Are you thinking about visiting Marco Island, Florida with your family? You won’t be disappointed in this beautiful paradise in southwest Florida. Families will find fun things to do in Marco Island for all ages. Explore the many Marco Island beaches like Tigertail Beach. Visit Marco Island Historical Museum and learn the history of the area. Get out into nature and explore great parks and nature walks. Have a delicious bite to eat on the water at the famous Snook Inn. Marco Island has it all whether your visiting with your kids or as a couples vacation. Follow along with me to learn the best things to do in Marco Island.
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Best Things to Do in Marco Island
Marco Island Beaches
The number one attraction to Marco Island is the gorgeous beaches. The beautiful white sand beaches make for a perfect family day out. There are two public beaches for visitors to explore. Here are some details about both Marco Island Beaches.
Tigertail Beach is a white sand beach that is a barrier island in the making. This makes it great for seeing lots of birds and feeling more like you are on a secluded island than a busy beach. Kids will love going shelling, exploring the tidal pools, building sandcastles, going swimming, and running around the playground area. Tigertail Beach also has a concession area with food and beer.
Now the slight downside. You will have to cross over a short boardwalk to a sandy lagoon area and then you will need to wade through the lagoon carrying your belongings to get to the beach. This can be a pain with little kids. However, when you get there, the beach is amazing and worth the trek through the lagoon. Try to make it at low tide to have an easier walk. There is an option to walk around the tidal pool but it’s a half-mile walk. The upside is the beach is less crowded due to the extra trek to the beach and pretty awesome.
Parking – There is a large lot and an $8 parking fee for the day. You can also rent cabanas, kayaks, and paddleboards
Address: 480 Hernando Drive, Marco Island, FL
South Marco Beach Access
This fun, one-acre public beach area is surrounded by upscale hotels and condos. Although the actual park is only one acre, you can walk south all the way to Tigertail Beach. To access the beach, you will walk through a palm tree-lined walkway and enter the beach. Make sure to bring your beach chairs and beach gear as there are no concessions or rentals at this beach. There are public restrooms available. It’s a great beach for walking or just finding a spot to sit down and relax with your family. Sunset views here are great, too. Keep your eyes out for dolphins swimming by.
Parking – The lot is located across the street from the walkway. It is a small lot so I would suggest coming earlier in the day before it fills up.
Address: 930 S. Collier Boulevard, Marco Island, FL
Looking for more great beaches in the area? Head to Naples Florida a quick drive away for more beautiful family-friendly beaches.
Beach Hacks – Need some beach tips and tricks to prevent meltdowns at the beach? Check out my 20 Beach Hacks to Survive a Family Beach Day and be ready for a fun family day out.
Marco Island Historic Museum
This fun free museum in Marco is a great place to learn the history of Marco Island. Roam through the displays of the early Native Americans and see how they lived on this tiny island. You will find life-like displays of what everyday life was like in this area. As you continue through the museum, you will learn the rest of the area’s history leading up to the 1950s. This can be a quick stop or spend up to an hour reading all the great displays.
Address: 180 South Heathwood Drive, Marco Island, FL
Ready for a fun lunch or dinner on the water? Visit the world-famous Snook Inn, a local favorite for 30 years. Find great water views dining both inside and out on the deck. The outside has a little bit of a party atmosphere with great music, a fun bar, and picnic tables to eat at. However, both inside and out are kid-friendly and have waitstaff. Inside, you will also find their famous salad bar that comes with your meals. If you are a boater, you can pull your boat right up to the restaurant docks and have a bite to eat.
The is a very popular restaurant so make sure to get here a little early for dinner or lunchtime to get a great seat. Or grab a drink, shop in their store, and watch the boats go by while you wait for a table. No need to rush, you’re on vacation. We walked the docks and looked at fish with the kiddos while we waited. Oh, and they have good seafood dishes and a kids menu, too!
Address: 1215 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island, FL
Briggs Nature Center
While you’re at Marco Island, you need to get out into nature and explore the area’s unique and diverse habitats. At the Briggs Nature Center, you will find a half-mile boardwalk that takes you through 5 distinct habitats. On your self guided walk, look out for local birds, snakes, alligators, turtles, lizards, and more. Don’t worry, you’re up on the boardwalk so the creatures won’t get you!
If you want to learn more about the habitats, you can take a ranger-led tour of the nature center. This free, guided tour is available from January through March. Just arrive at 10 am outside the main building and meet your volunteer ranger. We took the tour and found it really informative plus it gave the kids a chance to ask tons of questions.
Tips – There is very little shade so make sure to wear a hat and sunscreen. Also, bring water as there is nowhere to buy drinks or snacks. Lastly, if you come in the spring or summer, make sure to wear bug spray.
