Marco Island is a small community 10 miles south of Naples on the gulf coast of Florida. The island is connected to the mainland by a road bridge and is an easy drive from the Everglades National Park. The island is principally a retirement community and winter retreat for the wealthy but is also a fantastic base for a few quiet days after the rigours of the theme parks in Orlando. Keen fishermen might want to dwell even longer because Marco is a fishermen’s paradise in the sun!
Marco Island has long stretches of sandy beaches with the benefit of the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches don’t get overly busy and are a wonderful place to relax in the Florida heat. Most of the Island’s principle hotels line the shores and have attractive pool areas to enjoy. There are plenty of good seafood restaurants and you can enjoy a pleasant meal by the harbour, eating al fresco whilst watching the many dolphins bobbing in the waters around you.
Several local operators provide tours around the inland waterways and the ocean to see the dolphins and to visit one of the 10,000 small islands in the area where you can comb the beaches for shells. If you have never visited a desert island before you should definitely take one of these trips, it is quite an experience.
The Everglades National Park is right on your doorstep and should not be missed. Vast tracts of swampland are a huge preserve for a variety of stunning wildlife including the Florida alligators which can often be seen by the side of the road. The best way to experience the park is to take one of the famous airboat tours where you can get up close and personal with the gators and birds and experience an exciting journey around the swamps.
Back on Marco there are plenty of fishing charters available from the harbour. You can take a trip through the backwaters to fish for tarpin, snook, red fish and sea trout and here all the family can come with you to enjoy the clam waters and even stop off on one of those desert islands. For a real adventure you can head out to the deeper waters of the gulf in search of grouper, snapper, cobia and even shark. Goliath grouper can be found in the local waters too and these monsters can be up to 360kgs! Check the weather and talk to the operators before making any firm plans as the region can be subject to high winds from the west and even hurricanes in the late summer which make taking the boats out impossible. tackle and bait are provided and you will have the opportunity to see dolphins in the gulf and manatees in the backwaters.
Marco Island is a wonderful destination for the whole family with great fishing and plenty to enjoy for angling widows and the kids too. With gorgeous beaches, fabulous wildlife and the Everglades close by Marco is the ideal base for both short breaks and extended vacations.
Article by Sally Stacey who is a frequent visitor to Marco Island