19 Fun Things to Do in Marco Island for Beach Lovers | 2024 (with Photos)

Ata Ahmadi

Ata Ahmadi - Travel Writer

Published: July 31, 2023

Hey there! I'm Ata, a travel enthusiast who has explored every nook and cranny of Marco Island. With my expertise in beach destinations, I've curated a list of 19 exciting activities for you to enjoy on this stunning island paradise. So pack your sunscreen and get ready for an unforgettable beach adventure!

Top Fun Things to Do in Marco Island for Beach Lovers

Marco Island is a dream destination for beach lovers. It is the largest barrier island within the Ten Thousand Islands located on the southern tip of Florida's Paradise Coast.

Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or trying fresh seafood, Marco Island has something for everyone.

Here are 19 top Marco Island attractions and fun things to try that will make your beach getaway truly memorable.

Most Recommended Thing to Do

Visit the Kennedy Space Center.

Top Choice Hotel

Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes

Our Top Choice Restaurant

Victoria & Albert's

Our Top Choice Bar for Nightlife

E11EVEN Miami

Best Time to Visit

Avoid hurricanes, visit during warm winter months.

Average Temperature

Hot and humid climate with year-round warm temperatures.

Transportation Options

Cars, buses, trains, planes, bikes, taxis, rideshares, ferries.

Average Cost ($, $$, $$$)


My Top Recommendation

For those seeking a blend of nature and urban delights, Miami is the perfect destination in Florida. Spend your mornings soaking up the sun on the iconic South Beach, with its powdery sands and vibrant atmosphere, and indulge in a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear turquoise waters.

Take a stroll along the lively streets of Miami's Art Deco Historic District, where you'll be greeted by a kaleidoscope of pastel-colored buildings adorned with intricate architectural details, transporting you back to the glamorous era of the 1920s. As the sun sets, head over to the bustling neighborhoods of Wynwood or Little Havana, filled with vibrant street art, lively music, and tantalizing food options, offering a true taste of Miami's diverse cultural scene. Whether you're a beach lover, art enthusiast, or foodie, there's something for everyone in this dynamic city.

What You'll Need to Bring

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Swimwear
  • Lightweight clothing
  • Beach towel
  • Travel adapter
  • Camera
  • Snacks and water bottle

What Not to Miss

  1. Walt Disney World
  2. South Beach
  3. Key West
  4. Everglades National Park
  5. Universal Orlando Resort
  6. Kennedy Space Center
  7. Miami Art Deco Historic District
  8. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
  9. Naples Pier
  10. Clearwater Beach

What to Avoid

  1. Crowded tourist spots
  2. Long lines at popular attractions
  3. Scams targeting tourists
  4. Overpriced souvenirs and merchandise
  5. Unsafe neighborhoods or areas with high crime rates
  6. Ignoring local customs and etiquette
  7. Driving without understanding local traffic rules
  8. Overpacking or carrying unnecessary items
  9. Visiting during hurricane season without adequate preparation
  10. Eating at tourist trap restaurants

1. South Marco Beach

South Marco Beach

If there is one thing that Marco Island is known for, it's the stunning beaches that call this corner of Southwest Florida home.

South Marco Beach, known for its breathtaking beauty, has emerged as one of the most enjoyable destinations for tourists.

With its unspoiled shoreline, it stands as one of the few public beaches in the area, making it an ideal choice for families.

Despite its central location, South Marco Beach maintains a serene ambiance, often avoiding crowds, allowing visitors to savor unobstructed views of the city skyline and the glistening waters.

2. Enjoy the Marco Island Beach Bars

Kane's Tiki Bar & Gril

In Marco Island, you'll find a variety of options for enjoying a laid-back drink, whether it's in a lively tiki bar or a cozy local establishment.

For a tiki beach bar experience where you can relax with your feet in the water, visit Capri Fish House on the Isle of Capri, just a 10-minute drive from Marco Island.

At Kane's Tiki Bar & Grill in the JW Marriott, you can cozy up at the Tiki bar or enjoy the shade under an umbrella on the sandy beach.

3. Marco Island Seafood And Music Festival

Marco Island Seafood And Music Festival

The Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival, renowned as one of the top culinary events in the region, takes place the third week of March.

Organized by the esteemed Marco Island Rotary Club for over a decade, the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival has become a highlight of the annual calendar.

With a focus on fresh, locally sourced seafood, it's the delectable Florida stone crabs that draw visitors back to the festival year after year.

4. Explore the Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park

Discover the wonders of Everglades National Park, just 30 minutes away from Marco Island.

Spanning an astonishing 1.5 million acres, the Florida Everglades is a paradise for nature lovers, with wetlands teeming with diverse flora and fauna.