Mackle Park and Community Center
Marco Island has a great park and community center for the kids to run around. At Mackle Park, you will find an amazing playground with a tot area and older kids area all fenced in so you can let your kids run free. They also have 6 basketball hoops under a large roof for shade, shuffleboard, bocce ball courts, and sand volleyball. On hot days, there is also a spray and play area for kids.
You can borrow sports equipment in the community center by leaving your driver’s license and then getting it back when you return the equipment, free of charge, which is great. There are also restroom facilities. On Friday nights, they have movies in the park.
Address: 1361 Andalusia Terrace, Marco Island, FL
Rainy Day Fun – On a rainy day, head inside the Mackle Community Center to play the indoor pool tables and other games. There is also a library located across the street to visit and play. Mackle Park is close to Marco Island Historical Museum which would also be a great rainy day activity.
Do your kids love watching the boats and pelicans? Then head to Caxambas Park, a local boat launch that has a 4-acre park (no playground). Kids can watch boats go in and out of the docks and look at the outstanding views. Many people also fish from this park which brings tons of pelicans to watch. Our kids loved seeing them dive and swoop for fish. We also loved watching the fisherman pull in their catch.
The park has a small concession building that sells fishing and boating gear, plus a freezer full of ice cream bars. We all had ice cream and sat outside on the picnic tables watching the boats and wildlife go by. This would be a great picnic spot, too. You may even see some dolphins swimming in the water here. Overall, it’s a fun stop to sit and relax while looking out at the beautiful views of Marco Island.
Address: 909 Collier Court, Marco Island, FL
Rent Bikes, Kayaks, and Paddle Boards
Marco Island is not that big so it’s a great place to ride a bike around town. Ask your hotel about rentals or use one of the many bike rental companies on the island. You can also rent kayaks and paddleboards at Tigertail Beach or Caxambas Park. A fun day outing would be taking a Kayak tour through the mangroves. Kayak Marco is one that was recommended to us but we ran out of time to try it out. Make sure to call ahead to reserve bikes, kayaks, and paddleboards, especially in high season.
Day Trips from Marco Island
Naples is a quick drive from Marco Island and has tons to do. It’s worth a day trip if you have a longer stay on Marco Island. In Naples, you’ll find an awesome children’s museum, the Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, or C’Mon. They have hands-on exhibits, a journey through the Everglades, explore an igloo, learn the effects of water, and so much more. The museum would make a great rainy day spot, too.
Naples also has a fun zoo to explore with a monkey island and tons of alligators. Walk a cool nature boardwalk at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary where you’ll see tons of wildlife and learn about the different ecosystems. The best part of all though is Naples’ amazing soft white sand beaches. There are more options for public beaches in Naples than in Marco Island. Learn more about the fun things to do with kids in my Ultimate Guide to Naples with Kids.
Looking for some free things to do while on vacation? I love to save money where I can so I compiled a list of 10 Fun Free Things to do in Naples. Have fun while saving money!
Big Cypress National Preserve
If your looking to really get out into nature take the short drive from Marco Island to Big Cypress National Preserve. You will get to see a diverse ecosystem from pine trees to mangroves to the prairie. As you hike or walk out onto the many boardwalks you will see tons of wildlife. The highlight for my family was all the alligators we saw in the preserve. It’s a great free way to view alligators in their natural habitat. You’ll find this preserve really has something for everyone in the family. Find out all the fun things to do in Big Cypress National Preserve – What to See & DO.
Everglade City – One of the most exciting things to do in Everglade City is taking an airboat ride. Your family will love zipping through the mangroves and looking for alligators. We loved Corrie Billie’s Airboat Rides which is the closest airboats to Marco Island. You’ll also find two fun museums Ted Smallwood Store and the Museum of Everglade City. Both interesting museums teach you all about the people who have lived in this former frontier town in Florida. Check out all there is to do in The Best Airboat Rides and Visiting Everglade City Florida.
Where to Stay on Marco Island
There are lots of larger hotels located on the beach in Marco Island. This is a great option because the kids can just run outside in the morning and be on the beach. Another option is looking into renting a condo or home if you want more space on your vacation. The great thing about a condo is you have a kitchen to make some of your meals and save money. Many come with beach chairs and other amenities like pools and are within walking distance to the beach.
When we start our search we like to use Booking.com because they have great reviews, pictures, and prices. Try it out and see if it helps you plan your next vacation.
Are you ready now for a great trip to Marco Island? I hope you have found enough things to do in Marco Island to keep your whole family happy. It’s a beautiful place to visit and enjoy Florida-living. Do you have any questions or more ideas? Please leave them in the comments, I love to hear from my readers.
Make sure to check out my easy beach tips and tricks to prevent children’s meltdowns in 20 Beach Hacks to Survive Family Beach Days.
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