While many who come to Marco Island to live or visit are no doubt attracted by the pretty beaches and near-perfect climate, there’s plenty to do on the island than just hanging out on the sand, catching the rays. Active residents and visitors to our Marco Island condo can find plenty of things to do to keep them busy from morning until sunset on this quiet but busy southwestern Florida island.
You can be as lazy or as active as you’d like while on Marco Island. What you choose to do will depend largely on your personal preferences and whether you prefer to be on land or on the water.
If you enjoy golf, there two public golf courses close to Marco Island that is open to the general public. The Marco Shores Country Club is located just a short drive away in Naples and is an 18-hole, par-72 course designed by Bruce Devlin. Marriott’s Marco Island Resort and Spa is located right on the island and boasts one of the most acclaimed courses in Southwestern Florida. The terrain is challenging but beautiful, and golfers can hone their skills at the resort’s 13-acre practice facility before they hit the links.
If you find yourself in Marco Island without a sea-faring vessel but you want to do some fishing, you won’t have to look far to find a charter. Several companies offer chartered fishing experiences on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Expect to catch tarpon, snook, snapper, trout, grouper, and king mackerel, depending on the season.
Sightseeing Boat Tours
If you prefer just to sit back and relax while exploring the waters around Marco Island, hop on a sightseeing cruise. Many are available aboard a variety of vessels, including catamarans, and some offer lunch or dinner aboard. Check out the airboat rides for a thrilling experience in the nearby Everglades. You can even make a high-speed catamaran trip to Key West.
With the help of local outfitters, you can learn to sail on the tranquil waters around Marco Island or go canoeing and kayaking with friends, on your own or with a guide.
While diving tends to be more popular on the Atlantic Coast, there are indeed opportunities here as well. The Gulf of Mexico is rich with marine life and divers can also explore artificial reef systems and barge wrecks.
Aside from swimming and sunning, most of the larger hotels offer other beach-related activities. For example, at the aforementioned Marriott Resort as well as at the Hilton Marco Island, you can go parasailing, rent wave runners, or try your hand at water skiing. These hotels are within walking distance from the condominium
Attractions around Marco Island
Want to do a little exploring? Marco Island boasts plenty of sights for visitors to enjoy, both natural and man-made.
Briggs Nature Center
Open from October through June, this nature center is a great place to explore the flora and fauna of the region. A half-mile-long boardwalk lets visitors make their way through Florida’s scrublands, where they can view a variety of birds and land animals, such as the rare gopher tortoise. Ranger-led hikes are appropriate for all ages and guests can even rent canoes and follow the self-guided canoe trail. There’s a small charge but it’s well worth the cost.
Marco Island Center for the Arts
This facility, which has been around for about 40 years, offers galleries of artwork by local and regional artists and presents a number of art shows and educational programs throughout the year.
Marco Island Historical Museum
This small but fascinating museum provides a look at island history with a special emphasis on the culture of the Calusa Indians, who were the original settlers of Marco Island. Open year round.
This small enclave of just 200 residents is located on Marco Island and was founded in the late 1800s. Relatively isolated until the 1930s, this fishing village still retains its small-town charm and laid back atmosphere. Its most famous fixture is Stan’s Idle Hour, Marco Island’s oldest family-owned restaurant. A visit to Stan’s on a Sunday is a must for any Marco Island visitor.
Things to Do in the Marco Island Vicinity
Venture off Marco Island to the towns surrounding it and you’ll find another world of adventure and attractions. Cities like nearby Naples to the north and Everglades City to the southeast offer a plethora of things to do and see and visitors will want to spend at least a day in each locale, probably more. Both destinations are just a stone’s throw away from Marco, so visiting is easy.
In and Around Naples, Florida
Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary
A must for nature lovers, this Audubon Society-run attraction spans 11,000 acres and lets guests wind their way via a boardwalk through a variety of terrain, including pine upland, wet prairie, cypress forest, and marsh. Wildlife sightings depend on the season of the year. A small entrance fee is charged
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
This nationally-accredited zoo is sort of a combination zoo and botanic garden. Visitors will meet a large array of animals whose habitats are set amidst a lush tropical garden. Special presentations occur each day.
History buffs will love this free attraction outlining the history of the county and of Florida in general. The museum has locations both in Naples and Everglades City
Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida
This small but poignant museum stresses tolerance and respect, taught through the lessons learned from the Holocaust.
This excellent natural area offers guests a boat ride through a mangrove estuary where visitors can view a huge variety of birds and even the occasional dolphin. Guided canoe and kayak trips are also available.
With an emphasis on contemporary art, this 3-story visual arts center has 15 galleries and a glass-domed observatory. Look for the “Persian Ceiling” by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly.
Philharmonic Center for the Arts
Sharing a roof with the Naples Art Museum, this performing arts venue is home to the Naples Philharmonic and also hosts other concerts and special events
Naples has more than four dozen golf courses, some private and others public. Local golf pro shops can help you find the ones that best suit your skill level.
Thanks to its location on the Gulf of Mexico, watersports are abundant in Naples, including sailing, kayaking, canoeing, water skiing, jet skiing, parasailing, fishing, and more. Head to the marina and visit one of the many outfitters there to schedule a fun day on the water.
Everglades City Area
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this museum tells the story of an Everglades town as well as the building of the Tamiami Trail. Learn about the area’s earliest pioneers at this free and interesting museum.
Take a trip through this unique environment found nowhere else in the world. Tours can be via a variety of different kinds of vessels, including airboats, which are a must-do experience. Spot alligators and plenty of exotic birds and plants along the way. Boat trips are available from the Gulf Coast Visitors Center inside Everglades National Park or can be scheduled through private outfitters
For gaming aficionados, this casino is open 24/7 and features live-action poker and nearly 1,000 slots. There’s also a large restaurant and bar.
airboat photo credits:Abeeeer; shells photo credit: basheertome