Marco Island, Florida Information
Table of Contents
The Best Little Island
The very existence of Marco Island may come as a surprise to some people. Found amidst the Florida Everglades and mangrove islands near Naples, Marco Island is a sophisticated and unexpected beach town lined with high-rises and filled with top restaurants and shops. It is known for pristine beaches and year-round sunshine. It’s paradise. Marco Island, the only one of the Everglade's Ten Thousand Islands that inhabited, is one of Florida’s best-kept secrets.
In recent years, Marco Island has actually experienced growth. This little island's population has been growing at a charming half a percent annually while retaining its laid-back quality. Of course, the number of vacant lots is shrinking all the time, and they can't add any more. So, growth will abruptly stop soon. If you're familiar with the original development of Marco Island, you know environmental regulations prevent the development of the neighboring islands.
The limitations on growth are one of the things that make island life so unique. Unlike mainland towns, you know what Marco Island will look like for years to come - it will look like it does now. There will be no new highways or shopping centers. Twenty years from now, traffic will be virtually like it is now. You will always be able to come to mellow Marco to forget about the problems and stresses of daily life and enjoy a lifestyle that rarely exists these days.
There is more, however, to Marco Island than its incredible beaches. Once you are here, check out the active nightlife, restaurants, shops, and the plethora of other exciting activities.
The canal waterways that run throughout Marco Island are an essential part of the community. They allow fully 80% of the homes here to have access to the Gulf of Mexico via boat. They permit residents and visitors to moor their private boats on their property or the rental property where they are staying. The canals are also what give Marco Island its personality. You can't travel a mile on the island without crossing a quaint and picturesque bridge.
History of Marco Island
Marco Island has a rich and long past. The island was initially settled by the Calusa Indians in 500 A.D., who adapted to coastal living by fishing and working with wood. Artifacts from their woodwork can be seen at the Smithsonian Institute and the Marco Island Historical Society.
By the mid-1500s, Spanish explorers had discovered Marco Island. However, the island remained mostly unsettled until 1870, when the actual village of Marco was founded. The Olde Marco Inn, built during that time, still stands today on Palm Street. The local shops nearby have a historic charm and serve as a reminder of its history.
The modern development of Marco Island began in the 1960s when the Mackle brothers of Deltona Corporation broke ground. Upon completion of the S.S. Jolley Bridge, the island became convenient to nearby Naples and the rest of the country. The bridge helped turn the island into a prime travel destination. Marco Island’s natural splendor attracts more than six million visitors each year who relish the blend of old and modern among breathtaking scenery. Many of these visitors decide to make Marco Island their permanent home every year.
Marco Island Museum
Whether you're vacationing on Marco Island of have made it your permanent home, the Marco Island Museum is a must see. Our little island has an incredibly interesting history. From the Calusa Indians to the Mackle Brothers who developed Marco Island in the 1960s, the rich history is fascinating. Visit them at 180 S Heathwood Dr between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. every day except Sunday.
Where is Marco Island?
Marco Island is the end of the road. If you're heading south on the west coast of Florida, you can't go further than Marco Island. Of course Key West is south of us, but you'll have to go over to the east coast to get there unless you're traveling by boat or plane.
Located adjacent to beautiful Naples, Marco Island is just remote enough to give you that island vibe without being so remote that you're running into inconveniences and hassles that plague life in the keys.
Marco Island is actually the largest of "The Ten Thousand Islands" and is known for great fishing and beach fun. The lifestyle here is all about making the most of life. The restaurants are spectacular. The people are friendly. It's a safe place, too.
Naples is the closest city to Marco Island and is a mere 20-minute drive away. Take US-41 to Collier Blvd. and cross the bridge which will take you to Marco Island. The drive itself offers beautiful vistas.
