Marco Island, the largest of the Ten Thousand Islands, is located at the southern tip of Southwest Florida’s Gulf Coast in Collier County. A beachfront paradise located just north of the Gulf Coast entrance to Everglades National Park, the island is surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico on one side and pristine wilderness on the other.
Part of Southwest Florida’s Paradise Coast, Marco Island is home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and offers world-class golf courses nearby, shopping and dining on Marco Island and in nearby Naples, the world famous Everglades National Park immediately adjacent, and immediate access to both the Gulf of Mexico and the mangrove-lined estuaries of the Ten Thousand Islands for shelling, fishing, boating, bird and wildlife watching, kayaking and canoeing.
Marco Island’s beach and surrounding sand bars offer some of the best shelling in the world. A casual stroll along Marco Island beaches will reward the shell seeker with a wide variety of shells including whelks, olive shells, scallops and hundreds of other gems of the sea.
The Ten Thousand Islands stretch endlessly from Marco Island’s southern edge, winding past Everglades City and Chokoloskee all the way down to Flamingo at the southern tip of Florida’s mainland. A large percentage of the Ten Thousand Islands is located within the boundaries of either the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge or Everglades National Park, providing a haven for numerous rare and endangered animal and bird species.
Bird watchers and adventurers can easily access this water wonderland from Marco Island in a variety of ways. Canoes and kayaks are readily available for rent, with both short and extended tour routes available. Beachfront water sports operators provide guided Waverunner tours through nearby mangrove islands with information on the mangrove estuary and its inhabitants, including bottle nosed dolphin, manatee, sea otter, alligator, crocodile, wood stork, brown and white pelicans, roseate spoonbill, herons, egrets and more.
Marco Island is flanked by nearly 100 miles of islands, bays and estuaries that will never be developed. Access to this nearby wilderness is possible through the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Collier-Seminole State Park, Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve, Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. These conditions provide a paradise for nature photographers, anglers and outdoor adventurers.
Backcountry fishing reels in plenty of snook, tarpon, redfish, trout, pompano and many more species. Experienced guides are readily available for fishing excursions from Marco Island, Chokoloskee, Everglades City, Goodland and other nearby areas and include backcountry flats fishing and deep-sea charters into the Gulf of Mexico for grouper and snapper.
Marco Island is an oasis for getaway golfing with several courses located nearby including The Rookery at Marco – Marco Island Marriott’s newly redesigned Audubon-certified course that also features the Faldo Institute golf instruction program. There are many nearby courses in Naples easily accessible to Marco Island.
Marco Island is well known in archeological circles as an important center of early American civilization, based on priceless artifacts recovered there dating back to the Calusa Indians. A dozen key historic markers chart Marco Island history.
The Marco Island Historical Society has two museum locations on the island. One, in the Shops at Olde Marco, features items documenting the Calusa Indian settlements on the island, and the other, located within the Marco Island Area Board of Realtors office, showcases both ancient history and the modern day settlers who made Marco Island what it is today.
Marco Island offers many shopping treasures. Specialty shops and resort boutiques offer everything from bathing suits and island wear to the finest designer fashions. Shopping goes beyond beach wear, with stores that offer artistic items of local flavor and interesting souvenirs. Conveniently located just a few miles off the island is Prime Outlets, with over 40 stores. Naples is just a short drive away with many shopping destinations including the downtown Fifth Avenue South and Third Street South shopping districts, along with Tin City, The Village at Venetian Bay, Coastland Center and Waterside Shops.
Chef Alberto Varreto brings the authentic tastes of Italy with gourmet flair to Sale e Pepe at Marco Beach Ocean Resort with spectacular Gulf of Mexico views. Kurrents at Marco Island Marriott features fusion cuisine and martinis.