A visitor’s guide to Tigertail Beach on Marco Island

Published Date: January 6, 2023

Marco Island beach
Marco Island, a barrier island on Florida’s southwest coast, is known for its laid-back lifestyle and natural beauty. And little is more beautiful than Tigertail Beach, a must-see for every visit to Marco Island. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your trip to this iconic beach. 

About Tigertail Beach 

Given all of Marco Island’s high-rises and resort developments, you might not expect it to be home to one of the most ruggedly beautiful beaches in the Everglades region. Yet the white sands of Tigertail Beach offer just that. One of just two public beaches on Marco Island, Tigertail Beach is actually a new beach. Tigertail Beach was an offshore sandbar until Hurricane Wilma hit the Paradise Coast in 2005 and sand piled up, connecting the beach to the mainland. 

The inner beach

Tigertail is really two beaches in one, known by locals as the inner and outer beach. The inner beach is the most easily accessible, with multiple boardwalks connecting the parking lot with the sand. It’s a great family beach, with a beach cafe serving food and cold drinks, a playground, picnic area, watersports rentals and restrooms. There’s even a bird-watching tower that offers amazing views of the wildlife. The inner beach is a nice place to spend a day and a good launch point for exploring the surrounding mangroves by kayak. 

The outer beach

Tigertail’s outer beach, sometimes called Sand Dollar Beach, is accessible by wading across the saltwater lagoon. This is best done at low tide if you’re carrying a lot of gear or have young children with you, but it can also be done at high tide, when the depth is a few feet. The best place to cross is marked by a floating buoy about 50 yards offshore. The lagoon bottom is a bit mucky and grassy, so you might want to rent a paddleboard or kayak to make the crossing if you don’t want to feel the “squish” between your toes.  A word of caution: Sands shift and currents can be strong when the tide is moving in and out. Exercise caution when walking to the north end of the beach at low tide — you could end up surrounded by water when the tide comes back in. Once you’ve made the crossing, your belongings held above your head, you’ll be rewarded with three miles of pristine, secluded coastal beauty. The outer beach boasts soft white sand, beautiful shells in a rainbow of colors, fiddler crabs scurrying around and pods of dolphins frolicking offshore. It’s a popular destination for birdwatchers, as the island is part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Sit back and look up — you’ll see a wide variety of shore birds, including eagles, osprey, terns and plovers.  Before you leave, see if you can find the seashell tree. Visitors who made the trek to the beach often leave messages they’ve written on shells and hung from the branches. 

Getting there

Marco Island is easily accessible from Naples, Florida, via two bridges. Once you have arrived on the island, you can find Tigertail Beach at the end of Hernando Drive. There’s a conveniently located parking lot with over 200 spots for beach lovers. Expect to pay a small fee to park for the day. The beach is open from 8 a.m. to sunset, year-round. 

Make your home in the Everglades

Tigertail Beach is just one of many unspoiled wilderness areas on the Paradise Coast. Give yourself ample time to explore Marco Island and the whole Everglades area when you become a co-owner of a second home through Pacaso. Browse Florida listings today. 

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Jen Lyons

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