As the largest island of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands at the southwestern tip of the state, Marco Island has been described as magical, mystical, and alluring. Located 15 miles south of Naples, the lure of tropical sun-washed white sand beaches and the easy casual-paced lifestyle brings many a visitor to want to make Marco Island home. With its sunshine, frolicking dolphins, and watersports aplenty, everything seems to center around pleasure.
Marco Island is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, offering world-class golf courses, the majestic Everglades nearby, and immediate access to the Gulf of Mexico. The shelling, fishing, boating, kayaking, canoeing, bird, and wildlife watching is superb.
The restaurants on Marco Island will delight your tastebuds with their fresh seafood offerings and their other wonderful island creations. Explore the wilderness of the Ten Thousand Islands by land, boat, or by air. Enjoy top-notch fishing and abundant wildlife. It’s all here.
Relaxation and Adventure
Marco Island’s natural environment provides the perfect backdrop for both relaxing and for the warm-weather adventurer. The beach and surrounding sand bars offer unique shelling opportunities not found on other islands, and it has quite the reputation for the many varieties of shells. Whelks, olive shells, scallops, and hundreds of other varieties can be found. Several tour companies offer short trips by boat to nearby deserted beach islands and sand bars that are literally covered in shells and free from the crowds, leaving you to explore in a relaxed way.
Birdwatchers can easily access this water wonderland from the island. Kayaks are readily available for rent or purchase, where one can traverse short or extended tour routes through the waters. Watersport tour operators offer guided Waverunner tours through mangrove estuaries with information on its inhabitants. Bottlenose dolphins, manatees, alligators, crocodiles, sea otters, wood storks, herons, egrets, brown and white pelicans, roseate spoonbills, and more make their home here.
In fact, Marco Island is flanked by nearly 100 islands, estuaries, and bays, none of which will ever be developed in this protected area. Access to the wilderness is possible through the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Fakahatchee Strand Preserve State Park, Big Cypress Preserve National Park, Collier-Seminole State Park, and Everglades National Park. All of these institutions work together to help preserve this special natural habitat and offer a paradise for anglers, nature photographers, and outdoor adventurers.
Fishing and Golfing on Marco Island
Backcountry fishing is very popular around the island, and anglers regularly reel in tarpon, redfish, snook, pompano, trout, among other species. Anglers who want an in-depth fishing experience can hire an experienced guide for excursions from Marco Island. In addition to backcountry flats fishing, offshore charters into the Gulf of Mexico are readily available for kingfish, grouper, and snapper catches.
Marco Island and nearby Naples offer fantastic golf, with several courses including JW Marriott's The Rookery at Marco and JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. The latter has a newly designed course that features a Faldo Golf Institute instruction program. Several other great golf courses are located in Naples and easily accessible from Marco Island.
Explore an Ancient Civilization
Marco Island is well known in archaeological circles as being an important center of early American civilization. Over the years, priceless artifacts of been unearthed on the island dating back to the Calusa Indians. Key historic markers across the island, a dozen of them to be exact, chart the history of Marco Island and include one of the most significant archeological excavations in North America.
The priceless Key Marco Cat sculpture was found right on the island and is now on a special extended visit in partnership with the Smithsonian at the Marco Island Historical Museum. Other notable historic markers include ancient burial mounds, an 1883 historic inn, island marinas, the remains of the Marco Island Witch Watchtower, and the remnants of the Caxambas Clam Colony, to name a few.
Shopping on Marco Island
If therapy of the retail variety is more your cup of tea, Marco Island does not disappoint in that area, either. Many shopping treasures, specialty shops and resort boutiques offer everything from resort casual clothing to swimwear to the finest designer fashions to upscale artwork. Many shops offer artistic items with a local flavor and interesting souvenirs.
The Marco Island Center for the Arts has a free gallery with gift shop that sells locally handcrafted art pieces.
Dining on Marco Island
Indulge your gastronomic cravings with the authentic flavors of Italy with a gourmet flair at the upscale Sale E Pepe at Marco Beach Ocean Resort, offering spectacular Gulf views to pair with your meal. Other popular restaurants specializing in Gulf seafood are Fin Bistro, Café du Marco, and Snook Inn.
If it is a more laid-back casual dining experience you crave, head to Stan’s Idle Hour Seafood Restaurant in Goodland Village. They offer the freshest catch from the Gulf along with unique entertainment every Sunday afternoon. From 1 pm until 6 pm, take part in the long-standing Marco Island party known as the Sunday Party at Stan’s which includes live music, a fashion show from a nearby boutique, and a casual island menu. Nearby, the Little Bar Restaurant has fresh seafood and steaks with great live music happening in the lounge.
Whatever your pleasure, whatever your desire, you will find it on Marco Island. Short-term rentals and vacation homes are available for your magical stay. Click Here to book our stunning Marco Island Oceanview Rental