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The Best Marco Island Beaches in Florida to Fall in Love With

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on
May 3, 2022

Check out this guide to the best Marco Island Beaches in Florida!

If you’re planning a visit to Marco Island Florida, chances are you’ll be wanting to hit up some of the area’s best white sand beaches.

With so many beaches to choose from, perhaps you’re wondering which ones have chair rentals, concessions, watersports, and other family-friendly amenities.

Maybe you’re looking to find out about the Marco Island beaches that offer shelling and wildlife sightings?

The good news is that this beautiful area in Florida offers plenty of options for the entire family, whether you are looking for serene waters or action-packed activities.

This post will answer all your questions about Marco Island beaches, as well as give you an insider’s pick on which are the absolute best beaches in the area.

Keep reading to find out more about the best beaches on Marco Island!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. For more info, see disclosure.

Find out the best beaches in Marco Island, Florida from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!  #Floridabeaches #MarcoIsland #familytravel
Marco Island, Florida

What is Marco Island?

Marco Island is a small barrier island located in Southwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico.

With a permanent population of 16,000+, and a peak winter season population of 40,000, Marco Island features six miles of beach and over 100 miles of waterways within its 24 square miles.

In addition to some of the world’s best beaches, Marco Island is known for its world-class golf courses, multiple dining options, and fresh, local seafood, as well as its close proximity to Naples, Florida, and Everglades National Park.

(Marco Island is located 18 miles south of Naples and 31 miles northwest of Everglades National Park.)

Its 2 million+ annual tourists boast of both the sophisticated resort area and the more laid-back communities on the island, as well as the watersports, marine life, and hundreds of other things to do!

*Here’s our list of (our favorite!) things to do in Marco Island, Florida while on vacation! You’ll be amazed by the options!

Additional planning tip: Marco is located in an area of Southwest Florida that is more broadly known as the Paradise Coast.

Paradise Coast consists of 5 cities that are all in close proximity to one another: Naples, Marco Island, Everglades City, Immokalee, and Ave Maria.

The closest airport to Marco Island and the Paradise Coast is the Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) located in Fort Meyers, FL.

RSW is 47 miles north of Marco and the driving time is around 55 minutes.

Here is a list of additional airports located close to Marco Island, Florida.

When to Visit Marco Island

Though Marco Island is a great place to be enjoyed year-round, the best time to visit Marco is during the months of March to May.

From early March to late May, daytime temperatures range in the mid-80s (perfect beach weather!), and this is also the season when you’ll enjoy moderate crowds and fair prices.

Another popular time to visit Marco Island is during the winter months of December to February.

During the winter months, you can expect clear skies and average temps in the mid-70s (perfect for golf!).

It is during the winter months that you’ll experience peak crowds and price hikes, however.

For those looking to get away during the summer months, Marco offers the same great attractions but with high humidity and temperatures in the high 80s and 90s.

In order to make these months more tolerable, it is important to understand how to stay cool in the Florida heat as it is quite intense.

Additional planning tip: Be mindful that Florida’s hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30, with the peak of the season being the first week of September.

If anything, expect sporadic rainfall during these months.

*Get our Florida Packing List that includes what to pack for all types of weather, here!

Marco Island beach photo
Marco Island, Florida family vacation

Best Beaches on Marco Island Florida

All of Marco Island’s beaches are relatively flat and create a gentle slope into the water creating conditions that are great for kids and older adults.

In addition, most of Marco’s beaches are regularly raked and tilled by tractors and beach equipment.

This is done to keep the seaweed from piling up, to keep the sand and shells from forming a hard crust, as well as to keep the insect population down – all things that make conditions more pleasant for beach-goers.

Despite there being dozens of beautiful beaches in and around Marco, there are only 2 places with public beach access located directly on Marco Island itself: Tigertail Beach and South Marco Beach.

The additional beaches on this list are found on nearby islands, in local communities, or are for private use only if staying at a long-term Airbnb vs. VRBO.

