What's it like to live in Naples, FL?
Nestled between the edges of the Everglades and the shores of the Gulf of Mexico sits Collier County, home to Naples, Immokalee and Marco Island, as well as a range of distinctly Florida flavors.
Long known as a preferred retirement spot for the rich, powerful and cold-averse, the greater Naples and Marco Island area supplies pristine beaches, sprawling golf courses, and fine dining and shopping. Closer to the area’s rural interior, meanwhile, cattle graze and seasonal workers pick tomatoes in the fields around Immokalee, a farming community an hour’s drive outside of Naples.
Although geared more toward the older demographic that tends to settle in the Naples and Marco Island area, the two beachside communities are located just more than a two-hour drive from bustling cities including Tampa and Miami.
Much of the greater Naples and Marco Island area is subject to a seasonal ebb and flow as residents from cold-weather states – often called “snowbirds” – flock to the region during the winter months to enjoy Florida’s seemingly endless supply of sunshine and warm weather. Those seasonal residents leave their second homes in Naples and Marco Island as the sweltering summer months approach.
But proximity to the beach, loads of sunshine and no state income tax come with drawbacks. Continued growth and development are exacerbating a lack of affordable homes, especially in the greater Naples and Marco Island area. And traffic, although nowhere near the levels seen in larger Florida metro areas, tends to choke roadways in the urban area during the winter months.
See all the best places to live in Florida.
U.S. News analyzed 150 metro areas in the United States to find the best places to live based on quality of life and the job market in each metro area, as well as the value of living there and people's desire to live there.
Naples, Florida is ranked:
#14 in Best Places to Live
#4 in Best Places to Retire
#3 in Fastest-Growing Places
#18 in Safest Places to Live
Best Places to Live
Quality of Life7.6
Naples, FL Quick Stats
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What is there to do in Naples, FL?
A tropical playground for the powerful and wealthy, Naples and Marco Island largely cater to an older demographic of retirees and snowbirds. But the area is also home to a growing craft brewery scene and pockets of dive bars, clubs and waterside establishments.
Sugary beaches are the main draw for many, although red tide – the bloom of toxin-producing algae that can kill fish and cause respiratory issues and skin irritation in humans – can at times put a damper on the fun in the sun. The area’s shores, backwaters and bays are also popular among boaters and anglers.
A perk for local beachgoers is that with a Collier County address, residents can receive a free sticker that allows them to bypass beach parking charges. With proof of residency – a current Collier County driver's license and vehicle registration – locals can pick up the permit at any community center at a Collier County Park.
The region has an abundance of wildlife and preserves, including Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, where a 2.25-mile boardwalk takes visitors through pine flatwood, wet prairie, around a marsh and into the largest old growth bald cypress forest in North America.
Farther to the east, Big Cypress National Preserve offers 729,000 acres of swamp and wildlife, ready to be explored via bicycle, canoe, kayak or by foot.
Smaller parks, like Clam Pass Park, Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park and Barefoot Beach Preserve, welcome visitors closer to the more densely populated western end of the county.
Thrillseekers hankering to see an alligator can hop on an airboat just outside of Everglades City, while those looking to take it a bit slower may feel more at home with a sunset cruise along Naples’ shores.
Games at the Seminole Casino Hotel in Immokalee provide an entertainment option for residents who are feeling lucky.
In downtown Naples, residents can stroll past restaurants and shops on Fifth Avenue South before stopping in Cambier Park for a free jazz concert. Showstopping sunsets can be observed from the city’s landmark pier.
The Baker Museum, a fine art museum just outside the Naples city limits, hosts several traveling exhibitions each year. Collier County’s five museums, which include locations in Marco Island and Immokalee, offer patrons a window into the area’s rich history and heritage – free of charge.
For fans of the finer things in life, the region provides a pair of annual festivals: the seafood festival in Everglades City, a small fishing town 30 miles east of Marco Island, and the Naples Winter Wine Festival, a luxurious multiday event that raises millions of dollars to support programs and organizations that fill gaps in children’s services in the area.
What's the cost of living in Naples, FL?
As is the case in much of the country, residents in Collier County can expect to pay a premium if they want to live closer to the urban coast, especially in wealthy cities like Naples and Marco Island. Closer to the area’s rural interior, meanwhile, the cost of living drops.
With generally high property values, local municipalities in the area largely rely on property taxes as a primary revenue source. Those taxes vary depending on whether residents live in the county’s two cities, Naples and Marco Island, or Collier’s unincorporated area, which includes Immokalee.
Florida does not have a state income tax. And in Naples, Marco Island and Immokalee, like elsewhere in the state, residents can take advantage of a so-called homestead exemption. If someone owns property and makes it his or her permanent residence or the permanent home of his or her dependent, the property owner may be eligible to receive an exemption that would decrease the property’s taxable value.
Looking for financial advice? Find a local financial advisor in Naples, Florida.
Index Score: 4.6 /10
Naples offers a lower value than similarly sized metro areas when you compare housing costs to median household income.
Housing Costs 2019
Housing Costs Over Time
What's the weather like in Naples, FL?
The greater Naples and Marco Island area is a draw for sun-hungry tourists and snowbirds in the drier, cooler winter months.
But there is a reason most seasonal residents leave the area as summer approaches. During the hotter months – also known as the rainy season – humidity spikes, showers occur daily and high temperatures bake sidewalks and steering wheels.
Like much of the state, the Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island area is no stranger to devastating hurricanes.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30. For residents, that means a yearly ritual of stocking up on canned goods, water and batteries, and keeping a close eye on any storms that may form and the path they may take.
In 2017, Hurricane Irma, a powerful Category 3 storm, made landfall on Marco Island, packing strong winds and bringing with it destructive storm surges. Although the extent of the damage in Naples was mostly confined to trees being uprooted, residents in more rural areas including Immokalee continued to struggle to recover months after the storm had passed.
What's the best way to get around Naples, FL?
Because Collier County covers a lot of ground and Naples, Immokalee and Marco Island are rather spread out, most residents use cars to get around.
In season, roads quickly become clogged, especially during rush hour or when residents and visitors are trying to flock to the beach. Parking, especially at the region’s more popular beaches, often fills up quickly.
Many workers commute from neighboring Lee County into Collier County, which can cause long delays during rush hour.
Although there is public transit in the form of the Collier Area Transit bus system, ridership has been declining for years. Due to the favorable weather, cyclists are a common sight on some of the area’s quieter roads, especially during the winter months.
To reach the area by air, most travelers fly into Southwest Florida International Airport near Fort Myers.
Although there are pockets that lend themselves to walking from one place to the next – like Fifth Avenue South, Naples’ tony downtown main street – most of the area is not very pedestrian-friendly due to the sprawling nature of development and the long distances between points of interest.
Commuting in Naples, FLMeans of Transportation
Average Commute Time
24.7 minutes1.9 minutes less than national average
Average Commute Times by Zip Code
Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.
Who lives in Naples, FL?
Collier County – and with it Naples and Marco Island – have long been desired retirement spots and continue to draw seniors looking to enjoy the area’s warm weather, beaches and neatly manicured golf courses.
Although the demographics skew older, nearby Florida Gulf Coast University – located in neighboring Lee County – and Florida SouthWestern State College – a public college with a campus near Naples – help to infuse some youth.
Marital Status Breakdown
Fewer single people in Naples than
Data sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey.