Wherever you decide to live in Naples, you’re only a short distance from acclaimed Gulf beaches, first-rate shopping and dining, golfing, and a variety of water activities.
Check out the following pages to review the mix of different neighborhoods and housing options, including waterfront high-rise condos, gulf access condos, single-family homes, beachfront estates, golfing community properties, town homes, bungalows and other luxury properties.
Naples History and Culture
While Naples is known for its pristine white beaches and balmy temperatures, the area is also rich in history, offering fine dining and shopping as well as a wealth of cultural attractions and outdoor adventures.
Visitors to the Collier County Museum can journey back more than 10,000 years to the days when mastodons and fierce saber cats roamed the land. The museum is also home to a permanent collection showcasing early Calusa and Seminole Indian settlements and artifacts. The Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon, was the first European to “discover” Naples and the surrounding Florida area in the 16th century. However, it was the advent of the railroad and the creation of the Tamiami Trail (now US 41) that runs from Tampa to Miami that set Naples on a path to becoming one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S. today. Entrepreneur Barron Gift Collier founded the county that now bears his name in 1923. Collier ended up being the largest landowner and developer in Florida, owning a chain of hotels, bus lines, banks, and newspapers. Much of his initial fortune came from creating advertising for the New York City Railway. The Naples Depot, dating back to 1927, was once the busy site of the Naples train station and now serves as a museum for railroad memorabilia, including trains to watch, ride and operate, as well as a vintage caboose. Other popular historic sites include Palm Cottage, located on 12th Avenue, South, reportedly the oldest house in Naples. Built in 1895, the Victorian manse has been home to many distinguished Naples residents, and is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The Cultural Center of Southwest Florida
With more than 35 arts organizations and 100+ art galleries, Naples maintains a vibrant and active cultural scene. Not surprisingly, the area is a magnet for the more than 1,000 visual and performing artists who call Naples home and who contribute to the ongoing mix of street festivals, working artist studios, and outdoor fairs. On any night, visitors and residents alike can choose from a lecture series, literary society meeting, as well as musical options ranging from a casual jazz concert in the park to a more formal evening at the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. Other events and attractions include:
- Artis Naples is the premier center for the arts in Naples — home to Naples Philharmonic at Pelican Bay and the Baker Museum, a diverse collection of art in a three-story, 30,000 sf facility. Naples Philharmonic offers a full program of dance, opera, classical and pop music as well as ongoing theater productions.
- The Naples Spring Art Festival combines good food with world class artists showcasing their wares in billowing white tents in the middle of 5th Avenue.
- The 3rd Street Festival of Lights is a holiday tradition, featuring light displays across the galleries, restaurants, and shoppes in the 3rd Street area of Olde Naples.
- The Naples Playhouse located off 5th Avenue combines sumptuous dinners with plays and musicals.
- Open Air Concerts make the most of the tropical temperatures with festivities held at Cambier Park, the Naples Beach Hotel and Golf Club, and the Waterside Shoppes. Artists range from pop stars to accomplished opera singers and sultry jazz ensembles.
- The Von Liebig Art Center provides changing exhibitions of contemporary American art in six different galleries.
- The Naples Museum of Art is a three-story, 30,000 sf structure housing 15 galleries showcasing a variety of acclaimed artists and collections. The gallery also features the Masters of Miniature Exhibition with exquisite and rare miniature displays of furniture including replicas of Louis XV’s Private Office from Versaille.
- The Southwest Florida Holocaust Museum grew out of an exhibit created by teachers and 7th grade students at Golden Gate Middle School. The Museum includes artifacts from the Nazi “final solution” as well as current essays, drawings, and paintings expressing children’s emotions after studying the Holocaust.
The Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
Established in 1919, the Naples Zoo is a 43-acre zoo and historic botanical garden that has delighted children and families for years. A guided catamaran winds through the Zoo grounds for close-up views of monkeys, lemurs, and apes. A stroll through the grounds takes visitors past zebras, lions and tigers. Multimedia presentations and other interactive displays provide additional details about the zoo’s many residents.
The Naples Pier
A popular Naples landmark, the Naples Pier was built in 1888 as a freight and passenger dock. At one time, the structure housed the Naples Post Office until a fire in 1922 razed most of the pier. Today the Naples Pier extends 600 feet into the Gulf of Mexico as an iconic site for fishing, enjoying a dramatic sunset, and the occasional proposal.
