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Family Guide to Naples FL with kids – Where to eat, stay & play

Naples is a beautiful laid back city in Florida that is ideal for your next family vacation

Naples, located on the Paradise Coast in southwest Florida is known for many things. It has been called “the Beverly Hills of Florida” as well as “town of the newly wed and nearly dead”, and it gets its reputation for good reason. True, it is not a cheap party town ideal for young college spring breakers.

Rather, Naples is luxurious, classy, beautiful and if you look closely, it is full of family fun. It is brimming with so many fabulous shopping districts, delicious restaurants and pristine beaches that keep us coming back to Naples Florida with kids.

Naples Dock and Crayton Cove with kids
Our family at Crayton Cove in Naples, FL circa 2013

No matter where you live, we are certain that Naples would be a great choice for your next family vacation.

To make the planning even easier, this article will show you exactly where to stay, where to eat and what to do to have a fabulous family trip to Naples with kids.

Here’s what’s in this article:

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Kid-friendly Naples Attractions

Naples Pier

25 12th Ave. S. Naples, FL 34102

This historic pier is a favorite Naples’ attraction it is a perfect location to spot some playful dolphins and breathtaking sunsets. The pier has a blanket fishing license, so anyone is free to fish off the pier. However, my favorite part is that beer and wine are now available at Cosmos Cafe Pizzeria!

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Kid feeding Giraffe at Naples Zoo

Naples Zoo & Caribbean Gardens

1590 Goodlette-Frank Rd, Naples, FL 34102

We had the best experience at Naples Zoo and definitely recommend for a fun and easy family attraction to do in Naples. First of all, the price is reasonable; about half of the cost of visiting the San Diego Zoo and even less if you purchase your tickets online. The animals are much more accessible, which my babies loved because they could actually see the lions and tigers and bears. (Oh My!) You will enjoy the primate boat cruise, where primates live freely on various islands within the zoo and your kids will LOVE feeding the giraffes.

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Golisano Childrens Museum of Naples

15080 Livingston Rd, Naples, FL 34109

Just like with travel, the Naples Children’s Museum promotes family bonding and “the natural curiosity of children by offering an educational dynamic space that encourages exploration and discovery.” The museum features both permanent and temporary exhibits, all of which mix technology, the natural world and human communities. Children under 1 years of age and teachers are free, children are $12, and adults and seniors are $10. With so much to discover, a visit to the children’s museum makes for an inexpensive family day out. Plus, you never know when one of those random tropical rains will pour down, making for great indoor activities in Naples, FL as well.

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Naples Train Museum

401 10th St S, Naples, FL 34102

Open on the weekends only, the Naples Train Museum is a multi-level model train display with up to 10 trains running through the miniature display all at the same time. The details and interactive gadgets of the display will fascinate even the biggest kids in your family (I am looking at you, Dad!). Plus, outside you can take a real train ride on an outdoor scaled steam or diesel locomotive.

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Family-friendly Hotels in Naples

Family at Naples Grande in Florida

Naples Grande Beach Resort

475 Seagate Drive, Naples, FL 34103-24131 (855) 666-2366

This is where we have stayed for years and it never disappoints. The hotel is chic and luxurious, but the amenities make for a perfect family vacation. There are numerous outside areas for enjoying the beautiful sunsets and the Mangrove Pool is a kid’s dream complete with waterslide and a toddler-friendly shallow walk-in entrance. The powdery sand beach is just a few steps away along the shady and tropical Mangrove Estuary which is enchanting with its rustically laid wooden boards, lush mangroves offering cooling shade, while the sounds of Naples Florida beach wildlife echo from deep within the tropical landscape. The walkway is free to walk or relax on the open air complimentary tram. You and your family can enjoy lunch beach-side at the Rhode’s End or at one of the Naples Grand Beach Resort’s other onsite restaurants. Highly recommend this hotel for Families with young kids.

