Where is Marco Island, FL? [And How to Get There]
October 17th 2022
If your heart is now set on traveling to Marco Island to experience this lush and luxurious vacation destination for yourself, one of the first things you’ll need to do is decide how you want to get there. Since Marco Island is a small island in the Gulf of Mexico, and does not have its own airport, it’s important to be prepared when it comes to your travel plans, as it may save you some time, money, and stress in the long run. Keep reading to discover exactly where Marco Island, FL is, how to get there, and the top things to do once you’re there to make this trip to the beach one for the books!
Table of Contents
- Where is Marco Island, FL?
- How to Get to Marco Island, FL
- Traveling by Car
- Traveling by Plane
- Traveling by Boat
- Traveling with a Group
- Top Things to do in Marco Island, FL
- Kayak Tours
- Boat Tours
- Day Trips and Excursions
Where is Marco Island, FL?
Pictured above are the breathtakingly beautiful beaches of Marco Island, FL
Where is Marco Island? Located on the west side of Florida in the southernmost point of the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island is considered to be the gateway to the Everglades, and is the largest of Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands. The Ten Thousand Islands are a cluster of islands comprising the second largest mangrove forest in the world, and house a plethora of rare and unique plants and animals. The northern part of the Ten Thousand Islands, from Marco Island to Everglades City, is in the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, while the southern part is located in Everglades National Park.
Pictured above is an aerial view of the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge
The Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge is the only system of Federal lands committed solely to wildlife, housing both populous and endangered species like the Florida manatee and the Atlantic loggerhead, for example. Because of Marco Island’s location in this chain of islands, visitors will have easy access to the Gulf of Mexico, Everglades National Park, Naples, FL, mangrove-lined estuaries, bays, and almost 100 miles of undeveloped islands. What this also means for the traveler is plenty of fun in the sun and outdoor activities like kayaking, birding, fishing, and more!
Pictured above is downtown Naples, FL, Marco Island’s nearby neighbor to the north
Aside from Marco Island’s placement in the Ten Thousand Islands, its close proximity to Naples, FL, allows for quick and easy access to big city necessities like spas, resorts, nightlife, shopping, etc. This is the ideal situation to experience serenity in a secluded beachside scenario, without being too secluded. Naples is about 20 miles north of Marco Island, depending on your location. Marco Island is also just a hop, skip, and a jump away from the Florida Keys, making it the perfect island hopping starting point! Below is the distance from Marco Island to popular islands in the Florida Keys, if traveling by car:
- Key Largo: 130 miles from Marco Island, and approximately 2.5 hours of travel time, pending traffic
- Islamorada: 150 miles from Marco Island, and approximately 3 hours of travel time, pending traffic
- Marathon: 180 miles from Marco Island, and approximately 3.5 hours of travel time, pending traffic
- Big Pine Key: 200 miles from Marco Island, and approximately 4 hours of travel time, pending traffic
- Key West: 230 miles from Marco Island, and approximately 4.5 hours of travel time, pending traffic
How to Get to Marco Island, FL
Pictured above is one of the two bridges that connect Marco Island to the mainland
Now that we’ve answered the, “Where is Marco Island, FL?” question, it’s time to figure out how to get there! Marco Island is a small island with no airport, and has two bridges that connect it to the mainland. If you are traveling from somewhere within driving distance, then getting there by car is the best option. If not, this may take a little planning, but have no fear, TripShock is here to help!
Traveling by Car
Pictured above is the Overseas Highway in Key West, the only way to travel by car from the Florida Keys to Marco Island. Image from Wikipedia
If you live close enough to drive to Marco Island, FL, or love a good road trip, then traveling by car is the way to go! If you’re traveling from the Keys, cruise down the Overseas Highway, and take in all of the wonderful scenic beauty that surrounds you. Traveling from north to south also provides stunning views, and plenty of opportunities to explore hidden wonders off the beaten path!
Traveling by Plane
One of the perks of traveling to Marco Island by plane is enjoying all the scenic views along the way
For those who live too far away to travel by boat or car, traveling by plane is going to be your best bet. As previously mentioned, Marco Island is a small island with no major airports. The only airport on the island itself is an executive airport, which you can fly into if you charter your own plane, or take your personal plane there. Since this option isn’t feasible for most, you will want to check flights at one of the following airports, as they are the closest ones to Marco Island:
The route you choose will depend on a variety of factors like price and location, but what most travelers do, depending on their itinerary, is fly into Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, and rent a car from there to Marco Island. This is the most efficient option when it comes to travel time, and renting a car will allow you to explore even more of this beautiful area! If you do decide to fly and prefer to not rent a car, it is recommended to check with the airport you’re flying into and ask about taxis and shuttle services.
Traveling by Boat
Traveling by boat is a great way to search for local wildlife. Image by Elin B via Flickr
If you plan on traveling by boat, you couldn’t have picked a better place to do so! Many of the top things to do in the area are enjoyed from a boat like searching for local wildlife and hunting for seashells, for example. And a boat ride to and from Marco Island couldn’t be any more scenic! With that being said, there are a few things to be aware of when it comes to traveling by boat to Marco Island. Since the area is mostly underdeveloped, and home to protected wildlife and habitats, it’s important to be aware of the local boating regulations which include the following:
- Idle Speed/No Wake in all canals, waterways, bays, within 500 feet of Marco Island beaches, and within 500 feet of seawalls
- U.S. Coast Guard “Rules of the Road” govern Marco Island navigation channels
- Boats should be properly documented, registered, and conform to U.S. Coast Guard regulations
- Damaging markers or mooring to them is not allowed
It is also very important for boaters to get the proper information regarding bridge clearance prior to launching their boat, since there are 14 bridges in the city. Click here for more information on this topic, as well as other important boating information. Another factor to consider and prepare for is docking and launching. Luckily, Marco Island takes boat life seriously, as many area hotels with docks or marinas can accommodate your boat, including the following:
- Parkway Motel & Marina
- Boat House Motel
- Bayfront Inn 5th Ave.
