Marco Island Beaches and Parks Provide a Tropical Escape Year-round
Marco Island – the largest barrier island in Florida’s Ten Thousand Island area – offers a tropical escape. While the city is located near popular Naples, many come to this island for a more remote retreat. However, there are places to play, too. If it’s time for fun in the sun, learn about the top Marco Island beaches and parks — and where to find them.
Marco Island Beaches, Parks and Best-kept Secrets
Once a well-kept secret, Keewaydin Island now ranks among the most popular Marco Island beaches. The island sits north of Marco and is only accessible by boat. On weekends, locals come to Keewaydin Island to relax, while others search for shells and dolphins. No boat? No problem. Guests can rent boats or ride Hemingway Water Shuttle.
The island has no bridges, roads or cars. Many visitors have private spots perfect for shore fishing, sun bathing and splashing. Feel free to bring snacks and drinks, but there are floating food boats that sell food and refreshments. To enjoy a full day on Keewaydin Island, bring beach gear, chairs, towels, sun protection and water games.
South Marco Beach
South Marco Beach is a public beach with nearby parking available on Swallow Avenue. Visitors have access to an acre of sand and sun with access to restrooms. In addition, dozens of accommodations and a few restaurants are within a short drive.
This spot gets busy, especially during peak seasons and holidays. To avoid parking mishaps, either arrive early in the morning or take a ride-sharing option. On weekdays, the beach is not as crowded. Additionally, visitors should pack beach necessities, a cooler with goodies and sun protection.
Tigertail Beach Park
Tigertail Beach ranks among the top Marco Island beaches for its mix of unspoiled beauty and fun activities. When not lounging on the beach, enjoy all the park offers. Visitors have access to concessions, a picnic area, playground and equipment rental. Many rave about Tigertail Beach as a top place for paddleboarding and kayaking in Marco Island.
Please note: Tigertail Beach attracts those looking for a little adventure paired with wildlife and natural charm. Everyone must wade through a shallow lagoon before reaching the beach. In order to prepare, go during low tide and wear water shoes for walking. During high tide, the lagoon can measure 50 yards wide and have a firm, muddy bottom.
Mackle Park provides a place for families and active types to play. After parking, enjoy access to biking and walking paths, a lake, spray park, basketball, bocee ball and volleyball courts, and other attractions.
Come to Mackle Park and escape from popular gathering spots. Families love this park and have several things to do, too. Kids Cove provides a place for children to run and climb, while parents relax. As an added perk, kids have their own basketball court.
This off-leash dog park ranks as a favorite because it has two areas: one for large breeds and one for small dogs. Even better, owners have plenty of seating, easy parking options and well maintained facilities.
Canine Cove keeps pups in mind. While playing with other dogs, they enjoy water fountains, fenced-in areas and lots of space to run. In addition, waste bags and bins are located throughout the park, so owners can easily clean up after their pets. Families should note children under 4 years old are not permitted in Canine Cove. Read Canine Cove rules and info.
Everglades National Park
Located just 30 minutes from Marco Island, explore Everglades National Park. This 1.5-million acre ecosystem offers a glimpse into Old Florida and wildlife.
To start, rent a canoe or kayak, schedule a guided boat tour, or take a hike. While exploring, watch for manatees, crocodiles, shore birds and other native animals. In addition, visitors ride air boats, bicycle on designated trails, and fish in fresh water and salt water. While Everglades National Park doesn’t offer Marco Island beaches, the area does feature backcountry waterways and hidden spots.
Those who have more time should visit Ten Thousand Islands, a top place for canoeing, kayaking and wildlife. The area can become difficult to navigate, so it’s best to go with a local guide.
Goodland Boat Park
In nearby Goodland, find Goodland Boat Park. This park measures over 5 acres and provides access to Ten Thousands Islands, Goodland Bay and Gulf of Mexico.
The park has a two-lane boat launch, parking, covered pavilion, fishing pier and fishing cleaning station. When not on the water, visit restaurants in Goodland. A couple of raved-about options include Little Bar, Stan’s Idle Hour and Crabby Lady.