In southwest Florida, on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, is the charming city of Naples. You might know the city best for its classy restaurants, designer shopping, and international culture, but this Florida gem is also an excellent place to rent an RV. At only a stone’s throw from the Everglades National Park and the Big Cypress National Preserve, and within a short drive of the gorgeous beaches on Marco Island and Sanibel Island, there's an abundance of places for outdoors and nature lovers to visit. In the area around Naples, there are several sporting opportunities including kayaking and canoeing, hiking and boating, as well as boardwalks, swamps, and nature centers where you can spot anything from birds to turtles and alligators to black bears. Visitors can also make a day trip to Everglades City, where the Everglades Seafoods Festival is held each year.
Naples can be easily reached; there are many several commercial flights to the Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, only a 30-minute drive from Naples, or to the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Fort Lauderdale, 100 miles east. Within the city, you can park your Naples RV rental in the city’s suburbs and make use of use of Naples’ new public transport system, CAT.
The Great Outdoors
When you book an RV in Naples, you’ll definitely want to take it sightseeing out of the city. When it comes to wildlife and nature, the Everglades National Park is unrivaled. This 1.5-million-acre wetland is flooded with alligators, manatee, wild pigs, turtles, buffalo, raccoons, and many other wildlife species as well as an abundance of plant life. Due to the parks subtropical climate, a huge variety of flora can be found. Unfortunately, this also means that some areas of the park are teeming with mosquitos so remember to wear long sleeves and bring repellent. The park is divided into sections with a total of eight entrances, one of the closest to Naples is 70 miles away, in Shark Valley. Drive your Naples rental RV along the Tamiami Trail on US Highway 41, which was designed by businessmen in the early 1920’s in order to connect the Paradise Coast to Miami. At the Shark Valley Welcome Center, you can find educational displays, and outside you can discover the secrets of the Everglades by bicycle or by joining a Shark Valley tram tour. There are two walking trails from the visitor center and the option to hike to an observation platform at the highest accessible point in the Everglades National Park.
Also close to Naples is the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary which is a pleasant half-day trip from the city center. The two-mile boardwalk was opened in 1954 when the region was considered a damp and boggy wilderness. The 13,000 acres is now said to host the last remaining virgin bald cypress in the USA. The boardwalk visits four separate natural environments; a cypress forest, marshland, a wet prairie, and pine upland, with educational plaques marking the way.
For a full day in a forest, take a drive to the Big Cypress National Preserve, the 73,000-acre freshwater swamp that nourishes the Everglades wetlands. There are few different ways to explore this vast national preserve, such as taking part in ranger-led activities including guided walks, canoeing excursions, nature talks, and birdwatching. Or, take your RV on a scenic loop. There are good roads passing through pine forests, dwarf cypress forests and crossing the Turner River. Along the way, there are boardwalks where visitors can leave the vehicle and continue into the forests on foot. One of the most well-used hiking trails is the five-mile Fire Prairie Trail from Turner River Road.
If you're planning to book an RV rental in Naples, then you should probably spend at least a day soaking up the sun on one of the region’s gorgeous beaches. Marco Island is accessible from Naples via Highway 41 and is the largest of the Ten Thousand Islands and linked to the mainland by two bridges. The island hosts some of the most stunning white sand beaches and clear turquoise waters of the Paradise Coast. You can take a kayak or canoe to watch for wildlife in The Ten Thousand Islands mangrove-lined estuaries or join water sports activities like wakeboarding and scuba diving at the seaside.
When you book a motorhome rental in Naples, you can spend a night in the Big Cypress Nature Preserve where there are five basic campsites suitable for RVs at Midway, Monument Lake, Bear Island, Mitchell Landing, and Burns Lake. Staying in an RV site is also possible in the southern part of the Everglades National Park. Recommended camps here include Long Pine Key Campground, Flamingo Campground, and North River Chickee.
Keep the Naples travel trailer rental in the city at one of the many RV parks and resorts in Naples. A popular one is the Rock Creek RV Resort and Campground, a luxury resort which offers a tranquil paradise within an urban setting. The park is located only two and a half miles from Naples’ downtown area and three miles to Naples beaches, so it’s a convenient place for visiting Naples’ historic center or shopping at the Coastland Mall. In the same part of town, there is an abundance of dining options too. Onsite amenities include showers and restrooms, laundry services, entertainment facilities, group sports and exercise classes, craft activities and WiFi.
Exploring the City
While Florida’s Paradise Coast is known for its modern architecture, the historic downtown district of Naples still preserves the city’s past. You can take a walk along Fifth Avenue and Third Street, which is where you’ll find the best art galleries in Naples, including the Gallery Matisse, as well as a variety of upmarket restaurants and quirky seaside cafes. This is also a good area for shopping, dotted with clothing boutiques and elegant décor stores. From downtown Naples, you can continue your stroll to Bayview Park where you can hop on a boat to Keewaydin Island or admire the views of Naples Bay and the Royal Port.
Naples is also the host of the Southwest Florida Nature Festival and the Yum Yum and Yum, which is a three-part festival featuring the Big Swamp Bar-B-Que Smoke Off, the Kiss Country Chili Cook-Off, and the Delray Beach Garlic Festival. Other festivals include the Naples Winter Wine Festival, and the Swamp Buggy Winter Classic.
Naples, FL is the perfect spot to start your next road trip.
There are many popular rentals in Naples. Outdoorsy's Naples RV rental marketplace allows renters to choose from rental options from professional RV rental agencies as well as RVs for rent by owner.