- Travel and Places»
- Visiting North America»
- United States
Marco Island - for Baby Boomers and Seniors
Marco Island, Florida
Are you trying to come up with some vacation ideas? Do you love beautiful sandy beaches and warm water with calm surf? If so, you might want to consider Marco Island, Florida, located in the Gulf of Mexico. It’s the largest of the 10,000 Islands and is a great vacation destination for just about anyone, but the Baby Boomer generation and active seniors will especially enjoy this little hideaway. It’s great for peace and quiet, but it’s also great for active seniors and Boomers who want to see and do a lot. Located just twenty miles from Naples, the sub-tropical balmy climate is luxurious all year, and it provides a wealth of natural beauty. This part of the state is referred to as “The Paradise Coast” for a reason. The island is small – just six miles long and four miles wide, and it’s not usually very crowded except for the months of January, February, and March, when “snowbirds” are escaping the harsh winters of the north. This area of Southwest Florida is also rich in history, culture, and wildlife, and even though the island is decidedly laid back and lazy, you’ll find plenty to do and see on Marco Island.
Marco Island, Florida
Marco Island Weather
One thing that draws visitors to this place is the wonderful Marco Island weather. Florida is called the Sunshine State for a reason. The island experiences 266 sunny days a year, which is a lot more than the average U.S. city gets. The hottest temperatures are usually in July, when the mercury hovers just over 90 degrees. Of course, the welcome breezes from the Gulf often make the balmy temps pretty comfortable.
The coldest temperatures are usually in January, when the average low is around 54 degrees. The average highs in January reach 77 degrees, which is almost perfect. Even better, winter is the dry season here, so you’ll have an excellent chance of enjoying lots of warm winter sunshine. And speaking of sunshine, you’ll often see it even on rainy days. The rainy season is mid-summer through early fall, but even then, showers and storms are often short-lived.
While you’re staying on Marco, you’ll be able to take advantage of lots of Florida attractions that are located in the southwestern part of the state, along with some specific Marco Island activities. The biggest and most obvious attraction on Marco Island is the beach – powdery white sand, clear blue-green water, and gentle surf. Guests can enjoy swimming, jet skiing, parasailing, snorkeling, scuba diving, or just floating the shallows on a raft, viewing the amazing marine life. Once the tide goes out, you can indulge in some world-class shelling. Some of the most beautiful sea shells on the globe are found on the shores of Marco Island.
The nearby Everglades are a must-see when visiting Marco Island! Fascinating tours aboard an air boat will put you up close to all kinds of animals, including gators, deer, and beautiful birds. If you’re really lucky, you might spot a Florida panther. If you want something a little slower paced, you can rent a bicycle and tour the Glades along the bike paths – a great way to enjoy bird watching.
Nature lovers will also enjoy a visit to the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens – 52 acres of exotic animals and historic botanical gardens, viewable from comfortable paved pathways and by boat. To see native wildlife in their natural surroundings, visit the 90,000-acre Babcock Wilderness Adventure in nearby Naples, where special swamp buggies carry visitors through rugged pine woods, marshlands, and cypress swamps.
For more watery adventures, take a cruise from Marco Island. All kinds of short cruises and water tours are available. These include manatee and dolphin encounters, relaxing sunset cruises, sightseeing cruises, floating parties, and cruises that offer dining and dancing. Another cruise option is a quick trip to Key West aboard the Express. The boat has two air conditioned cabins, a sun deck, and a full galley and bar, and it’s a great way to see the Keys without having to drive.
Lots of Boomers and seniors are history buffs. They’ll enjoy the Cushing Archeological Site, one of the most important digs North America. For more history, visitors to the Collier County Museum will see artifacts of the Calusa Indians, the Seminole, and early pioneers of the area. Yet another place rich in history near Marco Island is the Palm Cottage in Naples. Built in the 1800s from local materials, the home gives visitors an insight into the lives of southwestern Floridians who lived here over a hundred years ago.
Golfing Boomers and seniors will find several beautifully landscaped courses in the Marco Island area, and there’s a course for every ability level – from novice to old pro. Collier County Racquet Club offers tennis on clay courts and lighted grass courts. For those in really good shape, there’s a racquetball court, too.
