Top Things to Do in Naples, Florida, in February & March
Bottomless bowls of stone crab, sunset painting experiences on the beach, and special showcases of local culture are just a few reasons to visit Naples during these two months.
The cozy waterfront community of Naples may just be Florida’s best-kept secret. While cities like Miami, Orlando, and Tampa experience a surge in tourists during “season” – better known as the months between November through April when the sunshine is abundant, the temps generally top out around 80 degrees, and the humidity remains low – Naples manages to keep a low profile. Yes, you’ll still find gorgeous beaches, charming neighborhoods, and mouthwatering food that you can expect of any fabulous Florida getaway, but the crowds are never as overwhelming as the aforementioned counterparts. Here’s how you take advantage of the top things to do in Naples during the months of February and March – unfettered access being a bonus.
NAPLES ACTIVITIES & ATTRACTIONS
Experience Immokalee Culture in Two Unique Ways
About 40 miles northeast of Naples, Immokalee is an unincorporated farming and ranching community home to one of the nation’s largest migrant communities. Unless you are a native of the area, you have probably never heard of it – and yet, this hard-working community is responsible for churning out a significant portion of the nation’s fresh produce. So what is this culture all about? Find out at The Baker Museum – part of the Artis—Naples’s cultural campus – through the billboard-sized black-and-white portrait photographs of Immokalee residents shot by portrait artist Michelle Tricca. Called The Face of Immokalee, the exhibit celebrates the vibrant culture and contributions of the residents of this community and is only on display for a few more months (until April 2024). Or head to the town yourself on March 9 for the annual Immokalee Cattle Drive & Jamboree, a day-long festival that honors the town’s ranching heritage and beautiful blend of cultures.
Neapolitans know that May is the height of sea turtle nesting season, when more than 100,000 of the reptiles arrive on Florida beaches. However, if your lucky, you can spot them as early as March and April at Barefoot Beach Preserve in Naples, where some 8,200 feet of undeveloped beach and sand dunes serve as the dream home to loggerhead mamas. The preserve is also open to the public for building sandcastles, catching rays, and looking for the “green flash” of the sun as it sinks into the sea.
Explore the Everglades
Low humidity, clear skies, and average high temperatures of 77 degrees make February and March – the dry season – excellent months to embark on an adventure in the largest subtropical wilderness (at 1.5 million acres) in the U.S. Reserve a “river of grass” tour with Coopertown Airboats, which was founded in 1945 and has been featured in “The Big Year,” among other movies.
Start Your Own Big Year
Bird watching in the Sunshine State is at its best in March, when migratory patterns send the great crested flycatcher, northern parula, and other neotropical specialties flying over Naples and Collier County – 80 percent of which is dedicated to parks and nature preserves. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary and “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge offer opportunities to spot flamingo, wood storks, roseate spoonbill, great blue heron, and many other species.
Eat All the Stone Crab You Can
Florida’s official stone crab season runs from October 15 to May 15, and the state’s sweetest place to try the delectable claw meat is arguably Triad Seafood Café (where the more famous Miami Joe’s Stone Crab gets its supply). Located in Everglades City, roughly 30 miles outside of Naples, it’s open only on Friday and Saturday nights for bottomless bowls (yes, bottomless!) with mustard sauce. Gather at one of the picnic tables overlooking the Barron River and aim to have your photo taken by owners Orlo and Pam for the “Glutton Board.” If looking to enjoy stone crab without leaving Naples, there are plenty of local options including Captain & Krewe Seafood Market and Raw Bar and The Dock at Crayton Cove.
2024 NAPLES FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Everglades Seafood Festival, 2/2–4
Held in Everglades City (part of Greater Naples), this three-day country fair festival features plenty of feasting on fresh seafood, live music, and fairway attractions. More than 100 vendors sling gulf shrimp, stone crab claws, fried gator, and more.
Cars on 5th, 2/3
Close to 600 Ferraris, Jaguars, Porsches, Corvettes and other vehicles roll through the city of Naples during this annual event. Don’t miss the memorable Drive Off of all of them at 4 p.m.
Around the World Tasting, 2/20
Get ready to embark on a global gastronomic journey at Edgewater Beach Hotel, indulging in a variety of flavors from different corners of the world, including Asia (sushi), the Americas (smoked brisket, tacos, and ceviche), France (duck liver pate), and lamb gyros (Greece). Held on the pool deck and only open to guests of Edgewater and The Capri Inn (a sibling Opal located in Olde Naples), the event also features drink pairings from each matching country.
Live Sunset Paintings, 2/21
Painting supplies and step-by-step instruction – not to mention beverages – are included during this class held right on the beach at Edgewater Beach Hotel. Start time is 5:30 with sunset at 6:24. This event is open to guests of both Edgewater Beach Hotel and The Capri Inn, as well as the public (cost is $65).
Naples National Art Fair, 2/23
During this premier, must-see local event, stroll through the balmy Cambier Park and along 8th Street South to peer at pieces from local and national artists in media ranging from painting and jewelry to sculpture and wood.
Naples Craft Beer Fest, 3/2
Only once a year does the city gather for this massive toast to craft beer, which features a wide variety of beers from breweries across the country and the world.
Edgewater’s Annual Luau, 3/14
Held on the beach at Edgewater Beach Hotel (available only to guests of the hotel and The Capri Inn), this annual tropical-inspired feast features a Luau-inspired buffet (roasted pig, Huli Huli chicken, teriyaki stir fry, and more), cocktails, and a lively evening filled with music and fire dancers.
Naples St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 3/16
Floats, fire engines, and fun draw more than 40,000 people to this luck-of-the-Irish celebration on Fifth Avenue South, and the largest parade in Southwest Florida. Pick up a coffee at The Café on Fifth and find fewer crowds as the parade turns south on 8th Street (where you can refuel at Captain & Krewe Seafood Market & Raw Bar).
Live Sunset Paintings, 3/20
Painting supplies and step-by-step instruction – not to mention beverages – are included during this class held right on the beach at Edgewater Beach Hotel. Start time is 6:30 with sunset at 7:39. This event is open to guests of both Edgewater Beach Hotel and The Capri Inn, as well as the public (cost is $65).
Grey Goose Dinner on the Beach, 3/28
Open to the public, this one-of-a-kind, sunset dinner on the beach at the Edgewater Beach Hotel treats you to four courses paired with handcrafted Grey Goose cocktails. Expert Grey Goose ambassadors are also on hand to talk mixology and food pairings.
NAPLES, FL HOTELS TO STAY
The Capri Inn
Newly renovated, this boutique Naples, FL hotel offers refined style and a truly superb location, just a short stroll from all the excitement of downtown Naples. Whether you’re visiting the Paradise Coast for a romantic getaway or a relaxed family trip, you’ll be delighted with this boutique hotel that offers newly-renovated accommodations, oversized bathrooms, a private two-bedroom cottage perfect for longer stays, and a tranquil, secluded pool.
Edgewater Beach Hotel
With a coveted beachfront setting overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, this all-suite Naples, FL hotel is a charming Naples vacation resort that has defined barefoot elegance for over 30 years. The relaxed ambiance of Florida’s southwest coast can be felt around every corner of the retreat, from our thoughtfully appointed suites to the signature cocktails served at the poolside bar. Edgewater’s understated elegance also extends to our indoor and outdoor event space, which offers a distinctive backdrop for intimate meetings and romantic beach weddings.