Open-Air Fun Along Florida’s Paradise Coast: Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades

Year after year, Naples, Florida tops the list of happiest and healthiest cities in the U.S. And it’s no wonder: On Florida’s Paradise Coast – Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades, being outside is part of the lifestyle.

From sun-soaked beaches to pristine nature to alfresco dining, it’s a place where open-air activity is second nature. No matter what time of year you visit, your time here will be full of blue skies, abundant sunshine and plenty of room to roam – or sit back and take in the beauty that surrounds you.

Naples: Sand & Sophistication

Naples Depot Museum.
Naples Depot Museum.
Naples Zoo.
Naples Zoo.
Hyatt House in Naples.
Hyatt House in Naples.

It’s easy to get your steps in when you’re in Naples, with its oh-so-walkable neighborhoods and districts. Discover the main downtown areas that make up Olde Naples Downtown District, Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South. These cherished districts boast blocks of tree-shaded sidewalks, relaxing courtyards with babbling fountains, public art and cascading floral displays.

Strollable Streets in Naples

Shop, dine and savor the open air in walkable downtown Naples along Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South.
Whether you’re checking out the shops at Fifth Avenue South or browsing the farmer’s market at Third Street South, you won’t be far from an exquisite stretch of shoreline.

Just a few blocks west of Third Street South, Naples Pier crowns the beach. Here, you can fish without a permit, and a nightly sunset celebration brings out locals and visitors alike. To the north, Fifth Avenue South dead ends at an access to a stretch of beach lined with sea grapes and coconut palms obscuring opulent beachfront mansions.

Downtown Naples.
Downtown Naples.

Open-Air Naples Attractions

Just a few minutes away from downtown Naples, stroll through lush tropical and subtropical landscapes at Naples Botanical Garden, where you’ll spot rare orchids, water lilies and lotus blossoms, or practice your sun salutations at the yoga classes offered there. To the north, Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens invites you to get up close with its resident fauna, which includes giraffes, lemurs and lions.

And of course, wherever you are in Naples, Marco Island and the Everglades, the area’s renowned golf courses offer hours of sun-soaked bliss.

Want to really feel the sea breeze blowing through your hair? Get a glimpse of paradise from the water on a cruise aboard Sweet Liberty, Miss Naples or the Naples Princess.


Marco Island: Breezy Island Luxe

Marco Island.
Marco Island.
Sunset at JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort.
Sunset at JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort.
JW Marriott Marco Island Resort pool.
JW Marriott Marco Island Resort pool.
Marco Island.
Marco Island.

With its alabaster sands and understated luxury, Marco Island might make you feel like you’re island-hopping in the Caribbean.

Marco Island’s Famous Beaches

An upscale (but laid-back) beach destination beloved by generations of sun-seekers, Marco Island is best known for its exquisite beaches. Resorts and condos line the shore here, but even if you’re not staying in one, you’re welcome to walk along the peaceful shoreline; there’s plenty of public beach parking and access to the surf via walkways everyone can use. Many of the resorts here have beachfront restaurants and bars offering outdoor seating with phenomenal Gulf views.

Wild & Natural Spaces

As if its sparkling sapphire shoreline wasn’t enough for the fresh-air seeker, Marco Island is the biggest of the Ten Thousand Islands, sits within a massive archipelago, and is the perfect launch spot for exploring Rookery Bay Reserve, the pristine aquatic wilderness to the southeast. Rent a kayak or motor-powered boat and find yourself among boundless natural beauty. Head far enough to the south, and you’ll be able to spot the mysterious Cape Romano Dome House, which is slowly sinking 300 feet offshore.

Coast Along Marco Island

Rent a kayak or motor-powered boat and find yourself among boundless natural beauty.
No boat? No problem. Explore the shores of the Paradise Coast on a sightseeing cruise. From sailboats to full-service dinner cruises, you have tons of options. Experience the romance of a Gulf sunset on the Marco Island Princess. For a closer look at the dolphins who frolic in the waters of Ten Thousand Islands, climb aboard The Dolphin Explorer for an ecotour where you’ll learn about the area’s resident bottlenose dolphins – including their names and family histories – and the Dolphin Study, a long-term effort to learn more about this species and how to help them thrive along the Paradise Coast.


Everglades: Irresistibly Wild Spaces

Fly Fishing the Flats in the Everglades.
Fly Fishing the Flats in the Everglades.
Everglades.
Everglades.

There’s no place more synonymous with open space than the Florida Everglades, that vast expanse of pristine wetlands. Florida’s Paradise Coast is home to the western region of Everglades National Park.

The Everglades: Legendary Park Space

Dubbed the “River of Grass” by writer Marjory Stoneman Douglas, the Everglades offer limitless opportunities for adventure, from hiking to kayaking.

To feel the profound quiet of this pristine space on foot, go for a guided “swamp walk” with Big Cypress Gallery’s Everglades Swamp Tours. Or glide along the gently flowing water of the Everglades Chokoloskee Bay by canoe or kayak, which you can rent from the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades City – while you’re here, be sure to check out the panoramas waiting for you atop the Ernest Hamilton Observation Tower a few hundred feet away.

Of course, no Everglades trip is complete without a thrilling Everglades tour aboard an airboat or swamp buggy. Great options include Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides, C&G Big Cypress Swamp Buggy Tours, Captain Jack’s and Wooten’s.

Find tour operators and more at ParadiseCoast.com.

‘Glades Grub

After a day of trekking and gliding in the sunshine, sample local fare at City Seafood, Havana Café of the Everglades or Everglades Seafood Depot – all offer outdoor seating and plenty of stone crab on the menu (you’re in the Stone Crab Capital of the World, after all).


Intrigued?

Naples, Florida Visitor Guide

Order a free guide to Florida’s Paradise Coast. Find inspiration, ideas and travel tips to help you plan an unforgettable trip to Naples, Marco Island & the Everglades.

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