Naples, Florida was named the healthiest city in America for the second year in a row, and for good reason. This sunny locale is home to the best of everything from cosmopolitan dining and shopping, to a variety of outdoor activities like golfing, boating and more.
Our Happiness Levels Are Extraordinarily High
The Gallup-Healthways well-being rankings consider several factors, like instances of depression and stress, as well as the number of people who feel as though they are thriving within their community. Naples is known for its active year round community, as well as snowbirds who come down south each winter to take advantage of Naples’ bike-friendly, walkable town. Additionally, Naples is brimming with great restaurants and shopping, outdoor farmer’s markets and a wide range of healthy eating options around town.
If you’re still not quite sure what you’re missing, we’ve put together a list of reasons that Naples should move to the top of your must-visit locales. Check out our guide to the best places in town to eat, drink and play.
Ah, the beaches — one of the main reasons why Naples is the happiest in the US. When tourists hit the sand for a relaxing holiday, they may not want to leave. Here are a few of our favorite places to catch some rays:
- Vanderbilt Beach — This North Naples attraction spans a line of beach resorts like the Ritz-Carlton, as well as a whole range of bars and restaurants. While this beach crowds rather fast, it offers on-foot access to the lovely Clam Pass Preserve. Additionally, the beach itself features concessions stands, showers, restrooms and plenty of space to store bikes while partaking in the sand-filled fun.
- Naples Municipal Beach and Pier — A long-time community staple, the Naples Pier is nestled against the downtown happenings off the popular dining and shopping area, Third Street South. The perfect place to catch a sunset, this beach is a 6-mile stretch of white sandy beach, perfect for melting away your stress.
- Lowdermilk Park — Lowdermilk Park offers a great selection of full-service outdoor facilities like picnic tables, volleyball courts, restrooms, showers and even beach-friendly wheelchairs. Plus, this accommodating beach offers easy access to downtown and plenty of fun for people at every stage in life.
- Barefoot Beach — The quintessential beach experience, complete with hammocks, wildlife and a beautiful glimpse of the nearby mangrove swamps, Barefoot Beach is a great place to get away from the crowds you’ll see at other nearby beach spots, as well as get in touch with nature. Park rangers lead nature tours, and beachgoers can go on a short, one-mile hike to take in the natural splendor nearby.
Whether you’re heading to Naples for a well-deserved vacation, or you’re a local seeking premium relaxation and poolside cocktails, the city offers a great selection of world-class hotels and resorts:
- Naples Grande Beach Resort — This beautiful resort is located right on the beach, and is a favorite Naples institution, awarded the Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence in 2016. Family friendly, as well as luxurious, Naples Grande offers nature programming like guided tours and is committed to the conservation of the beachside wildlife. Additionally, it has all the marks of a relaxing vacation: the spa, the golf course and accessible beaches.
- The Escalante — Situated on a historic property in Old Naples, The Escalante is in the middle of it all—walking distance from popular shopping hubs, Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South. An elegant wellness-focused retreat in the city center, this property features lush vegetation and a Southern plantation-style look with elements of European flair.
- La Playa Beach and Golf Resort — The name of this beautiful property is a tad misleading, as the golf portion of the title is about 15 minutes away. Regardless, La Playa has it all, boasting a waterfall pool, a Thai spa, pool bars and an excellent restaurant menu, and easy access to the sandy beaches nearby. La Playa is the epitome of luxury, as guests can view the ocean from Jacuzzis and nod off in a four-poster bed decked out in fine linens.
- Vanderbilt Beach Resort — A small and casual Old Florida beach motel, this cool little spot is the perfect place to head home to after a long day of playing on nearby Vanderbilt Beach. An alternative to the luxury hotels Naples is known for, Vanderbilt offers plenty of access to dock fishing, tennis, swimming and more, plus it’s home to the Turtle Club restaurant, a local institution with patio dining.
Many people only think of New York or Chicago as being America’s great food cities, but Naples is a solid food destination, featuring a wealth of great places with seafood, fine dining options, and terrific brunches. Here are a few places you’ll love:
- USS Nemo Restaurant — A real standout in the vast sea of Naples restaurants, USS Nemo is loaded with a variety of lunch and dinner options like our signature Miso-broiled seabass, and so much more. We might be a touch biased, but come see for yourself. We’re consistently rated one of Naples’ top restaurants.
- 7th Avenue Social — Part Deep South cuisine with a little Cuban and Old World Europe mixed in, 7th Avenue Social is one of the best newer restaurants around. Serving up a variety of delightful gems from the fried chicken to the 7th Avenue Stroganoff, a dish that provides an upgraded take with filet mignon and salsa fresca on the stroganoff.
- Bha! Bha! Bistro — A bistro with a multicultural twist, this local hotspot offers Persian food. Bha! Bha! Bistro is a downtown favorite featuring a bold lineup of meats, spices and more. This restaurant takes advantage of local fares like shrimp, mussels, and calamari, but also offers a range of the traditional menu items like kabobs and braised lamb.
There is no shortage of outdoor activities in Naples, Florida. There’s truly something for everyone, whether you’re the type who prefers leisurely boat ride followed by a dip in the pool or the type who wants a little more adventure in the deep sea or the Everglades.
