Nothing quite beats the natural beauty you’ll find in Southwest Florida, with its lush palm trees, crystal blue shores, and pearl white beaches stretching for miles and miles. It’s no wonder that a city like Naples, tucked within the heart of the region, endures as a desirable location for many people searching for true luxury living. Every home buyer interested in acquiring their own piece of Naples, FL, real estate should know everything the city and the surrounding area offers. It’s one thing to live in beautiful Naples and another to truly experience the grandeur of Southwest Florida.
Read on to discover some of the best things to do in Southwest FL, including natural parks, botanical gardens, and other breathtaking sights. You will never run out of adventures down in paradise.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
One of the most popular attractions is the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, a family-friendly nonprofit zoo offering boat tours, animal shows, live gator feedings, and tons of other fun-filled activities. The zoo prides itself on ongoing conservation efforts and educational programs designed to teach every guest about the unique ecosystem and the individual roles both plants and animals play.
Naples Botanical Garden
The Naples Botanical Garden is a 170-acre space flourishing with a myriad of tropical gardens and hiking tours, perfectly suited for informational tours and other educational programs. The nature preserve is dedicated to housing unique specimens from all over the world in specially themed gardens. Come and discover the vibrancy of the natural world at the Lea Asian Garden or the Kapnick Brazilian Garden.
Conservancy of Southwest Florida
Another wonderful preserve to experience is the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, a wildlife conservation center equipped with exhibits, guided boat tours, and interactive learning programs for children. The Conservancy has operated for well over 50 years, committed to protecting the health and sustainability of the region for generations to come. The center is also dog-friendly in case you’d like to have your furry companion join in on the fun.
Freedom Park is a beautiful 50-acre park featuring a wooden boardwalk, crystalline lakes, rehabilitated wetlands, and platforms perfect for taking in the sights. Named after the Freedom Memorial, currently under construction, the park is open to the public from 8 a.m. to dusk every day and offers plenty of trails for casual walking and more extensive hiking. Visitors may spot wildlife such as gators, turtles, herons, hawks, owls, otters, armadillos, and more.
Third Street South Farmers Market
For a truly picturesque shopping and dining experience, you’d be remiss to leave the Third Street South Farmers Market out of your weekend plans. This outdoor, dog-friendly shopping mall boasts over a dozen chic boutiques, bakeries, cafes, and restaurants in a charming setting inspired by locations like New Orleans and Venice. You’ll also find world-class wines and gourmet items for only the most discerning eye.
Sugden Regional Park
The Sugden Regional Park is a 60-acre, dog-friendly park situated right beside the gorgeous Lake Avalon. As one of the county’s only freshwater beaches, the park is perfect for water skiing, paddle boating, and sailing. They even offer specialized lessons for people with special needs who may be interested in learning something new. The Sugden Regional Park is also the location for the annual 4th of July Celebration held in honor of Parks and Recreation Month.
Coral Cay Adventure Golf
Mini golf lovers rejoice — Coral Cay Adventure Golf is the premier destination for all things mini golf in Southwest Florida. Featuring two separate 18-hole mini golf courses, the tropical-themed Coral Cay is perfect for families, birthday parties, and other large social events. The venue also doubles as a botanical garden with real waterfalls, ponds, and caves for a unique mini-golfing experience.
Naples Dog Park
Even your dogs deserve a day of excitement, and there’s no better place for that than at the Naples Dog Park. The park is a spacious plot of lush landscaping and is properly fenced to guarantee the safety of your beloved companions. The southern section dedicates an acre of land for large dogs to roam freely, while the northern section is a smaller portion suitable for small dogs to run about.
Bird Gardens of Naples
The Bird Gardens of Naples is a nonprofit wildlife rescue devoted to the protection and rehabilitation of Southwest Florida’s most popular avian residents — parrots. They offer sanctuary to parrots injured, abused, or abandoned while hosting educational programs and tours for the general public.
Manatee Sightseeing and Wildlife Adventures
Get to know another one of Southwest Florida’s most beloved inhabitants at the Manatee Sightseeing and Wildlife Adventures. With four different adventure tours to choose from, you’ll be able to meet real manatees, dolphins, bull sharks, waterfowl, and even alligators that make their home in the crystal clear waters. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot a curious manatee swimming up to your boat for a better look at you!
CREW Bird Rookery Swamp Trails
The CREW Bird Rookery Swamp Trails is part of a nonprofit organization committed to acquiring, managing, and protecting the natural communities of the Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed. The Bird Rookery Swamp Trails is a designated 12 miles of a hiking trail that runs through verdant wetlands populated by birds, panthers, deer, and so much more. It’s free to the public, but they welcome donations in support of the preservation of the land.
Koreshan State Park
For a day enjoying the outdoors, visit Koreshan State Park, where you can indulge in a vast array of outdoor activities, like kayaking, camping, and walking along the miles of nature trails. The park opens at 8 a.m. every day and remains open until sunset. You can even plan a wedding with up to 75 guests at this gorgeous destination!
Ready to move to Southwest Florida?
*Header photo courtesy of Naples Botanical Garden