The Naples Pier in Naples,
Florida, extends one thousand feet out into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Pier has all of the amenities a beach-goer in flip-flops could
possibly want: nearby parking, accessibility, modern restrooms and
footbaths, incredible views and incredible fishing, covered and
uncovered seating, and a restaurant—Cosmos—right on the pier with
many choices and beach sundries. Cosmos at the Pier has it all:
soft drinks, coffee, salads, pizza, sandwiches, frozen treats, and
The Naples Pier is located at
the western end of 12th Avenue South in Naples, Florida, off
Gulf Shore Boulevard South. A large parking lot, open 5 am till
11 pm, is located at the intersection. There’s also a passenger
drop-off circle behind the sign. Parking is expensive at $0.25
per five minutes (quarters only and/or credit card) and the lot
fills up quickly. Beach-goers who arrive later in the morning
can circle around like a shark for a spot.
The Pier has modern amenities
housed in these two structures, one for men and one for women,
including footbaths and outdoor showers. This pier is very
accessible, with smooth sidewalks and foot-friendly cobblestones
leading from the passenger drop-off area up onto the Pier itself.
Fantastical sea creature mosaics are embedded within the
cobblestones. Beach-goers can bundle up trash and recycling here
before heading back to their homes or hotels.
The Naples Pier is a great place
for a lazy afternoon, but the word on the beach is that the
pompano are really biting today. Today could be any day during the
peak of Florida’s tourist season, although today is Wednesday,
March 9th, 2022, and the temperature reached a wonderful 87
degrees F (30.55 C) without a cloud in the sky. Just look at that
blue sky, turquoise water, and white sand. Folks are heading down
the Pier to catch the view out in the Gulf.
The Naples Pier was first built
in 1888, as Tamiami Trail did not exist at that time. It has been
destroyed and rebuilt after many hurricanes over the years and was
refurbished in 2015. There used to be a Post Office here too. The
view here is free, of course, and so is the fishing; no license
needed. Fishermen and women will find plenty of spots to park a
cart, bucket, and chair along the balustrade. There are also
fish-cleaning stations with water hoses.
Cosmos Ristorante & Pizzeria
has two locations in Naples, Florida. The main restaurant is
located at 536 Tamiami Trail North, and the other location is on
Naples Pier. While most piers have a sundry shack for bait, jerky,
ice, soda, and roller hotdogs, Cosmos offers a range of food and
drink. Energy drinks, soda, coffee hot and cold, plus salads,
pizza, and sandwiches are sold here. There are also ice cream
treats all day and adult beverages after 12 pm.
The street address for Cosmos at
the Pier is 25 12th Avenue South, Naples, Florida, 34102. The Pier
location has its own Facebook page, twitter
handle—@NaplesPierCosmos—and phone number (239) 213-1000. (The
website for the Pier place currently shows an old menu.) The hours
are nine in the morning until eight at night. The Facebook page
explains how Cosmos was getting ready to celebrate its 12th
anniversary in January 2020, when the Covid pandemic started.
Comfortable, covered seating is
adjacent to Cosmos’ walk-up window. Cosmos was closed during the
peak of the tourist season in the spring of 2020, but is open now
with a steady stream of beach-goers picking up food to enjoy at
the Naples Pier. This view faces north toward Lowdermilk Park and
Bonita Springs. There are plenty of shore birds to watch from this
spot, as they catch their own lunches. The water, of course, is
There was no wait at Cosmos’s
window at 11:30 am on Wednesday, March 9th, 2022. It was good to
get away from the water and sun for a while. The water was 74
degrees F (23.33 C) with sunrise at 6:46. Cosmos has a white board
in its window that shows high tide, low tide, water temperature,
and sunrise and sunset. The sodas (Pepsi products) are $2.75 each,
with refills at $1.00. The Pier is a wildlife sanctuary, so there
are no lids, straws, or bags.
Cosmos at the Pier has three
different types of pizza slices on its menu: Cheese ($3),
Pepperoni ($4), and Sausage ($4). The slice here is shown on a
ten-inch paper plate. Cosmos pizza has a thin crust, tasty sauce,
and is filling. When placing a big order, it might take ten
minutes or so to get the order ready. The staff members at Cosmos
are friendly and efficient, and satisfied diners should put the
change from their orders into the tip jar.
The sausage pizza at Cosmos was a
little unusual. The sausage, instead of being crumbled, appeared
as small slices on the pizza, like pepperoni. The sausage was
flavorful, but not distinctive. Another tasty item on the menu—for
a limited time only—is the empanada. Empanadas, at $5 each, are
available in beef or chicken. Beer, Sangria, and Spiked Seltzer
are available after 12 pm till close. The beer list includes Bud
Light, Michelob Ultra, Corona, Modelo, and Channel Marker IPA.
gelato comes in a soda cup with a spoon. This is such an easy,
breezy way to eat gelato on the Naples Pier. Cosmos’ gelato is
thick, rich, and flavorful; the taste of it is as good as the
supermarket staple, Talenti. Gelato on the Pier is $6.50.
Flavors offered here include Cookies ’n’ Cream, Mango,
Strawberry, Chocolate, Vanilla, and White Chocolate Berry. Folks
wanting to order gelato should have a couple of back-up choices,
just in case.
This silly snack comes from
Davie, Florida; the brand is Totally Bananas. This
chocolate-covered, peanut-encrusted, flash-frozen banana is
dairy-free, gluten-free, and certified Kosher. The chocolate
coating is fifty percent cocoa. Cosmos carries other varieties of
this chocolate-coated treat, including plain chocolate,
coconut-dusted, sprinkles, cookies n cream (not gluten-free), and
strawberry (also not gluten-free). The frozen banana under all the
coatings was delicious.
The Naples Pier is open 24 hours
a day, seven days a week. There are some changes happening this
year in 2022, however. Since the New Year and until May 31, there
will be a trial period where fishing is prohibited on Sundays, all
day. Fishing will be prohibited from 11 pm through 5 am Monday
through Saturday. (Remember that the Pier parking lot is closed
during those hours.) Any disability permit holder may park at any
space without payment, but not during off hours.
This fisherman has been working
hard to reel in a tasty catch out here on the tail end of the
Naples Pier. Boats of all types have been going by all day, almost
as numerous as the shore birds. Naples Municipal Beach goes five
miles to the north and five miles to the south. This view looks
toward the south, with a visibility of ten miles today, toward
Gordon’s Pass and Keewaydin Island. Tigertail Beach and Marco
Island are beyond that.
Naples beach is wonderful, but
parking is a challenge. The 12th Avenue South lot at the Pier is
the best for out-of-town visitors, and has the only handicap ramp.
There are other locations to park for out-of-towners, but without
the ramp: Seagate Drive beach access, Horizon Way, Vedado Way, Via
Miramar, Lowdermilk Park, 8th Avenue North, 5th Avenue South,* 8th
Avenue South,* Broad Avenue South – 100 Block, Broad Avenue South
– 200 Block, 13th Avenue South, 13th Avenue South – 100 Block, and
14th Avenue South. Asterisks indicate outdoor showers.
It’s just past three o’clock.
High tide will come in less than one hour, at 4:02 pm. Some
beach-goers are heading out, which will open up a few parking
spaces for sunset-seekers. Sunset occurs at 6:33, with almost
twelve hours of daylight. Twilight on the Pier is a peaceful time,
with astronomical twilight finally ending at 7:49 pm. The Pier has
lights along the footboards, and softly lit homes on the shore
twinkle in the darkness.