The ultimate family-friendly getaway in southwest Florida! Visit Marco Island and don’t miss a thing with my guide!
Marco Island, Florida
Stay at the Marco Island Marriott. You can’t deny the beauty of this luxurious (and large!) property directly on Marco Island.
You can also book a stay at the Hilton on Marco Island if you’re looking for a smaller hotel right on the beach.
Explore the water
Go kayaking. While I am a native Floridian, I never got into kayaking or canoeing. I know that my husband wishes I would wake up and be into day trips on the water, but I have to be eased into it. Luckily for me, I stepped out of my comfort zone with Paddle Marco and feel so much better about my ability to kayak!
The water was perfectly calm, and my kayak was not as scary as I had thought. As long as I stayed calm and followed direction, I managed to stay afloat and had no issues. There were times I thought I would for sure flip over as we went through a madgrove path, but I stayed calm and made it through.
Our guide was helpful yet funny, and he also took photos of us on our trip where we were able to download that day. That is pretty helpful since as a blogger I couldn’t take my camera out with me on the kayak for fear it would get wet.
Follow the entertaining and highly trained naturalist tour guides into the beautiful mangrove tunnels of Marco Island while looking for wildlife like tree crabs, huge conch shells, raccoons, osprey, heron, dolphins and more! You’ll learn all about the mangrove trees, the history of Marco Island and all of the wildlife that lives here! Everyone gets their own single-seater kayak with a cup holder, comfortable high-back seat and waterproof bags.
Go shelling. Southwest Florida is known for shelling, and there are a variety of ways that you can look for shells. Whether you take a stroll on the sandy shores of our local beaches or you take a boat ride to an island nearby, you can expect to find different shells up and down the coast. Just remember, there is no live shelling allowed. So, if you see something inside your shell, please put it back slowly and calmly.
Look for dolphins. Some Florida visitors just want to see a dolphin! I get it. There are beautiful and fun to watch!
We headed on a dolphin tour with Dolphin Explorer, and we found dolphins almost immediately when we pulled out from the dock.
This unforgettable eco-tour lets guests participate in the study of wild dolphins aboard the Dolphin Explorer, a 36-foot power pontoon boat perfect for getting up close to observe marine life. The study, Ten Thousand Islands Dolphin Project, is the only ongoing study of wild dolphins in Southwest Florida, and the only one in the U.S. that engages the general public. You will join the Survey Crew on a three-hour expedition in sighting and studying dolphins – more than 300 are named and cataloged. You’ll learn their names and what they’re doing. And when you sight a new dolphin, you’ll get to name it!
Don’t miss the Historical Museum. I regularly talk about what free things you can do as you travel, and museums are a great way to learn more about the city you’re in for not a lot of money. I was thrilled to see that the Marco Island Historical Museum offers free admission and is a large space that is amazing inside! This isn’t a waste of time. If you are in the area, I recommend that you make the trip and see what they are up to. They have a new exhibit opening soon, so there will be even more to see in 2019!
Long famous for its Key Marco Cat, one of the most remarkable and influential discoveries in North American archaeology, the Marco Island Historical Museum explores Southwest Florida’s Calusa Indians bringing this vanished civilization to life with informative displays and an immersive 3-D village. Exhibits trace the settlement of this subtropical island paradise from its early pioneer roots as a fishing village, pineapple plantation and clam cannery, through its explosive growth and development in the 1960s by the Miami-based Deltona Corporation. The Traveling Exhibit Hall showcases several new exhibits throughout the year.
Plan your next trip to Southwest Florida with my Ultimate Travel Guide to Naples and my Travel Guide to Marco Island, Florida.
About Florida’s Paradise Coast: Whether travelers are looking for a romantic escape or family getaway, Florida’s Paradise Coast — Naples, Marco Island and the western portion of the Everglades — has an array of vacation options year-round. With more than 30 miles of soft, white sand beaches, thriving arts and culture scene, distinctive dining, the best of outdoor adventure and top-rated family attractions, the Paradise Coast is truly a destination with it all. Located just two hours from Miami, four hours from Orlando and three hours from Tampa, the Paradise Coast is easily accessible from some of Florida’s largest cities. Travelers outside of the Sunshine State can fly into Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW), which provides nonstop service to 45 destinations on 14 different air carriers.
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