Top 2 Attractions: Visit Marco Islands Best Beaches
The pristine beaches are the top attractions in town. Marco Islands two public beaches are Tigertail Beach and South Beach.
There are others a short car ride further away in Naples. Check out our guide to the best Naples Beaches.
Did you know there is a competition between the two which is better? Keep reading to see which stretch of sand we preferred or enjoy a photo tour in our .
The first of Marco Islands two public beaches is Tigertail beach.
Located on Hernando Drive, it is very popular with locals and tourists alike due to the abundance of activities on offer.
Here you will find many natural and man-made nature trails to explore. Bird watchers love Tigertail its been named the most popular bird watching location in FL. It is an important habitat for nesting shorebirds.
We didnt see many birds but we saw a tortoise at Tigertail which we were very happy about. I mean how cool is a random tortoise walking on the beach?! Gotta admit, Ive never seen that before. So you can now add a quirky, unique experience to your list of things to do in Marco Island.
How adorable is the tortoise I spotted chilling out at Tigertail Beach?
Aside from animal watching, Tigertail is also perfect for watersports including kayaking to the tidal lagoon which joins Tigertail to Big Marco Critical Wildlife Area known as Sand Dollar Island Spit.
At Sand Dollar Island Spit there is a decent chance to see a Florida fighting conch which is pretty cool.
Out Of Town Activities: Take A Trip To The Everglades National Park
One end of the Everglades is only 20 minutes drive away so it is entirely possible to visit the the Everglades FL in a day.
We love exploring the National Parks in the United States and the Everglades is possibly our favorite.
It costs $30 per vehicle for a week long entry to the Everglades.
If you are planning to do more than 1 National National Park we would highly recommend purchasing the annual National Park pass which permits you to access unlimited National Parks in the USA for a year.
If you decide to visit the Everglades from Marco make sure you dont miss some of our favourite hikes including:
Our favourite trail for alligator watching is the Anhinga Trail. Alligators are easily spotted on this trail. Below is a little fella we spotted. Dont arrive late, the gates shut at 5 pm.
Getting To Know Marco
We’ll be in Naples this week, and while we’ve been here many times – we’ve never made it over to . We’d like to do that this week! Where is the best place to park to visit the beach . And if you had to choose 1 restaurant for dinner, which one?
14 replies to this topic
I would recommend parking at either Tigertail or South Marco Beach public parking. Tigertail is on the northern end of the island and you either have to cross through a lagoon to the beach or walk around, which is a pretty long distance. South Marco beach would be easier, but both are beautiful!
I personally don’t like Snook Inn, but it does have a fabulous view! It is too expensive for what you get for me. I would actually go to Pelican Bend or Island Gypsy in Isles of Capri OR Little Bar on Goodland. Both places are within a 10 minute drive of . GREAT food and more reasonable prices in my opinion!:)
Id park at the south end lot and visit south beach. There are no shower/bathroom facilities there but u can grab lunch at the Sunset Grill and use their bathroom. You can walk the beach up towards the Marriott and pop in there for a look around. Grab a drink at one of the outdoor bars pricey but a lovely gulf view. For dinner u can stay in that general area and check out the restaurants at Walk. Marco Prime is a nice steakhouse, and DiVincis is good Italian.
Both have great happy hours that can be considered light dinners
Edited: 01 February 2022, 15:12
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Take In Everything Tampa Has To Offer
Tampa may be one of the most overlooked weekend getaways in Florida. This Gulf Coast city is filled with nature, culture, and even a touch of history, making it a great destination for just about everyone.
One of the things Tampa is known for is its beaches. With 361 days of sunshine per year, its no surprise that locals and visitors alike can be found lounging on Tampas best beaches. But beaches are far from all Tampa has to offer. Ride thrilling rollercoasters at Busch Gardens, take a stroll along the Tampa Riverwalk, or see your favorite wildcats at the Big Cat Rescue.
Where To Stay In Tampa: The Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay is one of the most in-demand accommodations in Tampa.
Head Out To The Islands On A Fishing Trip
If shelling isnt quite your thing, a very cool alternative trip is a fishing trip. We would recommend:
As the island forms part of the Ten Thousand Islands there is some fun fish to be caught in this area of the state including some of the biggest and rarest fish including sharks, red drum, snook and tarpon.
We hand fed tarpon in Robbies in the Florida Keys and were were shocked how huge they are.
The fishing trip is pretty legit as it covers a very wide area including the rivers, creeks, the barrier islands, and backcountry shoreline.
You can opt for a full or half day depending on how serious a fisherman or fisherlady you are.
If you want to DIY fish in the Sunshine State you need a license. On the tours they provide you with a temporary license so it is nice and easy.
