collier-seminole state park is about 5 miles south of marco island on US 41. this interesting state park has hammock, mangrove island, and salt water marsh ecosystems. the state park offers camping, fishing, nature trails, and canoe rentals. a very worth while place to visit when in the marco island area. pictured is an example of the park mangrove ecosystem.
pictured is the 1924 "walking" dredge on display at collier-seminole state park. this historic piece of equipment was used to build the tamiami trail (US 41) in the 1920's. the tamiami trail is a highway that runs between tampa and miami. construction of this highway had great impact on the development of southwest florida.
Fresh shells wash onto the Gulf Shore each morning, and we are looking for great specimens to take back home with us to create seascapes for display.
Next, we considered taking Wave Runners out along the Gulf and inland waterways of the Everglades.
many visitors to marco island come for it's beautiful gulf beach. public access is limited unless you are staying at a beach front hotel. several of marco island's beach accesses are restricted to marco island residents. tiger tail beach on the northwest part of the island is open to the public. daily parking is $ 8. if you plan to spend a day at tiger tail beach arrive early because parking is limited.
No trip to Marco Island would be complete without a trip into the gulf for some wreck fishing or (during the season) tarpon fishing inshore. There's plenty of sport to be had in the backwaters too. Charter boats are plentiful and lots of skippers will do part charters. There are even one or two guys offering fly fishing trips into the everglades.(take the mossy spray)
The hotel resorts along the beac are there to cater to tourists, and they all have their happy hours. It didnt take us residents long to figure out you could move along the strip from one hotel to another and make happy hour last about 3 hours.
There is an incredible adundance of wildlife in and around Marco Island. Seabirds, alligators, manetee and bottle nose dolphins, to mention a few. Well worth keeping your eyes open and camera at the ready.
Just a short trip up SR953 brings you to the Evergaldes National Park.
Get yourself over to the island of Goodland for lunchtime fun and games at Stans Idle Hour
Chickee Bar. Live music and plenty of beer. Stan might even drag you up on the stage to take part in his Buzzard Lope(you'd have to be there). Packed to the gunnels - people come from all over South West Florida to Stans.
There's even a fashion parade
Because of the lack of nightlife on Marco Island, we decided to do the 5 hour drive across the Everglades and down Highway 1 all the way to Key West. It was an excellent trip to break up the monotony that can occur spending an entire week just lounging on a beach. The drive was absolutely awesome as we got to see a lot of the Everglades and all of the Keys on the way to Key West.
Naples is only about a 40 minute drive from Marco Island so its a good place to go spend the day if you want to get some shopping in or if you need a few more restaurants to choose from. See my Naples page for more info on what to do while there.
Blue Runner Charters is the place to go. Captain Phil is a very good guy and he took very good care of a buddy and myself while we were down there in 2006. I'm going back down in May of this year and I'm hoping to catch him for a full day of shark fishing.
One great thing to do on Marco Island is rent a boat. You get a feeling of freedom and control which is very exilirating, especially if'f you've never piloted a boat before.
One of the negatives is that there are lots of restrictions about where you can go, but it's great to go up to naples on the waterway, or beach the boat on Kewaden Island. As long as you pay attention to the signs and don't fall asleap at the wheel, the boats are very easy to operate and the waters are simple to navigate.
Marco Island River Marina is a great place to rent a boat, and all you have to do to get a discount is be nice and before you rent, just ask. I had a brochure with a coupon for a 10% discount and when I asked him, he said that he would give me a better discount. Basically, all the people who work there are very nice and courteous, plus they give you a great map.
One thing you can do when you rent a boat is dock at a restaurant for lunch. This dosen't require much more than a little knowledge of docking a boat ( which you can ask about at the marina) and is really fun. There is nothing better than having lunch looking out over the water and seeng your boat docked right there!
Each morning we would go out on the beach at sunrise to look for the shells washed up by waves during the night. We found dozens of conches and hundreds of shells to take home to make decorations for our patio and bathrooms.
On the beach, just outside the premises of our resort, was an activity hut where we were able to do different things. Some of the activities included waverunning, parasailing, and shelling on an uninhabited island. A few of us chose the shelling excursion, and for $50, we hopped aboard a catamaran, were taken to an island where tons of shells were washed ashore, and were able to spend about an hour walking along and collecting them.
Oh what a past time. I personally do not understand it but experts tell me the shell selection in Marco Island Beach is excellent. We picked a few very early in the morning right after a thurder storm. There were lots of washed up items items including a very good Body Gove dive mask which I salvaged for my own use. There were also lots of dead sea urchings and other crabs. Do not handle the sea urchings with bare hands even dead they sting.