If you are coming from the Miami area, take US-41 to Goodland Bay and head toward the village of Goodland just off Rte. 92. The quaint village of 200 citizens has several excellent restaurants and is worth a stop along the way to Marco Island. If the two-lane Tamiami Trail (US41) bothers you, take Alligator Alley (US75) across the state. While the distance travelled will be longer, the time is about the same either way.
From the nearest Commercial Airport:
The nearest major airport to Marco Island is Southwest Florida International Airport located in Fort Myers, about 55 minutes to the north. Just take I75S to Exit 101 (Collier Boulevard) to get to Marco. For information on flying into other airports such as Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Punta Gorda, visit our Marco Island Airport information page.
Weather on Marco Island, FL
While the weather in the winter, spring and fall is absolute bliss, Marco Island's summer can get very tropical. During June, July, and August, the temperatures reach into the mid-90s with considerable humidity. The humidity is high in September, as well. The months of January, December, February and March are the driest months, with very little precipitation. These are also the busiest months for visitors. Be prepared for travel and accommodation costs to be slightly higher during those times, while the humid summers are the least expensive to visit Marco Island.
Marco Island is not in the usual hurricane path but was surprised by its first direct hit when Irma made landfall on September 10, 2017. Despite sustaining a direct impact of a strong Category Three storm, Marco faired very well. In no time, the island recovered and looks better than ever today.
Marco Island Zip Codes and Area Codes
The Marco Island zip code is 34145. The post office box zip code is 34146. There is only one area code in southwest Florida. It's 239.
Marco Island Beaches
If Marco Island has a focal point, it's the huge crescent-shaped beach on the west coast of the island. It draws fun-loving vacationers from around the world. The white sand and calm Gulf waters are preferred by discerning beachgoers everywhere. There are several access points to the main beach, plus Tigertail beach on the north end.
South Marco Island Beach Access
"South Beach", the southernmost beach access on the island, is the less busy public access to Marco’s main beach. It’s perfect for families to romp in the sand, look for shells, see the dolphins, or go fishing. You will find parking and restrooms a short walk from the beach on Swallow Avenue. Parking costs $8.00. You can get a parking permit for the beach from the City of Naples or Collier County. Call 239.213.1800 for more information.
Tigertail Beach is a public park with a three-mile-long peaceful beach, the largest on Marco Island. The sand is pristine and white. At times, the only sounds you hear are the dolphins in the water and the birds flying above.
Parking here also costs $8.00. At the beach, you’ll find changing rooms and a lovely patio with beach umbrellas.
You need not bring much more than a towel for a day at Tigertail. You'll find a convenient kiosk that sells snacks, beer, and wine. Another concession stand rents paddleboards and kayaks. Plus, there is a full playground to keep the kids active and entertained.
Kids will love the lagoon that leads to the beach, too. Fish and fiddler crabs are everywhere! The crabs scurry as you walk past them on the way to the beach, which is a giant sandbar. The sea critters turn off some people, while others consider the interaction to be a high adventure. If you are squeamish, you can avoid them altogether by taking the long walk to the lagoon, but where’s the fun in that?
Restaurants on Marco Island
Marco Island has some best restaurants in southwest Florida. What might be unexpected is the high sophistication of some of the culinary experiences offered on this small island. The dining options on Marco rival some the best cities in the country. The locals expect no less, and guests are invariably delightfully surprised at the fine eateries on the island. We always consult the Sun King Restaurant Guide for trustworthy reviews of all of Marco Island's eateries.
The Oyster Society
Located at 599 S. Collier Blvd., the Carvelli family opened this seafood restaurant and raw bar to recreate Hemingway and Fitzgerald's world. It is a delicious throwback to the Roaring Twenties with its Art Deco décor and live jazz entertainment. The seafood and other ingredients are freshly selected each day. The perfect wine or cocktail compliments all dishes.
You’ll find DaVinci's Ristoranté at the same address at the Oyster Society, 599 S Collier Blvd, the Marco Walk Shopping Center. Da Vinci's is known for its Mediterranean cuisine, with emphasis on authentic Italian dishes. It has the only genuine pizza oven on the island.