1. Tigertail Beach Park

Where: 430 Hernando Drive, Marco Island, FL 34145 (This GPS address will take you to a small parking area right outside Tigertail Beach Café. There’s another small parking area just past the café at a roundabout. )

Tigertail Beach Hours: Year-round, daily, 8 AM – sunset
Tigertail Beach Parking Cost: $8 parking fee per vehicle

One of the most popular beaches on Marco Island is Tigertail Beach Park, which also happens to be one of the best shelling beaches in Florida!

Tigertail Beach Park is incredibly unique in that it is home to 2 very different swimming areas (the ocean and a lagoon), a bird-watching tower, tidal pools, and paddle boat, kayak, stand-up paddleboard, and beach bike rentals by the hour.

Other amenities include beach chair rentals, a picnic area with tables and grills, a playground, and clean and easy-to-find restroom facilities.

The only downside is that you do need to walk almost half of a mile to the water’s edge by way of 2 different options.

The first, more adventurous option is to wade through the lagoon that is right next to the parking area.

The depth of the lagoon ranges from ankle deep to about a grown adult’s waist.

The lagoon is about 50 yards wide at high tide, however, is by far, a much shorter path to get to the beach.

The second option is to avoid getting wet by walking around the lagoon which is at minimum, a 15-minute walk from the parking lot to the ocean.

This is obviously the better choice for those with strollers, wheelchairs, or beach carts.

Once arriving at the water you’ll be greeted by a large, pristine, white-sandy beach that is loved by both kids and adults!

Pets are not permitted on Tigertail Beach, nor is alcohol.

The beach is also extremely quiet and non-lifeguard staffed, so expect a relaxing and peaceful escape.

There are 210 paid parking spaces available.

*Find our list (with shopping links!) of the best beach bags for moms to help carry and store your beach gear!

Beaches in Marco Island
Sand Dollar Island

2. Sand Dollar Island

This main part of Tigertail Beach across from the lagoon is Sand Dollar Island, otherwise known as Sand Dollar Spit.

Sand Dollar Spit is a small remote beach in Marco Island that is a popular place for couples and families.

Once you arrive, you will be stunned by the beautiful turquoise color of the water as well as the presence of both seashells and sand dollars.

You’ll also be impressed with the lack of trash.

A cherished home to wildlife, locals work hard to keep it free from debris.

Hours, parking, and amenities are those associated with Tigertail Beach Park, as once again, Sand Dollar Spit is part of the Tigertail complex (though you’ll just have to walk a bit farther to get to them).

South Marco Beach in Marco Island
South Marco

3. South Marco Beach

Where: 930 Swallow Avenue, Marco Island, FL 34145
South Beach Hours: Year-round, daily, 8 AM – dusk
South Beach Parking Cost: $8 daily per vehicle

Another one of the Marco Island public beaches, South Marco Beach, is located in South Marco Island.

South Marco Beach is ideal for families as it is clean and has shallow water.

In addition, the firmer sand near the water makes it ideal for a walk, jog, or bike ride.

South Marco isn’t as popular as Tigertail Beach, however, as there are no amenities so you have to bring your own chairs, umbrellas, drinks, and snacks.

The parking lot (plus restroom facilities) is located across the street from the beach on Swallow Avenue, just a short walk across South Collier Boulevard.

All of the beach access points have free foot-washing stations and child-size life jackets available to be borrowed during your time at the beach.

There are 70 paid parking spaces available.

*If you’re looking for another great beach getaway, check out our list of the best beaches in Destin, Florida that you and the kids will love!

4. Keewaydin Island

One of the most popular beaches to visit near Marco Island is Keewaydin Island.

Home to 8-miles of untouched white sand, this island beach is only accessible by boat, and it is the only pet-friendly beach in the area. 

