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Florida is full of potential seaside adventures. Not only are the coastlines bustling with activity, but the many islands surrounding Floridian shores are ripe for the taking. That potential is what drew us to Marco Island. Having never been there before, we had to wonder: what all is there to do on the island?
As it turns out, a lot. Marco Island not only has beautiful natural features, but its many attractions and facilities make it the perfect island get away. If you visit, you'll be able to explore the same places we did and more, including:
- The Beaches
- Marco Island Historical Museum
- Marco Island Marina
- The Farmer's Market
- Marco Island Center for the Arts
- Briggs Nature Center
- Captain Horr's Pineapple Plantation
- Boat Tours of Ten Thousand Island
- Cape Romano (Kice Island)
- Isles of Capri Marina
As a barrier island nestled in the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island proves to be the perfect hidden gem. You'll be able to make your way onto the island via Naples courtesy of the many bridges that connect it to the main land. If any of the attractions we mentioned sound fun, why not take the time to learn a little more about your potential Marco Island vacation?
10 Things To Do In Marco Island, Florida
Once you've crossed over the bridge to Marco Island, it feels as though you've entered a new world. With so much to do, it's easiest to break down your vacation into destinations so you hit all of the hotspots that you want to see.
If you're going on a Floridian vacation that isn't to Disney World, then you're going to want to hit the beach. Luckily, Marco Island has two luxurious beaches that you can visit at your leisure.
South Marco Beach
South Marco Beach is a public beach that keeps its facilities open from 8 AM until sunset. You'll find it right off of Swallow Avenue, where the walk is lined with sabal palms. You'll need to bring change for parking (or a parking pass from the city of Naples), but you'll have ready access to restrooms if you're not settled in a hotel on the beach.
Tigertail Beach Park
The other beach on Marco Island is Tigertail Beach Park. Here, you'll be able to indulge in an afternoon of bird-watching, swimming, seaside exploration, and more. Tigertail Beach provides you with ready access to a playground for the kids, restrooms, guided tours, paddleboard rental, and more. You'll also be able to find more than a few spots to eat nearby.
You are required to either pay for parking or procure a permit from the city of Naples to park in the lot nearby Tigertail Beach. The beach's facilities are open from 8 AM until sunset, and the beach itself is accessible 24 hours a day.
To learn more about these Marco Island attractions, you can visit their affiliated website.
Marco Island Historical Museum
If the day is too hot or you're tired of the sand between your toes, you can take the kids over to the Marco Island Historical Museum. Established in 2010, this relatively new attraction relays the history of the Calusa Indians who once called Marco Island and the surrounding Naples area their home.
The museum is run by representatives of the remaining Calusa and is designed to preserve unique antiques and histories of a people who witnesses colonization first-hand. You'll be able to tour a replica village and take in extensively-detailed exhibits while escaping the heat.
The Marco Island Historical Museum is open from Tuesday to Saturday between the hours of 9 AM and 4 PM. You'll be able to access to gift shop during the summer between 11 AM and 3 PM, with winter hours varying to 10 AM and 4 PM. The museum does not charge admission but does accept donations. To learn more about this Marco Island attraction, you can visit its affiliated website.
Marco Island Marina
For visitors to the island who are fond of the water, there is Marco Island Marina. That Marina originally opened in 1969 under the name, "Marco River Marina." As of 2010, however, and the death of the owner, Bill Rose, the Marina changed its name out of respect. Now it is known interchangeably as Rose Marina and the Marco Island Marina.
Regardless of moniker, the Marco Island Marina allows yacht-owners to park their leisure boats at its docks. The Marina is open from 7 AM to 5 PM seven days a week. To learn more the Marina's rates, you can visit its affiliated website.
The Farmer's Market
Visitors who intend to stay a long while on Marco Island are going to need groceries. Instead of heading to the local Naples Publix, why not explore the Marco Island Farmer's Market? Open every Wednesday from 7:30 AM to 1 PM, the farmer's market provides Marco Island locals and tourists with fresh produce to get them through the week. You'll also be able to find a number of souvenirs to take home to family and friends at this local-oriented attraction. Make sure to bring cash! While some stalls accept credit or debit cards, you'll be able to make the most of your time at the farmer's market if you have bills on hand.
To learn more about this Marco Island attraction, you can visit its affiliated website.
Marco Island Center for the Arts
While Marco Island is not home to any art museums, the artistically-inclined visitor can make a stop at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. Here, you'll find displays put on by local artists who are able to capture the beauty, be it abstract or realistic, of the island. You may also be able to enjoy author readings or sprawling exhibitions, depending on the time of year you visit.
The Marco Island Center for the Arts is open Monday through Friday between the hours of 9 AM and 4 PM. To learn more about this Marco Island attraction, you can visit its affiliated website.