DaVinci's prepares fresh pasta every day, which you can pair with your choice of homemade sauces. The appropriately selected wine compliments all the dishes. When on Marco Island, do as the Romans do!
Verdi’s American Bistro
Verdi serves fine eclectic dining. Begin your culinary adventure with a sinful baked brie and move on to the rack of lamb or crispy duck. Complete your meal with a rich, flourless German chocolate cake. Every dish has a unique twist – the mac and cheese incorporates lobster, and the crab cakes feature just the right amount of pork belly. There is both outdoor and indoor seating, and some people consider Verdi’s to have the best menu on Marco Island.
You'll find The Boulevard at 1000 N Collier Blvd. It's known for casual farm-to-table dining. All ingredients are fresh, and if possible, come from local farmers. Enjoy delicious sandwiches, salads, and end your meal with some cheesecake.
Considered by some to be Marco Island's best seafood restaurant, Fin Bistro takes fish and seafood to a new level. Convenient to the South End beach condos at 657 S Collier Boulevard, Fin Bistro should be considered a must-eat. They prepare locally caught fish in delicious and creative ways that will please everyone in your group. If seafood isn't your thing, their Wagyu beef burgers are crazy-good - a joy for the tastebuds.
Marco Prime Steaks
A romantic dinner for two is always on the table here. Marco Prime does steaks (real Wagyu beef) and seafood to perfection, along with a great wine list. The atmosphere guarantees a perfect Marco Island evening.
Things to do on Marco Island
Bringing Your Boat to Marco Island
Marco Island is the perfect paradise for boating and bringing your boat to Marco Island will provide you with a great deal of freedom and options in getting around the island and the surrounding area. If you need information on boating access ramps, consider that there are several launches on Marco Island. Check out Caxambas Park at 909 South Collier and Collier Boulevard Boating Park at 3620 Collier Boulevard. Call the Collier County Parks and Recreation for a permit to launch your boat at (239)-353-0404.
Marco Island has a surprisingly plethora of interesting activities for everyone. Whether you crave fun on the water or relaxing with a drink, this little island paradise will satisfy.
Cool Beans Cruises
Cool Beans Cruises (located at 377 Capri Blvd. in Naples) has several cruises perfect for all ages. The sunset champagne cruise is a treat for couples, while the Shelling Day Sail provides children with the opportunity to collect some of Florida's best shells.
The 42 ft. catamaran provides a private adventure for up to 20 guests, while the 25 ft. vessel is perfect for six people. Whether for fun or entertainment, Cool Beans Cruises has the ideal boat.
Segway Tour of Marco Island
A Segway is a fun way to explore Marco Island. Meet at the Holiday Inn parking lot at 571 W. Elkcam Circle for a few demonstrations in Segway safety, then cruise the city with your guide. If you are considering moving to Marco Island, it’s a great way to get to know the various neighborhoods.
Ten Thousand Islands Boat Tour
Get to know the big picture surrounding Marco Island on this unique tour given by Eco Endeavors. See the dolphins and manatees up close. You’ll also visit one of the remote islands to snorkel, swim, and revel in the almost otherworldly beauty of the scenery.
Wooten’s Everglade Airboat Tour
This thrilling tour takes you through the Everglades and Southern Florida swamps while learning about the natural wildlife such as lions and tigers in the Animal Sanctuary. Experience an alligator show and pet a baby alligator.
Marco Golf and Gardens
Take your kids for an 18-hole mini-golf game. It’s a great way to spend time with the youngsters. Then treat them to an old-fashioned milkshake or ice cream Sunday at Sweet Annie’s Ice Cream Parlour on 692 Bald Eagle Drive.
Marco Island Princess Sunset Dinner Cruise
Whether you are visiting or living on Marco Island, take advantage of the romantic surrounding. The Marco Island Princess has an intimate sunset dinner cruise. Enjoy some amore, delicious food, and two cash bars. Call (239) 642-5415 to learn more about the sunset and other delightful tours.
