Luxury Naples Family travel
Local Mom: Eva
Eva splits her time between Manhattan and Naples, Florida – and many other places in between. From toting her son around Naples for that last three years, Eva is more than happy to share her local knowledge on all things luxe for the modern, globe-trotting family with her favorite ways to enjoy the beautiful Paradise Coast.
What type of family vacations does Naples serve best?
Naples, and Southwest Florida in general, is absolutely fantastic for families. The weather is gorgeous all year round, the white-sand beaches are some of the most beautiful in America, and there’s so much to do. Beach time? Check. Luxury shopping? Check. Beautiful hotels surrounded by lush plant life overlooking the ocean? Check check check. The food is always fresh and tasty, and the people are super friendly. I also like the very strong health and fitness vibe of the city, which always pushes me to want to hit the gym or yoga studio every time I’m there. Plus, the fresh produce and farmer’s markets are bar none! Okay, so I occasionally get frustrated with the slow traffic (but that could just be my inner New Yorker emerging).
What are you favorite family attractions in Naples and why?
There’s so much! Where to begin really… some of our staples are the Naples Zoo and the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples (called CMON). We’re members of both, so we try and go as much as possible for a great pre-lunch and nap kind of activity. The luscious Caribbean gardens at the zoo are simply divine. The best features are the camel rides and the giraffe feedings, you just can’t beat that. The C’mon children’s museum has some of the best features in town for little kiddos, replete with an igloo, a fishing pond, and a gigantic banyan tree. Seriously, I think I’m more obsessed with the tree than my son. Last but not least, I highly recommend going to the ever impressive Artis-Naples, home to the Baker Museum. You may think that it’s for grown-ups only, but the Chihuly Ceilings alone are worth the price of admission. You’ll recognize his spectacular glass work from the lobby ceiling at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. Plus, they have fantastic art classes and programs for the little guys. Need I say more.
Best Places to Shop for Kids Clothing in Naples?
Ah, what can I say, shopping is my pastime. Given my area and profession, I’m of course even more obsessed than I ought to be. I love Little Luxe – a clothing boutique for kids that carry things from Little Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Fendi, Stella McCartney, among many others (I heart them all!). They have two locations, one in downtown Naples (on 5th Avenue South), and another one at the Waterside Shops (another great place for shopping that I just can’t get enough of). All About April, located in the Village on Venetian Bay, is also absolutely darling (though geared more towards babies and the younger set). Giggle Moon, which has been around longer than most of the other ones, also carries a fantastic range of well curated children’s clothing, books, toys, and accessories. Another one that I have a soft spot for – is called Children’s Couture at the Promenade in Bonita Bay. The owner, Debbie, always manages to find some of the best items, and I somehow can never leave empty-handed.
Best Family-Friendly Restaurants in Naples for squirmy toddlers?
We make it a family tradition to have lunch at Gumbo Limbo at the Ritz Carlton. In my opinion it has, hands down, some of the best food and atmosphere in Naples. The service is also impeccable; they always give my son a toy each time we go. The best part? We get to sit down, kick back with a mimosa, and chow down on some grouper tacos overlooking the beach. Some of my other favorites include: Pinchers Crab Shack in Tin City, Bayside Seafood Grill at the Village on Venetian Bay, dining al fresco at Avenue Five (located inside the Inn on Fifth), eating under the umbrella shades and fire lamps at Brio at the Waterside shops, and a sea of options at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point.
Best Things to do with a baby in Naples?
We spend the morning on Bonita Beach, followed by a visit to Peace, Love, and Little Donuts (my weakness), And speaking of donuts, Trackside Donuts, a little red brick house right on Old 41, has some of the best donuts I’ve ever tasted! They close everyday at 2pm, and most of their delicious homemade donuts have sold out long before then. I’m absolutely obsessed. After treats we would head off to Naples Botanical Garden. When my little guy was just a few months old, hubs used to drop me off in the morning so that I can do yoga in the gardens (simply other-worldly & divine!), and he would take my son meandering through the grounds and amidst the waterfalls or the butterfly house, where he can endlessly amuse himself.
Where would you definitely take out-of-towners to walk around?
Downtown Naples (Fifth Avenue and Third Street South) has some great access points to beaches – the picturesque Naples Pier comes to mind, which is basically the symbol for the town (we’ve walked to the end of the pier and seen dolphins!). More importantly (if you’re able to tear away from the shopping and dining), there is Cambier Park, which is beyond awesome. It’s got one of the best constructed kiddo playgrounds I’ve been, not to mention a fantastic theater, and ping-pong and pool tables in the community center. I highly endorse visiting Cambier, particularly if your visitors have children. Lowdermilk Park is also great, which boasts its own set of playgrounds, not to mention sand volleyball, a covered food pavilion and shady, groovy picnic tables. I have a personal fondness for Delnor-Wiggins Park. It’s where I used to spend the bulk of my “mommy and baby” time with my little guy before he could even walk. I used to lay him down on my yoga mat and he would just roll around giddily watching the ocean waves (we would sit together and admire the sunset). Nowadays, we pick seashells together by the seashore.
What’s the best Luxury Naples adults-only stay-cation?
The first time hubby and I ever spend a night away from our son, it was at the Ritz Carlton in Naples (there are two locations, one right on the beach and one on a golf resort, we opted for the latter since hubby loves to golf). I was so distraught, having never been apart from my baby, that the first thing I did the next morning was to drive to my parents, pick him up, and take him back to the hotel with us (kind of defeats the whole “grown-ups only concept”). If I were to return to Naples, I think that I would still opt for the Ritz, since it’s just like a little oasis in and of itself. This time though, I think that we’ll leave the little man at home.
And Best Luxury Naples Family stay-cation?
Would you be upset if I said the Ritz Carlton yet again? Okay in all honesty, the Naples Beach Hotel & Golf Club also looks lovely (I highly recommend going there just for the sunset cocktails and live music alone). We haven’t stayed there yet, but something tells me that we would all be happy campers nestled in that lap of luxury.
What destinations are you most enthused to take your family?
Eva is the founder of Rockshic Styles and City Baby Dining. A fashion stylist with over 10 years of experience in the finance industry – she is passionate about many things, chief of which is good food, great energy, and of course, time well spent with her beloved family & friends.