We’re planning a trip. Any suggestions for boys ages 7-14?
Tough question. The area really markets itself to the retired an the nearly so. Everglade tours would be a solid bet. Fishing and Beach going might be good if your kids like that kind of thing. I would probably skip the zoo, it is a sad little thing. After those I’m drawing blanks.
The Napes edition of Macaroni Kid might be of some assistance.
Can’t find a calendar, but they have sprint boat racesat Lake Avalon.
Thanks - keep 'em coming!
to visit my grandparents. And I’m now nearly 50. Still go at least once a year.
It was REALLY boring when I was a kid, but over the years they’ve done a lot to make it a bit more interesting for a variety of age groups. These days I’d say it’s mostly geared to “active” and social middle-aged people (golf, restaurants, bars), more than truly olds or kids.
Here’s what I’d suggest:
There’s a small zoo right in Naples, good for an afternoon or morning, not a full day. We’ve recently taken the kids (6, 10) and they liked it. You can get up close with some of the animals which you can’t do at most larger zoos. The 14 yo would probably be bored tho.
Airboat rides in the Everglades. A number of places have this - go east on the Tamiami trail.
Not sure what’s the right time of year, or if this is something you think your kids would enjoy, but there are still some “u-pick” farms in the area. If you’re not from an area where you can do that kind of thing, might be an interesting thing for them to do.
I’m trying to think of the restaurant - way inland - that serves fried alligator. Small, casual place. Might be a fun food adventure for a couple of boys. If I think of the name, I’ll update.
Fishing. You can go as big or as simple as you want here. Go out on one of the fishing boats, or just cast a line off the Naples Pier. Fun to watch the others fishing there - kids seem to like seeing the fish guts.
The BEACH! The beach there is not like some other beaches - Jersey shore or Miami. Generally a lot more staid than that. Not a lot of commercial activities (surfboard, jet ski rentals, etc.) directly on the beaches. But the beaches are really beautiful. And you can rent equipment for most beach activities - check with where you’re staying. The surf is a lot gentler than on the Atlantic coast, so it can be a nice (gentle) place to learn to windsurf, for example. The water can be a lot clearer, too, so snorkeling can work, depending on the day.
The good news is that, because it is kind of boring, it’s the kind of place that you can give kids a little more leeway and a bit longer leash than in a lot of other resort areas: rent bikes and let them go off on their own, etc.
Hope that helps and that you all have a great time!
An hour up the road, in Ft. Meyers, is Thomas Edison’s winter quarters, complete with laboratory and museum, which might interest your boys:
Many ticket options – kids can see the laboratory and museum for $5. Most tourism-related places have racks of coupons for discounts; check them, too.
When are you going? I’ll be there in May. The zoo is probably fun. The airboats are pretty cool, the Everglade boat tours were a bit underwhelming though. Old Town Naples is interesting for seeing the lives of the very rich. Marco Island down south is kinda cool, the beaches are more nature-y. We usually eat at the Snook Inn, which has nice views, although not terribly cheap.
We’ll be there later this month. Thanks for the ideas, everyone.
There are several nature preserves. Sanibel Island island has Ding Darling Preserve as well as Bowmans Beach, so there’s two activities in one location. Ft. Myers also has an historical museum downtown. Check to see if you’re in town during the Edison Festival of Light. It concludes with the weekend craft fair and a big parade.
dude… I live on the other coast, just south of St Augustine!
sure miss the fests in CLE.
I totally forgot that Fort Myers has The IMAGINARIUM. A cool little science museum for kids.
I second the prior post to Sanibel Island- The public beaches are the best I’ve seen for shelling and just messing around. I’ve raised 4 children through these years and we’ve never failed to have a great time at the beach on Sanibel and/or Captiva. Jensen’s marina has water taxi service to other less populated barrier reef islands in the gulf- great one-day excursions- bring a picnic lunch, explore the island (bring bug spray and plenty of sun screen). Pick up a couple of inexpensive kites an have a great day of it…
Ahh, Naples…I spend a week there in college for my junior year spring break…let me tell you, I didn’t think there was beachfront part of Florida that could be as dull as Naples was during spring break!
We took day trips to Miami, Tampa and Sanibel Beach. The only reason we stayed in Naples was because we had a free place to live since one of my friend’s parent’s owned a home they rented out, and about a week before had to evict the tenants.