The Marco Players Theater
The Marco Players Theater is located on 1089 N Collier Blvd. and puts on plays and musical events from October through May. It’s a wonderful option for a romantic date night, followed by dinner.
It isn’t likely that you will tire of the sand and ocean, but you may yearn for something green at times. Marco Island has that, as well. Mackle Park has been a family favorite for 20 years. The park is located at 1361 Andalusia Terrace and includes the Frank E. Mackle Community Center. Come here for some bocce, shuffleboard, ping pong, and other games. The park is a beautiful place for strolling and jogging. Stop by the lake and check out the fountain and the birds and full assortment of wildlife.
The kids adore the playground and splashing in the lake. Of course, there is always kite flying and basketball to burn off some energy. There is a dedicated area for toddlers and another designated area for Fido.
Mackle Park is active throughout the year with Movies in the Park, Concerts in the Park, and Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny visits.
Hotels on Marco Island
JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
Sophistication and luxury rule here. The resort stretches along a three-mile pristine white sand beach. There are 12 restaurants on the property. The resort’s exclusive spa will rejuvenate you inside and out. All the rooms feature a balcony with a view.
The resort offers a sailing excursion on one of its six-passenger catamarans for a memorable Gulf of Mexico trip. This daily excursion is a two-and-a-half-hour adventure. The Marriott Resort may be an indulgence, but the sailing on the pure water of the Gulf is sheer luxury.
Guests have access to two luxurious nearby golf courses.
Marco Beach Ocean Resort
This ocean-front resort has over 100 large suites with private balconies facing either the Gulf of Mexico or the exotic tropical garden. There are plenty of dining options here, but consider Sale e Pepe, which specializes in Italian cuisine and is Marco Island’s only AAA Four-Diamond restaurant, a must-visit. The Marco Beach Ocean Resort offers indulgent spa services, indoor and outdoor pool, 24-hour concierge service, and a rooftop garden. All beach activities are available at your front door.
Marco Island Lakeside Inn
Away from the beach, Marco Island Lakeside Inn is located by the island’s only freshwater lake yet still within a mile of the beach. With its lovely garden and laid-back charm, this hotel is reminiscent of quieter times. There are only 25 suites with patios or decks, so Marco Island Lakeside Inn can quickly become your cozy home away from home. Its location allows you to explore Marco Island’s shopping and dining options. Grab a glass of wine and enjoy the splendid sunset over the lake.
Olde Marco Inn
Olde Marco Inn has large two-bedroom suites with full kitchens that are all reasonably priced. This makes the Inn ideal for a family vacation getaway. It is situated on the quieter north side, away from the significant hustle-bustle of the busy season. There are separate entrances to each suite and a pool.
You will find The Shops of Olde Marco filled with everything you are looking for, including a hair salon for shopping and restaurants. The Shops are located right by the Inn.
The Boat House on Marco Island
The unique Boat House Hotel, at the northern end of Marco Island, features 20 rooms and three larger units and a pool. Guests are steps away from local fishing, shopping, and restaurants.
Of interest to many guests is that the Boat House is next to one of the island’s boat docks. Bring your boat and moor it onsite. The other great thing about the Boat House is its proximity to The Snook Inn, Marco Island's most famous restaurant. It's a five-minute walk from the Boat House hotel.
For a comprehensive Marco Island hotel guide, click here.
Taxes on Marco Island
Sales tax on Marco Island is 7 percent, including the 6 percent Florida sales tax and the 1 percent Collier County sales tax. There is no separate Marco Island sales tax.
Collier County currently levies property taxes at a rate of 9.00 per $10,000. The property taxes are due in March, but discounts are available for early payment. Taxpayers enjoy a 4 percent discount for early payment in November. They'll get a 3 percent discount for payment in December and a 2 percent discount for payment in January. A discount of 1 percent is available for February tax payments. When shopping for your home on Marco Island, figure about 1% of the purchase price for annual property tax as a rule of thumb.
