The Best of Naples 2024
As we move into a new year and the season in Naples ramps up, it’s the perfect time to explore the businesses and services that consistently elevate Naples to a premier destination. Beyond the ordinary lists of restaurants or standard “must sees” we shine a spotlight on 10 exceptional “best of” businesses and experiences that may not always be easy to discover. Some admittedly are random but we believe in recognizing outstanding service when we see it. These are the hidden gems, closely guarded by locals and not always discovered by visitors. Shhh – here’s the list:
While Naples is known for its spectacular beaches, the Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park consistently tops many lists. Its warm water and pristine sands combine with peaceful views of the Gulf of Mexico and sightings of SW Florida’s many exotic birds. Nature lovers and families can also take advantage of recreational activities there ranging from fishing, snorkeling, and hiking. The park’s natural estuaries lead directly out to the Gulf of Mexico for some of the best boating around.
Best Music Scene
We’re not sure if this a foodie or live music destination but nestled in the newly revitalized Bayshore District, Celebration Park ticks both boxes. Rows of food trucks from some of Naples’ best restaurants end at a 4-sided full-service bar overlooking the waterway leading to the Gulf of Mexico. Live music is 6-9 pm every day during the winter months. If you have a boat, no problem, pull right up to the dock with the other customers.
Long a staple on Naples “cheap eats” lists, Brooks Burgers offers a consistently good, flavorful burger. With three locations around Naples, the family-owned restaurant offers a variety of options from classic cheeseburgers to creative specialty burgers, such as the Donut, Rajin Cajun and fig and goat cheese special. Service is friendly and fast, and in the North Naples location, your dinner may even arrive by robot.
Best Fitness Experience
Part musical concert, part workout, part religious experience, Co-owner and instructor, Jake Maulin’s 9:00 am CycleBar Naples ride (and really, any ride with him) leaves you energized and ready to change your life. Come see why 45 minutes on a bike at CycleBar Naples is the perfect way to kick-start your day.
Best Watch Repair
How many times have you ever been able to get your watch repaired while you wait? And, “the wait” is just 15 minutes? Veteran-owned Quality Time Service can repair just about any watch or timepiece quickly and at incredibly reasonable rates. Experts there are trained on repair services for modern, vintage, and antique watches and offer a 1-year warranty on any repair service.
Best Pain Clinic
No one likes to be in pain – whether you’re a performance athlete dealing with injury, face chronic pain, or have work-related strain issues. Symmetry Exercise Clinic specializes in muscle system repair and is the remedy many Naples clients and physicians call when PT, pain management or traditional medical options don’t work out. Trainers there focus on improving pain in just three sessions or less and design routines that can help you stay pain-free.
This one isn’t exactly a secret -- Jane’s Café on Third is a laid-back eatery that whips up British and American food in a casual indoor/outdoor setting near the fountain in Camargo Courtyard. Even with its outdoor location, it can be a shady oasis on very hot days. Long a favorite, you’ll see long lines out the door on weekends because of its premier location on Third Street South and spectacular gardens, but the lines move quickly, and the wait is worth it. Staples are big omelettes, succulent salads, inventive wraps and fun drinks to pair with just about anything.
Best Ice Cream
It’s amazing that with all the hot, sticky weather in Naples, there aren’t more purveyors of upscale ice cream. Yes, some of the national chains are present but nothing compares to Kilwins. The family-owned business has locations at Mercato and in Olde Naples as well as Fort Myers and sells fudge and truffles as well as the most creamy, delicious ice cream. The staff is always happy to offer samples – even with lines out the door. Don’t miss the coconut ice cream flavor -- fire!
Who better to frame your treasured artwork and prints than artists? Alejandro “Alex” Nunez runs West Coast Art & Design in Bonita Springs just over the North Naples line with his wife, Maria. Alex is a graphic designer who also just happened to paint many of the murals adorning Bonita Spring landmarks. His wife Maria Abela is from a family of famous Cuban artists. Together they work closely with clients to help frame, update, and restore artwork with excellent service and reasonable prices.
Maria’s Tacos y Mas is your place for solid authentic Mexican food in Southwest Florida with some of the most flavorful tacos around. While indoor seating is limited, they have an extensive menu of traditional Mexican fare and friendly, quick service. Prices are very reasonable as well with specials on Tuesdays.