Southwest Florida’s Marco Island is a sun-drenched jewel on the cutting edge of the Gulf of Mexico. One of the larger islands in the area, it features six glorious miles of beach and over 100 miles of watery inlets jam packed within its 24 square miles.
In fact, Marco Island is the largest barrier island within Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands, which extends from Marco Island all the way to Cape Sable. With this subtropical to tropical climate zone, the island experiences a definite wet and dry season, with rainfall happening mostly between the months of June and October. Marco Island has a modest population of just over 16,000 permanent residents, with the population blooming to 40,000 during the winter months.
The island has two communities – the resort town of Marco and the old-fashioned fishing community of Goodland. Isles of Capri is another community that consists mostly of the wintering population, located north of Marco Island. Goodland retains its colorful reputation as “a little drinking village with a fishing problem,” most notably on Sundays when Stan’s Idle Hour hosts dances headed by Buzzard Lope dance.
What sets Marco Island apart from the rest is its close proximity to Ten Thousand Islands, making it a prime destination for fishers and boaters. Marco is known for its vibrant arts scene and its well-varied dining options. Popular beach activities include shelling and swimming, while inland Marco provides a sanctuary from more than 200 species of birds.
High Quality of Life
With all of this tropical and beachy goodness, it’s no wonder why visitors and residents alike call this their little slice of paradise. Just a short drive from the larger city of Naples and all it has to offer, the location cannot be beat. The island is known for its high quality of life, its natural resources, its casual atmosphere, and best of all, its friendly people.
Marco Island attracts visitors from all over the world and as such, property is in high demand as some of those visitors have a desire to call the island their new home. With outstanding retail businesses, wonderful hotel and conference facilities, high-quality restaurants, inviting neighborhoods, and easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, the standard of living is among the finest in America. The amazing vacation rentals on Marco Island often whet the whistle of would-be residents.
The Beaches are Superb
Pristine beaches of fine white sand cover much of the coastline along the brilliant blue of the Gulf. This combined with warm weather is among the many reasons that people consider Marco Island their own personal heaven on Earth.
South Marco Beach is a public access beach featuring scenic walks, plenty of seashell hunting, and gorgeous turquoise waters that will leave you breathless. Colorful birds and the occasional dolphin can be spotted at this beach!
A Rich History and Culture
Long before the days of resort hotels and fine dining, Marco Island’s east side was surrounded by mangrove forests. The Calusa Indians along with their ancient Muspa ancestors settled into this region and thrived here for more than a thousand years. Accomplished artists, the Calusa fashioned brightly colored clay masks that often resembled animals. One famous find is known as the Key Marco Cat; uncovered during an 1896 Smithsonian archaeological expedition on the island. It survived for hundreds of years thanks to it being buried in oxygen-free mud, which helped preserve the ancient relic. It is renowned as one of the finest pieces of Pre-Columbian Native American art ever to be discovered in North America.
Marco Island was settled in 1870 by Captain Bill Collier of Tennessee and what followed was a thriving fishing community. Still fairly isolated, it became less so around the 1920s when the Olde Marco Ferry and a railroad line linked the island to mainland Florida. Travelers from Miami often flocked to the area for its fine beaches.
Today, Marco Island is both a resort and vacation home spot. With its close proximity to Naples and just a 40-minute drive to the Everglades, this island holds much for the nature, cultural, and museum lover.
Otter Mound Preserve highlights the island’s varied wildlife that will take you away from the hustle and bustle of town. The preserve houses a unique and rare habitat called the tropical hardwood hammock. Here you’ll find numerous wildlife and plant species, with rich archeological and historical aspects that nature lovers will appreciate.
Natural habitats don’t stop there, and Briggs Nature Center is another famous stop to make. It is the definition of isolation and beauty, featuring five distinct habitats with a wide array of wildlife to be experienced from the comfort of a boardwalk.