Naples, Florida, is a beautiful coastal city located in the southwestern region of the state—a two-hour drive from Miami. It’s known for its white-sand beaches, stunning sunsets, luxury shopping, and great restaurants. Last week, Matt and I wanted a fun and easy weekend getaway and decided Naples would be an ideal spot. Matt had never been, and I hadn’t been in more than a decade. It was time for a mini road trip!
Where we stayed
Best Western Naples Inn & Suites
2329 9th St N, Naples, FL 34103
We originally thought we’d splurge on a luxury hotel (there are plenty of them), but we knew we wanted to spend most of the trip exploring the city and would spend little time in the room. This hotel had everything we were looking for, including a nice breakfast, a heated pool, and a central location near all of the attractions we planned to visit. If you decide you would like a more luxurious option, then consider the Inn on the Fifth, the Ritz Carlton Naples, or the Bellasera Hotel.
What we did
One of the must-dos on our list was visiting Fifth Avenue South. The street is vibrant, historic, and charming. Located in the heart of downtown Naples, it’s known for its upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment. The avenue features elegant boutiques, art galleries, and antique shops as well as top-rated restaurants and cafes. You can enjoy live music, theater performances, and other cultural events throughout the year. The beautiful landscaping—palm trees, colorful flowers, and fountains—creates a relaxed and inviting atmosphere. Fifth Avenue South is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a taste of luxury and sophistication in Naples, Florida. When we visited, there happened to be an art fair, which was a treat!
Naples is also known for its shopping, and I managed to do a bit of that too. While a variety of things in several of the unique stores on the avenue caught my eye—typical me—I ended up finding an incredible iron mirror at the Salvation Army thrift store, and I couldn’t resist. Matt asked me where I was going to put it—a reasonable question but not one that was going to stop me from getting that mirror.
We spent a few hours at the Naples Botanical Garden and visited the Frida and Her Garden exhibition. The Naples Botanical Garden is a beautiful and expansive garden. Covering over 170 acres, the garden features a variety of distinct areas, including the Brazilian Garden, the Asian Garden, and the Children’s Garden. You can explore the winding paths and trails, which feature an array of native and exotic plants, flowers, and trees. The garden also includes several water features, including a lake and a water garden, which provide serene and tranquil settings. In addition to the natural beauty of the gardens, the Naples Botanical Garden also offers educational programs and workshops for adults and children as well as a range of events and activities throughout the year.
The Frida and Her Garden exhibition celebrates the life and work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, who is known for her colorful self-portraits and paintings inspired by nature. The exhibition features a re-creation of La Casa Azul, Kahlo’s home in Coyoacán, Mexico City. The re-creation highlights the plants that inspired her artwork. Visitors can also see monumental animal sculptures decorated with folk art that influenced Kahlo’s life and work. The exhibition includes signage and interpretation to enhance visitors’ experiences, and there are also special opportunities during events like Frida After 5. Family-friendly activity packs help visitors explore the celebration of Mexican plants and culture throughout the garden.
Whether you’re looking for a peaceful stroll, an educational experience, or a family-friendly outing, the Naples Botanical Garden is a wonderful place to visit.
A trip to Naples is not complete without visiting the beach. The beaches in Naples are stunning. The soft white sand and clear waters attract people from all over the country. Some of the more popular beaches include Vanderbilt Beach, Clam Pass Beach Park, and Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. We went to Via Miramar Beach.
Where we ate
Seed to Table
4835 Immokalee Rd, Naples, FL 34110
Seed to Table is a large and unique grocery store in the city. The store is owned by the Oakes family, who also own the popular Oakes Farms Market, and offers a wide range of products, including fresh produce, meats, seafood, baked goods, and prepared foods. This is a must on any Naples to-do list. We went there for lunch, and it was amazing! We shared a pizza, chicken avocado rolls, and lobster mac and cheese. Seed to Table also offers a variety of unique features and services. These include a coffee bar, a juice bar, a sushi bar, and a pizza oven. The store also has a large seating area where customers can enjoy their food and drinks. Seed to Table is a destination for foodies and those who are passionate about high-quality, locally sourced food.
1234 8th St S, Naples, FL 34102
Bleu Provence is an award-winning French restaurant in downtown. It’s Zagat rated and a Wine Spectator Grand Award Recipient. We went there for dinner one night, and it was excellent. Matt ordered the escargot and the Wagyu Short Ribs Bourguignon. I had the Porcini Mushroom and Chestnut Velouté and the Halibut with Truffle Mushroom Risotto with Truffle Cream Sauce.
Buzz’s Lighthouse Restaurant
9180 Gulf Shore Dr, Naples, FL 34108
Buzz’s Lighthouse Restaurant is a charming and cozy seafood restaurant located in Naples, Florida. The restaurant is named after its founder, who was a commercial fisher in the area for many years. We shared Sweet and Spicy Calamari; Buzz’s Famous Grouper Reuben and a Shrimp Po’ Boy.
Overall, we had a lovely two days in Naples. We wish we could have explored more. Naples offers many more reasons to visit, and you can read more about those here.