Marco Island may be small, but its distinct neighborhoods add an irresistible appeal. Beautiful beaches, fantastic shopping, exquisite dining, and a relaxing atmosphere make Marco Island an ideal tropical destination.
Smart restaurateurs know that great food accompanied by amazing ocean views means happy and loyal customers. At
Once you've stuffed yourself, squeeze into a swimsuit, slather on the sunscreen and prepare to vegetate on the sand at
This landlocked district isn't right on the shore, but there is still much to do and see in Mid-Island, and the beach isn't that far away. You'll find casual food at a price that won't break the bank and most are great for families. Tackle a mile-high sandwich at the place that slices it right,
Down on Bald Eagle Drive is the
Naples is filled with natural beauty, art galleries and chic restaurants.
One of Florida's Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is situated between Naples and the Everglades. You'll find the most variety in the Everglades Area and Mid-Island.
Two of the best beachfront hotels offering rooms, restaurants, and relaxing pools are The Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa and the Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort, which also offers meeting rooms and business facilities. Ivey House Bed & Breakfast is conveniently located near Everglades National Park, and offers discounts on many tourist activities. For something a little more glamorous, visit the Marco Beach Ocean Resort, and be prepared to be pampered. Another seafarer's paradise is Marco Bay Resort, which is located next to Marco Island's largest marina. For poolside barbecues, check out the Club Regency of Marco Island. For a different kind of vacation experience, visit the warm and inviting Ivey House Bed & Breakfast. This B&B is located in Everglades City and is ideal for those vacationers with a love for the wild beauty of Florida's Everglades.
If you're after a more residential feel, check out the affordable Marco Island Lakeside Inn. The Olde Marco Inn & Suites is one of the oldest buildings in southwest Florida, but still offers all the modern comforts of home. For a quaint, quiet hotel next to Marco River with a variety of extras, visit The Boathouse Motel. Marco Island also offers many choices in condominiums. If you want to explore the island's non-beach areas, take advantage of the complimentary bicycles at The Charter Club of Marco Beach. For sailors, the Sunrise Bay Resort & Club boasts a private dock for their boat and, as the name suggests, a beautiful view of the sunrise over the bay.
Marco Island offers many attractions for visitors, from Everglades National Park to the Rookery Bay Reserve.
Everglades National Park Marco Island offers many parks and preserves. Fakahatchee Strand features 44 native orchid species and Collier Seminole State Park contains a mangrove and Cyprus swamp. Everglades National Park, a World heritage spot, contains endangered species such as the Florida Panther and the West Indian Manatee. You'll also find art in the Everglades. Browse the displays at Big Cypress Gallery, then enjoy a meal at the Ivey House Bed & Breakfast.
Naples Zoo Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens has cruises of small islands with endangered species. Nearby is the Naples Museum of Art, which contains 15 galleries. Grab a bite to eat at the Old Naples Pub, then visit the Shy Wolf Sanctuary. Bird lovers should visit Rookery Bay Reserve, where they will find over 150 bird species.
Cape Romano Cape Romano, a nearby island, offers a true escape from society, with nothing but nature. Pack a lunch and hop on the Kahuna Katamarans or the Marco Island Princess. If you're ready for adventure on the water, Marco Island Ski and Watersports offers a parasail and water-ski expedition. If you prefer to canoe, make plans with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, an organization dedicated to protecting Florida's natural resources and wildlife.
Caxambas Park The fishing is great on Marco Island, and there are plenty of spots to practice this timeless sport. Naples Municipal Beach & Fishing Pier, a 100 year old historical landmark, has seen a lot of history, including days as a freight, passenger and baggage dock. Stop by Florida Sports Park and the Delnor Wiggins Pass State Recreation Area, which offers fishing on the banks of the Cocohatchee River. Caxambas Park has a launch to set out on your fishing expeditions, and a concessions store with supplies.
Vanderbilt Beach Naples Prime Outlets has a vareity of different stores and restaurants, Gallery Matisse specializes in the classics, while Vallez Studio showcases contemporary artwork. Enjoy the sun and surf at Vanderbilt Beach and explore the wilderness at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
Taking Marco Island's pleasant climate into account, many opt to see it on a boat or gliding through the water on a jet ski.
Boat Tours Marco Island Princess ( +1 239 642 5415/ http://www.marcoislandprincess.com/ ) Kahuna Katamarans ( +1 239 642 7704/ http://www.sail-kahuna.com/ ) Raven Sailboat Excursions ( +1 239 642 1608 ) Marco Island Sea Excursions ( +1 239 642 6400/ http://www.seaexcursions.com/ )
Adventure Tours Vantastic Tours: Everglades Adventures ( +1 239 394 7699/ http://www.vantastictours.com ) Marco Adventures Inc ( +1 239 394 8687/ http://www.marcoadventures.com/ ) An Adventure in Paradise ( +1 239 642 2359/ http://www.marcoislandwatersports.com/ ) Captain Ron's Awesome Everglades Adventures ( +1 239 777 9975/ http://evergladesjetskitours.com/ )
Long before tourists roamed the island, the Calusa Indians, a society of fishermen and woodworkers, established a highly developed culture. The Calusas, assumed to be descendants of the Maya Indians, may have come to the island as early as 500 or 1000 AD, but by 1750 Spanish explorers bringing disease had wiped them out.
The famous expedition of 1896 by Smithsonian archeologist Frank Hamilton Cushing uncovered hundreds of Calusa artifacts, including the Key Marco Cat, which is currently housed in the Smithsonian, but the Marco Island Historical Society is fighting to bring it back to the Key Marco Museum.
In 1896, the same year of the big Smithsonian expedition, the first attempts to "vacationize" the island were made by William D. "Captain Bill" Collier, who opened a twenty-room hotel, now the Olde Marco Inn & Suites. Then, in 1922, another Collier, self-built millionaire Barron G. (of no relation to Captain Bill), stepped into the Island's history with big plans to turn it into a tourist destination. Captivated by its natural beauty, Collier had spent the last decade accumulating land in Southern Florida. Unfortunately for him, the Great Depression came along a few years later, keeping the island a small fishing village.
By 1964, the Mackle brothers started turning Marco Island into what it is today. They began the development of beachfront hotels and condos such as the Marco Beach Hotel, now the The Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort and Spa, and a more traffic-friendly bridge replaced the old wooden hand-operated bridge that had been the only way to reach the Island. In 1965 Marco Island was ready for its close up, and over 25,000 people came in January of that year to test the warm waters. It was a hit, and visitors have kept coming ever since. Currently the permanent population is around 15,000, reaching 35,000 in the high season of the summer months.