Naples is an easy getaway from Miami — smaller, low-key and a lot more seasonal with its high percentage of winter residents. Some museums, restaurants and other attractions close every year for a month or two about now; some other places schedule construction and big repair jobs because this is when business is slowest.
If you’re headed to a particular place, call ahead or you may be rewarded for your 90-mile drive with a locked door.
The Naples Pier, a choice site for sunset-watching, is closed for reconstruction, reopening around Nov. 1. Naples Botanical Garden will be closed for maintenance Sept. 13-30. The car museum at the Revs Institute is closed until Sept. 15. The Baker Museum (formerly the Naples Museum of Art) is taking a shorter break than usual and is closed until Sept. 5. The Naples Food Tour resumes in mid-September.
So, what to do in Naples in August or September? Here are five suggestions:
▪ Get out on the water.
Naples and Marco Island offer sunset cruises, sightseeing cruises, dinner cruises and more. Our favorite is the Dolphin Explorer, a three-hour cruise from Marco Island with wildlife education built in. This crew identifies and names dolphins and tracks their movements every day.
▪ Learn about Southwest Florida history.
The Collier County Museums, a group of five small, history-oriented museums are open. The flagship, the Collier County Museum in Naples, offers native gardens, archaeology lab and Seminole village. The others are the Immokalee Pioneer Museum, Naples Depot Museum, Marco Island Historical Museum and the Museum of the Everglades in Everglades City.
▪ Take a nature walk.
Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary offers guided walks on Tuesday and Thursday mornings through September, then daily starting in October. Use bug repellant. Because the water is higher in late summer, you might see more alligators and otters. Migratory birds are elsewhere, but Corkscrew has plenty of native birds.
▪ Go shelling.
Although the best time for shelling is January through April, when the wind blows shells up on the beaches, you can find shells now. The best shelling this time of year, says Capt. Chris Desmond from Dolphin Explorer, is at Marco Island’s Tigertail Beach, a long spit of beach that captures more shells.
▪ Go paddling.
For kayaking or canoeing, JoNell Modys of the Naples, Marco Island, Everglades Convention & Visitors Bureau suggests launching in the Marco River or the bay area behind Capri Fish House, which has a kayak outfitter, Naples Kayak Co. Near Keewaydin Island, you should spot wading birds from Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve.