Marco Island can be found in the Gulf of Mexico and is the biggest of Florida's "Ten Thousand Islands". With white, sandy beaches and a laid-back atmosphere, relaxation is certainly the name of the game. Enjoy the seemingly endless sunshine while you swim with dolphins, work on your tan, try some water sports or stroll the streets perusing shop windows.
The island itself is small, just 6 miles by 4 miles, but there's tons to do here. Marco Island boasts an excellent restaurant scene where you can sample fresh seafood and other local favorites in between exploring the natural scenery and checking out cultural attractions.
Things to Do on Marco Island
Dolphin Explorer: Dolphin and marine life lovers will certainly want to take a trip on the Dolphin Explorer, a 30-foot catamaran that can carry up to 28 passengers. This boat allows scientists and visitors to the island to get up close and personal with the Gulf's aquatic life. The Dolphin Explorer is used as part of a study called the Ten Thousand Island Dolphin Project looking at the movement, association patterns and behavior of Southwest Florida's bottlenose dolphins. Be part of the action with a trip out on the catamaran and be sure to bring your camera!
Marco Island Historical Museum: If you're hoping to find out about the history of Marco Island, look no further than the Marco Island Historical Museum where you can travel back more than one million years through various exhibits. Learn about the Calusa Indian tribe, the pioneer settlement and development on the island over the years. Peruse the photography, artifacts and more as you stroll through the space and gain a better understanding of what made Marco Island what it is today.
Marco Island Center for the Arts: Experience the culture of the area at the Marco Island Center for the Arts, which provides not only galleries and exhibits, but also offers lectures, classes, workshops and special events. The galleries change monthly and feature works from Floridian artists in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture and more. Currently the theme is Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and past galleries include Salon de Garage, Gold Madness, Fun and Funk Teapots and Picture the Music.
South Marco and Tigertail Beaches: Spending time on the local beaches is a must here, and South Marco Beach is an excellent option as it's one of two public beaches on the island. Here you'll find an acre of sandy shores dotted with lovely sabal palm trees, creating a true island feel. It's a great place if you're looking to collect seashells or want to take a swim. Tigertail is the more popular of the two beaches, as it features extra amenities including restrooms and a full-service snack bar. Tigertail is located on a lagoon so the water here is pretty shallow, making it excellent for families with smaller kids. Find the perfect spot of sand to stretch out your beach towel or take advantage of the beach chair and umbrella rentals. Whether you're swimming, sunbathing, catching up on reading or throwing a Frisbee, you'll have a great time. When you need a break from the sun, check out the adjacent butterfly gardens and children's playgrounds.There are even grills and picnic tables for a tasty lunch break.
Dining on Marco Island
Snook Inn: For more than 30 years, Snook Inn has been serving up delicious food while patrons enjoy true waterfront dining. You can drive in by boat or car as this casual eatery offers parking for both. Snook Inn is open seven days a week and on any given day you can enjoy live entertainment while sampling the mahi mahi, fried oysters, deep sea scallops, old-fashioned Reuben, barbecue pork sandwich and specialty drinks.
Sale e Pepe: For a more upscale dining experience, make a reservation at Sale e Pepe for some exquisite gourmet Italian fare. You'll feel like you've traveled to Italy once you step into the dining room outfitted with marble floors, hand-painted frescoes and aged stones. Chef Giuliano Matarese and his team cook everything from scratch every day. Try the pasta options, sea bass, rack of lamb or filet mignon, and be sure to pair it with a delicious wine. While it'll be easy to stuff yourself on the unbeatable main course, be sure to save room for dessert like chocolate mousse, tiramisu cheesecake or homemade gelato.