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Hyatt House Naples/5th Avenue

1345 5th Ave S, Naples, FL 34102-3433

Located on the Gordon River within walking distance from the trendy 5th Avenue, the Hyatt House Naples is another great hotel for family travel. You and your family will have plenty of room to relax in one their spacious suites and guest rooms, complete with kitchenettes and/or full kitchens. However, you will probably want to indulge in the abundance of excellent restaurants both onsite and in downtown. Guests are even treated to complimentary breakfast. You can spend your day soaking up the Florida sun by the lagoon-style pool with an infinity edge that overlooks the Gordon River. By night, take in the magical sunset by the outdoor fire pit.

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Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club

1500 Fifth Avenue South, Naples, FL 34102-3492

The Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club is a great stay for the ultimate family vacation. There are activities for all ages, including a kid’s club for the little ones and golf for the adults. There are multiple pools to choose from all with gorgeous views of the Gulf. Even the many signature restaurants make sure to take advantage of the beautiful beachfront views. You can do more than just look at the beach too, Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club offer kayak and paddleboard rentals to help you get the most out of your time in Naples!

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Family-Friendly Beach House Rentals with VRBO

We have stayed at a few different VRBO properties in Naples, Florida over the years. I would say that it is an excellent city to find a family-friendly home or condo, especially if you need the extra space and prefer multiple bedrooms. No, vacation rentals don’t have all the amenities of a beach resort – but they could be a more affordable option and some of these homes are decorated so cutely that you’ll feel like it’s your second home.

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Kid-friendly Live Music near Naples

Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Store

1220 3rd St S Naples, FL 34102

Naples is the original Tommy Bahama Restaurant and store and boy is it a good time. This tropical laidback, yet elegant, family restaurant in Naples is not only perfect for catching a good meal, but also great show. There is live music every night at Tommy Bahama starting at 6:00 pm and 6:30 pm on Friday and Saturdays.

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Old Naples Pub

255 13TH Avenue South Naples Florida 34102

Located only two blocks from the Naples Pier, the Old Naples Pub is a favorite local hangout and for good reason. The inside is cozy and the patio is scenic, making for a friendly atmosphere day or night. The menu features yummy sandwiches, salads and seafood, but what makes this a fun is the live music Wednesday through Sunday nights. The music usually starts at 6:00 pm, which is early enough to enjoy with the kids.

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Tin City and Naples Riverwalk

Riverwalk-Tin City

1200 5th Avenue South, Naples, FL 34102

The Riverwalk Restaurant is an open-air restaurant that overlooks the Gordon River. Their saying is “Fresh Fare, open air, nautical flare,” and it couldn’t be more true. You love watching the boats pass by as you enjoy yummy food and cocktails. Kids will love the view, but you will all love the live music Thursday through Saturday starting at 5:30 pm and Sundays starting at 3:00 pm.

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The Real Macaw Restaurant & Bar

3275 Bayshore Drive, Naples, Fl 34112

This fun restaurant has a laidback Key West style with a twinkly whimsical feeling in the evening. The bright color palette of the restaurant instantly makes you feel cheerful and locals agree that this is the spot for a good time. The live music and dancing ensures that you’ll have a blast. Live entertainment starts at 7:00pm on Friday and Saturday nights and 6:00pm on Sundays.

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Bambu Tropical Bar & Grille

1221 5th Ave South, Naples, FL 34102

Bambu Tropical Bar & Grille is an outdoor patio restaurant overlooking Naples Bay. They really want you to enjoy the warm Florida sun and tropical vibe.  The menu features yummy tropical tapas, salads, sandwiches, seafood and more, but what is really satisfying is the live music on weekends that features acoustic sounds from local musicians.

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Paddy Murphy’s Irish Pub

457 5th Ave S., Naples, FL, 34102

Paddy Murphy’s is a really fun Irish pub located in the heart of 5th Avenue South. They have a lovely patio, perfect for enjoying the sparkling tree lights that line the street. Inside is amazing too with beautiful mahogany accents imported from Ireland. What makes Paddy Murphy’s a real blast for families is that there is live music Wednesday through Saturday starting at 6:00pm. This is one of our favorite hangouts when we visit Naples with kids.