Briggs Nature Center
Visitors who want to go for a hike may not find the mountains to do so on Marco Island, but they will find the Briggs Nature Center. This half-mile boardwalk allows visitors to take themselves on a tour of seven unique, Marco Island habitats. If you visit, you'll be able not only to enjoy the gorgeous flora of the island, but you may even spot nesting turtles and a wide variety of birds in the trees above your head.
The Briggs Boardwalk and Nature Center are open from dusk until dawn all year. You can take a guided tour through the available habitats - so long as the weather is fair - starting at 10 AM every day from January to March. To learn more about this Marco Island attraction, you can visit its affiliated website.
Captain Horr's Pineapple Plantation
For visitors who are more historically-inclined, Captain Horr's Pineapple Plantation awaits.This 19th-century plantation house its in the center of what was once a bustling town. Nowadays, it serves as a historic site that allows visitors to travel back to the Civil War.
The plantation was once home to Captain John Foley Horr. Horr made is way down to the Florida Keys after the Civil War. After buying an island - now known as Horr's Island - he started a success pineapple plantation and brought an economic boom to the Keys.
Nowadays, a visit to Horr's Pineapple Plantation lets visitors dive into that illustrious history while also enjoying the flora and fauna that have since overtaken the abandoned plantation. To learn more about this Marco Island attraction, you can visit its affiliated website.
Boat Tours of Ten Thousand Islands
Have you ever wanted to take a trip through the watery depths of the Everglades? The Boat Tours of Ten Thousand Islands will let you do just that. These island tours initially take you through the saltwater treks of the Everglades, exposing you to one of the world's largest mangrove forests. Under the guide of a trained naturalist, you'll find manatees, ospreys, and a plethora of other Florida wildlife.
Tours cost $40 for adults and $20 for children. Each tour is an hour and a half long. Make sure to bring bug spray and sunscreen! To learn more about this Marco Island attraction, you can visit its affiliated website.
Cape Romano (Kice Island)
Marco Island has a particularly curious, non-natural hotspot that all tourists like to visit: the concrete igloos. These igloos, as affiliated with Cape Romano and Kice Island, were originally built as part of the Dome House repurchasing in 2001. While they were originally intended to represent the modernization of the area, costs surrounding their upkeep have forced the igloos into decay. Nowadays, if you visit Cape Romano, they make an almost-alien site to see, with iguanas and an elaborate rookery of birds as their only inhabitants.
To learn more about this Marco Island attraction, you can visit its affiliated website.
Isles of Capri Marina
The Isles of Capri Marina is another of Marco Island's marinas. Here, however, non-boat owners can readily rent pontoons, sailboats, and other water sports gear to enjoy a day out in the Gulf of Mexico. The Isles of Capri Marina also sponsors sailing day trips and beach cruises for Marco Island's many visitors.
You'll want to make your way down to the marina if you want to go fishing, too. Here, you can purchase a temporary fishing license as well as any gear you may have left at home.
Finally, there is an open-air bar on the marina's campus that visitors can drink at after a day on the water. Hours vary by time of year, but you can learn more by visiting the marina's affiliated website.
Where To Stay In Marco Island
So, have we piqued your interest? If you want to head down to Marco Island for an escape of your own, there are a number of hotels, condos, home rentals, and inns for you to choose to stay at. Our top three choices include:
Marco Island Lakeside Inn
For a laid-back stay on Marco Island, we recommend setting yourself up at the Marco Island Lakeside Inn. The Inn is a 10-mile walk away from the island's town center, putting you in prime position to spend several leisurely days exploring the island. Here, you'll be able to enjoy the comfort of simple rooms as well as access to the Inn's heated outdoor pool. Other Inn amenities include:
- A full kitchen or kitchenette
- Free wifi
- Cable TV
- iPhone docking stations
- Barbecue facilities
JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
If you want your vacation to hit the height of luxury, then you'll want to stay at the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. This hotel not only provides you with stunning rooms, but you'll be able to enjoy:
- 10 on-site restaurants
- Volleyball pits and tennis courts
- An on-site spa
- 2 18-hole golf courses
- 2 outdoor pools
That said, this is not the most cost-effective place to stay on Marco Island. If you can afford the visit, though, you should make an effort to stay at this hotel. The folks at Marriott make it easy to book a room at this resort through their online portal.
Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa
If you're looking for a less expensive but equally luxurious place to stay on Marco Island, then you'll want to make your way over to the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa. Not only are there rooms here for families or couples, but you'll also have direct access to The Deck, the hotel's on-site restaurant. If you're looking to relax, you can also visit the on-site spa, even if it's just for the day!
Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa also makes water sport rentals readily available, allowing you to spend a day on a sailboat or a few hours kayaking beneath the Marco Island bridge.