20 Best Things to Do in Marco Island, FL

Marco Island, FL
Jacob Boomsma / shutterstock.com

Belonging to a group commonly known as the Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island is the largest.

If you want to get an authentic taste of Floridan beach life, this town is the best place to check out.

The lifestyle here is luxurious, and there are plenty of water activities to enjoy.

If you want to experience true beach life, make Marco Island your next travel destination.

Here are the best things to do in Marco Island, Florida:

Spend a Day at South Marco Island Beach

Waves crashing on South Marco Island Beach shore
Summer Gladwell / Shutterstock.com

South Marco Island Beach is probably the best beach in Florida.

Florida has only a few public beaches; two are located on Marco Island.

The clean waters of South Marco Island Beach
Fine Art Photos / Shutterstock.com

South Marco Island Beach is where you go if you want to experience the sea.

Go swimming or just sit on the beach and enjoy the waves, watching the dolphins as they leap into the water.

Tiki huts in South Marco Island Beach
Fine Art Photos / Shutterstock.com

Take a Cruise on the Marco Island Princess

Did you know that the best way to explore the different coastlines of Florida is to take a cruise on the Marco Island Princess?

The luxurious cruise ship itself is one of the top attractions on Marco Island.

Ask around, and you'll find that all the locals know it by name.

The Marco Island Princess takes its cruises over the blue seas, starting from the Rose Marina.

If you can manage to get a ticket, don't miss the experience at any cost, for it will not come twice in your life.

Enjoy the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival

The Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival is one of the most enjoyable festivals here on Marco Island.

It takes place annually and is usually held in March.

If you are in town at that particular time, don't miss out on the opportunity to take part in the festivities.

Do you love seafood?

If so, this festival might seem like heaven to you.

A lot of stalls and food trucks containing endless amounts of different types of seafood are put up here.

The crowds are lively and chaotic, making the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival even more exciting.

Check Out the Marco Island Historical Museum

Are you interested in the history of Marco Island?

Make your way to the fascinating Marco Island Historical Museum.

This museum has everything there is to know about the exotic Marco Islands.

It plays a massive role in the development of the town, in addition to preserving its golden history.

It has a lot of exhibits, but one that mainly draws a lot of attention is the replica of a Calusa village.

This gives you an idea of how Marco Island used to be.

Explore Cape Romano

Dome Homes in Cape Romano
EdwinWilke / Shutterstock.com

Cape Romano is an interesting island—it's known for its unique buildings that will make you think you are in space.

An oil producer built those bizarre buildings after he retired.

Now, they attract a lot of tourists' attention.

Visible stars over Cape Romano
SunflowerMomma / Shutterstock.com

Hurricane Wilma hit this spot, so a lot of structures in the area were destroyed.

Cape Romano used to have a lot more to offer, but after taking hits by so many hurricanes, it lost a lot of its land to the sea.

You can only travel to Cape Romano by boat now.

Pay a Visit to the Marco Island Center for the Arts

Artists are known for making their way to places like Marco Island.

After all, where can you find such gorgeous water bodies and greenery?

That said, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the local artists create such jaw-dropping works of art.

The Marco Island Center for the Arts boasts a range of artwork that deserves your appreciation.

The art pieces, which resemble Florida's different features, are known for being colorful.

For this very reason, Marco Island Center for the Arts is an extremely colorful place.

Go Paddling at the Isles of Capri Paddlecraft Park

The Isles of Capri Paddlecraft Park is one of the most quirky places on Marco Island.

If you water activities, Capri Paddle Craft Park may be an excellent location to add to your itinerary.

The park allows kayaking and paddle-boating through the blue waters.

You can even spot dolphins and other small mammals and fishes here.

Get on a boat, paddle around, and explore the gorgeous area.

Visit Otter Mound Preserve

While the name Otter Mound Preserve suggests otters, you will not actually find out any otters here.

Instead, you'll find lush green forests.

At Otter Mound Preserve, you'll see greenery at every turn.

There are lots of hiking trails that go through these forests, and you can trek along them while enjoying some of the best views.

If you are lucky, you might even see some cute little animals on your way.

Lift Your Spirits at Marco Island Brewery

After a long day of sightseeing, why not kick back and relax with a beer?

Marco Island Brewery serves excellent, locally brewed beers.

Apart from that, the brewery also has some excellent dishes that go along perfectly well with their craft beers.

After a long day, treating yourself to their pizza and beer is a great way to unwind.

Go on a Trip to Keewaydin Island

A person swimming on the Keewaydin Island
natmanc / Shutterstock.com

Want to see some exotic species on a barren island?

Marco Island is a slice of paradise for all adventure lovers.

Make your way to the exquisite Keewaydin Island to explore the wilderness.

Wildlife like bobcats, wild boar, iguanas, and white-tailed deer can be found in plenty on Keewaydin Island.

Aerial view of Keewaydin Island
Fine Art Photos / Shutterstock.com

The island is also a breeding ground for loggerhead turtles.

Did you know that the entire island is pedestrian-friendly?

There are no signs of any kind of automobiles on the entire island.

You can pack a picnic and head over to the island to enjoy a blissful day.

Enjoy Marco Island's Cool Waters

Mother and her young children walking along the shore of Marco Island
Christin Lola / Shutterstock.com

Most people travel across Florida to get a taste of their beautiful beach life.

Whether you're after ocean views or a water adventure, Marco Island is a haven for all types of beach activities.

You can go boating, cruising, or just enjoy sunbathing by the brilliant cool waters on a warm and sunny day.

A green kayak on the shore of marco island
SunflowerMomma / Shutterstock.com

You have the option to ride the waves and go surfing, too.  

