The oral route is a preferred method of drug administration, though achieving effective drug delivery and minimizing off-target side effects is often challenging. Formulation into nanoparticles can improve drug stability in the harsh gastrointestinal (GI) tract environment, providing opportunities for targeting specific sites in the GI tract, increasing drug solubility and bioavailability, and providing sustained release in the GI tract. However, the unique and diverse physiology throughout the GI tract, including wide variation in pH, mucus that varies in thickness and structure, numerous cell types, and various physiological functions are both a barrier to effective delivery and an opportunity for nanoparticle design. Here, nanoparticle design aspects to improve delivery to particular sites in the GI tract are discussed. We then review new methods for evaluating oral nanoparticle formulations, including a short commentary on data interpretation and translation. Finally, the state-of-the-art in preclinical targeted nanoparticle design is reviewed.