Naples is home to nearly 80 golf courses. Some might even say the city is the golf capital of the world. Open to the public, as well as member’s only times, you should check out the Tiburon Golf Club, located near the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort. The club features the well-regarded Gold Course, which features crushed coquina shells, as well as wall-to-wall short grass and no rough in sight.
Also consider the TPC Treviso Bay golf course. One of the best golf courses in Florida, TPC features a stunning lineup of flourishes like the fountains and bridges, echoing the Mediterranean style of architecture.
Not only does the temperature make fishing more pleasant and leisurely than in other areas, but Naples is truly one of the best fishing destinations in the world. Waters teeming with all kinds of sea life from grouper and mackerel to redfish, snook and a whole lot more.
Naples offers tourists and locals alike a chance to embark on deep sea fishing excursions that head into the Gulf of Mexico, as well as party boat fishing, on head boats like the Lady Brett or the Naples Explorer. For a more relaxing fishing experience, grab a line, head to the bay and catch some fish while taking in a beautiful Naples sunrise.
Downtown Naples is a nesting combination of small shops, fine dining and more. Locals and residents alike can find themselves walking from spot to spot, checking out the latest bars, restaurants, boutiques, salons and more.
- Fifth Avenue South — Fifth Avenue South is home to an impressive lineup of landscaped streets filled to the brim with cafes and gourmet restaurants, art galleries, bookstores, antique shops, boutiques and more. This little hub offers a refined experience, alongside a small town, neighborhood feeling. The best of both worlds, if you ask us.
- Third Street South — Historic Old Naples is the perfect place to stroll around with a date or take the family for a jaunt through the southern section of the city. Nestled between Naples Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, this downtown shopping area is home to several gift shops, restaurants, boutiques, and galleries.
- Tin City — Naples’ eclectic counterpart to the more polished Old Town boutiques and fine dining, Tin City is home to a range of gift shops, and a peek into the nautical city Naples was in the past. Plus, if you get tired of shopping, Tin City has plenty of boat tours for exploring the local waterways.
Arts and Culture
A cultural center that flies under the radar, Naples is home to over 75 art galleries, a range of musical performances spanning all preferences from rock to classical and everything in between.
- Artis-Naples — Home to both the Baker Art Museum and the Naples Philharmonic, Artis-Naples is a one-stop cultural center featuring art exhibitions, live performances, as well as classes for kids and adults in the community. They also present plays, dance performances and more.
- Naples Museum of Art — A visual arts center boasting a unique glass dome conservatory, as well as gorgeous chandeliers throughout and 15 galleries, this Naples Museum of Art showcases paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures from a range of time periods. They also offer guest lectures and educational programs in an effort to inspire creativity in the community.
- Local Nightlife — In addition to a bustling visual arts scene, Naples features a lively range of musical performances with places like Blue Martini offering a near-nightly mix of live bands and DJs spinning the latest hits. Check out CJ’s on the Bay for musical entertainment best enjoyed in the comfort of an outdoor gazebo. For an all-inclusive experience, with dinner, dancing and cocktails, head out to Bonita Springs’ The Stage and enjoy their rotating lineup of tribute bands.
And… There’s More
Aside from the multitude of activities at our disposal, there are a few more things to factor in when considering why Naples is the happiest place in the United States — sun, safety, and even savings on taxes.
- Low Crime Rate — You can rest easy in Naples knowing that this is one of the safest areas in Florida. Naples boasts a crime rate almost 90% lower than the Florida average, and 57% safer than other US cities. It’s a city where residents feel safe walking alone or parking their car on the street.
- Low Cost of Living — While Naples is full of fine dining establishments, cultural institutions and high-end hotels, it’s a surprisingly affordable place to live. Sure, the price of homes may be a little higher than in other states, but with a 6% sales tax and 1.2% property tax, residents are sure to save money in Naples.
- Beautiful Weather — Of course people in Naples are happy — think about the beautiful weather, year-round beaching, golfing and more. With upwards of 300 sun-filled days per year and an average temperature of 77 degrees, winter isn’t on our radar, nor are the miserable rainy springs much of the rest of the country endures on a regular basis.
- Access to Quality Healthcare — Happiest, and healthiest? Almost. Naples is home to excellent healthcare facilities like the Lee Memorial, NCH and Physicians Regional Hospitals, plus the Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida.
Experience Naples for Yourself
Aside from the fun in the sun, the shopping and more, there’s an abundance of reasons why Naples is one of the best places to live in the US. If still aren’t sold on Naples and its high happiness quotient, it’s best if you head south and check out the fair city for yourself.
If you’re in the neighborhood, stop on by USS Nemo’s for dinner or lunch. We offer the best of Naples’ seafood and more, infused with the many cultures of our big southern melting pot. View at our menu, and call us to make a reservation today.
"With its subtle submarine motif and obvious seafood obsession, USS Nemo (239-261-6366) is among the most original restaurants on the Naples dining scene these days, and it has the fan base to prove it."
Chelle Koster Walton
"The miso broiled sea bass with citrus-ginger butter sauce is almost worth a trip to Naples in and of itself."
The New York Times
"I can tell you without hesitation, this is THE BEST and most consistent restaurant in Naples. I can guarantee you will not be disappointed!"
"Most consistently great restaurant in Naples!"
LUNCH M - F 11:30 am 2:00 pm
DINNER M - Sun 4:00 pm 9:30 pm
We close at 10 pm Friday and Saturday