families.love.travel) to connect with other families who love the unique experiences travel has to offer.
Looking for more beautiful beach destinations in Florida? Find other family-friendly beaches throughout Florida in our list of 9 Best Florida Beaches for Families.
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions on this list may be temporarily closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
•This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.