Options to get to Keewaydin Island include:

  • The Hemingway Water Shuttle – The (pet-friendly) shuttle departs seven times a day from Rose Marina in Marco Island. The cost for the shuttle is $44 for adults and $22 for children under the age of 12. The Hemingway Water Shuttle ride from Marco Island to Keewaydin Island takes 30-40 minutes one way; both drop-off and pick-up are available.
  • Take a boat tour, shelling, or dolphin cruise. There are several regular sightseeing boat trips which include stops at Keewaydin Island for exploring and shelling. Guided tours include the Sweet Liberty sailing catamaran, Miss Naples sailing catamaran, and ones offered by both Pure Florida and Dolphin Explorer.
  • Rent your own boar for the day. You can captain your own way to Keewaydin Island by renting a boat from a local marina in Naples, FL or Marco Island. Options include rentals from Pure Florida, Extreme Boat Rentals, or Rose Marina. 

Keewaydin Island does not offer bathroom facilities and there are no amenities other than a “burger barge” that routinely anchors on the east side of the island.

The burger barge, called Just Beachy Burgers, serves ice cream, hot dogs, sandwiches, sodas, and beer.

Additional planning tip: Due to the island’s remote location and lack of amenities, it is absolutely essential to review our beach packing list so that you don’t forget to bring the necessities.

Keewaydin Island in Marco Island, Florida
Hideaway Beach

5. Hideaway Beach

Where: 250 S Beach Dr, Marco Island, FL 34145

Unless you are a member of the Hideaway Beach Club, you won’t be able to go to Hideaway Beach as it is in a private gated community.

Nonetheless, it may be worth checking out in the off-chance that you purchase a condominium within the community.

Hideaway Beach spans a breathtaking 2.5 miles, so there is always plenty of room to relax without being crowded.

In addition, it has the most amazing white sands, often described as “sugar-white”, as well as waters that are very still and relaxing.

Hideaway Beach is a tranquil place to visit if you are able to qualify for access.

6. Residents Beach

Where: 130 N Collier Blvd, Marco Island, FL 34145

Between Tigertail Beach Park and South Marco Beach is Resident’s Beach, which is lined with most of Marco’s high-rise hotels and luxury resorts.

As its name suggests, you need to be a resident or have a lease for a least one month to obtain access to the beach, facilities, and tiki huts on this perfect stretch of beach.

According to the Resident’s Beach website, “Membership includes the use of the most beautiful beach in the world, dining at the Paradise Grill with shaded tables, convenient parking, restrooms, showers, picnic areas with charcoal grills, playground, beach wheelchairs with easy handicap access to facilities and many other benefits such as family-friendly concert events on the green.”

This membership gives you access to Sarazen Park South Beach as well.

Here, you’ll often find live music to listen to, a picnic area for eating outdoors, and a playground for kids.

7. Vanderbilt Beach

Where: 100 Vanderbilt Beach Rd, Naples, FL 34108

Vanderbilt Beach Hours: Year-round, daily, 8 AM – sunset
Vanderbilt Beach Parking Cost: $10 daily per vehicle

Vanderbilt Beach is located 32 miles north of Marco Island in Naples, Florida.

As another one of our favorite family vacation spots, the Naples beaches are among the absolute best things to do in Naples, and we strongly recommend visiting there if you have the chance.

Vanderbilt Beach has a large covered parking garage adjacent to the beach access, as well as public showers, restrooms, and even wheelchair access.

It is a smaller beach, so it is popular with families.

At Vanderbilt Beach, you’ll probably mingle with guests of the Vanderbilt Beach Resort and the Ritz-Carlton, Naples as the beach is positioned between these two luxury resorts.

8. Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park

Where: 11135 Gulf Shore Dr, Naples, FL 34108

Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park is home to another beautiful beach in nearby Naples, Florida.

Here, you’ll find a pristine, mile-long white sand beach complete with picnic areas with grills, restrooms and showers, as well as paddleboards, kayaks, canoes, umbrellas and beach chairs for rent.

Likewise, if you enjoy birdwatching, then this beach is the beach for you!

Delnor-Wiggins is part of the Great Florida Birding & Wildlife Trail, so you know there will be plenty of unique and lovely birds to see.

The best place to see them is from the observation tower found there, so be sure to check that out.