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Bustling Naples Downtown Districts

Tin City Naples with kids

Tin City

1200 5th Ave S Naples, FL 34102

Tin City is a collection of waterfront shops and restaurants. You and your family can have fun exploring the many quirky and family-owned shops before enjoying a waterfront meal at Pincher’s Crab Shack or Riverwalk. Tin City is also a great jumping off point for water adventures and tours, so I am sure you will find yourself here at least once during your family trip to Naples.

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Fifth Avenue South Downtown Naples at night

5th Avenue South

649 Fifth Avenue South Naples, Florida 34102

5th Avenue South is a trendy shopping and art district with amazing dining and a touch of whimsy. The avenue is so cute and lined with lighted palms and sparkling floating orbs, perfect for enjoying those hot Florida nights. It is a great neighborhood to wander down the pleasant lanes, pop into unique boutiques and enjoy a meal al fresco on one the many lovely restaurant patios. Most nights you will want to hang out on Fifth Avenue South.

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Naples city dock with kids

Crayton Cove

This fun section of Downtown Naples is where the Naples Yacht Club and the Naples City Dock are located. Onsite are some shops and restaurants, including the famous Dock Restaurant. You can take in the lovely harbor views or even charter a boat from Crayton Cove. This area is another must see on your family vacation to Naples, Florida

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Bayfront of Naples

This part of Downtown Naples will make you feel like you have left Florida and are now strolling the streets of Italy. This collection of waterfront dining and shopping on Naples Bay is oozing with Mediterranean charm with brick-layed streets and European architecture. Although upscale, you won’t feel out of place enjoying the day with your family.

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Third Street South

Third Street South is considered the birthplace of Naples. This area, known as “old Naples,” is lined with darling vintage beach cottages, cute shops and great restaurants. The lanes are lush with flora and plentiful in old world charm, making them some of the prettiest streets in Naples. The restaurants in this section of Downtown Naples have some of the best outdoor patio dining in the U.S!

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Family-friendly Restaurants near Naples

The Dock Restaurant in Naples Crayton Cove

The Dock

845 12th Ave S., Naples, FL 34102

The Dock is a very popular Naples restaurant and one of our favorites. Overlooking the water at Crayton Cove, The Dock is the perfect place to enjoy great food with an incredible view. A Naples staple since the 1970’s, you can arrive by land or by boat to partake in the fun. Besides a fun atmosphere, beautiful water views and delicious menu, The Dock also has some pretty unique art all over the restaurant. The hilarious and playful fish people, commissioned by local artist Doug Sampson, can be spotted everywhere from the restrooms to the menus. They are said to represent the people of Naples, “fun, tropical and one-of-a-kind.”

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Rumba Cuban Cafe

1265 Airport-Pulling Rd, Naples, FL 34104

There is no better place to enjoy Cuban cuisine than in Florida. Rumba Cuban Cafe is a casual dining space, perfect for enjoying a yummy Cuban meal with kids. You can’t go wrong with a refreshing sangria to wash down a flavorful Churrasco steak and kids will love the sweet plantains (aka Maduros). There is also a kids menu with kid-friendly dishes available, because sometimes kids just want a grilled cheese.

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Roma Italian Bistro, Pizzeria & Cafe

655 5th Ave S., Naples, FL 34102

This is a great spot for enjoying a bottle of wine and a fresh handmade pizza al fresco. There is a cozy dining room as well, but when on 5th Avenue South, the patio is the place to sit. Kids usually love Italian food and us parents love a peaceful meal with a lovely atmosphere, so Roma is a no-brainer. The vibe is very friendly and warm, making this a great spot for a family dinner.

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Cafe Luna Naples FL Italian Restaurant

Cafe Luna

1100 Tamiami Trail N., Naples, FL 34102

Yes, I am sharing another Italian restaurant, but we are talking about Naples here, right!? Plus, you can’t really go wrong with pizza, pasta and kids. Cafe Luna not only has crowd-pleasing dishes, it also good deals too. Last time we went to Cafe Luna, we got 2 entrees and 1 bottle of wine for $40. It was a really good deal that we definitely try to take advantage of during our visits.

