Skip to Content

23 Things To Do In Marco Island, Florida That Are Actually Fun!

What’s up folks! It’s Adam.

I realized that lately, I’ve been writing about seafood a lot. Well, I’m not about to stop.

Have you ever heard of the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival? It’s a 3-day festival that takes place in March of every year. It celebrates seafood and some good music. You will be served the freshest seafood on the island.

I attended the festival back in March. This was my second time at the festival and I can bear witness that it gets better and better. I enjoyed the island’s famous “Pink Gold” jumbo shrimp and Stone Crab. They were delicious. If you don’t like seafood, you’ll find other food options too.

I met some readers as well as other travelers. This was my first time meeting people who have read my posts here. It felt good.

I also did some cool activities in Marco Island which I’ve written about below.

Marco Island is considered the largest island in the stunning chain of South Florida Islands called the Ten Thousand Islands.

Marco Island is considered a beachfront paradise, linked to mainland Florida by bridges 15 miles south of Naples and north of the Gulf Coast entrance to Everglades National Park. It’s home to hotels, resorts, marinas, golf courses, long sandy beaches, and a network of inland waterways. 

Marco Island is particularly well-known for its beautiful beaches, a plethora of exotic shells, and laid back vibes. Marco Island draws sun-seekers from all over the world every year.

In addition to natural abundance, Marco Island offers visitors several artistic, festival, and cultural attractions, so staying engaged and entertained during your trip shouldn’t be an issue. Here are 23 things to do in Marco Island.

Table of Contents

23 things to do in Marco Island:

1. Tigertail Beach and Sand Dollar Spit

Kristi Blokhin | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.4  

Location: 480 Hernando Dr., Marco Island.

Without a doubt, Tigertail Beach is the best beach in southwest Florida, and one of the most unique things to do in Marco Island.

Tigertail Beach doesn’t get much tourist traffic like other beaches on the island, so it’s perfect if you look for fantastic scenery and peace and quiet.

  • Why you should go:

The central part of Tigertail Beach is Sand Dollar Island, which is considered one of Marco Island’s most beautiful natural areas with breathtaking sunsets & views and lots of fun activities. These areas are significant for shelling, and for birdwatchers, the island is a haven for herons, egrets, plovers, sandpipers, osprey, and terns, among others. 

An observation tower on this side of the beach gives a panoramic view of the area and is ideal for birdwatchers.

  • Things to do:

Besides admiring the stunning views and birdwatching, you can also enjoy activities like paddle boarding, jet skiing, shelling, and tidal pool exploration. The Tigertail Beach has easily accessible amenities; there are bathrooms and changing rooms and a snack bat that serves delicious sandwiches and cold drinks.

2. Keewaydin Island

Fine Art Photos | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5  

Location: Barrier Island Between Naples & Marco Island.

Keewaydin Island is a primary barrier island just off the coast of Naples; it is another perfect attraction known for its remarkable natural setting and abundant wildlife.

  • Why you should go:

Unlike anything else, Keewaydin Island is home to various wildlife, like a wild boar, white-tailed deer, bobcat, and iguanas, and its seashores are an annual nesting site for loggerhead turtles. From miles of white sandy beaches to various native wildlife species,. You will surely not be disappointed by Keewaydin Island, that’s why it should be on top of your list of things to do in Marco Island .

  • Things to do:

Because the natural beauty of this island has been largely preserved and it’s only accessible by boat, visitors can experience a pristine, natural ecosystem. You should consider visiting with a tour from a local marina.

Keewaydin Island also features a boat concession stand that offers food staples that will make your trip a memorable one.

3. Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve

Blue sky and clouds over Henderson Creek. SunflowerMomma | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.6  

Location: Rookery Bay, 300 Tower Rd, Naples.

Located on the northern end of the Ten Thousand Islands, Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve stretches throughout 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands, and guarded waters. The Reserve is dedicated to preservation through research, education, and land protection.

Exploring Rookery Bay tops the list if you’re looking for things to do in Marco Island for nature lovers.

  • Why you should go:

A unique world exists in the 110,000 acres of pristine mangrove forest, uplands, and guarded waters of Rookery Bay. Where rivers and streams meet the sea, a unique habitat is formed. Many wildlife, along with 150 species of birds and plenty of threatened and endangered animals, thrive withinside the estuarine surroundings and surrounding upland hammocks and scrub found in reserve.

  • Things to do:

Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is undoubtedly considered one of the best twenty-nine protected reserves withinside the United States. The 110,000-acre reserve combines exceptional mangrove forest and guarded waters. There are lots to do and spot here, and the best way is to take a guided nature excursion, a boat excursion, or a kayaking excursion.

