If you’re looking for a quiet white-sand, sea shell filled beach with turquoise green water adjacent to green palm tree adorned landscapes with pelicans flying by and swimming dolphins, Marco Island in Florida is the beach for you! Escape the noise and crowds of nightlife while you sit on a quiet, scenic beach! If you’re visiting Naples, FL, take a day trip to Marco Island. I’ll tell you what you “must see” and even a great place to have a fresh seafood lunch!
What is Marco Island Famous For?
Marco Island, a barrier island, is the largest of Florida’s “Ten Thousand” chain of islands in the Gulf of Mexico on the Southwestern side of the beautiful Sunshine State. It is located south of Naples and has many beach front resorts, dining and golf courses lining its pristine popular beaches.
This is a great vacation destination for those who are not looking for night life lending it an attractive beach place for retirees, families and nature lovers. It is a haven for kayaking, paddle boarding and bird-watching.
On our ten-day trip to Florida this winter, we took a day trip to Marco Island. We had a wonderful time exploring. First, we had coffee at Starbucks while we planned our day. Then we ate lunch, went to the beach followed by a craft show at a church where I bought some cool jewelry. Florida is loaded with jewelry! We then ended our day watching a beautiful sunset over the water!
Is Marco Island Really an Island?
Yes! It is the largest barrier island within Southwest Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands area. It’s a city in Collier County, Florida on the Gulf of Mexico.
What Can You Do On Marco Island?
First, let’s talk about a where we had a great seafood lunch and to what beach went to afterward.
Lee Be Seafood, Marco Island, FL
I found this great seafood place mentioned in a blog post from Passport to Friday about Marco Island and what got my attention was the comment about the food: “..they don’t drown their fish in butter.” I don’t use much butter on my seafood, if any. It is clearly a local hot spot. We arrived just in time to get a table for two outside to enjoy our fresh seafood lunch.
We had delicious, fresh stone crabs first but, we ate them before I could take a picture. Food excites us! My husband had a Fish Sandwich with fries and I had Fish and Shrimp Tacos with fries. Both entrees were seasoned perfectly without too much seasoning and not overly salted, as you commonly find in chain restaurants.
Check out my seafood recipes You may be interested in my Roasted Tilapia & Broccoli Sheet Pan Dinner or my Air Fryer Panko Coconut Shrimp with Sweet Chili Sauce!
I’ve become a food critic over the years and have turned my husband into one too. He tells me he looks at food differently since we’ve become a couple. Now he points out what he likes and dislikes about food, even mine. LOL!
Nearby shopping includes other quaint shops for women’s clothing, ice cream, and scented soaps, beach decor, etc. It was cute and reminded me of Key West, not that I’ve gone there…yet. We perused the area a bit before going to the beach.
Tiger Tail Beach, Marco Island, FL
We visited the most popular of the two Marco Island public beaches called Tiger Tail Beach. South Marco Beach Access is the other public beach, both of which have $8 parking fees. We decided to have drinks at the Tiger Tail Beach Cafe until the sun strength weakened a bit. I had sunburn. Yep, that’s right! I got sunburn on my first day of vacation! Again!
Tip: Make sure you re-apply sunscreen because the sun is strong, even if it doesn’t t feel strong due to the ocean breezes!
There is a shaded playground with tables and grills right next to the Cafe at Tiger Tail Beach. It is a great place for an afternoon picnic retreat from the hot, sun-filled beach. We found beer we liked although, there was a limited beer selection.
The food looked good too, although we didn’t order any. You can read more about Tiger Tail Cafe which mentions the playground and picnic area in this link.
On the beach, there is a two-story watch tower with binocular to view the wild life. Additionally, you can rent a cabana, beach chairs, and paddle boats, as seen in the picture above.
Sand Dollar Island, Marco Island, FL
The beach has a lagoon called Tidal Lagoon that is shallow enough in one spot that you can walk through to get to the other side. Water shoes are recommended for the short walk to, Sand Dollar Island which, you can see on the right side of the picture below. It is a bird watchers haven. We saw a group of people walking slowly through the lagoon over to Sand Dollar Island in a single file line.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission’s South Florida Birding Trail runs through Tiger Tail Beach. Nesting shorebirds, plovers, red knots, spoonbills, osprey, pelicans and even bald eagles are known to nest there.
The Gulf of Mexico is on the other side of Sand Dollar Island. We saw some great views walking along the beach that day in addition to a beautiful sunset while sipping wine and eating cheese and crackers.
Sunset on Tiger Tail Beach, Marco Island, FL
As you are choosing what beaches to visit on your next trip to Florida, which is a very hard decision, consider Marco Island for a few days or even a day trip. You may also access it from the eastern side of Florida too. Coming from Ft. Lauderdale via Rt. 75 will take under two hours drive or from Miami via Rt. 41 in about the same time.
Marco Island Florida Weather
The average high temperature in Marco Island, Florida from Jan through March is somewhere between 71F to 75F and 78F in April with lows in the 50s while precipitation is only 2-3 inches during those months. Marco Island has rainy summers with precipitation averages up to nine inches in one month.
With high temperatures in the 70s and low precipitation from Jan to April, you can see why Marco Island is a popular winter vacation destination. Bring your shorts, sunscreen and sun glasses!
Where Do You Fly In to Go to Marco Island?
The closest airport is Southwest Florida International (RSW) in Fort Myers located about 46 miles from Marco Island and will take approximately 52 minutes travelling by car. Punta Gorda Airport is about 77 miles away which is a one hour and 15 min drive to Marco Island. Fort Lauderdale (FLL) is about 116 miles away and Miami International airport (MIA) is about 130 miles away.
Marco Island has a lot to offer travelers who are looking for beautiful, quiet beaches who like to explore nature. It has fresh seafood and good restaurants with cute shops which, you can expect to find in a Floridian beach town. Its proximity to shopping and great restaurants in Naples makes it a great beach destination for those who wish to “have it all.”
Photo Credit: Some of the photos in this post are from Pixabay.com.