Are you headed on a trip to Naples, Florida? Naples beaches are some of the most beautiful, not only in Southwest Florida, but in the United States which draws millions of visitors every year. Unfortunately, this popularity comes with a big price tag, particularly from January to March. Paying for a family trip there can really add up but I found some great free activities you can do with the kids while you’re there. Balance out the expensive activities like the zoo with free activities such as a nature walks to see alligators. Learn how to make this a great affordable trip by following my Free Things to Do in Naples Florida list!!
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Free Museums of Naples Florida
Who knew there were free museums in Naples? Check out these local free museums and let your kids learn and explore the history of Naples.
Visit this museum to learn the history of Southwest Florida over the last million years. Let kids start with large displays of prehistoric animals to the life of Calusa Indians and Spanish Explores and ending with the building of the town of Naples. Outside, the museum has 5 acres of Native Florida gardens with 2 historic cottages, archaeology lab, a recreated Seminole War Fort, a restored World War II tank, and much more. Give yourself an hour or two to explore the museum and grounds of this free complex.
Address: 3331 Tamiami Trail East, Naples / in the County Government Complex
Does your child like Trains? Check out this great Train and History museum located in Naples’ first passenger train Station. The museum takes you through the history of the railroad boom days and the technology used to move forward to modern times. Let the kids explore the old train equipment, see a Seminole Indian Dugout Canoe, an antique swamp buggy, restored railroad cars, and much more.
Located next door is the Naples Train Museum, a paid museum with model train cars which is also pretty fun for training loving kids if you wanted to pay an entrance fee.
Address: 1051 5th Avenue South, Naples FL
Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch
Want to show the kids what life was like in the early 1900’s living in Florida? Head over to this 13 acre historic site and museum located on the old Roberts Ranch. Kids will be able to experience what life was like in a self-guided tour of the 15 carefully preserved original buildings. Learn local stories about cow hunters, ranchers, Indian traders, and pioneer families. Bonus it is outside so you don’t have to worry about keeping the kids quiet in a museum.
Address: 1215 Roberts Ave. Immokalee, Naples FL
Is someone in your family interested in military history? Or do your kids like to look at all the cool military planes and ships? Check out this small two room military museum located in the Naples Airport. Volunteers will walk you through their large collection of replicas and military gear ranging all the way back to the Revolutionary War and up to the Iraq and Afghanistan conflict. It is a little tight in there and might be hard for younger children as there is not much you can touch.
Address: 500 Terminal Drive, Naples FL (inside the airport terminal)
Check out the Ultimate Guide of Things to Do in Naples Florida for more fun idea while visiting.
Free Nature Walks
Located on 9.5 acres right off of US 41 is the Naples Preserve created to protect the two Upland plants, Pine Flatwoods and Oak Rosemary scrubs. Explore with the kids the 0.4-mile-long boardwalk that meanders through the trees and scrubs. It is fully accessible for strollers and an easy walk with younger kids. On our walk, we saw lizards, birds, flowers, snakes and gopher tortoises (the kids favorite). They do offer free guided tours but you will need to check the website for dates and times. Overall, a free fun quick walk through a Nature Preserve.
Address: 1690 Tamiami Trail North, Naples FL
This large Nature Preserve is located on 50 acres and has 3500 feet of boardwalk created throughout the park. Find several lakes to walk around as well as wooded areas and open green space. When you park, you will find a visitor center with bathroom facilities and a small learning center where the kids can learn more about the animals and birds located in the park. On our walk, we were able to see several alligators in the lakes, lots of birds, fish, and turtles. The volunteers at the learning center also gave us hints where to find the best alligator sightings. This is a great free stop to see Naples natural habitat.
Address: 1515 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples FL
Parks in Naples
Need to get the kids out to run? Check out these local parks and playgrounds.
This 15-acre park is located just east of the Nature Preserve and across the street from the Coastland Mall. It would be fun place to visit after walking though the Nature Preserve. Here you will find great playground equipment for 1-5 year old’s and equipment for 6-12 year old’s. There are also several sports areas for baseball, sand volleyball, basketball, and pickle ball. You will also find bathroom facilities and water fountains.
Address: 1600 Fleischmann Boulevard, Naples FL
Cambier Park is located in the heart of Old Naples just south of all the shopping and restaurants on 5th Avenue. The 13-acre park offers a great playground for all ages and an outdoor concert venue with free concerts on Sundays from 2-4pm. Easily stroll over to 5th Avenue to shop or have a meal then let the kids burn off all that energy at this fun downtown playground.
Address: 755 8th Avenue South, Naples FL
Naples Beaches are the reason you take a vacation here and the best part is they are free! The only fee may be to pay for parking. So, take advantage of these beautiful white sand beaches and spend a day in the sun with your family.