4. Briggs Nature Center

BHamms | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.3  

Location: 401 Shell Island Rd.

The Briggs Nature Center is a popular Marco Island attraction for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers who appreciate its remoteness, scenic trails, and the abundance of wildlife that can be seen from its boardwalk.

  • Why you should go:

The Briggs Nature center is part of the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve; it features more than 3 miles of easy trails, including a ½-mile boardwalk that allows guests to explore the area’s various habitats.

  • Things to do:

The boardwalk loop showcases seven habitats in the complex local ecosystem and is a bird watcher’s paradise at the right time of year. Signs along the boardwalk help identify and understand flora and fauna in the different habitats making for a leisurely self-guided tour.

Don’t forget your camera because turtles, foxes, and snakes are familiar sights along the trails.

In addition to the boardwalk, two other short trails offer views of Rookery Bay. Wildlife such as bald eagles, snakes, bobcats, river otters, hawks, and woodpeckers are commonly seen by visitors to the nature center.

5. Everglades National Park

GagliardiPhotography | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.6  

Location: 30 miles south of Marco Island.

The entry fees: $15 for an individual pass (bicyclist, hiker, pedestrian, or paddle craft) and $50 for a vehicle or vessel pass.

Florida is nearly as well-known for its alligators as its beaches and theme parks, and one of the pleasant locations to look at them is in Everglades National Park. As the essential subtropical wilderness within the country, the Park is home to alligators, plus different Florida animals like manatees and panthers. The Everglades additionally offers numerous trails and guided excursions for navigating its vast 1.5 million acres.

  • Why you should go:

The Everglades National Park is one of the essential parts within the United States located in South Florida. It features four unique visitor facilities that offer education about the Everglades and loads of excursions and exceptional experiences.

The Everglades feature a distinctive combination of ecosystems, including swamps, sub-tropical jungles, saw-grass prairies, and the most extensive mangrove complex within the Western Hemisphere. This fragile ecosystem is listed as an International Biosphere Reserveand a World Heritage Site.

  • Things to do:

There isn’t any shortage of activities for individuals, groups, or families to revel in outdoors. The numerous habitats permit enjoyable activities such as hiking, canoeing, kayaking, biking, fresh and saltwater fishing, and camping within the ultimate wilderness.

Be sure to go between November and April (the Park’s dry season) to revel in decreased temperatures, fewer mosquitos, and increased possibilities of recognizing wildlife.

6. Otter Mound Preserve

@Source | Meg McComb

Rating: 4.2  

Location: 1831 Addison Ct, Marco Island.

The entry fees: Free.

Otter Mound Preserve is situated on about three acres of land in Marco Island’s Indian Hills area. Unlike most of the things to do in Marco Island, it’s generally composed of tropical forests, which provide a super change of tempo for those who have temporarily had their fill of sand, sun, and surf.

  • Why you should go:

The Preserve has a rich archaeological history and a plethora of wildlife dating back to the time of the Calusa natives. Otter Mound draws a large number of butterflies and several bird species. It’s’ additionally home to a population of Florida gopher tortoises.

Most of the paths are shaded by the forest canopy, and it’s common to spot numerous animals alongside the way.

  • Things to do:

For walkers, runners, and mountain bikers, the Preserve’s trails are ideal for burning a little energy and doing a bit of exploring.

Benches dot the trail, supplying an area to stop and rest or sit and revel in the natural environment. Informative signs are located alongside the path to offer interpretive information about the natural environment and the site’s history.

7. South Marco Island Beach

Summer Gladwell | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7  

Location: 870 County Rd 951, Marco Island.

Marco Island is a beachgoer paradise blessed with picturesque stretches of glistening white beaches and endless gulf vistas. 

South Marco Island Beach sits on about an acre and is the perfect place to enjoy the pristine turquoise waters that will leave you in astonishment and take in a Florida sunset too. 

  • Why you should go:

The beach is famous for its recreational activities, exotic shells, and nearby lodging and dining options. It’s not uncommon to spot dolphins frolicking in the surf offshore.

  • Things to do:

Relax, enjoy the radiant sun, watch dolphins playing in the sea, or go shelling. The beach has few amenities, including parking for a fee, restrooms, and a paved walkway to the beach.

8. Cape Romano Dome House

Wreck of Famous Dome Houses in the Sea. SB_photos | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.8  

Cape Romano is a cape of bizarre concrete structures built as a vacation home for a wealthy, retired Florida oilman in the 1980s at the southern tip of Marco Island, and they resemble something from a sci-fi movie.