You can literally shop till you drop at Marco Island. Marco Town Center Mall has the look and feel of an old Florida village, with cobblestone walks, tin roofs, interesting architecture, and lush tropical foliage and flowers. The stores offer upscale clothing, hard-to-find gift items, and home décor. The Esplanade Shoppes, on Smokehouse Bay, mimics a coastal Italian village and houses world-class stores, boutiques, fine dining, and specialty shops. For those searching for bargains, you’re sure to find several at one of the many outlet stores in the Marco Island area.
Fishing in and around Marco Island is amazing. Cast from the beach for some surf fishing, fish from the pier, or take a guided trip into the island’s backwater for tarpon, snook, redfish, and trout. If you seek larger game, a charter boat will take you out deep sea fishing to the reefs and submerged wrecks for bonito, sharks, ling, amberjack, grouper, and snapper. The crew will bait your hook, remove your fish, and even clean and bag them for you – all you have to do is enjoy!
Beautiful Marco Island:
Marco Island Restaurants
Like good food? Really good food? You’re in luck. The Marco Island area has over 80 eateries, ranging from sandwich shops to ritzy restaurants. Enjoy a relaxing meal by candlelight on the water, hit one of the Marco Island seafood shacks, or indulge in a frozen tropical drink at a tiki bar. After dinner, there’s dancing, or you might prefer taking in a show at the comedy club, where big-name entertainers are often found. You can party all night, IF you have the energy!
Some of the most popular Marco Island restaurants are Lee Be Fish, a quaint little cottage that serves super fresh shrimp and fish at very reasonable prices; the Red Rooster, where you definitely need to go for an awesome breakfast; Verdi’s, which is a little pricey but a wonderful venue for a romantic dinner; and Island Café, which provides a warm atmosphere and superb food with a dash of elegance. If you’re in the mood for pizza, try Arturo’s or Davinci.
Is your palate craving something else? No problem! You can find freshly made deli sandwiches, Italian food, quality steaks, Irish pub food, hamburgers, Austrian cuisine, Hawaiian fare, French cuisine, Mediterranean cuisine, Japanese, Chinese, Mexican, sushi, barbecue, bakeries, bagels, coffees, ice cream treats, and more. You could eat yourself silly!
Marco Island Hotels
As for where to stay, you'll have a choice of a Marco Island hotel, a resort, a private home, a villa, or a condominium in the area. These range from luxurious to modest, and you're sure to find one that suits you. Prices start at under $100 a night and go up to over $400 per night.
At the lower end of the price spectrum are Marco Bay Resort, Olde Marco Island Inn and Suites, Boat House Motel, and Marco Island Lakeside Inn. Marco Bay Resort is situated on the Marco River and includes three hot tubs, two swimming pools, tennis courts, and outdoor balconies. There’s a marina right next door, so if fishing or boating is your thing, boat rentals are close by. Olde Marco Island Inn is about five minutes from the closest beach, and it includes a swimming pool, gardens, a hot tub, and a great restaurant. The Boat House Motel is located right on the Marco River, and you can fish from the dock. It has a nice outdoor pool, and if you bring your own boat, you can leave it in the water steps from your room. Lakeside Inn is located on a lake, but no swimming is allowed. There is a sandy area, however, where you can soak up the rays, along with a heated swimming pool.
The more expensive Marco Island Hotels include The Charter Club, The Surf Club, Club Regency, and Marriott’s Crystal Shores. The Charter Club is on the beach and provides a heated swimming pool, a pool for kids, a hot tub, a fitness room, a shuffleboard court, a bocce ball court, and two tennis courts. Each unit has two bedrooms, a balcony, a full kitchen, and a washer and dryer.
The Surf Club is on the beach, which is accessible via a walkway. Amenities include a heated pool, three tennis courts, shuffleboard courts, a laundry, grilling areas, and golf. Each two-bedroom unit has a private balcony, a full kitchen, video player, and cable television.
Club Regency is located on the beach and has raised walkways to the sand. Included are basketball courts, shuffleboard courts, tennis courts, a heated pool, a sun deck, a laundry, covered parking, BBQ grills, and watersports equipment rentals. Each villa includes two bedrooms, two baths, a full kitchen, and a living/dining room.
Marriott’s Crystal Shores is on the Gulf and offers two outdoor swimming pools – one with a slide the kids will love. It also has a whirlpool, a jogging trail, volleyball courts, a fitness center, and table tennis. Special programs and activities are provided for kids, and there’s an on-site restaurant. Guest rooms, two-bedroom villas, and three-bedroom villas are available.