On top of that, you can even try out wave running.

Certain wave runners can be rented, along with several other pieces of equipment that will let you sail through the sea waters with the waves splashing against your face.

Silhouette of a person paddle boarding on marco island waters during sunset
Donna Ochoa / Shutterstock.com

Go Ghost-Hunting around Marco Island's Spookiest Spots

There are a lot of spooky spots all over Marco Island.

That said, the authorities have taken it upon themselves to create a trip that indulges in all of the island's paranormal spots.

Are you interested in going ghost-hunting?

Join the highly recommended Frightsee-ing Tour organized by Marco Murder and Mayhem.

They provide one of the best trips covering all the horror spots of the town.

The trip starts in a haunted hotel called the Olde Marco Inn and lasts for almost three hours.

Visit the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Alligator at Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge
Paul Harrison / Shutterstock.com

Home to a lot of endangered wildlife and plants, the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is one of the top spots to check out when you are on Marco Island.

Lying on the Floridan southwestern coast, the refuge is filled with mangrove forests and endangered species like sea turtles and migratory birds.

Marsh trail sign in Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge
SR Productions / Shutterstock.com

If you want to hike a bit and see nature at the same time, choose Tamiami Trail.

This trail will get you a glimpse of the local wildlife.

Flock of white pelicans in Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge
Danita Delimont / Shutterstock.com

Have a Good Time at Tigertail Beach

Daytime in Tigertail Beach in Marco Island
Paul Harrison / Shutterstock.com

Floridan beaches can get a bit crowded.

If you are not in the mood to visit a lively beach, opt to spend an afternoon on Tigertail Beach.

The best part about this beach is its serene ambiance filled with the wild calls of nature.

The landscape is undisturbed here, and you might get to see a lot of seabirds swooping down to catch small fish.

Boardwalk leading to Tigertail Beach's bird observation tower
SunflowerMomma / Shutterstock.com

Want to go kayaking?

Tigertail Beach is the place to go.

You also have the option to go swimming, since the ocean is calm here.

There is a tidal lagoon that you can check out, too.

Beach umbrella cabanas on the sands of Tigertail Beach
SunflowerMomma / Shutterstock.com

Meet and Greet Dolphins with the Dolphin Explorer

Silhouette of a dolphin on marco island waters during a sunset
Donna Ochoa / Shutterstock.com

In addition to conducting dolphin surveys, the Dolphin Explorer offers eco-tours with dolphins.

The boat's name is the Dolphin Explorer, a 30-foot catamaran with a covered and a sunlit part.

It can accommodate up to 28 people.

In addition to complimentary refreshments and shelled bags, the eco-tour operator also offers other perks.

A Master Naturalist, a professional wildlife photographer, and a USCG Master Captain among the crew members.

They provide two trips: one in the morning and another in the afternoon.

Taking part in the Dolphin Survey during the trips lets tourists witness various dolphins.

The survey involves a long-term look at the region's bottlenose dolphin population, mobility, and behavior.

Go Fly-Fishing with Mangrove Maniacs

Fly-fishing on Marco Island is a world-renowned activity.

Fish like seatrout, tripletail, snapper, and black drum may be caught yearly.

The mangrove shorelines and shallow flats are home to many species, but the tarpon, redfish, and snook are the true show-stoppers.

Have fun, whether using topwater plugs in glassy water, cast netting and dumping live bait beneath mangrove overhangs, or hunting shy, laid-up fish on a fly.

Learn More about the Area's Ecology at Marco Island Boat Tours

Marco Island Boat Tours specializes in instructional tours of the region's protected places.

The tour guides are environmentalist-educators and Florida Master Naturalists.

The firm provides a variety of tour choices, the most popular of which is the Family Beach Half Day Tour, which takes passengers on a four-hour journey to see the Ten Thousand Islands' varied features.

The trip includes a boat tour led by a naturalist that educates tourists about the area's native animals.

The tour also features beach time for shelling, swimming, and family-friendly fishing.

Experience an Adrenaline Rush with Marco Island Water Sports

Water sports equipment is available for hire from Marco Island Water Sports, with four easy-access locations.

Visitors may hire wave runners in exploring the rivers on their own or join in one of the company's exciting adventure programs.

Wave runner trips, marine life cruises, parasailing, and more are among the activities available.

You may find itineraries at the beach or at numerous nearby hotels.

Ensure to make reservations to guarantee a space on the most popular excursions.

Explore Underwater with Scuba Marco

Scuba Marco provides a wide variety of diving tours and courses for certification.

You may avail scuba certifications from PADI and SSI at this establishment.

In addition, they provide "Dive-N-A-Day" experiences for non-divers.

These introductory courses vary from a 90-minute pool session with diving gear to actual diving.

Everything you need for scuba diving, including masks, fins, and other accessories, may be rented or purchased at the store.

They also have a scuba-certified technician on site who can do equipment repairs.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Go Hiking at the Briggs Nature Center

Are you looking for an easy hiking trail along with some breathtaking views?

This place isn't exactly in the town of Marco Island, but it's located just 15 minutes away in Naples.

At the Briggs Nature Center, you can have everything you want.

With a trail that is only 3 miles and extremely easy to trek, Briggs Nature Center also has views of Rookery Bay.

There is an estuary here.

Want to go fishing?

This place boasts some of the best fish in the area.

You can also find rare bald eagles flying around here.

Final Thoughts

Marco Island has a wide variety of year-round activities because of its unique position between Naples and the Everglades.

If you want to relax on the beach, shop like a local, learn about nature, take a boat ride, or savor some of the best seafood in the world, start packing today!