Marco Island Water Activities Encourage Everyone to Explore

Located south of Naples, Marco Island is the largest barrier island located in the Ten Thousand Islands area. Much of the island features a Gulf-front location, with bays and backwaters surrounding other areas. This means visitors have several action-packed things to do that explore various ecosystems and offer new adventures. So grab the sunscreen and check out these top Marco Island water activities.

Top 7 Marco Island Water Activities for Fun and Thrills

marco island boat tours family

Choose Different Boat Tours

Several boating companies in Marco Island and nearby Goodland offer eco tours of the area. One top option is Hemingway Water Shuttle, which offers express rides to Keewaydin Island. Accessible by boat only, the island provides a favorite spot for shelling, swimming and relaxing.

In Goodland, book a trip with Back Water Adventure. During this activity, guests can drive their own boat – a Craig Cat – which seats two and navigates back waters. Or take a private tour on a luxury pontoon boat. This option caters to groups of six or fewer.

Families and large groups enjoy tours hosted by Pirates of Marco Island. Their interactive excursion features the Black Pearl, where families can play games, sing, dance, shoot water cannons, and look for treasure.

Fish All Day

Calling all anglers! In Marco Island, fishing ranks among the top things to do, and there’s no shortage of options. Those who wish to fish can book guided tours with professionals, or rent a boat and escape to tranquil areas.

One of the top providers in the area is Native Guided Fishing Charters, owned an managed by Captain John Weeks. He has over 45 years of experience fishing the area and welcomes all ages and skill levels. Mangrove Maniacs, another top-rated fishing guide, takes anglers into the backcountry and on mangrove shorelines. No matter which trip, expect to catch snook, redfish and tarpon, with snapper and sea trout as possible additions.

marco island water activities dolphin

Take a Dolphin Tour

Not into fishing? No problem. Marco Island also has several dolphin-watching trips for water lovers. Dreamlander Tours ranks among the top options in southwest Florida, with two- and three-hour dolphin tours available. The Dolphin Explorer is also located in Marco Island, and provides an in-depth educational tour of wild dolphins. Guests will even learn dolphins’ names.

Try Canoeing and Kayaking

To explore lesser known spots, take a canoe, kayak or paddleboard tour. These Marco Island water activities journey deep into back-water areas where visitors can see mangrove tunnels, sand bars and hidden escapes where wildlife live.

Paddle Marco hosts 2.5-hour kayak tours led by local naturalist tour guides. Additionally, people can rent kayaks and paddle boards for up to four hours, and plan their own adventure. Other rental companies include Kayak Marco, Up a Creek, and Tigertail Beach Paddleboad, Kayak and Beach Cabana Rentals.

marco island beaches family vacation

Don’t Forget the Beaches

For a more laid-back adventure, head to Marco Island’s beaches. The community works to patrol beaches and keep them clean, making them a must for families and visitors.

Tigertail Beach is the area’s most popular and offers beach-goers several amenities. Find ample parking, concession stands, restrooms, showers, picnic tables and grills, and a playground. In addition, Tigertail Beach offers one of the top bird-watching locations on the island.

Those staying in the island’s southern section have access to South Marco Beach. This area features spacious beaches surrounded by high-rises and public walkways. People-watch all day, then visit a nearby restaurant for dinner.

Collect Shells With Locals

While collecting shells in Marco Island’s parks is not allowed, visitors are welcome to take a shelling tour or collect them on Tigertail Beach.

In Goodland, Eco Endeavors takes guests on a three-hour adventure that covers 25 miles. Visitors hop aboard a covered boat and prepare for swimming and shelling in Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. For a longer trip, book a 4-hour shelling trip with Treasure Seekers, also in Goodland. While touring the area, keep an eye out for the Camp Romano dome houses. These abandoned homes sit in shallow water, and frequent guests recommend seeing them before they disappear into the Gulf.

If these aren’t enough Marco Island water activities, just know visitors can also jet and water ski, go parasailing and paragliding, and scuba and snorkel.

Find more things to do in Marco Island, and discover paradise in southwest Florida!