Local Guide To Marco Island
Why Choose Marco Island?Before going through further details, let us do a bit of introduction on Marco Island. In just 24 square miles it is packing in 6 miles of beach with 100 miles of waterways of the island. In addition, countless hotels, shops, restaurants, marinas, and even parks to enjoy and visit. As mentioned earlier, its location is a huge factor as it is just a short boat ride away from the myriad castaway island and is really close to the Everglades, there may even be a tour around the area. Out of all Southwest Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is without a doubt, the largest island of all. Although the neighboring city of Naples that is located 15 miles north of Marco Island is quite energetic and brimming with life throughout the day and night since the island is only connected to the main island by 2 bridges, they seem to have a more chill and calm mood that is perfect for those that appreciates this type of mood. Some Americans are even craving for that perfect getaway with a foreign feeling on an island, but international travel is too much of a hassle. In such a case, then Marco Island is the perfect place. It could also be a chance for foreigners to sample Southwest Florida’s signature charms.
What Is The Weather On Marco Island?During the whole year, Marco Island seems to stay quite warm as it is located so far south. The best dry weather with the most sunshine in Marco Island seems to be during winter, which is usually during December until April, these months are also the time when most tourists try to visit. During the winter, they also tend to experience some of the highest temperatures of anywhere in the continental USA. The summer season in Southwest Florida where Marco Island resides is typically hot and humid while having the threat of occasional rainstorms.
How To Get To Marco IslandMarco Island in itself actually does not have an airport and therefore cannot be visited directly, however, and since only smaller aircraft can get into Naples, the best likely option is through Fort Myers’ Southwest Florida International Airport and go through a 45 minutes trip around the area to Marco Island. It is also quite common for visitors to collect rental cars directly from the airport. Some may also argue to consider Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and Tampa’s flight fares as Fort Myers’ fares may seem a bit more expensive. The I-75 South towards Naples route seems to be the most effective route to Marco Island.
Things To Do In Marco IslandAs Marco Island offers a variety of beautiful beaches and is the largest island from the Ten Thousand Islands of Florida it is safe to assume that it has a lot of water sport activities around the area. Not only water sport activities but there are a lot more fun activities that can be done with family, friends, or even alone on the island area. Here are some fun activities you can enjoy in Marco Island:
Collecting Seashells On The IslandThere are a lot of places you can collect not just ordinary seashells, but some of the best seashells in Florida. There is some local shelling guide tour that can help, assist and educate the group on which shells are better and what areas are better. There is a variety of types of shells that can be found on Marco Island, even rare and stunning shells that are hard to come across. And of course, collecting living creatures is not allowed. Some people would prefer going through the sandbars and having a walk through the sandy shoreline while looking for shells to collect. But a professionally guided sea shell finding tour would usually have boats to guide to the secluded islands. This types of shelling guide tour are not only good for find shells, but you may encounter some pods and dolphins along the way, which is always a sight to see.
The Everglades And Local Tour In MarcoVisiting the Everglades may be on the Florida bucket list that visitors may have, it is without a doubt one of the absolute best dreams of anyone, and a tour is the best way. One of which ways you may visit them is by a kayaking tour through the Ten Thousand Islands. There could be unexplored remote or deserted islands, find some local wildlife, or even see some of the best and gorgeous beaches in southwestern Florida. There are even some Everglade kayak tour that has biologists, or naturalists tour guide for additional knowledge and understanding of nature viewing. There are Mangroves Tunnel Kayak Tours that winds through an estuary maze that has a huge number of birds, shells, fish, and other marine creatures live. Or rent a kayak or paddleboard for your own adventure from some of the other parks. You may even get the chance to learn the history of Marco Island and all of the wildlife that lives there by just kayaking. Sometimes, an Everglade tour may also have an airboat with a nice open design and distinguished propellers that are absolutely made to explore the swamps and lagoons of southern Florida. These types of tours naturally consist of nature viewing and education to understand the local ecosystem, as well as occasional high-speed thrills. Since Marco Island is the largest island out of the Ten Thousand Islands Of Florida, it is only natural that some parts of it may still be hidden that would be the best for exploration. There are lots of wildlife including sea otters, alligators, crocodiles, wood storks, brown and white pelicans, and roseate spoonbills to be seen in the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge.
