naples, marco island, and everglades city

Free Things to do in Southwest Florida

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Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City are all part of Southwest Florida’s Paradise Coast. Each of these areas offers a variety of free, one-of-a-kind experiences for residents as well as visitors. You can experience thrilling outdoor adventures in the Everglades, find inspiration in the cultural scene, or stroll along the white sandy Gulf beaches.

  1. Free Things To Do in Naples Beach, FL. You can walk or ride your bike to any one of the many free access points to Naples Beach throughout the downtown Naples area. If you go by car, you have to feed the parking meters, so why not walk or ride and get some exercise while you enjoy the beach views?
  1. Free Things To Do in Naples Pier, FL. Visit the historic Naples Pier, which is open for fishing, people watching and sunset viewing. There is a concession stand in case you want to purchase snacks, refreshments or bait, but admission to the pier itself is free.
  1. Shelling. Beautiful seashells are yours for the taking along the public beaches of Naples and Marco Island. You can even hitch a boat ride and search for pristine, untouched shells on nearby deserted barrier island beaches. Just be sure to return all shells with live animals, as well as all live sand dollars, to the Gulf of Mexico. The taking of live shells is prohibited (and against the law).
  1. Art Shows. Naples hosts several free art shows, including the Art in the Park arts and crafts show that takes place the first Saturday of the month between November and April. You’ll find art festivals in the downtown area as well, including the prestigious Naples National Art Festival, which takes place every February.
  1. Concerts. Enjoy regular free entertainment at Cambier Park in downtown Naples, including the Naples Concert Band, Family Movie Nights and more. Free concerts are scheduled throughout the year. You can take in a free performance from the Naples Daily News Jazz Band, Naples Concert Band, Gulf Coast Big Band or numerous other performing groups.
  1. Art Galleries. Explore the free art galleries at the von Liebig Art Center in downtown Naples and at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. The von Liebig also has an extensive arts library that is available for browsing by the public. Members of the Naples Art Association enjoy free lending privileges.
  1. Collier County Museums. Entrance is free at all four Collier County Museum locations, including the Collier County Museum in Naples, the Naples Depot Museum, the Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City and the Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch in Immokalee (by appointment only). These museums provide an opportunity to learn about the history, culture and heritage of the Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City area.
  1. Naples Zoo. After you buy an annual membership to Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens, you can visit as often as you like with no entrance fee. Families can enjoy viewing exotic animals, such as tigers and zebras, while surrounded by exotic plants of a historic tropical garden. Plus, anyone can stop to shop at the Naples Zoo gift shop without having to purchase a zoo ticket.
  1. Cypress Bend Boardwalk. View ancient cypress trees, orchids, alligators, eagle’s nests, and other natural wonders along the free .8-mile Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk in Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park on the Tamiami Trail just east of Naples.
  1. Nation’s Smallest Post Office. Get a postmark for your postcards or letters from the Ochopee Post Office. The nation’s smallest post office is located on the Tamiami Trail in the Everglades just east of Wooten’s, an airboat, swamp buggy and animal park attraction.
  1. Bike Everglades City. Bring your bicycle and enjoy a scenic ride through Everglades City past stone crab and fish markets and historic buildings, or through downtown Naples’ beautifully landscaped neighborhoods. If you don’t have your own bicycle, bikes are also available for hire, and guided bicycle tours (for a fee) of downtown Naples and the Everglades are available through Naples Bicycle Tours.
  1. Everglades National Park. Visit Everglades National Park Gulf Coast Visitor Center in Everglades City, it’s the only one of the three official park entrances with no admission fee. The park protects and provides an important habitat for rare and endangered wildlife, such as the manatee, American crocodile, and Florida panther.
  1. Free Film Showings. View a free film on the unique environment and wildlife of Big Cypress National Preserve at the Oasis Visitor Center on the Tamiami Trail.
  1. Swamp Walks. Take part in free ranger-led swamp walks, or canoe and bicycle trips, during the winter season at Big Cypress National Preserve near Everglades City. Be sure to call ahead for reservations. Reservations are accepted up to 14 days in advance between 9 AM and 4 PM.
  1. Scenic Drives. Keep an eye out for black bear, Florida panther, deer, birds, butterflies, raccoon and other wildlife while taking a scenic drive along Janes Scenic Drive, Turner River Road and Loop Road near Everglades City.
  1. Kayak Down Turner River. Launch your canoe or kayak on the Turner River in Big Cypress National Preserve and paddle along the cypress-lined river into the mangrove forests of the Everglades. There is a free parking and launch area for paddlers.

Whether you plan on exploring Southwest Florida for a few days, or for a few months, you can find free activities that will appeal to everyone in the family. For more information on the Paradise Coast of Naples, Marco Island and Everglades City, visit or call 1-800-688-3600.