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Pinchers Crab Shack in Naples FL with kids

Pincher’s Crab Shack

1200 5th Ave S., Naples, FL 34102

Pincher’s Crabshack prides themselves on having the freshest crab and seafood from the Gulf, bringing it from the water to the table. The atmosphere is also really colorful and fun for the family. The restaurant overlooks the water, so kids can have a blast watching the boat pass by while dining. Parents, you will love the 2 for 1 drinks special all day and last time we went they had a deal where our kids ate FREE!

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Beaches, parks and hiking near Naples

Everglades Boat Tour with kids

Everglades

Although not technically in town, visiting the Everglades should be considered one of the main Naples Florida points of interest. As you drift further from the comfort of Naples and deeper into the swamps of the Everglades, be ready to experience an air-boat adventure. If you have never ridden down a swamp on an air-boat before, don’t worry. It is perfectly safe for the kids. Plus, it is a fascinating journey filled with all kinds of wildlife. Don’t freak out, like I did, when a brazen pelican lands on your boat…it won’t eat your baby.  The captains are great at holding the kids’ attention and beckoning wildlife to approach the boat for great photo opportunities. You and your kids can even pet and hold a real life baby alligator!

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Lowdermilk Park

1301 Gulf Shore Blvd N, Naples, FL 34102

Lowdermilk Park is one of Naples’ popular beachfront parks, complete with two playgrounds, volleyball courts, thatched huts and a concession stand. It does cost to park, but it is a lovely park to visit and enjoy the day. You can even rent one of the gazebos onsite for a nice shady picnic.

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Naples Botanical Gardens

4820 Bayshore Dr, Naples, FL 34112

This garden paradise is 170-acres of tropical and lush plants from around the world. There are several garden trails and habitats to explore, providing miles of fun. You can feel free to explore on your own or you can partake in one of the daily garden tours. You can easily spend an entire day at the Naples Botanical Garden, but at least 1 to 2 hours is recommended. When you get hungry you can take a break at the Fogg Cafe onsite.

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Freedom Park

1515 Golden Gate Pkwy, Naples, FL 34105

Freedom Park is a family-friendly 50-acre walk through protected wetlands along a wooden boardwalk. Along the walking trail there are six lookout pavilions, a lake and beautiful bridges. It is a great park to visit for nature-lovers who want to enjoy the native flora and fauna of Naples’ wetlands.

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Gordon River Greenway Park

1596 Golden Gate Pkwy, Naples, FL 34105

Gordon River Greenway Park is a tranquil place to get out and stroll through nature. The various trails of broadwalk, asphalt and mulch wind through 140-acres of six different plant communities. There are fishing piers, kayak and canoe launching docks, fountains, playgrounds and even a tree house.

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Guide to Naples FL with Kids

Clam Pass Park

465 Seagate Dr, Naples, FL 34103

Clam Pass Park is 35-acres of coastal habitat and preserves with a boardwalk that winds through lush mangrove forests to give you an up close and personal view of local wildlife. You can choose to stroll the boardwalk on you own, take the free tram access or even partake in a guided nature walk. Clam Pass is located right behind Naples Grande Beach Resort and leads to beach access. When looking for what to do in Naples, Florida look no further than the beach. Naples beaches looks like something out of a postcard. It’s too beautiful to be real with sand, white in color and powdery to the touch. The water is a gemstone turquoise and is as warm and inviting as it appears. Seashells wash up on shore in nearly perfect condition, making it easy to fill bucket after bucket with treasures from the sea.

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Naples Preserve

1690 Tamiami Trail N, Naples, FL 34102

This is 9.5-acres of protected green space in the heart of urban Naples. The boardwalks allow you to wander through this unique ecosystem, taking in all the wildlife and tropical plants along the way. This is a free walk through Pine Flatwoods and Oak-Rosemary Scrub, which are two Florida Upland habitats. It is said that this is the best location to spot Gopher Tortoises.

