The small town of Naples, Florida with about 22,000 inhabitants, is located in Collier County on the Gulf of Mexico. As early as 1870, the city was compared to and found superior to the sunny Italian peninsula Naples and thus got her name. At that time Naples was a fishing village with about 90 inhabitants. It was officially founded in the late 1880s by former Confederate General John Williams and his partner and businessman Walter Haldeman.
After the arrival of the railway in January 1927, the strong development began. The Tamiami Trail, which connects Naples with Miami, was completed in 1928 and only helped the region to flourish after the Great Depression and World War II.
In Naples, the dredging of the mangrove swamps created canals and bays, but only has a fraction of these waterways compared to Cape Coral.
Today's high-end style of Naples has the flair of Beverly Hills - expensive vacation homes of rich North Americans, exclusive boutiques where the price tags can sometimes reach the amount of a small car, fancy art galleries, fantastically planted and landscaped streets and expensive restaurants along 5th Avenue, where the super-rich arrive in chauffeured limousines and high-end cars. The extremely well-maintained cityscape and outstanding parks as well as the high real estate prices attract a certain clientele. The local airport, used for training purposes during the Second World War, currently serves as the regional Naples Municipal Airport, where mostly private planes land and take off.
5th Avenue in Naples is a popular destination for every visitor. The shopping street is located in Naples old town, where you can take a walk and stroll along the expensive shops. Cozy restaurants, ice cream parlors and cafes invite you to take a breather. The pastel-colored buildings in the Italian style already exude what later appears on the bill - high prices in all areas! Naples is one of the richest cities in the US, with the sixth highest per capita income and the second highest millionaire density.
So if you do not want to put so much strain on your wallet, Naples also offers less expensive shopping opportunities:
The largest collection of stores is the Coastland Center in Naples. Here you will find around 130 shops in an air-conditioned building. There are many well-known brands and a few exclusive shops such as Hollister but also the big department stores and some restaurants. Sometimes public events are held here.
Village Shops on Venetian Bay
A recommended open-air shopping mall with 45 shops is the Village Shops on Venetian Bay, which offers a wide variety of luxury brands and restaurants. The Venetian Bay is a small offshore island on which the extremely rich live. For those who do not want to shop at these prices, one can at least enjoy a nice stroll, which is especially enjoyable at this waterfront location.
Tin City Waterfront Shops
A real experience and especially popular is Tin City. As a building complex built almost entirely of wood, it is located at the port of Naples. The rustic appearance emerged in the 20s, when the many small buildings once served for shell and oyster processing and were packed there in tin cans (hence the term tin = sheet metal). In the mid-1970s, the buildings underwent a renovation and became known as the Old Marine Marketplace, which offered a variety of funky little souvenir shops and restaurants. Some of these shops, bars and restaurants still exist today, conveying the authentic flair of the former Tin City through the old walking areas made of wooden planks. Watching the sunset in one of the restaurants is a special highlight in the evening. Often you will find live music here.
Waterside Shops Naples
The Waterside Shops in Naples are certainly the most exclusive open-air shopping mall in southwest Florida. Here you will find predominantly luxury brands such. Gucci, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, etc. The Americans call this the six-star hotel of shopping malls.
Sightseeing for visitors to the city is best explored by a tour of the Naples Trolley. You can take a boat trip on the Naples Princess to experience the surrounding areas of the Gulf of Mexico.
Not only are the millionaires bustling in and around the city, but with 55 golf courses, Naples has the highest golf course density in the U.S.A.
At the end of 5th Avenue is the beach of Naples with its extraordinarily white and fine sand. From here it is a stone's throw to the landmark of Naples, the fishing pier. It has a length of about 950 feet and was built in 1887. It is a popular destination for anglers and a cozy place to enjoy the sunset. From there you have a great view of the long beaches of Naples. The pier is the area for anglers who are not alone in hunting for fish: their companions, the pelicans are also looking for a quick catch.
The cultural options in Naples are also present. The 5 existing Collier County museums focus on the history of the area.
The Naples Collier Museum at Government Center is the flagship museum. Nestled on five acres of land, with newly created exhibits and galleries, it has captured the entire panorama of the local history.
The Museum of the Everglades, opened in 1927 as a commercial laundry, goes back to a time when the construction of the famous Tamiami Trail was in full swing and the small settlement of Everglades was the first county seat. The Museum's permanent and rotating exhibits provide visitors with a profound insight into more than 2,000 years of human history in the area and tell the story of the adventurous. The museum has been faithfully restored following the 1920s model and is located in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch was originally home to the rancher Robert Roberts and his family. It features a 13-acre historic site, a museum and offers visitors a rare opportunity to experience daily working life at a pioneer farm and citrus orchards at the beginning of the 20th century.
The Naples Depot Museum, located in the restored Seaboard Air Line train station, takes visitors back to the boom days of the 1920s and explains how generations of Southwest Floridians have conquered a vast and seemingly impenetrable border with technology and transportation. Seminole dugout canoes, a mule car, an old marsh wagon, restored railway carriages and exciting interactive exhibits tell the story of how commerce and travel transformed Naples from a village of 300 souls into a wealthy, world renowned city.
Finally the Marco Island Historical Museum tells the story of the Calusa Indians in Southwest Florida and brings this vanished civilization back to life with informative exhibits and an exciting, reconstructed village scene.
The nature lovers will certainly get their money’s worth. The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens is a great destination for the whole family. You can plan your own exploration on an area of 42 acres. The Zoo was opened in 1969 and is home to more than 70 different species of animals. There are also quite rare specimens to admire, such as the Florida Panther and the Clouded Leopard.
There is also a Florida National Park to visit. The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a nature reserve and was founded in 1954. The area covers approximately 130 acres and provides home to countless bald cypress heads and houses a wide variety of animal species. Here you will find most cypress trees in the US, some of which are up to 750 years old.
Two 2-mile-long walkways made of wooden planks lead visitors through the national park from a pine area over wet meadows in the cypress forest and ultimately into the wetland. Animals that you can observe along the way are rabbits, birds, lizards, owls and alligators.
The former fishing village also offers beautiful beaches. Probably the most beautiful is Vanderbilt Beach. Both sunbathing on the water and walking during the daytime as well as the sunset in the evening - this beach is particularly popular with visitors because it is so clean and wide, ensuring enough privacy. Lined with beautiful hotels, it is perfect for a beach holiday. If you want to splurge simply book a room in the luxury hotel Ritz-Carlton. It is definitely one of the best and most impressive hotels in Southwest Florida.
If you do not have your own boat and still want to explore the waterways in and around Naples to the Gulf of Mexico, you can always rent one in one of the many marinas.