Admission is $4 per vehicle carrying one passenger, $6 per vehicle carrying 2-8 passengers, or $2 per pedestrian, bicyclist, or extra passenger.

There is also a boat ramp available at the park whose fee is $5 plus tax in addition to the admission fee.

Other beaches in Naples, Florida include:

  • Naples Municipal Beach: 10 miles of flawless white sand beach and home to the iconic Naples Pier. The beach features a concession stand, volleyball courts, picnic tables, restrooms and showers, as well as children’s lifejackets available to borrow free of charge.
  • Clam Pass Park Beach: 3,200 feet of soft white sand beach and calm waters secluded behind a wide mangrove forest. Reach it by walking a three-quarter-mile boardwalk through the mangroves, or make the trip on the free shuttle from the beach’s parking lot. Concession area, picnic pavilions, kayak and canoe launch, restrooms and showers.
  • Lowdermilk Park on Naples Beach: 1,000 feet of pristine beachfront close to downtown shops and restaurants. Family-friendly shallow water with picnic areas, playgrounds, a concession stand, restrooms, and outdoor showers.
  • Barefoot Beach Preserve: Restrooms, showers, and a mile-long boardwalk nature trail, as well as estuary waters for canoe tours and a long stretch of natural beach. 
Cape Romano dome houses
Cape Romano Dome House

9. Cape Romano

Where: 909 Collier Ct, Marco Island, FL 34145

Update: Sadly, the Camp Romano Dome House, along with much of Fort Myers, was destroyed by Hurricane Ian. Now, just the concrete top of one of the dome homes can be seen at low tide.

Down on the southernmost tip of Marco Island lies the scenic Cape Romano, which is only accessible by boat.

Cape Romano is part of the Ten Thousand Islands preserve and is a major landing point for thousands of migratory birds each year.

Though small, the pristine beaches here are largely unoccupied, leaving you plenty of space to catch some rays, go for a swim, and check out the local wildlife.

Visitors can walk from one sandbar to another while swimming, wading, and enjoying the natural beauty.

People also love to take Instagram-worthy pictures of the quirky Dome Homes that hover about the water here.

They were built in the 1980s but have since been abandoned, however, continue to be a popular place for scuba divers, kayakers, and photographers.

This preserve is a safe haven for many migratory birds, some of which are easiest to see right from this location.

*Plan and price a Cape Romano Shelling and Sightseeing Tour here!

Where to Stay on Marco Island

Visit here for discounted prices and a full list of Marco Island accommodations.

If your budget allows, however, I personally recommend that you stay at one of the beachfront Marco Island resorts.

Staying directly on the beach has so many advantages including not having to drive for beach access, and being able to see the amazing Marco sunsets directly from your hotel.

Our absolute favorite Marco Island hotels that we recommend time and time again include:

Marco Island Beaches Conclusion

Hopefully, our list of the best beaches Marco Island has provided you with helpful information for your upcoming Florida family vacation.

My hope is for you to have an amazing and carefree experience!

Before you go, don’t forget to read our family packing tips.

Last, consult our top tips on flying with kids, and road-tripping with kids (depending on how you plan to get there) to keep the kids calm and happy while traveling!

Finally, if you’re looking for some additional family-friendly Florida vacation itineraries, be sure to check out our other favorite spots:

*Before leaving, be sure to check our Travel Resources Page to find exclusive travel discounts and to book hotels, rental cars, and guided tours.*

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Find out the best beaches in Marco Island, Florida from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!  #Floridabeaches #MarcoIsland #familytravel
Find out the best beaches in Marco Island, Florida from top US family travel blog, Travel With A Plan!  #Floridabeaches #MarcoIsland #familytravel
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Hi, I'm Jen - founder of the award-winning travel blog, Travel With A Plan! I help families plan fun & fulfilling family vacations by sharing our exact itineraries and "best things to do" lists to popular US vacation spots. Take the stress out of planning a family vacation by using our detailed destination guides and ultra-convenient packing lists to help you travel better. We'll show you how hassle-free family travel is possible - when you travel with a plan!

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