They’re only accessible by boat. Though they’re now abandoned, they’re an exciting bit of local lore that is worth a look if you are looking for a memorable expedition to one of the scenic things to do in Marco Island.

  • Why you should go:

Isolated on the southern end of Florida’s gulf coast, Cape Romano will make you feel like you’re on an exciting journey at the edge of the world.

From the enduring dome homes & pristine seashores to the otherworldly surroundings of flora and fauna, this destination full of natural beauty is a getaway that will satisfy your dreams. The structures additionally attract several fish and consequently attract anglers as well.

  • Things to do:

Admire the surroundings and the historic dome homes that Cape Romano offers. Moreover, also search for migrating birds as this destination is a hotspot for those feathered friends.

9. Isles of Capri Marina

SunflowerMomma | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 292 Capri Blvd, Naples.

The Isles of Capri Marina is a marina providing boat rentals withinside the Naples and Marco Island area. Isles of Capri Marina will give you a memorable experience that highlights the beauty of Marco Island.

  • Why you should go:

Ready to sail out in the open water? Head to the Isles of Capri Marina for the day. The marina gives a couple of pontoon boats for rent in addition to kayaks if you’d instead tour the miles of waterways with your power. 

From their well-known Pontoon boat offerings to their one-of-a-kind kayak tours, this destination will fill your Marco Island getaway with fun-loving memories that will leave you wanting more.

  • Things to do:

Isles of Capri Marina has everything you want for an unforgettable day in Southwest Florida. Take a family cruise or loosen up with a romantic sunset dinner on the water. You could take your boat to a private island from the marina to revel in quiet sandy beaches. Or grab your rod and reel and attempt to catch your dinner out on the Gulf.

10. Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge

Danita Delimont | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5  

Location: between Marco Island and Everglades City.

This 35,000-acre refuge comprises mangrove habitats home to various wildlife species, some of which are endangered. Wildlife watching and birding are the most popular activities in the Ten Thousand Islands National refuge. Manatees are commonly seen, as are many sea turtles, beautiful birds, and a large variety of other animals.

  • Why you should go:

Wildlife can be spotted in the refuge by boat or by following the Tamiami Trail. Ships offer a unique way to see nature and experience the surroundings. Hunting and fishing are both permitted in the park.

  • Things to do:

Kayaking Marco Island through the streams of the Ten Thousand Islands is truly a magical experience. There are remote and completely deserted barrier islands to explore, fascinating local wildlife to watch, and some of the most stunning beaches in Southwest Florida. 

11. The Dolphin Explorer

@The Dolphin Explorer

Rating: 4.9  

Location: 951 Bald Eagle Dr, Marco Island.

The entry fees: starting from $46 per person.

The Dolphin Explorer is unique since they offer eco-tours from Marco Island as part of their Ten Thousand Islands Dolphin Project. The Dolphin Project is a study launched in 2006 of the distribution, numbers, behavior, and movements of bottlenose dolphins in the waters of Florida.

  • Why you should go:

Before visiting Marco Island, you should know that bottlenose dolphins and Manatees call the water surrounding Marco Island home. 

As a National Geographic-approved tour, you will see dolphins and manatees on every trip up-close and personal. The Dolphin Explorer eco-tour is the only eco-tour where you can participate in sighting and counting dolphins, and it’s one of our favorite things to do in Marco Island.

  • Things to do:

Join the crew of the eco-tour of the Dolphin Explorer while cruising the waters of Marco Island in search of dolphins as part of the only dolphins’ research study in Southwest Florida. This is a fabulous family adventure; Dolphin Tours are BOTH fun and educational!

12. Goodland Boating Park

@Dane County Parks

Rating: 4.6  

Location: 750 Palm Point Dr, Goodland.

Goodland Boating Park, a 10-minute drive from Marco Island, provides direct access to the Ten Thousand Islands and the Gulf of Mexico. 

  • Why you should go:

The Goodland Boating Park is well known for its fantastic restaurants where you can enjoy panoramic scenery, seafood, and music; it’s also known for its friendly community. The park has a covered picnic pavilion with a grill, fishing pier, and fish cleaning and cooking stations.

It is certain that you will have a memorable time at this park with your loved ones, so make sure to visit the area.

  • Things to do:

Besides enjoying excellent seafood cuisines and human interactions, maximize the experience a bit more by having a picnic with your family and friends at the covered picnic pavilion that the park features.

13. Frank E. Mackle Community Park

@The Marco Review

Rating: 4.8  

Location: 1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island.

