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There is always something fun to do on Marco Island or in nearby Naples. Southwest Florida is a playground for couples and families that like to be outdoors, soaking up the Florida sunshine. Whether you’re a fisherman, a shopper, a golfer or a beach bum, you’ll love this place.
Fun Activities For The Whole Family
Marco Island is the largest and the only developed island in the Ten Thousand Islands. Although it’s only 20 miles away from Naples, it still maintains that remote feel. This exotic destination is packed with beautiful beaches, landscapes, delicious foods, and plenty of interesting activities.
It offers access to some gorgeous mangrove-lined estuaries, as well as to the Gulf of Mexico. Besides that, vacationers can enjoy visiting historic sites, museums, nature parks, small fishing villages, and more. That makes this Southwest Florida destination ideal for both relaxation and having fun with the family.
From Marco Beach to Vanderbilt Beach, southwest Florida has the best beaches in the state. The white sand, the calm Gulf, the sunshine and the blue skies are why more people choose this corner of Florida to vacation every year.
Marco Beach is a four-mile crescent-shaped beauty of a beach. It’s broad so there’s plenty of room to stretch out. You never feel crowded. The water is usually very calm. The water is shallow for quite a ways out, so kids can play safely.
Residents’ Beach, the center section of Marco Beach is reserved for (you guessed it) the residents of Marco Island. If you’re going to be vacationing here for at least a month, you qualify. Residents’ Beach has a restaurant, bathroom facilities and a park. It’s awesome.
Our South Beach – The South End of Marco Beach
The first two things that come to mind when you think of summer vacation are probably sea and sand. Luckily, that’s what Marco Island has lots of. You should also note that this destination is even more popular in the winter.
Although there are more than a few beaches, only two are public. South Marco Beach is the quieter one of the two, so it’s recommended for vacationers who want to relax. It also offers many activities for you to try. Shelling and watching dolphins play in the sea are only some of the things you could do here.
Several businesses organize tours from the South Marco Beach to nearby beaches. You can choose the adventure experience you want to take. For example, you can choose the Sailing-Shelling-Sightseeing Off the Hook Adventures, Florida Adventures, etc.
If you want to visit South Marco Beach by car, there’s a public parking lot on Swallow Avenue you can use. Other amenities that this beach has to offer include a paved walkway to the shore, restrooms, and nearby restaurants.
Naples has countless beach access parking lots between luxurious Port Royal and well, luxurious Vanderbilt Beach. The nicest thing about Naples beaches are that they never get too crowded. Even in our busy season, you can always enjoy the sun without feeling like sardines.
Boating and Fishing on Marco Island
The underwater life in the waters around Marco Island is quite lush. It would be a shame not to fully experience the beautiful Gulf of Mexico waters and all that they have to offer. With that in mind, fishing and boating are activities that you shouldn’t miss while vacationing on Marco Island. Boat rental companies are located conveniently on Marco Island, Goodland, and Isles of Capri.
There are dozens of boat tours that can take you fishing in the middle of the sea. Some of them offer long and enjoyable boat rides to different beaches and attractions before taking you to a spot where you can relax while fishing. Take the Dolphin Explorer out to see the playful and friendly dolphins.
You can join The Sea Gone Fishing Team and explore the sea with them. You can also test your luck catching snook, redfish, trout, and even a shark. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced fisherman, fun will be guaranteed.
Some organizations offer you a chance to experience the adrenaline rush of being in a kayak, Jet Ski, paddleboard, etc. One of the most popular kayak tours you can take is the Rookery Bay Kayak Eco Tour.
This tour will take you through the Rookery Bay in Naples in search of the most exotic southern Florida wildlife. That includes watching the dolphins, as well as keeping an eye out for the 150 species of birds local to this area.
Cape Romano is located south of Marco Island. The main attraction in Cape Romano is the Cape Romano Dome Houses, which consists of six interesting dome-shaped buildings. These buildings were built by a retired oil producer way back in 1980. They were meant to serve as vacation homes.
A fun fact is that these buildings were originally built on Morgan Island. Due to erosions, the Morgan Pass has been cut, which resulted in the buildings “going” from one island to another.