You can enjoy airboat rides, paddling adventures, and great hikes, visit Everglades City, or delve into the Native American history of one of the most extraordinary landscapes on our planet.

5. Go on a Boat Tour

Go on a Boat Tour

Experience the tranquility of Marco Island's serene inlets by renting a pontoon boat. Joining one of the boat tours is a great way to take in the stunning surroundings of Southwest Florida.

When it comes to renting boats, you'll find several reputable marinas available.

Rose Marina and Walker's Hideaway Marina, both located on Marco Island, are excellent options to consider.

Additionally, Calusa Island Marina in Goodland and Isle of Capri Marina on the Isle of Capri come highly recommended for an unforgettable day on the water.

6. Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Located along the coast of Southwest Florida, the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is a captivating destination for nature lovers.

Encompassing 35,000 acres, this refuge boasts stunning mangrove habitats intertwined with intricate channels, marshes, beaches, and bays.

Keep your eyes peeled for sightings of manatees, sea turtles, Atlantic loggerhead turtles, river otters, bottlenose dolphins, green sea turtles, and other fascinating creatures.

7. Kayaking in Marco Island and Beyond

Kayaking in Marco Island and Beyond

One of the most incredible ways to explore the area is by kayaking through the scenic waterways of the Ten Thousand Islands and the Florida Everglades.

Discover deserted barrier islands, spot bottlenose dolphins, and bask in the beauty of the stunning beaches in southwest Florida.

There are multiple Everglades kayak tour operators to choose from, ensuring you'll find the perfect adventure to suit your preferences.

8. Spend the Day at Keewaydin Island

Keewaydin Island

Keewaydin Island is one of the few remaining pristine barrier islands nestled between Naples and Marco Island. Throughout much of the year, this island remains blissfully secluded and can only be accessed by boat.

Embarking on this journey is well worth it to experience the tranquility and breathtaking scenery of this exceptionally beautiful destination.

9. Tigertail Beach Park

Tigertail Beach Park

Tigertail Beach Park is the most popular among the Marco Island beaches. Tigertail Beach boasts lovely white sand, a captivating lagoon, a tranquil backwater inlet, and a scenic natural area with picnic tables and BBQ grills.

At the heart of Tigertail Beach lies Sand Dollar Island, known for its exquisite beauty and a sanctuary for an array of shore and wading birds.

Whether you want to go swimming, paddle boarding, dolphin watching, or simply enjoy sunbathing, Tigertail is the place to be.

10. Rookery Bay and Briggs Boardwalk Nature Center

Briggs Boardwalk Nature Center

Managed by Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, the Briggs Boardwalk Nature Center features seven diverse habitats of the local ecosystem.

Located on Shell Island Road in Naples, this reserve is the only undisturbed and intact mangrove habitat in the United States. If you're looking for additional activities in Naples, add this one on the list.

Adjacent to the Briggs Nature Center, you'll find the entrance to the expansive 110,000-acre Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, one of the nation's twenty-nine protected reserves.

11. Private Beaches on Marco Island

Hideaway Beach

Marco Island only boasts two public beaches: Tigertail Beach and South Beach. However, there are also a number of private beaches that you could be lucky enough to visit.

Hideaway Beach on Marco Island is only accessible to members, but you could be invited by a member to visit the remarkable beach.

Keewaydin Island is a party island off Marco Island and you can book a tour to this lively spot for a night to remember.

Residents' Beach is also members-only, but if you own a property in Marco Island, you can become a member.

12. Otter Mound Preserve

Otter Mound Preserve

Nestled within Indian Hills on Marco Island, the Otter Mound Preserve spans 2.45 acres.

The Otter Mound Preserve offers you the opportunity to explore a unique and precious maritime hammock plant community adorned with fascinating gumbo limbo trees.

Not only is the preserve a haven for diverse flora and fauna, including beautiful butterflies and native bird species, but it also holds significant archaeological value dating back to the ancient Calusa civilization.

13. Visit Cape Romano

Cape Romano

Nestled within the Ten Thousand Islands, Cape Romano is a collection of dome-like concrete structures, submerged underwater as a result of Hurricane Ian.

Located approximately 300 feet off the shore of Marco Island's southernmost tip, Cape Romano was designed to be a cutting-edge vacation home and can only be reached by water.

Originally constructed in 1981 by a wealthy Florida oil producer, Cape Romano was meticulously designed to be self-sufficient and environmentally friendly, showcasing its innovative spirit. This is a gem of Ten Thousand Islands.

14. Cruise on the Marco Island Princess

Marco Island Princess

Experience the enchantment of Marco Island aboard the stunning 90-foot Marco Island Princess yacht.

Embark on a sunset cruise while savoring cocktails and great food on the Marco Island Princess. The delightful Captain's Sunset dinner cruise and Admiral's Sunset Dinner Cruise are popular choices.

With delectable cuisine and breathtaking views, a sunset cruise is one of the top attractions for families and larger groups seeking memorable activities on Marco Island.

15. Play a Round at Marco Golf And Garden

Marco Golf And Garden

Enhance your golfing skills by immersing yourself in a refined ambiance at Marco Golf & Gardens. Enjoy captivating natural scenery as you navigate the course.

If you are looking for ways to relax while staying active on Marco Island, Fl, this is the place to be. The staff will take good care of you and you can enjoy the serenity of the setting.

16. Marco Island Historical Museum

Marco Island Historical Museum

For those interested in delving into the early history of Marco Island, head to the Marco Island Historical Museum on Heathwood Drive.

Operated by the Marco Island Historical Society, the Marco Island Historical Museum offers engaging exhibitions that provide insights into the Calusa Indians and the development of Marco Island.

Among the interesting Marco Island Historical Museum artifacts is the Key Marco Cat, a discovery that dates back over a century. The Key Marco Cat is an ancient sculpture.

17. Marco Island Brewery

Marco Island Brewery

Indulge in the offerings of Marco Island Brewery, where you'll discover a delightful selection of house brews such as the Tigertail Red Ale, Pelican Pilsner, and the Rock IPA.

With 40 beers to choose from, you can expand your palate and find new favorites. Don't forget to pair your brews with some tasty snacks.

18. Marco Island Center for the Arts

Marco Island Center for the Arts

The striking and popular Marco Island Center for the Arts is a remarkable hub for artistic expression, offering artist receptions, monthly exhibits, and a variety of classes for individuals of all ages.

Explore the galleries, peruse the gift shop, and immerse yourself in the year-round music programs and events at the Marco Island Center for the Arts. The best part is that admission is free to the Marco Island Center for the Arts, making it accessible to all.

19. Waterfront Restaurants

Sunset Grille

When you are staying on Marco Island, what better place to dine than the waterfront? Indulge in mouthwatering cuisine at the charming waterfront restaurants that grace the piers of Marco Island.

True to its name, the Sunset Grille provides a remarkable dining experience accompanied by breathtaking views.

The Snook Inn has a history of over 30 years. It offers fresh seafood and regular live music performances.

The restaurant at the Beach Ocean Resort is outstanding for a more upscale evening.

FAQs Regarding Things to Do in Marco Island

Let's also look at some of the most frequently asked questions about things to do in Marco Island, Florida, for beach lovers.

Is Marco Island worth a visit?

Absolutely, Marco Island, Florida, is definitely worth a visit.

With its beautiful beaches, crystal-clear waters, and abundant wildlife, the largest of the Ten Thousand Islands offers a perfect tropical getaway. The Marco Town Center Mall is a popular Marco Island shopping destination and it provides opportunities for visitors to take home souvenirs.

How do you get to Marco Island?

The closest airport to Marco Island, Florida, is the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers, FL. It is located approximately 47 miles north of Marco Island, and the drive usually takes around 55 minutes.

How do you spend a day on Marco Island, Florida?

There are numerous ways to spend a day on Marco Island. You can indulge in water activities, explore the beautiful nature preserves, visit Marco Island Farmers Market, or go dolphin-watching.

You can also shop at the Marco Town Center Mall or the Esplanade near Smokehouse Bay, and treat yourself to fresh Florida seafood at one of the Marco Island restaurants.

Which is better Marco Island or Sanibel?

Both Marco Island and Sanibel have their own unique charms.

Marco Island is known for its luxurious resorts, pristine beaches, and vibrant dining scene. Meanwhile, Sanibel is famous for its natural beauty and is an excellent choice for those seeking a tranquil and laid-back island experience.

What are the best attractions in and around Marco Island?

Marco Island and the surrounding area boast numerous awesome attractions. Marco Island features many beautiful beaches and is surrounded by other gorgeous islands. Keewaydin Island is a great spot to visit from Marco Island, as well as Cape Romano, the southern tip of Marco Island, and Sand Dollar Island.

Summing Up: Fun Things to Do in Marco Island for Beach Lovers

When it comes to fun things to do, Marco Island, Florida, has something for everyone.

Florida's Gulf Coast offers an abundance of exciting experiences and visiting Marco Island is sure to make your visit truly unforgettable.

From breathtaking sunset cruises and boat tours to water sports and nature preserves, the great Marco Island attractions have something for everyone to enjoy.

So plan your trip to Florida's Paradise Coast today, visit Marco Island, and create memories that will last a lifetime.