Marco Island Resorts
Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between hotels, condos, and resorts. I mean, really – how do you tell the difference? Here, I’m mostly using Marco Island Resorts for the places that actually use the term “resort” in their name. They include Hilton Marco Island Beach Resort, Marco Island Marriott Resort, and Marco Beach Ocean Resort. I apologize if this is somewhat confusing.
The Hilton Beach Resort is located on the beach and has an outdoor heated pool, a hot tub, a beach bar, valet parking, and a spa. There are also three restaurants on site. The resort was awarded the AAA 4-diamond rating. Rooms and suites are available. Each room has a furnished balcony, a safe, a sleeper sofa, and a refrigerator.
The Marriott Resort sits on three miles of white beach and includes a spa, two championship golf courses, two catamarans, eight restaurants, and amazing swimming pools with waterfalls. Lots of excursions are available, too, and there are special events for kids. Rent a room, a Gulf-front suite, a lanai suite, a penthouse, or the luxurious presidential suite.
Marco Beach Ocean Resort is right on the beach, and you can get food and drink orders delivered right to your lounge chair. The resort also has a heated outdoor pool with private cabanas, a hot tub, a spa, a fitness center, and six restaurants/bars. One and two bedroom suites are available, and all include marble bathrooms, full kitchens, safes, private balconies or terraces, glass doors, free WiFi, and round-the-clock in-room dining.
Marco Island Condos:
Marco Island Condos
I’m not even going to attempt to describe all the Marco Island condos! Suffice it to say that you can find one to suit your needs. Many are beachfront condos, but some are located within walking distance to the beach. Others are located on a lake, river, a bay, or a canal. There’s a wide range of prices, with beachfront condos usually being more expensive. If you have your heart set on only oceanfront condos, read the rental descriptions carefully before sending in your deposit. Just because a condo or other vacation rental describes the property as “waterfront” doesn’t mean that it’s on the beach. It could be on any body of water and use that term.
Some of the Marco Island Condos that are right on the beach include Admiralty House, Apollo, Crow’s Nest, Hideaway Beach, Les Falls, Madeira, Marbelle Club, Mirage on the Gulf, Princess del Mar, Royal Seafarer, Sandcastle I, Sandcastle II, Sandpiper, Sea Winds, Shipp’s Landing, Somerset, South Seas, Summit House, Sunset House, Sunset House North, and Tradewinds. Wow – that’s a lot of beachfront condos for such a small island!
Beach Houses For Rent
I have three daughters, three sons-in-law, nine grandchildren, and a husband, which comes to a total of seventeen folks. As I’ve already mentioned, we enjoy family vacations together, and we often search for private homes that are listed as beach rentals. We like to stay together, under the same roof, but it’s not always easy to find a home that’s large enough to accommodate all of us comfortably. We’ve been pretty lucky so far, though, especially with VRBO.
If you’re looking for beach houses for rent, check out Vacation Rentals By Owner, or VRBO. We’ve used the site many times and have never had any real problems. Marco Island rentals include private homes with swimming pools, on canals, or right on the beach. Since this a small island, no matter where you stay, you won’t be far from the water and the beautiful sand. The beach houses for rent on VRBO range from lodging for two to sprawling vacation homes that provide plenty of room for sixteen or seventeen people.
Many of the homes are cheaper to rent during the summer than they are in the winter, but this isn’t the case with every home. If you’re a senior, perhaps you’re retired. If that’s the case, maybe you don’t have to plan your vacations very far in advance, and you can often take advantage of last minute deals, so be sure to check those out, too.
South Marco Beach:
My family and I love beach vacations! We’ve traveled to many Florida beaches, from Amelia Island to Miami and from Marco Island all the way up the peninsula through the panhandle to the Alabama state line. We’ve enjoyed all our family vacations, but I have to say that Southwest Florida has its own unique charm and inherent natural beauty. There’s so much to do and see at and near Marco Island, your schedule will always be full – if that’s what you want. If, on the other hand, your idea of great beach vacations is relaxing in the sun on a beautiful beach and watching the world go by as all your stress and worry melts away, you can do that, too. On Marco Island, there’s as much or as little as you want to do – the choice is entirely up to you!