Why Naples Pier is Always Free of Charge

Photo: Pat O'Malley

It’s one of the most popular attractions in Naples, but the Naples Pier also has the advantage of being completely free. That’s likely one of the reasons why it continues to attract people today.

The iconic pier originally dates back to the late 1800s when it was used as a dock for those visiting the nearby Naples Beach Hotel. Unfortunately, Mother Nature hasn’t always been kind to the pier.

It was destroyed by a hurricane in 1960, but rebuilt thanks to the generosity of local philanthropists. In exchange for funding the $130,000 rebuild, the Norris family requested that the pier remain free to visitors from that point forward.

It was the couple’s daughter who later led the push to put a camera up on Naples Pier, allowing aging locals the opportunity to still enjoy the beauty of the pier online, even when they aren’t able to make the journey themselves. Flashforward to today, and Naples Pier remains the city’s most visited location.

Unlike some of the original homes of Old Naples that have since been torn down and replaced, the pier remains. It’s common for people to gather at the pier to mark major occasions, such as to watch the 4th of July fireworks and on New Year’s Eve.

While in recent years the pier had to be rebuilt again, just like the Norris family requested all those years ago, it’s still free. You don’t even need a fishing permit to fish off the pier.

Along with Naples Pier, the Norris family also contributed to a number of other things in the area, including the original Naples Community Hospital, the Lowdermilk Park pavilion, Norris Center at Cambier Park, and they founded The Conservancy of Southwest Florida and Rookery Bay. They even purchased the land for Delnor-Wiggins State Park. The Delnor name is a play on names tied to the Norris family.

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