There are no mayor landmarks or monuments, but there are quit some great things to do in Marco Island. The main attractions on this sunny island, of course, are the amazing shores and the beautiful nature.
If you are planning a vacation to the Paradise Coast, we have listed just a few of the fun activities and attractions worth spotting while on San Marco.
But first, let´s answer the question: where is Marco Island? It is one of the best Florida vacation spots and located on the west coast of Florida, just a short 30 min drive, or 18 miles south of Naples, FL. It is the largest barrier island within Southwest Florida’s ten thousand islands.
Have a look at the map of Marco Island Florida.
Here they are -- the top 10 things to do in Marco Island.
#1 South Beach Marco Island at the southern tip of the island, is the most popular public beach and filled with a variety of shells in many sizes and styles. The sand is not soft, it is basically crushed seashells so don´t forget your flip-flops. Sunsets here are awesome, a wonderful place stroll along the beach, to unwind and chill out. Parking is limited and costs $8 the day.
#2 Tigertail Beach in the north is a beautiful place and loaded with sea shells and sand dollar; however you have to wade across the lagoon which is about two feet to chest deep (depending on the tide) to get to the beach. You can rent sun shelters, water trikes or kayaks. If you want to learn more about the in the tigertail beach marco island area, every weekday morning at 8:30 there is a guided nature walk. There is also an observation tower that is wonderful for bird watching.
Whether exploring natural beauty or seeking some family and kid friendly adventures, you’ll find plenty of exciting things to do in Marco Island. If need a little break from the beach, Mackle Park in downtown Marco Island is a great place to bring the kids.
#3 Dolphin watching is one of the favorite things to do in Marco Island. Dolphin Explorer Eco-Tours (phone 239 642 6899) are known for how they will provide you with great views and knowledge of the dolphins, sea mammals that can be easily found along the shore. The tours head out into the water and will offer great views of Marco Island while watching dolphins and manatees in their natural habitat. As part of the trip there is a stop on Keewaydin Island.
With a great variety of beautiful beaches and fun water activities, there are lots of things to do in Marco Island for families with kids.
#4 Keewaydin Island -- The only way to get to this 17 mi long island is by boat. The island has two faces, one side is full of boats and people partying especially on the weekends, the other side is empty and has great shelling. Fun part are the colorful food boats started coming in around 11:30 offering everything from hot dogs, hamburgers, tacos, pizza, to beer and cocktails. To get there just take a water taxi, The Keewaydin Express (phone 123 920 70403) is leaving hourly from Rose Marina.
Looking for great tours on and around Marco Island? Before you book, read the reviews for Dreamlander Tours, The Dolphin Explorer, Capt. Ron's Everglades Adventures, Pirates of Marco Island and many more right here!!
#5 Want to kayaking Marco Island? Florida Backcountry Adventures (phone 239 595 7495) offers unique and private “back-to-nature” experience tours, you will discover wildlife and plant life you´ve never seen before. Marco Island Marriott Resort, Golf Club & Spa has kayak rentals too that are included in the resort fee and you can enjoy using for when you’re looking to check out the beautiful natural sights of the island.
Looking for even more things to do in Marco Island FL?
#6 A bike tour is a great intro to Marco hidden gems. My tip number 6 on activities in Marco Island is Sunshine Bike Tours (600 S. Collier Blvd.). You´ll see a number of great nature spots on a three hour ride around the Island. You´ll discover gopher tortoises, dolphins, manatees, burrowing owls and white pelicans, among other wildlife and not to forget, the history of the island.
More outdoor and adventurous things to do in Marco Island.
#7 Discover Cape Romano at the southern tip of the island and see the Dome homes before they are gone! If you wonder what the dome homes are, they once were located on the beach and were the DIY build holiday homes of Bob Lee, an independent oil producer. After Hurricane Wilma and the sea levels rising they were abandoned, will disappear eventually and make a pretty good artificial reef.
#8 Go see the pirates! The Pirates of Marco Island (phone 239 404 5422) are departing at the Rose Marina. The sunset cruise is fun for any age from 8 to 80. You´ll love the Black Pearl experience -- and the price for the cruise with just $15 per person is incredibly reasonable!
#9 For shopping in Marco Island. The Esplanade Shoppes is right on the waterfront and offers a number of shopping opportunities on 50,000 sf with all kinds of high-end retailers out in this area. The place is popular for its lush arrangement of trees and native plants giving it a coastal Italian style village atmosphere.
But when it rains on Marco island you can also stroll around the Marco Town Center Mall on North Collier Boulevard and the Marco Walk Plaza near the Hilton. Shopping is a great way to bring your coastal vacation home.
If you are traveling Florida on a budget and looking for places to stay, you´d better stay away from the expensive oceanfront hotels in Marco Island FL,
Have a look at the Marco Island Lakeside Inn.
It´s a clean and peaceful 3* accommodation, only 2 miles from the beaches.
Or check out The Boat House Motel at the marina, Tigertail beach is only a short car ride away.
#10 If you are looking for some water fun, this Jet ski tour is top of the line! Go for an an exciting, fast moving excursion through mangrove backwaters with Full Throttle Waverunner Adventures (phone 239 728 8919).
Looking for things to do in Marco Island at night? Here are some great places to eat on Marco Island.
Choose Sale E Pepe, if you are planing a romantic evening, begin your night with the happy hour sunset cocktails on the patio. Address: 480 S Collier Blvd, Marco Island Beach Resort, open 5:00 pm -- 9:00 pm (Fri-Sat 10 pm).
Davincis at 599 South Collier Blvd. Suite 215, Marco Island, FL 34145 (Hilton) for authentic Italian dining in a vibrant ambiance, you won’t be disappointed. Reservation is a must, call 239 389 1888. Address: 599 S Collier Blvd Ste 215, open 4:30 pm -- 10:30 pm.
Quinn’s on the Beach at 400 S Collier Blvd. is, you guess it, right on the beach, so the view is wonderful. They celebrate the sunset every night with live music. Fire dancers exciting the crowd with their fire baton displays. Address: 400 S Collier Blvd 400 S Collier Blvd, open 11:30 am -- 12:00 am.
For fish lovers, try Lee Be Fish at 350 Royal Palm Drive, they serve the freshest fish on the island. The food is as delicious as in the fancy restaurants, but without the huge cost. Actually, it´s very casual with virtually no atmosphere at all. Address: 350 Royal Palm Dr, open 11:00 am -- 8:30 pm.
Uncover more exciting things to do in Marco Island FL with these nearby attractions in the area:
Naples is only a 18 mile or 30 minute drive from Marco Island. So you can visit nearby Naples Zoo, the historic Naples Pier, the free art galleries or the art festivals in the downtown area, the live entertainment along Fifth Avenue South or Third Street South … there are so many things to do near Marco Island too.
Marco Island -- The early development
The development of Marco Island took place in the 1960s. Since then Marco Island has been transformed from a wooded and bug infested island to a first class place. Watch this Marco Island video from 1964 showing the early development of Florida’s last frontier https://www.buymarco.com/blog/very-cool-old-video-of-marco-island.html (blog post with video transcription).
Hope you enjoyed our things to do in Marco Island, stay with us for more amazing Florida getaways and join us on a trip to Cocoa Beach!