One of my favourite series on this site is the My City (with kids!) series which showcases various beautiful cities around the world – through the eyes of a local blogging mom and her family!
I post these as often as possible as a way for the readers of Becoming you to discover new international bloggers as well as to help them to plan their holidays to these cities!
Today I’m sharing my space with Rosanna, a blogging mom of 2, who moved to Naples, Florida in 2012 due to her husband’s (then fiancé) job promotion. Prior to the move she says she was deeply concerned about it. I’ll let her tell you why…
If you quickly search Naples, Florida in Google, you will read the words “high-end shopping, retirement communities, and golf courses.” None of those were particularly attractive to me, especially knowing that we wanted to raise a family eventually.
And I know I am not the only one with concerns regarding Naples and family life. I constantly see people asking in Facebook groups whether Naples is good for kids.
Now that my oldest is 5 years old and my youngest is 3 years old, I can now say with confidence that Naples is a fantastic city for kids! It is relaxing, safe, and there are plenty of options to keep your kids active and happy during your visit!
Below I summarize some of our favorite things to do in Naples, Florida. These are the things that we do on a regular basis with our kids, categorized by the type of activity.
Take a look below so that you can start planning your family trip to Naples.
Best things to do in Naples, Florida
Sun-N-Fun Lagoon is the largest water park in Naples! It has multiple, large water slides, a lazy river, and separate pool areas for different-aged children.
We have not visited yet because the water slides have a minimum height requirement of 48” and my son just reached 42”, so we still have a way to go!
There are pools for young children like ours, but there are cheaper places that I recommend if all your children are under 48” (see below).
If you have a mixed group of kids, some under 48” and others over, then this is a great park! Prices do vary according to age groups, which reflects their accessibility to the attractions offered:
- Best time to go: They are open all summer, but other than that, their hours are a bit funky. Check here to make sure they are open during your visit.
- Best for: If you have children 48” or taller, then it is absolutely worth going!
- Cost: Depends on age and height.
- Children younger than 3 can get in for free.
- Children less than 48” (unable to get into the water slides) can get in for $6.
- Entrance for children 48” and over will cost $13.
Eagle Lakes Community Park
Eagle Lakes Aquatic Facility is one of the newest aquatic facilities in the county, and at $2 for adults (even less for kids!), it is hard to go wrong! It has multiple pools for all ages, a lap pool, and two water slides. They even provide free life jackets for the little ones!
- Best time to go: Summer time, which in Naples it is basically 10 months out of the year!
- Best for: Children of all ages!
- Cost: Kids are $1.5, adults are $2.
North Collier Regional Park – Boardwalk and Playground
We have been going to North Collier Regional Park since my son was an infant. It has so much to offer despite being in the middle of North Naples!
Starting with the nice boardwalk and paved trail. It goes through an emblematic Florida cypress swamp and pine flatwoods, and offers the opportunity to see some wading birds and even fox squirrels!
This park also features a shady playground, picnic pavilions, and a large digging area. This digging area is a favorite for toddlers and preschoolers.
- Best time to go: Winter months or early in the morning during the summer
- Best for: Kids 0 – 8 years old.
- Cost: FREE
The newest addition to the City of Naples is Baker Park, which just opened its doors in October of 2019.
It features playgrounds, splash pad (perfect for hot summer days), large open fields to play ball or fly kites, lots of bike and scooter-friendly paths, and picnic pavilions. It even has a dog park!
Our favorite thing about this park is that it connects to the Gordon River Greenway through a pedestrian/bike path.
- Best time to go: Winter months, or early in the morning during summer. Bring a bathing suit in the summer so that kids can cool off in the splash pad!
- Best for: Everybody!
- Cost: FREE!
Gordon River Greenway Park
The Gordon River Greenway Park is a set of boardwalks and paved trails that weave through cypress swamps and pine flatwoods. It is a popular trail for families and bike aficionados.
The Gordon River is near Naples Airport. Depending on the direction of the wind, kids will have a blast watching small airplanes get really close as they approach for landing!
- Best time to go: Winter months, or early in the morning during summer
- Best for: Everybody!
- Cost: FREE!
One of the main attractions to Naples are the beautiful beaches and spectacular sunsets.
The calm, warm waters are great for little kids. The sand is so soft that it feels like flour! If you are down visiting in the winter, try to squeeze in a sunset walk. It really is a mesmerizing view.
These are our three favorite beach spots for the kids:
Lowdermilk Park – It has two playgrounds and we see dolphins here most of the time! Do keep in mind that there is a $2.5/hour parking fee.
Clam Pass – There is a 3/4-mile boardwalk through the mangroves to make it to the beach, but there is a free tram ride you can hop on to get you there! There is a parking fee of $8 for the day.
Naples Pier – The pier is right off of Naples Beach, and it extends well into the gulf waters. It is another great place to see the sunset. You may even get to watch dolphins try to steal the bait from the people fishing! Parking here is also $2.5/hour and you can pay by credit card.