Frank E. Mackle Park is one of the many parks in Marco Island; however, this park is an excellent place for a family-friendly afternoon; it features lots of activities that will make your visit to this beautiful park so worth it.

  • Why you should go:

Frank E. Mackle Comunity Park offers tons of recreational activities like a jungle gym, water spout, basketball, tennis, and more. The park has a fantastic track around the lake, perfect for strolling or running; there’s also a chance to spot some sea turtles hanging around the lake.

  • Things to do:

Frank Mackle Park is one of the best things to do in Marco Island if you are looking for a park that offers biking and walking paths with stunning scenery, a playground, a spray park facility, soccer fields, and a picnic area. There’s something to do for everyone in this community park.

14. Marco Island Historical Museum

@Marco Island Historical Society

Rating: 4.8  

Location: 180 S Heathwood Dr, Marco Island.

The entry fees: Free.

If you want to go back in time and discover Marco Island’s history, the Marco Island Historical Museum is the best attraction for you.

Marco Island Historical Museum is devoted to preserving the Marco Islands’ rich history, exploring Southwest Florida’s Calusa Indians, and bringing this forgotten civilization back to life with informative displays and exciting recreated village scenes.

  • Why you should go:

Marco Island Historical Museum offers exhibits that trace the history of this subtropical island from its early age as an Indian fishing village.

The exhibitions include many artifacts that have been discovered during archeological digs on the island, early photographs, and an entire room featuring a replica of the Calusa village which gives visitors a glimpse into the daily dynamic of this vanished civilization.

  • Things to do:

Take some Instagram-worthy photos of the Historical Museum and check out the famous Key Marco Cat; it’s a fascinating discovery that should put the museum on top of your list of things to do in Marco Island.

15. Marco Island Center for the Arts

@Marco Island Center for the Arts

Rating: 5  

Location: 1010 Winterberry Dr, Marco Island.

With so much peace and natural beauty, Marco Island has been inspiring artists for generations. Fuel your love for Florida artwork, primarily known for its vibrant colors and natural themes, and make a stop at Marco Island Center for the Arts.

  • Why you should go:

The Marco Island Center for the Arts is one of the perfect things to do in Marco Island to spend the afternoon looking to get a good look at some locally produced masterpieces. In addition, the center also aims to nurture and cultivate creativity for all ages through guest speakers, art classes, and live entertainment, making it a gem worth visiting.

  • Things to do:

Check out the center’s gallery exhibitions. But if you want to elevate your experience a bit further and get to have some human interaction, participate in one of the center’s arts or clay classes.

16. Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

a 2 miles hike through pine flat woods and wet prairie ecosystems within the Sanctuary. Jillian Cain Photography | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7  

Location: 375 Sanctuary Rd W, Naples.

The entry fees: $17 for adults, $10 for full-time college students, $6 for children (6-14), and free for children under 6.

Online reservation required, no walk-ins.

At 14,000 acres, Audubon Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary has been open for seven decades and is home to one of the largest virgin bald cypress swamp areas in the United States.

  • Why you should go:

The Audubon sanctuary is most well-known for its walkable elevated boardwalk, from which it’s common to see a variety of animals like snakes, gators, an array of wading and predatory birds, and turtles.

  • Things to do:

The Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary offers various activities like birding, natural wildlife viewing, and swamp walks. Guided tours and self-guided tours are available.

17. Marco Mystery and History

@Marco Mystery & History Tours

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 100 Palm St, Marco Island.

The entry fees: Starting from 15$ per person.

Marco Mystery & History offers a unique experience for tourists on a one-of-a-kind “Flightseeing Tour.”, as the name hints, it is a spooked two-hour trolley tour through haunted sites with Martha Horror and actress locally known as an expert on ghosts. Marco Murder and Mayhem.

  • Why you should go:

The tour starts with a complimentary cocktail beverage at Bistro Soleil, inside the Olde Marco Inn, an old, reportedly haunted, hotel. The tour visits five different locations, such as a cemetery and a 340-year-old Indian burial site. The tour guide will share frightening stories and tales as the group visits the various sites.

  • Things to do:

Along the way, you will hear tales of the curse of Capt. William D. Collier, hostile native tribes, lawlessness, the Key Marco hanging tree, and mysterious murders and disappearances, many of which remain unsolved to this day.

Marco Mystery and History is a mystery-filled thrilling tour, which delivers a unique experience for you, your friends, and your family. 

18. Paddle Marco

Kayak glides through water along the coastline of Marco Island, Florida near Tigertail Beach. SunflowerMomma | Shutterstock

Rating: 5  

Locations: Capri Paddlecraft Park or Caxambas Park & Marina.