You can bring your own rod and fish yourself, but you will need to purchase a 3-day license for $17, seven day license for $30 an adult or 1 year license for $47 at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or you can call 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA .
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Take A Stroll At Markle Park
If you are looking for somewhere with free parking where you can have a leisurely walk or enjoy a picnic with the family then Markle Park, otherwise known as the Frank E. Markle Park, is your spot.
The park is somewhat of a gem hidden in plain sight for locals, with it boasting many of the locals favorite things to do in Marco Island.
The Park has a stunning lake in the middle where you can try your hand at recreational fishing as well as a nice walkway, around 800 metres in length, to get your exercise in.
There are also many picnic tables at the park as well as basketball courts and a pool if you want to tire the little ones out .
If you have brought your dog on vacation with you you will be happy to know that the park is very dog friendly with two fenced in areas for the dogs to run free.
Unlike the beaches in town you will enjoy free unlimited parking at Markle Park.
Where Is Marco Island Florida
Situated in southwest Florida just south of Naples on Floridas Paradise Coast, Marco Island is the largest of the Ten Thousand Islands , which extend south for 99 miles to Cape Sable. Its an anglers and nature lovers paradise.
With an area of 24 square miles, Marco Island is smaller than Naples, its neighbor to the north. Even so theres lot to do here from boating and paddling the 100 plus miles of waterways and combing the six miles of gorgeous sun-drenched beaches, to exploring some of the most well-preserved natural areas in Florida.
With its unique location between Naples and the Everglades, theres a broad range of year round activities in Marco Island to choose from. Turn left toward Naples to enjoy the livelier downtown shopping and dining, or right into the watery wilderness of the Florida Everglades.
So whether youre looking for relaxed sunbathing on the beach, great shopping and restaurants, getting to know the natural world, boating, or enjoying some fresh Florida seafood, start packing for your trip to paradise in Marco Island!
In this article, heres what youll find to do in Marco Island:
Things To Do In Marco Island For Nature Lovers
Activities in Marco Island for Kids
Things To Do In Marco Island For Foodies
Things to Do in Marco Island When It Rains
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Relax At Ginnie Springs
Arguably one of the prettiest springs in Florida, Ginnie Springs is also one of the most affordable romantic getaways in Florida.
While there are hundreds of springs in Florida, there are a couple of features that set Ginnie Springs apart from the others. First, the seven springs that make up Ginnie Springs have some of the clearest waters found in any of Floridas natural springs. Second, the limestone of these seven springs are built in such a way that there are tuns of underwater caves for divers to explore.
Where To Stay Near Ginnie Springs: While you can camp at Ginnie Springs, you can also stay at the nearby Holiday Inn Express & Suites Alachua Gainsville Area.
Spend Some Quality Time On St George Island
St. Georges Island may be one of the most romantic weekend getaways in Florida. As part of Floridas Forgotten Coast, St. George Island is a wonderful, secluded place where you can get away to spend some quality time with your partner.
Your trip to St. George Island can be packed with activities or as relaxing as possible. You can stand up paddleboard through the water, dine on famous oysters, or stargaze under the unpolluted night sky.
Where To Stay On St. George Island: To get the most of the ocean during your time on St. George Island, why not stay at an oceanfront accommodation, such as the Gulf Getaway?
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Eagle’s Nest Beach Resort
Eagle’s Nest Beach Resort is clean, comfortable, and perfect for families. A more affordable option than the resorts listed higher on this list, Eagle’s Nest is managed by the Hilton Grand Vacations Company and serves as a “timeshare” property that is also available for short-term rentals.
One- and two-bedroom condos are peppered throughout the 70 tower units and 26 villas. Each boasts a screened balcony and fully equipped kitchen, making them perfect for families. There’s also a good-sized pool to play in and of course, miles of sandy beach peppered with shells. Bring a bucket to start collecting, and keep your eyes peeled for sand dollars.
Pretty gardens and tall trees offer a relaxing respite from the hot Floridian sun, and a pool area concession stand offers refreshing drinks and snacks.
Address: 410 South Collier Blvd., Marco Island, Florida
Activities On Sanibel Island Vs Marco Island
If you are going to be staying in a vacation rental, you are going to want lots of things to see and do. Fortunately, both islands are jam-packed with adventures for the entire family or the vacationing couple.
A couple of the popular things to do on Sanibel Island include:
- Visiting the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. This federally recognized wildlife preserve covers approximately a third of the island, and for many is the main reason that they choose to visit. Numerous species of birds, reptiles, insects, and more can be seen here on a regular basis.
- Stopping by the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum This attraction is solely in place to showcase the history of shells and mollusks and the islands role in it. You dont have to be a shelling enthusiast to appreciate the knowledge and sights that youll encounter here. You can even participate in a guided beach walk led by museum staff!