The Dog Beach
Every dog has its day at the Dog Beach located on Lovers Key. As the only off-leash beach located between Bonita Beach and Fort Myers Beach, the site is a dog-lover’s paradise as dogs are free to swim and play at their own leisure. A doggie shower allows canines to rinse off before jumping into the backseat for the ride home.
Raw Natural Beauty and Pristine Parks
For nature enthusiasts, the Everglades and Naple’s many parks and wildlife preserves offer opportunities to experience Florida’s raw beauty up close and personal. Nicknamed the “River of Glass,” the Everglades is the only ecosystem of its kind in the world, and is home to the American alligator, bears, panthers, bobcats and marsh rabbits, as well as a number of deadly snakes. Playful dolphins, manatees and more than 600 different kinds of fish swim in the rich salt waters of the 10,000 Islands. 300 varieties of birds and butterflies also grace the Everglades. Visitors can hike, boat, or even kayak to explore the wetlands and marshes. Several tourist companies offer guided tours in swamp buggies and airboats to get closer to the animals in their personal habitats.
Of particular note, is the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, the largest Cypress strand in the world, comprising more than 80,000 acres of land deep in the Everglades. At approximately 15 miles long and 5 miles wide, the Strand is the only remaining natural forest of royal palm and bald cypress. Its iconic Boardwark is open free of charge to the public and home to an alligator, pair of bald eagles, assorted bears, deer, and other animals. The Museum of the Everglades was originally built as a laundry to serve workers on the Tamiami Trail and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, offering a glimpse of Collier County’s development in the early 1920s. Established in 1906 as a trading post, the Smallwood Store and Museum is another popular stop on any Everglades tour, featuring Seminole and other Native American crafts and music items in its adjoining gift shop.
Other nature centers and outdoor preserves include the following:
- The Cocohatchee Nature Center is home to a variety of birds, including egrets, herons, ibis, osprey, and pelicans. Narrated boat tours through the mangrove estuary allow visitors to discover the area’s unique ecosystem while catching sight of the occasional dolphin frolicking near Wiggins Pass. Educational programs for children and a patio center where visitors can relax and enjoy the views all contribute to the experience.
- Collier-Seminole State Park is a wildness preserve spanning approximately 5,000 acres that is popular with RV and tent campers as well as offering a variety of mountain bike and hiking trails. A playground, picnic area and pontoon boat tours ensure there is something for everyone. A .9-mile interpretive boardwalk/nature trail is an ideal start to any visit.
- The Conservancy of Southwest Florida operates two nature centers in Collier County. Both feature plentiful exhibits and activities, including the Conservancy Museum of Natural History, a butterfly garden and the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, an animal rescue hospital for injured wild animals. The museum provides hands-on exhibits as well as special programs and presentations on the turtles, snakes and other inhabitants of the area. Visitors can take boat tours or rent their own kayak or canoe to explore the upper reaches of the Gordon River.
- The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary owned and operated by Audubon of Florida, spans 11,000 acres of wilderness dating back more than 500 years. A boardwalk meanders approximately two miles through the woods and into the largest forest of ancient bald cypress in North America. In addition to Florida black bear and red-bellied turtles, the forest also boasts more than 200 species of birds ranging from ibis, herons, egrets, and wood storks. Corkscrew’s Blair Audubon Center features exhibits that help guide visitors in what they should look for on the boardwalk, and also includes a gift shop, gallery and tearoom as a respite after touring the grounds.
- The CREW Marsh Trail System comprises five miles of scenic hiking trails through pine, flat woods, and saw grass marsh.
- The Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Recreational Area combines a beach with nature trails and shaded picnic areas. While swimming isn’t allowed because of the currents, fishing is popular and the beach is frequently ranked as a “Best Beach” on national surveys. An observation deck allows visitors to enjoy the variety of wading birds as well as native gopher turtles, manatees, dolphins and osprey. The area is particularly ideal for shelling and swimmers can take a quick dip in the Gulf of Mexico on the south side of the pass.
- The Picayune Strand State Forest is a popular camping and fishing ground and home to many threatened species, including the Florida panther.
- Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of the few remaining mangrove estuaries in the US. Its 110,000-acre property serves as an outdoor classroom and laboratory for scientists and researchers from around the world to observe fish, dolphins, manatees and birds feeding in the shallow waters. Kayakers and bird watchers enjoy the relative seclusion to enjoy nature at their leisure.
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