Located 15 miles south of Naples, popularly known as Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is an oasis at the southern tip of Southwest Florida. The area has nearly 100 miles of palm tree lined islands and numerous miles of white sand beaches as well as pristine mangrove estuaries. The natural surroundings in and around the island is the perfect backdrop for adventurous and relaxing activities. Here’s a list of some of the best activities you can do in your next visit to Marco Island.
Top 10 Best Attractions to See in Marco Island
1. Go fishing
Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in South Florida. You can fish in swamp or in the ocean that surrounds Marco Island. If you wish to fish in the swamp, make sure to take a guide with you to ensure you are safe from alligators and other dangers in the area. We recommend taking a chartered fishing tour – this way, you’ll have the expertise of a local guide and also all the gear that you need for fishing.
2. Discover Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge
The largest island of the Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island has plenty of uninhabited hidden isles that can be explored at the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. There is no entry fees required to visit this place. If you are lucky, you will spot various birds and animals like alligators, wood storks, egrets, manatees, sea otters, roseate spoonbills, herons, pelicans and more. You can head out via a boat, canoe or kayak and weave through mangrove lined estuaries.
3. Marco Island Historical Museum
The Marco Island Historical Museum is a very popular place dedicated to the development and history of the Island which also includes exhibits related to the Calusa Indians. The museum has an entire room that contains a replica of a Calusa village which gives visitors a preview of this vanished civilization’s daily lives. It also exhibits various artefacts that have been discovered by archaeologists on Marco Island. The exhibits showcase the explosive development of this place from being a village to a world-class tourist attraction.
4. Seashells love
The sandbars in and around Marco Island and beyond are well known for some of the best and beautiful shells in the world. Head along the sandy shoreline and hunt for the variety of olive shells, scallops, whelks and hundreds of other types of seashells. Make sure you don’t collect the live creatures or wander off your path and get to a stranded place far away from the crowds. You can even take guided sea shell tours which can take you privately to places where you can gather seashells for your collection.
5. Visit the Tigertail beach
Tigertail beach is a well-developed public beach that has a wide range of modern amenities as well as preserved natural habitat for shore birds. Managed by park rangers and attendants the beach has a large parking lot (of course you have to pay!), restrooms, boardwalks and a picnic area along with a playground and butterfly garden for families with small children. You can take stand-up paddleboards, beach cabanas, kayaks and electric boats in rent to explore the waters.
6. Shop till you drop
The place is a favourite among tourists for shopping. You will have a lot of options to shop here starting from tropical theme inspired swim wear to a variety of funky souvenirs. You can also head off island to the Miramar Outlets where you can explore more than 40 stores which offer designer stuff at discounted prices. The local specialty shops and resort boutiques will definitely allure you to spend more and more time and buy cool stuff to take back home.
7. Dine and drink
A heaven for sea food lovers, Marco Island has many restaurants that are famous for their sea food delicacies. Head to the Old Marco Lodge Crab House if you want to enjoy eating crabs the way you like them. The island has many popular restaurants where you can enjoy the food and also the live music. You can arrive by boat, park at the onsite docks and sip your favourite cocktail at the Snook Inn Restaurant. This place is a most visited hotspot for tourists and locals alike. Happy hours are from 4 to 6 p.m. (just so that you know!).
8. Cape Romano
Located at the southern tip of the Marco Island Cape Romano is a major attraction for its collection of strange outer space looking buildings at the corner of the sea. These buildings were built by a retired oil producer as a vacation home and has been hit by several storms including Hurricane Wilma which even washed away some of the coastline. These buildings are now abandoned and can only be reached by boat. The place is interesting till it lasts. Don’t forget to visit once and click pictures if you can with these bizarre buildings.
9. Isles of Capri Paddle Craft Park
A one of a kind paddling park specifically for paddleboards and kayaks, Isles of Capri Paddle Craft Park is a popular tourist destination. The park has several modern amenities such as picnic areas, parking lot, restrooms, food trucks and a kayak washing station. There would be a minimal fee to access the waters. You can also rent a kayak which will be delivered and picked up with prior reservation. We recommend taking a kayak tour to explore this park and check out the mangrove tunnels and if you’re lucky then you might also see manatees and dolphins.
10. Marco Island Brewery
If you get some time then don’t forget to visit the Marco Island Brewery - a laid-back brew house which offers a wide range of local and world class beers. Adding to that, the restaurant is the largest sports bar on the island, so if you are sports junky, you know where to go to cheer your team. The food menu is a mixture of traditional and western delicacies which will definitely satisfy your taste buds.