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Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

375 Sanctuary Road, Naples, Florida 34120

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is 13,000-acres of mostly wetlands with 700-acres being the largest remaining virgin bald cypress forest in the world. Wildlife at the sanctuary include the Florida Panther, the American Alligator, Gopher Tortoises, Big Cypress Fox Squirrel, the Florida Black Bear and much, much more! The sanctuary is also home to some pretty rare plant life like the Ghost Orchid. You can wander through this 600-year-old wilderness along peaceful 2.25-mile boardwalk.

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That’s a Wrap!

In our busy lives we sometimes forget to just stop, but when you are in Naples, all your senses are engaged. Here, you can take the time to touch, smell, see and taste all the things that make life pleasurable. Naples offers southern charm, a slower pace, kindness and sociability that you will love. 

I think of the trees that grow native in Southwest Florida, how they have branches that grow down to support the roots. It is hard to convey the wonder of Naples, Florida in words for there is something intangible about this place that even the trees can’t seem to grasp. I encourage you to experience Naples, FL with your family!

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Naples with Kids Travel Guide
Author

I am a busy mama with 3 delicious babies and a serious itch for travel and writing (when I am not bartending, that is)! After graduating from Cal State San Marcos with a B.A. in Communications, I decided to start a family and pursue a career in freelance writing. I created HotMamaTravel as an outlet to do what I love while sharing useful travel tips and inspiration with others. Our mission is to show parents how to master travel with kids, while keeping your Saturday-night selves. We call it "Family travel...with a twist".

23 Comments

  1. Pingback: Vacation Friends | hotmamatravel.com

  2. Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Thank you

  3. Pingback: Airboat Tour in the Everglades - HotMamaTravel.com

  4. I really enjoyed reading about your family vacations in Naples Florida. You’ve definitely uncovered many of the great places to visit around town. Your info and details are very useful whether you’re it’s your first visit or a local. As a busy mom of two young children and local business owner our family tries to take time to slow down and staycation here locally and looking forward to your retsaurant recommendation Fernandez and the Bull. Thanks!

    • Thank you Susanna! Staycations are awesome and allow you to appreciate the things in your hometown that others have to travel to enjoy. Hope you like Fernandez the Bull! Get the Vaca Fritta!

  5. Pingback: The Ultimate Guide for Traveling to Naples with Kids – HotMamaTravel – Travellers

  6. I was in the Naples area a few weeks ago. Certainly, renting a hope is the most affordable way to go, especially with kids. If you really want to do it on the cheap go during the summer because there are few visitors and for good reason. TOO HOT. Even in the heat, Naples is a lovely city.

    • True, we always go the first weekend of “off season” to avoid crowds & enjoy great deals. The weather is still pretty nice as well.

  7. It looks like you all had so much fun. It’s wonderful to start a child’s love for travel early 🙂

  8. Naples is really a beautiful place and I would like to visit it once. Hope you had great fun 🙂

  9. Mimi Kondzich Reply

    Wow, a trip down memory lane! I lived there back in the 90s and reading your blog brought back some really nice memories! Check out The Bubbleroom on Captiva Island for a quirky, fun dining experience! Sanibel is GREAT for doing the Sanibel Stoop, a sea shelling adventure which requires one to “stoop” while walking the beach and admiring all the shells! Thanks for your blog, truly enjoyed it.

    • Thanks for the tips! I love quirky! And I’ve been meaning to get to Sanibel and do some shelling. Next time for sure.

  10. We go to Naples at least once a year! I love Vanderbilt beach and the zoo. We stay in north Naples always! Have to check out some of these restaurants always on the lookout for new places!

  11. Dewey Garrett Reply

    Thank you very much for all the info. We are heading to Naples for the first time this winter. Also, you do a great job!!!!!!!!!!!!! Again, Thank you, The Garrett’s

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