Marco Island’s Golf And ChillA cool sport that is usually played and quite famous on Marco Island is golf. With Marco Island having such a chill and relaxing vibe, it is only fitting to enjoy some rounds of golf. There are resorts that have some golf courses, and even some that offer lessons and practice. Dealing with children could be a hard task as most water sports are likely not kid-friendly but even if there are a few children included mini-golf is also an option. Some hours could be easily spent and enjoyed with a few games of Marco island’s mini-golf even with a child. You may challenge yourselves with perfectly manicured gardens and funky sculptures of mini-golf on a casual afternoon.
Looking Out For DolphinsMarco Island is surrounded by water, so aside from great water sports to be done, there are also lots of marine wildlife such as manatees and bottlenose dolphins. There could be different local marine tours, but there is one thing called the Dolphin Explorer where you can accompany marine researchers for an eco-trip. This trip is one-third citizen-science research, one-third sightseeing tour, and one-third dolphin activity review by professionals. Dolphin Explorer continues to let visitors aboard as it is a part of the Ten Thousand Islands Survey Team Dolphin Project. Some professionals and their crew would go down the deep water sometimes daily to record the activities and any other behaviors of the more than 200-member dolphin population. The researchers are absolutely knowledgeable on the population of the dolphins, their sizes, and even their names based on the markings on their fins and tails. If people would like to see dolphins anyway, why not go with professionals? If there is a new dolphin spotted, you may even get to name it. Even children may have a go with it and participate as not only could they help with completing a nature survey while trying to spot bottlenose dolphins, it is also a great chance to satiate a child’s growing curiosity and maybe they may even learn a thing or two while on the trip. While the boat goes scans through the waters in Marco Island, it is the duty of the researchers to take photos of every dolphin they may spot. This is also the part where the passengers help take pictures of the dolphins. The trip is in a 36-foot power pontoon boat that is specially made to observe marine wildlife as close as possible. It is a three-hour expedition in sighting and studying dolphins and at the end of the trip is a shelling stop located on a barrier island and complimentary family and group photos.
Fishing In Marco IslandAs mentioned before, Marco Island is originally an angler spot for fishing. Due to its nice location, it is an angler’s paradise for any backwater fishing, fly fishing, shore fishing, and even offshore fishing. A perfect fit for the chilling Marco atmosphere is fishing, in fact, Marco Island has some of the best year-round Sportfishing in the whole world. There are some local backcountry guides for fishing in Marco in the Six Chuter Charters or even some deep-sea charter out into the Gulf of Mexico. There are quite a few sub-tropic species that can be found on the shallows, from tarpon and snook to even redfish and sea trout. Meanwhile, the deepwater excursions in the Gulf of Mexico may present you with snappers, tunas, king mackerels, groupers, cobias, and maybe even sharks.
Don’t Miss Out On The Marco Island Historical MuseumMuseums are always a great way to learn more about the place, not to mention that most museums are free of admission. Although some may not really like the idea of a museum, it is definitely worth the time. It is highly recommended to at least check or see what’s up. There are history lessons, such as the significance of Marco Island to ancient Calusa Indian civilization, which spread throughout Southwest Florida and even into the Keys, was established in 1896 by archaeologist Frank Hamilton Cushing in and since then, it has been called as one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in North America. Key Marco Cat, a 6-inch wooden effigy has become the celebrity of his excavation
Other Fun Things To Do In Marco IslandAside from the ones listed above, there are other fun things and activities that you can experience on Marco Island. Here are some more:
- Shopping – As mentioned before, Marco Island has a tremendous amount of shops with a variety of local specialty shops. There are even some resort boutiques in Marco Island, as well as some shops where you can find tropical inspired items, swimsuits, and even some that are good as souvenirs. There are more shops to be found around Marco Island such as Naples Outlet Center or even Miramar Outlets that sell designer goods at a good price.
- Marco Mystery And History Tour – Although people hate scary stuff, it is an undeniable fact that horror is still a classic and fun aspect, especially when traveling or experiencing it with your friends. Using past events and ghost stories, they created a two-hour spooky tour in Marco. The tour includes a 340-year-old Indian burial mound, a haunted inn, and a cemetery. Although the original tour only runs from October till March, there could be private tours that are available any time of the year upon request on Marco.
- Renting A Boat – If you even just want to calm down and explore by yourself, then renting out a boat is a great choice. There’s even no need for boating experience, if you want to go swimming, shelling, and exploring with your friends or family, then renting a pontoon boat is recommended in Marco, you may also sail around the inlets of Marco Island. In some areas, the water is only a few inches or a maybe foot, but having a pontoon boat would make going around easier as you would not have to run and walk around.
