No Price Tags: Find Free Fun at These Naples Attractions

Naples has a reputation as a playground for the wealthy, but it also offers the best things in life that are free. With its close proximity to Everglades and beach environment, its best free things have to do with getting out in nature, taking a hike, paddling a kayak, watching birds, looking for seashells and soaking up the sun.

The mammoth expanses of land and water within Big Cypress National Preserve, Everglades National Park, Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge provide limitless opportunity to drive, walk, bike and paddle into sheer wilderness.

On the other side of nature, the beaches of Naples, Bonita Springs and Marco Island are all free and open to the public. Parking fees do apply, but if you arrive by foot or bicycle, you pay nothing. One of the most easily accessible and popular on Marco Island is South Marco Beach, an active, fun-lovers stretch that spreads wide and fluffy. At Naples Municipal Beach, which is within walking distance of free parking in the Third Street South shopping district, don't miss a walk along the free Naples City Pier

Collier County also maintains four excellent historical museums that are free-of-charge and highly entertaining for kids as well as adults. Two are located in Naples proper, while the other two are in Everglades City and on Marco Island.

The Naples Preserve
Photo courtesy of City of Naples

In 2000, the Naples community banded together to save these precious 9.5 inner-city acres of land from development. They were successful, and after countless hours of cleanup by hundreds of dedicated volunteers, The Naples Preserve was born....  Read More

Otter Mound Preserve
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Shell mounds such as this once pimpled Southwest Florida landscape, particularly on Marco Island, which was a major headquarters for the ancient Calusa tribe. This Calusa hidden archaeological site and its short interpretative trail along a...  Read More

Naples Depot Museum
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Located in the beautifully restored Seaboard Air Line Railway passenger station in downtown Naples, the Naples Depot Museum tells the story of the city's development and the crucial role railroads played in its transformation from a primitive...  Read More

Everglades Area
Marsh Trail
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Until a few years ago, the only way visitors could step onto land in Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge was by taking a boat to the islands. Now there's a mile-long trail into the refuge's mainland-side component. The first quarter...  Read More

South Marco Beach
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

Public beach access is limited on Marco Island. This one, at the southernmost end of the island, is easiest to get to and find, although there is a bit of a walk from the parking lot on the other side of Collier Boulevard. Parking is an $8 flat...  Read More

Naples City Pier
Photo courtesy of Naples Marco Island Everglades CVB

The Naples City Pier has been an area landmark for more than a century, weathering hurricanes and storms over the years, not to mention foot traffic from millions of tourists, fisher folk and locals alike. It stretches out from Naples' municipal...  Read More

Marco Island Historical Museum
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

The importance of Marco Island to ancient Calusa Indian civilization, which spread throughout Southwest Florida and even into the Keys, was established in 1896 by archaeologist Frank Hamilton Cushing in what has been called one of the most...  Read More

Everglades Area
Paradise Coast Blueway
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

If you are looking to get as closeup and intimate with nature in Naples backyard Everglades and Ten Thousand Islands region, grab a paddle. Paradise Coast Blueway is a work in progress – a system of paddling trails throughout the county...  Read More

Collier County Museum

The flagship location of Collier County Museums' excellent five-campus empire, the Collier County Museum retraces nearly one million years of Southwest Florida history. The more than 10,000-square-foot space spans exhibits as diverse as...  Read More

Big Cypress National Preserve
Photo courtesy of Chelle Koster Walton

For nature lovers traveling on a budget, it doesn't get any better than the land and water trails of Big Cypress National Preserve. This behemoth freshwater neighbor to Everglades National Park covers more than 700,000 acres and is home to such...  Read More


Meet Chelle Koster Walton

Chelle Koster Walton – the Local Expert for Naples, Florida and the Caribbean – has been covering the destination for 30 years. Her top-selling Sarasota, Sanibel Island, and...  More About Chelle

comments powered by Disqus

Build your own lists that you can easily reference or share stories with your friends.

Login ×

Forgot login/password?
Don't have an account? Create Your Account!

Enter your username or email in the box below and click
"Remind Me".

Remind Me ×
Create Account ×
Create Account ×

Already have an account?

Add to List ×
Save ×

Go to Lists Close Window ×