There’s a reason this part of Florida is called the Paradise Coast. Located south of Naples on the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island is a popular year-round travel destination for nature lovers, sun worshippers, anglers and just about anyone who enjoys a slower pace of life under the Florida sunshine. There are so many ways to explore the island, it’s hard to know where to start. Check out these 10 fun-filled activities for your next visit to Marco Island.
1. Sink your toes in the sand at South Marco Beach
With clear blue-green waters, white sand and plenty of nearby amenities, South Marco Beach is one of the most popular and family-friendly destinations on the island. It’s a great place to add to your shell collection, and if you can take your eyes off the sand for a moment, you may see dolphins swimming offshore.
2. Embrace your inner artist at the Marco Island Center for the Arts
Thanks to the natural beauty of the Gulf, Marco Island has been inspiring artists for as long as people have lived here. The Marco Island Center for the Arts celebrates this, with displays of work by local and regional artists. In addition, the center offers a range of art classes for both adults and kids.
3. Sip local brews at the Marco Island Brewery
A favorite watering hole for locals, Marco Island Brewery pours their own brews, plus 40 selections from all over the world. You’ll find a menu full of classic pub grub, from burgers and nachos to pizzas and tacos. Best of all, it’s a great place to watch sports on multiple TV screens.
4. Snap a few pictures of the Cape Romano Dome House
Accessible by charter boat or kayak, the Cape Romano Dome House is undoubtedly one of the most unique attractions in the area. Cape Romano is a collection of dome-shaped concrete structures originally built as a vacation home for a Florida oil tycoon in the 1980s. Today, they’re abandoned, and erosion and rising sea levels have surrounded them by water. It’s a truly one-of-a-kind place to visit, and also a popular spot for anglers.
5. Kayak the Ten Thousand Islands
Marco Island serves as the gateway to the Ten Thousand Islands Wildlife Refuge, a chain of uninhabited islands and mangroves that are a nature lover’s dream. While the island count is actually only in the hundreds, not the thousands, this area is a beautiful place to explore by kayak. Paddle on your own with a kayak rental or hire a local tour company to take you through this unique ecosystem.
6. Hire a fishing charter
If sport fishing is on your to-do list, Marco Island is the place to be. The town serves as the perfect jumping off point for a fishing expedition. Hire a knowledgeable local captain and head out into the Gulf of Mexico in search of grouper, tarpon, snook, tuna and king mackerel.
7. Take an eco-tour to see dolphins and manatees
The coastal waters surrounding Marco Island are home to a wide range of wildlife, and many are best seen from the deck of a boat. There are multiple tour companies on the island offering wildlife viewing tours. Depending on the time of year you visit, you may see dolphins, manatees and sea turtles.
8. Enjoy a quiet day at Tigertail Beach
A more tranquil option than South Marco Beach, Tigertail Beach Park offers fantastic scenery and white sand without all the crowds. It’s also a great place for shelling. Eagle-eyed beachcombers may find conchs, sand dollars, scallops and more. The area is also known for birdwatching, as egrets, herons, sandpipers and osprey call this beach home.
9. Stock up on local produce at the farmers market
Held every Wednesday morning at Mackle Park, the Marco Island Farmers Market is a wonderful way to experience island life. Sixty local vendors sell everything from handmade cheeses and fresh flowers to artisan granola and fresh crab cakes. Of course, you’ll also find plenty of citrus fruits.
10. Do some waterfront shopping at the Esplanade Shoppes
Designed to resemble a coastal Italian village, the Esplanade Shoppes is an upscale shopping and dining destination right on the waterfront. You’ll find locally owned boutiques, dockside dining and a relaxing courtyard with an open-air bar.
Start living the island life
Ready to make Marco Island your home away from home? Browse Pacaso listings in the area to find your perfect luxury second home, then start exploring everything Florida’s Paradise Coast has to offer.
The best golf courses on Cape Cod and nearby islands