It is April, the birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, and pickleball is heating up. While there are many tournaments now being held across the nation, few compare to the Minto US Open Pickleball Championships held in Naples, FL. There is no doubt that pickleball is the primary attraction during this time, but don’t forget there are many more things to do in this beautiful town.
As always, this year’s US Open Pickleball Championships will be played in Naples, FL at East Naples Community Park. Many consider Naples to be the mecca of pickleball and all the best players from around the country and world arrive for a week, April 17-24, 2021. This year is even more highly anticipated than usual after last year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19. However, if you are also using this as your first vacation since last year you may want to do more than just play pickleball, so here are some ideas of what to do and where to eat in and around the Naples area.
Late April is normally warm and dry with an average high of near 85 degrees. Late April brings an average of about 65% most clear days and a 20% probability of rain. Average winds speeds are around 8-10 mph in late April across the Naples area.
Local Attractions Near Naples, FL
- Beaches: Of course what trip to Florida would be complete without a trip to one of the coasts?! Lucky for you, Naples sits right on the warm, clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Lowdermilk Beach does seem to be the favorite in Naples. It has some little stores along the beach to get snacks and outside tables and chairs to take a breath or enjoy a view that takes your breath away! Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park is the next best option, there is lots of wildlife at the park from birds to turtles to Dolphins! However, locals recommend getting there early for good parking.
- Naples Botanical Garden: Naples Botanical Garden is one of the top-rated attractions in Naples, coming in at Trip Advisors #3 attraction (they don’t know about pickleball though 😉). The garden is a 170-acre world-class botanical garden. It features many different plants and cultures from around the tropics from Brazil to Florida. If you have kids, it also has a hands-on area for them too!
- Naples Pier: If you are looking for a place to enjoy a beautiful sunset over the Gulf, then look no further. This pier delivers not only spectacular views of the sinking Florida sun but many report it’s a great place to bird watch and see dolphins!
- The Village Shops on Venetian Bay: If you are looking to do some shopping while in Naples, check out this outdoor mall that is situated right on the waterfront! Its shop is Mediterranean style, bright, and cheerful! This mall has something for anyone from classic mall staples to finer tastes!
Food & Dining
- Mediterrano: One of the most raved about restaurants in Naples, Mediterrano provides a lively, classy, and vibrant experience, from the food to the furniture. This place is known for its outstanding Mediterranean dishes, seafood, and service!
- Watermark Grille: If you are looking for something a little bit more classic, then Watermark Grille is for you. It serves more classic American food, from mouthwatering steaks to fresh seafood. They have a full bar and some great cocktails, too!
- Brooks Burgers: Want something a little more relaxed? Try Brooks Burgers! While Burgers is in their name, they have many other sandwiches, salads, and soups. For those with a bit of a sweet tooth, they also have the Donut Burger, a burger served between two, warm glazed donuts!
- First Watch: If you’re an early riser (or perhaps a late one), First Watch may be just the place for you! They are known for their fantastic breakfast and brunch options. From the classics like biscuits & gravy to the current with options like Avocado Toast, they even have a healthy breakfast menu for those about to go play a full day of pickleball!
By JT Cooper, Team GAMMA Ambassador