Before you go check out these 20 Easy Beach Hacks to Survive a Day at the Beach with Kids. Get tips and tricks on how to hide your money, save your phone from sand & water, keep cool, what to pack and more.
One of the iconic symbols of Naples is the Naples Pier built in 1888 as a passenger and freight dock. It is now one of the best places to view a sunset or hang out for the day with family on the beach. There are several amenities such as showers, bathrooms, and a concession stand located on the Pier. Kids can watch fisherman off this Pier catching fish and the pelicans circling around. Sometimes you can even see dolphins swim by near the end of the pier. Public parking is located a block away and is the only fee. Unfortunately, beach parking in Naples is limited so get there early and enjoy the sun and sand with your family.
Address: Located on West End of 12th Avenue South, Naples FL
Lowdermilk Beach located just south of Doctor’s Pass boasts all the amenities an out of towner needs. At this location, you are able to rent beach chairs, umbrellas, life jackets, and some water toys. This is a huge bonus for those flying down to Naples and unable to bring all their beach gear. You will also find a reasonably priced concession stand with plenty of picnic benches. There are large grassy areas beside the beach and it has two small playgrounds. A paid parking lot is available at this beach but it has limited spots for non residents. The lot fills up quick so get here early in the morning and plan to spend a fun day at the beach with the kiddos.
Address: 1301 Gulfshore Blvd. North, Naples FL
Vanderbilt Beach is located in North Naples near the Ritz Carlton. It offers beautiful, wide white sand beaches and turquoise water. This location does offer restrooms but not full showers or a concession stand. I would suggest either packing a lunch or walking over to the Ritz Carlton for a bite to eat. At the entrance to the beach, you will find a beach hut that rents chairs and umbrellas. If you want to rent jet skis, you can go next door to the Ritz Carlton. The Bonus to this location is they have a parking garage which offers a lot more parking than the other two beaches. However, it is still a very popular beach and the parking does fill up in season so try to get there before 10 am.
Location: End of Vanderbilt Beach Road
A tradition in Naples for both locals and tourists is to watch the sunset. Head down to the beach around sunset and let the kids play in the sand while you relax and enjoy the beautiful view!
Free Day Trips from Naples
Big Cypress National Preserve is just a short drive away from Naples and is a free National Preserve. Visit this amazing preserve to see a diverse ecosystem near the Florida Everglades. It’s a great place for the kids to see wildlife in a natural setting from the safety of the many boardwalks. Your sure to see some alligators swimming around while your visiting. Families can choose to hike or simply drive the beautiful Loop Road. Find out all the fun things to do in Big Cypress National Preserve – What to See & Do.
Everglade City – While visiting Big Cypress National Preserve you will be right by Everglade City. Here you will find the Museum of Everglade City. A cute free museum that will teach you all about the people who have lived in this former frontier city in Florida. Check out all there is to do in Everglade City Florida.
Marco Island is about a half hour drive south of Naples and has tons of fun free things to do too. Stop first at the Briggs Nature Center on the way to Marco and take a cool hike on a boardwalk through their half-mile nature center. After head to Marco Island Historic Museum to learn the history of the areas people. Finish up with a visit to one of Marco Island’s beautiful beaches and public parks. To learn more read 8 Fun Things to Do in Marco Island.
Find Out How Much Your Trip Will Cost
Find out the full cost of your upcoming vacation with my free Trip Cost Calculator. Use this easy tool to help build your travel budget and get a better idea of how much you need to save for vacation. You can adjust each travel item cost until you find a total amount that you can afford. Then build your dream vacation around your personal travel budget.
Where to Stay in Naples
Wondering where to stay on your trip to Naples? There is a wide variety of different hotel options from luxury to family friendly. You will find there are not many hotels on the beach. If this is what your looking for check out the Ritz Carlton Naples, Naples Grand Beach Resort or the Edgewater Beach Hotel.
If you can’t be on the beach another fun option is a hotel on Naples Bay. You can see the boats go by and if your lucky catch a glimpse of the dolphins. There are two local hotels I would suggest The Cove Inn and Naples Bay Resort & Marina. However if your okay with being off the water and want something more economcal you will find every chain hotel from Marriott to the Ramada to chose from on your trip.
Get more hotel ideas at Booking.com our favorite travel site.
I hope this article helps you to find the affordable side of Naples. It is an amazing place for a family vacation that you won’t want to miss out on! Want to find out more great things to do in Naples? Read my full guide on Naples Florida’s best attractions, restaurants, beaches and more.
Have you found a great free spot in Naples? Please share with us in the comments.
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Want more information about Naples Florida? Check out my Ultimate Insider’s Guide to Things to Do in Naples with Kids and find more can’t miss tips below.