One massive advantage of retiring to Florida is that there is no personal income tax. It also doesn’t have a state tax. That means that income from your IRA, pensions, or 401(d), as well as Social Security, will not be taxed by the state. Saving thousands of dollars a year in retirement can substantially enhance your lifestyle.
Marco Island City Government
The day-to-day affairs of Marco Island are handled by the City Council, which operates out of City Hall on 50 Bald Eagle Drive. The Council has seven members, but all residents are encouraged to attend City Council meetings and hear their voices. The City Council appoints the City Manager. He or she is responsible for the administration and government departments on Marco Island.
Marco Island Health Care
Marco Island has three urgent care/family practice walk-in clinics that are open Monday through Friday. They can handle most non-emergency matters. The clinics are:
- Marco Island Medical Center at 531 Bald Eagle Drive, Marco Island.
- NCH Healthcare System, at 350 7th Street North, Naples.
- Physicians Regional Medical Group at 1839 San Marco Road, Marco Island
If you require special treatment for children, there is the Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida located at 9981 S Healthpark Drive, Fort Myers. This hospital is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For emergencies, there is the Physicians Regional Medical Center on 8300 Collier Blvd. in Naples, across the bridge from Marco Island.
Events on Marco Island
The Farmer's Market
The Veteran's Park Farmers Market each Wednesday is a tradition on Marco Island. This is the place for fresh produce, homemade goodies, such as jams, honey, soaps, and baked goods. It’s all delicious, fun, and a great place to meet your neighbors. You will also find a display of local arts and crafts.
Art Shows on Marco Island
Art Shows at the Esplanade are a fun way to decorate your Marco Island home with local artwork. You’ll find paintings, photographs, sculptures, and more. Call 239-394-4221 for more information.
Theater in Naples
Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall is located on 13350 FSW Pkwy, Fort Myers and is well worth the drive. It is the largest performance stage in southern Florida that stages Broadway plays on tour – plays such as Les Miserable, Wicked, and The Phantom of the Opera. They also have regular musical concerts.
Crime on Marco Island
It’s joyfully safe here on Marco Island. Our island has been rated third for safety. It was number one in 2018. On a scale of 1 to 100, Marco Island ranks 7.4 (with a national average of 22.7) in violent crimes, and it ranks 16 in property crimes (with a national average of 35.4.
Moving to Marco Island
Are you considering moving? People think about moving when they are looking for a better overall living experience with excellent local attractions. For many, this is what Florida represents – great weather, beaches, and plenty of things to do. You’ve undoubtedly driven around the state, looking for a location that calls out to you. Surrounded by blue skies and azure waters, it’s not an easy decision. How to choose among the many great places you see?
Perhaps someone told you about Marco Island. You might have found it by accident. But once you leave Naples, Florida and cross the Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge, you know you are in a different world. It’s as if you had just entered an Impressionist painting of clear waters, palm trees, and white, sandy beaches. Everything is clean and inviting.
You’re on Marco Island. It is off the mainland, but it is not isolated. You’re a bridge away from Naples. But most of what you are looking for, pristine beaches, fun activities, sophisticated dining, and shopping, are right here on Marco Island. It’s a small island that is living large.
Besides the beaches, Marco Island boasts 100 miles of canals flowing through the island, making most homes, including some grand estates, waterfront property. It’s a boat owner’s idea of heaven. Once people visit this paradise, they find it difficult to leave. Browse all Marco Island listings here.
More Marco Island Information
Of course, there is so much more to say about the incomparable Marco Island. If you ever have a question about the Marco Island lifestyle or the specifics of living on the island, don't hesitate to contact us at Land & Sea International Realty. Our local experts love living here and are always happy to answer your inquiries.