- Go Out For A Late Night Stroll – It is always amazing how beautiful places can be during the night. It gives a different vibe and it’s always fun going out with friends or family during the late hours. You wouldn’t have to go too far, you may just enjoy the shops such as the ice cream stores, milkshakes, anyone with a sweet tooth would without a doubt, be satisfied with these sweets. If you would like, you may even eat a lot of food and enjoy chatting with your group, or maybe even look for snack shops and eat them while playing some arcade games.
- Enjoy The Movie Theatre – It doesn’t necessarily have to be in the nighttime, but if there may be some people that are still active in the night but cannot go too far away since it may be dangerous, then why not enjoy some movies? Relax time is always the best, and one of the greatest ways to spend it is by spending some hours in front of a big screen.
Things To Do For FoodiesJust as in any part of Florida, the food in Marco Island would never disappoint you. There are various types of food that one may find on Marco Island. Some may think that only fish dishes would be served on such an island but that is wrong, aside from fish, they also have fresh vegan specialties and many more. There are different types of food for many different tastes. There are also a variety of restaurants and eatery found in Marco Island as there are around one thousand restaurants in the Paradise Coast part of Marco Island and Naples alone. These restaurants vary and could be dreamy waterfront restaurants, casual eateries, and you may never know, maybe there’s an unpopular restaurant that fully satiates and suit your taste buds. Examples of these are Marco Island Brewery, the name may sound like just a wine or beer bar but that is not the case, it is actually a restaurant-style environment that offers house brews and even has 35 TVs. A completely family-friendly restaurant where you may try out different beers while relaxing and watching sports games. You can choose a variety of beers and even grab a few snacks while you’re at it. If you don’t see a brewery as a fine fit for you, you may also go to the famous Snook Inn Restaurant. It has attracted many people due to its live music shows, paired with some good food and a casual atmosphere. It even has one of the most popular happy hour specials which is greatly favored not just by locals, but also by tourists. Then there is also the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort which is one of the biggest resorts on the entire island. Aside from the good food and drinks they have to offer, they also have a great location, and everyone would surely enjoy spending some time wandering along the beach and the rest of their premises. They are also quite known for their beach bars.
Different Parts Of The IslandSince Marco Island is not really big and is actually quite relatively small, but it would still be nice to be near the local facilities and attractions correct? Here are some guides:
The NorthIf the northern part of the island is where the person has decided to stay, then they would be close to one of the best attractions on Marco Island, the Tigertale Beach. The Tigertail beach’s attraction is considered more of a true park than the maintained beaches in the western part, it is also home to one of the famous remote beaches in Marco Island which is Sand Dollar Island. Tigertale beach is a full-service beach with a small restaurant, restrooms, and some beach equipment rentals. This beach is also the best when it comes to swimming and kayaking, just across the lagoon is Sand Dollar Island which is also a great spot when it comes to nature walks or shelling. The Rookery Bay National Reserve and Keewaydin Island just off the coast of Naples can also be reached by boat or kayak in the northern part. There are also quite a bit of known stores, markets, and restaurants in the northern part. Some of which are Marco Island Farmer’s Market that has fresh local products and other boutique stores at the Esplanade Shoppes plaza.
The West CoastThe majority of high-rise condos and hotels would be located on the west coast, near Marco Beach. This beach is highly favored as it is regularly raked to keep and preserve its great condition. It also has a flat surface which is great for children and people with mobility problems. As with the northern part, the west portion of the island is also suitable for paddling, swimming, or even water sports. The water also stays warm all throughout the year, and it is also quite shallow. There are quite a numerous amount of beautiful beaches and popular restaurants in the west district. It is also quite near the Marco Walk shopping plaza, the Orange Grove Shopping Center, and the Downton Marco Island area
East SideThe east side typically has a lot of luxurious waterfront vacation houses even with their very own private boat docks. Easy transportation for day trips to the city of Naples or the quaint fishing village of Goodland is done on the east side since the two roads connecting Marco Island to the mainland area on the east side. There is also beautiful scenery, along with the views over the surrounding islands on the east side.
One of the prettiest stretches of coastline in Florida is actually located in the South Marco Beach area. White sand and clear warm water are on the south coast, which is perfectly made for swimming and sunbathing, or even any beach games and water sports too. Not only is it a prime place for shelling with all kinds of seashells lining the shore, but it also has a great view that stretches over the pretty keys of the Ten Thousand Islands.