The entry fees: $65 for adults and $55 for children.

Paddle Marco has Marco Island’s only biologist and naturalist tour guides; join them in an adventure into the beautiful mangrove tunnels of Marco Island.

  • Why you should go:

While paddling, you will be looking for wildlife like concrete conch shells, tree crabs, osprey, heron, dolphins, and more! Everyone gets their single-seat kayak with a cup holder, waterproof bags, and a comfortable high-back seat.

  • Things to do:

During this tour, you will learn all about the history of Marco Island, the mangrove trees, and all of the wildlife that lives on the island. And best of all,  you will get free HD photos of your tour! 

19. Marco Golf And Garden

@The Marco Review

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 971 Winterberry Dr, Marco Island.

The entry fees: $13 for adults,  $8 for seniors, $10 for college students and children (6-10), and free for children under 5. 

  • Why you should go:

Marco Golf and Garden is a fantastic well-maintained golf course with 18 holes; it’s challenging and creative. The Golf course is landscaped beautifully, and they have benches along the course, and they offer you a complimentary water bottle.

  • Things to do:

If you need a break from the beach during your trip, this breezy outing is one of the most perfect things to do in Marco Island for you and your family. 

20. Clam Pass Beach

SunflowerMomma | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.5  

Location: 410 Seagate Drive, Naples.

Clam Pass is a beautiful hidden beach at the end of a mangrove trees tunnel. Stunning, white powder sand, and warm water. 

  • Why you should go:

Clam Pass Beach preserves its coastal habitat by providing beach access from a one-mile boardwalk to the sandy beach; they also operate golf carts to take you to the beach.

  • Things to do:

The Clam beach is very relaxing, and you can spot lots of fish. There’s also a beach bar that serves drinks and food options like hotdogs, grilled chicken sandwiches, and various snacks.

21. Marco Island Princess

@Marco Island Princess

Rating: 4.6  

Location: 951 Bald Eagle Dr, Marco Island.

The entry fees: Varies by cruise.

The beautiful 90-foot-long Marco Island Princess yacht sails daily from her dock at Rose Marina, cruising the waterways of Marco Island and providing daily sightseeing cruises. 

  • Why you should go:

The Marco Island Princess is well known among locals and visitors for her outstanding cuisine, professionalism, comfortable ambiance, and friendly crew.

You will encounter a lot of options while booking your cruise; visitors can choose from two options of sunset dinner cruises and a buffet-style lunch cruise, with nature and history narration by the captain.

  • Things to do:

While cruising on Marco Island Princess, enjoy the warm sunshine, playful dolphins, Gulf breezes, and a stunning view that changes every moment.

22. Marco Island Farmers Market

Two young boys: a seven year old and his little brother, are having fun eating pretzels and making funny faces at a farmer’s market outside in Marco Island. Christin Lola | Shutterstock

Rating: 4.7  

Location: 1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island.

Plastic bags are not allowed; reusable bags are for sale at the market.

Savor the fresh produce Marco Island has to offer while exploring Marco Island Farmers Market.

  • Why you should go:

The seasonal Marco Island Farmers Market features an abundance of different fresh and delightful goods. From fresh vegetables, fruits, and other products to baked goods and freshly cooked meals. 

  • Things to do:

There are many delicious food options to choose from in this lovely place. Marco Island Farmers Market is a stop you wouldn’t want to miss.

23. Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival

@Source | Michaela J Grubbs

Rating: 4  

The entry fees: Regular adult tickets are $10 for one day and $16 for two days. 

If you are planning on visiting Marco Island during March, make sure to attend the Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival. The festival has been sponsored for over a decade by the Marco Island Rotary Club and is highly anticipated each year. 

  • Why you should go:

Since March is a prime month for fresh local seafood, including the Florida stone crab, and the weather is usually breezy and sunny, it is the perfect time for this event. The Festival takes place the third week in March, and it is one of the area’s most famous events.

  • Things to do:

Endless rows of carts and vendors will be offering fresh seafood in more ways than you would think possible. There are also plenty of non-seafood options for those who don’t like it.

Marco Island Seafood and Music Festival is a family-friendly event that includes delicious food, fun activities, cooking competitions, and arts and crafts.

Planning to extend your vacation in Florida? looking for more places and activities like to swim with dolphins and snorkel or to visit the amazing Pensacola? here is the most fun places to swim with dolphins in Florida, following by best places to snorkel in Miami, last but not least least, the fun list of what to do in Pensacola!

Have you ever been to Marco Island? What was your experience?