- Taking a sunset cruise- If you visit Sanibel Island and dont watch the sunset, youre definitely missing out. One of the best ways to view the sunset is on an evening sunset cruise. There are multiple providers on the island that offer a truly unique experience.
Things to do on Marco Island include:
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Dining Options On Sanibel Island Vs Marco Island
When it comes to dining, there is something for everyone on both Sanibel Island and Marco Island.
On Sanibel Island, youll find a wide variety of cuisine, including many restaurants that offer dishes that feature seafood inspired by the local environment. At the Island Cow, you can even bring your own freshly caught fish to be hand-cooked and prepared by the chef! As noted above, you wont find many chain restaurant options, ensuring that no matter where you turn, youll find a unique dining experience. There are even great things to do on Sanibel Island at night.
If youre staying on Sanibel for an extended period of time and want even more options, hop on over to Captiva Island and youll find even more great choices.
While Marco Island has a couple more chain, fast-food restaurants, youll still be satisfied with the amount of exclusive dining options on the island. There are a number of places on the island where you can grab a great burger, steak and more.
Visit The Marco Island Brewery
Beyond shopping, for some adult things to do Marco Island Brewery Company is a popular place to hang in the afternoon or evening.
The brewhouse has a very chilled vibe with a huge selection of beers on tap and no less than 40 flat-screen TVs to catch the latest sporting event.
We should also note that if you missed eating Key Lime Pie in the Florida Keys this is a fantastic alternative spot to try it. Their Key Lime Pie is bang on.
There is also a happy hour daily where you can catch some cheap deals .
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Do A Little Shelling On Sanibel And Captiva Islands
Sanibel Island and Captiva Island are two of the best islands in Florida and are often referred to as sister islands. Despite their many similarities, each of these islands has its own personality.
Sanibel Island is most well-known for its shelling. Its beaches are littered with shells from all sorts of sea creatures, including conches, scallops, and whelks. Do know that it is illegal to take shells if animals are still living inside!
Captiva Island is the quirkier of the two islands. While the shelling of Sanibel Island makes its mark through the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, there are gems that are unique to Captiva Island, including a Christmas-themed restaurant!
Where To Stay On Sanibel and Captiva Islands: The cute, oceanfront accommodation known as Tarpon Tale Inn is a wonderful place to stay on Sanibel Island.
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Visiting Nearby Places: Just a 30-minute drive from Marco Island is the beautiful little city of Naples. Pop over here from some great dining, shopping, and other entertainment options. Naples’ beaches are also beautiful and a wonderful place to soak up some sun. A good day trip from Marco Island is to Fort Myers Beach, where you can wander around Times Square, grab some lunch, or browse through the beach shops.
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Best Things To Do In Marco Island You Cant Miss
We also loved how close the proximity of the Island to Everglades National Park being just a 20 minute drive away. You can spend the morning swimming in the ocean and the afternoon hunting for alligators at Shark Valley.
There is also an abundance of wildlife which we loved. Its home to many nesting turtles as well as tortoises which you will see freely roaming the sand dunes
Oh, and if you are a bird watcher, you will be packing your bags already as it is home to some of the finest birding trails in Florida!
How Far Is Sanibel Island From Marco Island
Many people ask, Is Marco Island near Sanibel? Sanibel Island and Marco Island are only 40 miles apart by boat or about 65 miles by car.
Despite the close proximity, many visitors feel like the two destinations are worlds apart. Marco Island and Sanibel Island are both Gulf of Mexico barrier islands off the Southwest Florida coast. Both islands are connected to destination cities like Naples and Fort Myers through a series of causeway bridges and highways. This might be where the similarities end, though.
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Highlights Of Where To Stay In Marco Island
When it comes to luxurious hotels in Marco Island, Marriotts Crystal Shores is second to none. For years, this lavish haven has been luring visitors with its top-notch service and remarkably comfortable villas.
Theres also direct beach access, a couple of swimming pools and a slew of other fabulous amenities.
Take A Road Trip Through The Florida Keys
After Orlando, the Florida Keys may be the most visited part of the Sunshine State. With about 1,700 islands making up this Floridian island chain, youll definitely have to pick and choose which ones are worth a stop. We recommend Key Largo, Islamorada, Dry Tortugas National Park, and Key West.
Between these islands, there is so much to do. Wind your way through John Pennekamp Coral State Park on Key Largo. Take in the wide array of fish swimming around Islamorada. Choose between a calm ferry or an exciting sea plane to make your way to Dry Tortugas. And visit the southernmost point in the continental U.S. on Key West.
Where To Stay In The Florida Keys: Between all of the islands of the Florida Keys, there are tons of places to stay with a bunch of different environments. If youd like to stay on the most popular island of Key West, consider Courtneys Place Historic Cottages & Inns.
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