- Best time to go: Anytime! but be mindful of red tide during the summer. Status is updated here: Collier County Red Tide Update
- Best for: Everybody! I mean, it is the beach 😊
- Cost: Parking fees apply
We have loved Naples Zoo ever since we moved to Naples in 2012.
It is AZA-accredited and they do a ton of work in conservation. For example, they hold frequent festivals to aid with endangered Florida panther conservation efforts. They even have a rescued Florida panther that you can meet! Her name is Athena, and she is simply adorable.
It also offers two playgrounds, giraffe feeding, animal shows, and a boat ride through the monkey islands.
It is a rather small zoo which makes it perfect for smaller children! It will not feel like an infinite amount of walking, and you should be able to see most, if not all, in about 3 hours.
A few tips: load up on sunscreen. There isn’t a whole lot of shade and the sun can be quite intense!
They do seasonal activities that are also quite fun! If you happen to be around Naples in late October, make sure you attend Boo at the Zoo.
- Best time to go: Winter months and early morning in the Summer. Avoid the first Saturday of every month because Collier County residents get free admission on those days. It is a wonderful perk for us residents, but it does mean larger crowds!
- Best for: Children of all ages!
- Cost: Kids under 3 can go for free. $15 for kids 3-12, and $23 for ages 13 and over.
Everglades Wonder Gardens
I am cheating a bit because this place is in Bonita Springs, which is about 15 minutes north of Naples. I still want to share it because it is another great, little zoo for kids!
Founded in the late 1930’s, Everglades Wonder Gardens has an old-timey feeling to it. It is rather small, but the kids LOVE it! Why? Because the zoo is set up to allow lots of interactions with the animals.
There are peacocks and peahens walking freely around the zoo. The kids are able to feed them, as well as the flamingos, chickens, and even the alligators!
I love the Zoo because it is an easy outing, the gardens are beautiful, and most of the zoo is nice and shady. It is one of the few outdoor activities I can actually handle in the intense Florida heat!
I also love that this non-profit zoo is working hard on improving the grounds. They were hit hard by Hurricane Irma in 2017, but since then, they have added a butterfly garden, and they are redoing and improving most of the animal enclosures. They are currently working on improvement the alligator pond.
- Best time to go: Any time!
- Best for: All ages.
- Cost: Kids under 3 years old are free. Kids 3-12 are $7, and everybody over 13 years old is $12
Typical Florida summer weather includes a fair amount of rainy afternoons. You can still have some adventures with the little ones by visiting these places!
C’Mon Children’s Museum of Naples
The C’mon Children’s Museum is also located within the North Collier Regional Park grounds.
My favorite part is a section for children 3 years and younger. It is an enclosed, no-shoe, safe place for babies and little toddlers to wander around while parents relax (as much as parents can relax, anyway).
There are a ton of other activities for preschoolers and older kids, including an outdoor giant water table, an outdoor maze, and indoor climbing tree house, a kids grocery market, and a large kitchen with information on international cuisine.
There is also an art area, a building area, and a café. A large space is dedicated to travel exhibits that change every few months.
The museum also offers summer camps, kids workshops, story times, among many other programs.
The only “con” is that you are not allowed to bring your own lunch inside the building. You can either eat your own lunch on the tables provided outside, or you can indulge in the little concessionaire inside.
- Best time to go: Hot summer days and/or rainy days. They are open all weekend, but closed on Wednesdays.
- Best for: Babies to elementary school-aged kids
- Cost: It is $12 for kids and $10 for adults
Is it fair to include a grocery store? Because that is what Oakes Market Seed to Table basically is, although it also includes fantastic restaurants and a cafe.
The reason I think this is a GREAT place with little kids is because it also features an indoor playground.
And check this out: dedicated staff will watch your kids while you enjoy a glass of wine ALL BY YOURSELF. And…the child care is FREE!
There is a height requirement, kids must be potty-trained, and there is a 90-minute time limit. Other than that, all you need to do is sign in and provide your information. You will all get matching wrist bands so that you can pick up your child later.
- Best time to go: Anytime, but I recommend it for rainy days for a yummy, healthy meal and play time!
- Best for: The playground is suited for potty-trained toddlers and preschoolers.
- Cost: FREE! (other than restaurant expenses)
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I hope this information helps you plan your next family vacation to beautiful, sunny Naples. Let me know if you have any questions for me!
About the Author
Rosanna is a adjunct biology professor and a blogger. She is also a mother of two pre-schoolers and wife to wildlife biologist. Due to their biology background they are both passionate about nature and wilderness and take every opportunity out of their busy work and school schedules to go for a hike or bike ride. As a family they love to go on trips and explore new places. Lately, their adventures have focused on camping in their travel trailer. Rosanna is also a photography enthusiast and loves documenting their adventures, especially landscape, wildlife, and macro photography.
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