The buildings in Cape Romano have survived several storms over the years. That includes one of the most dangerous storms that hit this region – Hurricane Wilma – which managed to wash away a part of the coastline.
The Cape Romano Dome Houses are only accessible by boat. There are several boat tours that can take you there to observe these interesting relics.
You should take the opportunity now, as these six domes will eventually recede into the sea. They are truly a sight worth seeing.
Shelling on Marco Island
Beaches around Marco Island are known for offering some of the best shelling experiences in the entire USA. Thousands of shell enthusiasts visit Marco Island each year to enjoy collecting different types of shells.
There are around 400 different shell species found in Marco Island alone. You can expect to find clams, cockles, cones, murexes, moon shells, lion’s paws, shapely lightning whelks, ridged scallops, and much more.
Certain coasts and beaches on Marco Island, such as the Paradise Coast, have information signs that tell the visitors which shells are common in that specific area. The sign in the Paradise Coast suggests that you can come across the worm shell, horse conch, starfish, sand dollar, fighting conch, calico scallop, lightning whelk, moon snail, and the olive shell.
There are several tours that will take you to beaches known for being full of interesting shells. If you’re an enthusiastic collector of shells, you have to try shelling on Marco Island.
However, you need to be careful, as injuring or collecting live shells is prohibited by law in that region. The fine for violating that law could be quite high.
Everglades National Park
Marco Island is on the edge of the Florida Everglades, the largest subtropical wilderness in the country. It is home to a vast universe of plant and animal life. See alligators and manatees up close. Maybe you’ll even spot a rare Florida panther.
Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge is located between Marco Island and Everglades City, Florida. Here you can observe a plethora of wildlife and plant species. You can boat, hunt, fish and enjoy Southwest Florida in its natural state.
There are several fantastic golf courses in Naples, which is only 20 miles away from Marco Island. If you’re in Marco Island, you can drive to nearby Naples golf courses and see what they’re all about.
In case you want to stay on the island, you have two options if you want to play golf. The first one is the 18-hole Island Country Club. This golf court is known for having various bird species flying overhead. That even includes the bald eagles. It has 27 acres of lakes and around 70 types of trees and flowers.
Your second option is the Hideaway Beach Golf Course, which is perfect for families that want to have fun golfing. This is a 9-hole golf course, that measures 1,844 yards from the back tees. It has an executive style layout.
There are several local golf clubs you can join.
There are several bald eagle nests on Marco Island. We have a Preserve and Bird Sanctuary located on Tigertail Court. Bring your binoculars and relax on one of the benches while you watch them come and go. If you’re planning to spend the day at Tigertail Beach, set aside a half-hour or so for the Bald Eagles.
Rainy Days Activities on Marco Island
On rainy summer days, most of the activities mentioned above won’t be possible. However, that doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to make a backup plan. You don’t have to sit around in your vacation rental unless you want to.
Yes, you can enjoy the rain on the beach, play a board game or take a nap, but don’t forget to check out some other options, like the ones below.
- Visit the Marco Movies Theater – opened in 1993, the Marco Movies Theater offers you a chance to watch first-run movies while the rain is pouring outside.
- Visit the Marco Island Historical Museum – here, you can find several ancient artifacts belonging to the Calusa Indians who inhabited Marco Island for 6000 years. The most famous artifact is the Key Marco Cat.
- Visit the book store – Marco Island Sunshine Booksellers offer you a wide and high-quality selection of books you can enjoy until the rain stops.
- Grab some ice cream. We have a few great ice cream parlors on Marco Island. You never have to travel far to get your fix. We like the Cold Stone Creamery located in the Esplanade Shops located on Collier Boulevard.
- Visit the Marco Island Center for the Arts located at 1010 Winterberry Drive. It features monthly exhibits, classes for families, adults & kids and artist meet & greets.
Will Marco Island Be Your Next Destination?
While there is no way to cover all of the great things to do on Marco Island, hopefully, you now have some idea of the activities you can enjoy on your vacation. Although this island is calm and peaceful, it offers a wide range of options for those looking for a more active vacation. Once you experience a tiny bit of Marco Island, it will leave you wanting more.