- Naples Bay Resort
- Port of the Islands Resort & Marina
If you’re staying at a different resort, or would just prefer to use a boat launch, public boat launches are also available throughout the city. Please be aware that you will need to purchase a recreational permit to launch a boat, and you can do so by contacting Collier County Parks and Recreation at 239-353-0404. Below are a few of the many public boat launches in Marco Island, for your convenience:
- Caxambas Park: 909 Collier Court, Marco Island, FL 34145
- Collier Boulevard Boating Park: 3620 Collier Boulevard, Naples, FL 34113
- Calusa Island Marina: 385 Angler Drive, Goodland, FL 34140
Traveling with a Group
Pictured above is the Big Cat Express Catamaran, used to shuttle travelers back and forth from Key West to Marco Island. Image courtesy of The Key West Express Fleet
This will also depend on where you’re traveling from, but if you’re traveling from somewhere nearby, it is recommended to check with local transportation services and tour operators before settling on your travel plans. Places like Miami, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, etc., will offer shuttle bus transportation to and from Marco Island. If you’re in the Florida Keys, for example, there are ferry boats that take travelers to Marco Island daily. When in Florida, the opportunity for unique experiences is all around you, you just simply have to look!
Top Things to do in Marco Island, FL
Now that you have the answers to the questions, “Where is Marco Island, FL?” and, “How do I get there?” it’s time to explore all the fun things there are to do in Marco Island! For being such a small island, you would be amazed at the amount of unforgettable experiences there are to be had there.
With everything from serene seaside shelling, to day trips leading you to untouched wilderness and unmatched scenic beauty, to world-class golfing, and so much more, there is something sure to peak everyone’s interests on magical Marco Island. Keep reading for a few of the top things to do on Marco Island to get you outdoors and have the time of your life!
Pictured above is a kayak paddling through droves of mangroves on a guided eco tour with Aquaterra Excursions, Inc
If you’re looking for an excursion that combines peace and serenity with fun and adventure, then a guided kayak tour from Marco Island should do the trick. Kayaking is a popular activity to try in the fall, winter, and spring, when temps are cooler. Take it slow and reconnect with nature as you paddle through the luscious landscapes, checking out all of the fantastic flora and fauna along the way. As you follow your local, expert tour guide, you’ll hear all the scoop about the area, and know that you’re experiencing the best of what it has to offer. Amazing sights you may encounter along the way include:
- Mangrove Tunnels
- Remote Islands
- Subtropical Wetlands
- Cypress Forests
- Native Flora and Fauna
Group of travelers having a blast on an adventure-seeking boat tour through Marco Island, FL
With so much natural beauty to explore, it’s no surprise that boat tours are one of the most popular things to do in Marco Island. Boat tours get you out on that gorgeous emerald water, and up-close-and-personal with Mother Nature herself! And with such a diverse ecosystem, each trip is different, and you never know what magical memories you and yours will be bringing home with you!
Typically lasting between 2 and 4 hours, boat tours are the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Most boat tours departing from Marco Island will take guests exploring through the Everglades, or traverse through the Ten Thousand Island National Wildlife Refuge. Some will even combine multiple activities for maximum fun like shelling, kayaking, photography, and more! One thing is for sure, however, you will want to be sure to keep an eye out for amazing animals like the following:
- Bald Eagles
- Sea Turtles
- And MORE!
Day Trips and Excursions
Pictured above is the Cape Romano Dome House, one of the best places to visit when enjoying a day trip/excursion from Marco Island, FL! Image from Wikimedia
Taking a day trip or excursion from Marco Island, FL, is a great way to take advantage of the city’s geographical location. Even though there is plenty to experience on the island itself to last the entire vacation, venturing out and exploring more of what the area has to offer is a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture and lifestyle. Not only that, day trips and excursions cover a wide range of topics, activities, and destinations, so there’s something to suit everyone’s vacation checklist!
Day trips and excursions departing from Marco Island will typically take guests exploring through the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge in search of native wildlife, adventure, and scenic views you truly have to see to believe! Being in such close proximity to so many amazing ecosystems, from the Gulf of Mexico to the Everglades, means there’s no limit to the wonders you can experience in this tropical picturesque paradise.
Even further, if you are vacationing with a boat or vehicle, you can make your own day trip/excursion tailored to your interests! Drive south, rent a boat in the Florida Keys, and search for coral and tropical fish, or cruise in your own personal watercraft along the shore and check out the area mansions and marine life, the choice is yours!
As you can see, Marco Island is a magical place full of rare and wonderful wildlife, natural beauty, and so many unforgettable things to do. While getting to Marco Island may be slightly unconventional, a little bit of planning goes a long way, and will help to ensure your safe and swift arrival. No matter if you’re traveling by boat, car, or plane, you’ll be happy you decided to make the trek to this blissful beachside retreat!
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