Marco Island is the largest of Florida's Ten Thousand Islands, located on the Gulf of Mexico in Southwest Florida.
It has been described as Magical, Mystical and Alluring. The attraction is tropical sun-washed white beaches and a casual easy paced life style.
Sunshine, frolicking dolphins, and all of the water and sun sports that go with the beaches are available
Marco Island has beautiful white sand beaches ...Tides which come and go -- leaving behind treasures for the sheller who will pick up the shells left by the receding waters.
You can watch the numerous sea birds who depend on shells for their survival because the shell animal is their food.
Shelling can be a wonderful experience if you plan for it and are prepared. There are several things you should do before you start:
1. Check the tides. While low tide is best because more shells will be exposed as the water recedes, you should allow time for gathering your treasures.
If you plan to walk across an inlet to a sand bar, start earlier so you won't find yourself on the sand bar at high tide. Incoming tide currents can be strong and pose a problem for your safe return to shore.
2. Have comfortable shoes and suntan lotion with you, protect the tops of your feet -- something we tend to overlook
3. Mesh bags are good for shelling as the sand and water can run through. However, small shells can get lost and fragile shells may be crushed by the larger, heavier ones, so bring a smaller plastic bag for these shells5c*
4. Starfish tend to lose their legs on the way home. Unless you have a flat surface to put them in, it is best to leave them.
Should you successfully take one home, use alcohol to cure it and then let it dry in the sun.
On resident beach a Resident Permit Required for Entry
There are Showers and Restrooms , vending machines but no small shop selling food..
Also Picnic Area with Chickee Huts and Tables and several on the beach too..
There is a Children's Play Area
The beach is open from 8am until sunset everyday..
Entrance Located at the Intersection of Collier Blvd. and San Marco Road
Residents Beach - South
On this side of the beach there is a Public parking lot..
There are no facilities here as food or restroom..
Also open from 8am to sunset
Walkway Access from Collier Boulevard North of Cape Marco
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.
This beach is great its has showers and restroom, food stands, rental for chairs and umbrellas..
there is also a CHILD PLAY AREA...
There is also a small place to buy some food and drinks, NOT many becahes in the MARCO area....
Its open everyday from 8am until sunset..
There is a 3 $ parking..
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!
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.
Marco Island became the 400th City in the state of Florida when we incorporated on August 29, 1997.
Now, the City of Marco Island is home to over 15,000 year-round residents, and 35,000 seasonal residents.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.