If you're on our website, you're probably thinking about buying property in Florida. Most of you have probably looked around Florida and already decided on Marco Island, but some of you may still be undecided. There are so many great towns out there like St. Augustine, Vero Beach, Key West, Clearwater, Sarasota and a dozen more. They're all different, but they're all great Florida towns. Deciding where to land when you make the leap can be tough.
Sarasota Is The Best?
I was in your shoes not too long ago. My wife and I had decided that Sarasota would be the best place to finally start our Florida lives. Twenty years in the making, we were finally going to do it. We had vacationed down here so many times, we lost count. We loved Florida, but uprooting ourselves seemed like too big an undertaking. Now, it wasn't like we didn't know anyone down here. With so many visits to Florida, we even had developed Florida friendships during our countless trips to escape cold, boring winters up north. So, the time had come. It was now or never. "Let's go!".
So, Sarasota is the place. The atmosphere is great there. Shopping, dining, work, fun - Sarasota is perfect. "What if we're wrong, though?" We battled these thoughts continuously. From a practical standpoint, there were great work opportunities in Florida and as far as owning real estate goes, we were buying at the bottom of the market. That part was a no-brainer. Sarasota was close to friends and hobbies, too. As we got closer to making it all happen, the doubts continued to try to sabotage our dreams. If we were really going to do this, we had to be sure that there wasn't some idyllic place we hadn't yet discovered or explored. If we were going to make this leap, we needed to make sure we got it right the first time.
So, we went on an exploration or every corner of Florida - just to rule them all out before we moved to Sarasota. The exploratory trip was going as planned. As we traveled through St. Augustine, Daytona, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Boca Raton, Venice, Stuart, Punta Gorda, and ten other "best places to live in Florida", we grew very confident in our decision. We were Sarasotans!
Then the wheels came off. We crossed the bridge onto Marco Island. It was totally different. Water and palm trees everywhere. I mean everywhere - not like other places in Florida - EVERYWHERE! Clean, orderly, well-cared-for stuff. The place was refined and totally unpretentious at the same time. It was an island. Can we live on an island?
Sure, there are other islands in Florida. Sanibel and Captiva are awesome. They're different though. We didn't want to be isolated. Siesta Key is great too, but if you need anything, you have to get into the fray of the city. Also, when the inland folks want to go to the beach, they pile onto Siesta. Then there's Key West? Great place to visit. I wouldn't want to live there. Marco Island just turns out to be the best of all worlds and there are a few unique characteristics of Marco that have made it so perfect.
Why It's So Great
First, it's remote without being isolated. The long road that separates us from Naples serves a great purpose. Marco Island offers just about anything you could want in terms of fun, dining and shopping but there are occasionally times when what you want isn't here. We are close enough to the Naples to get anything that a larger metropolitan area offers without having to live with the negatives like crime and traffic. That ten-minute ride down Collier might as well be an hour because the Naples chaos doesn't make its way out here.
The next thing that contributes to Marco Island's uniqueness is the near-private beach. There are a couple of public accesses but Marco was designed to give the beach to the owners and residents on Marco. We don't get very many day-trippers from Naples piling in on the weekends. Our roads are not jammed by thousands of weekend warriors. Anyone can feel comfortable walking down the main drag anytime of day or night.
So what else? Well, our economy is very strong. The confluence of affluence (LOL) seems to make our little hideaway immune from the economical rollercoaster of many other places. Of course, there was no escaping the burst of the real estate bubble but Marco Island had a relatively low foreclosure rate compared to Naples and other parts of Florida. Nowadays, the real estate market is recovering powerfully.
The People Are Great
The people on Marco are great. The folks here are informed, happy, smart people that want the most from life. Tennis, kayaking, fishing - these people are dynamic - they're genuine, too. In fact, I've never worked with a better group of people than the Realtors I work with on Marco Island. Maybe I'm just lucky or maybe this island gets inside you and makes you a better person.
Marco Island is not just for retired people either. While there may be fewer kids than your average town, they enjoy good schools and limitless outdoor activities. They ride their bikes to school by the hundreds. Where else can you safely do that?
Since moving here myself, I have continued to explore Florida. It's a great State. The variety of interesting places that are just a few hours away is absolutely incredible. Every time I come back to Marco Island, though, I am struck by the relaxed feeling that comes over me when I cross the bridge onto Marco Island.