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Exploring Marco Island: More Than Just the Beach

twilight on the beach of marco island with lit up buildings in the background

Many people (perhaps even yourself included) find out about Marco Island in their search for a beach vacation getaway. As a local who has grown a family here, we often hear visitors explain how they came for a simple beach retreat – a beautiful stretch of white sand to call their own for a week and to kick back and relax to the gentle hum of waves without having to think about work. 

We don’t blame you! Marco Island is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. With six miles of beaches and 100 miles of waterways within its 24 square miles, Marco Island proudly boasts the title of the largest Barrier Island within Florida’s Ten Thousand Islands area. 

If you come for the beach, we can assure you that you will not be disappointed, but Marco Island is more than just a beach.  In fact, it is more than you could possibly imagine. With unequaled access to wildlife, mysterious ancient history, alien-like coastal structures, and more, visitors quickly realize they’ve found a hidden sun-soaked gem that will have you thinking of excuses to return as soon as possible! 

From the unique insight of a Marco Island local company, here are the top Marco Island attractions that make our home more than just a beach! 

1. The Deep History of Marco Island

The history of Marco Island begins at least 6,000 years ago at the arrival of the fierce Calusa Indians. With the finding of ancient burial mounds and artifacts from this civilization, Marco Island is home to one of the most important archaeological sites in North America. Among artifacts of pottery, animal carcasses, shell tools, arrowheads and harpoon spears made from shells, perhaps the most well-known discovery is the Key Marco Cat, which is described as one of the finest pieces of Pre-Columbian Native American art ever discovered in North America. It has survived against all odds, and you can see it for yourself by visiting the exhibit where it is on display at the Marco Island Historical Museum until April 2026. 

Ancient and vanished civilizations are not the end of Marco Island’s history. Visitors can also learn about the arrival of Spanish explorers in the 1500’s who would go on to name the island, “La Isla de San Marco”, or rest with a cool drink or overnight stay at the Olde Marco Island Inn which dates back to the 1800’s. 

2. Unmatched Access to Nature 

Marco Island attractions include access to nature unlike anywhere else in the world. In addition to the beautiful plants and flowers you’ll see, there is a great variety of animal species including: 

  • Burrowing owls
  • Brown pelicans
  • Gopher tortoises
  • Bald eagles
  • Sea turtles
  • Bobcats
  • Panthers
  • White Egret
  • Black Skimmer
  • Manatee
  • Dolphins 
  • And more! 

When visiting Marco Island, it is imperative that you take advantage of being able to explore the tropical paradise and experience all of its wildlife. The best way to achieve this, by far, is going on a jet ski tour. Take a thrilling 30-mile round trip into the 10,000 islands, experiencing a mix of wildlife education and adrenaline-fueled adventure on a personal jet ski. You can expect up-close encounters with the island’s aquatic wildlife, including unforgettable side-by-side journeys with playful dolphins. Jet ski tours are a great activity for families and people of all ages and experience levels. At Avi’s Watersports, our Marco Island jet ski dolphin tour offers an exciting and memorable experience for families looking to create lasting memories. It is truly a Marco Island attraction you cannot miss! 

3. Fascinating Cultural Centers

Marco Island is steeped in a unique culture for you to enjoy. From a weekly farmers market and the Marco Island Center for the Arts to the plethora of marinas and the Island Theater Company, you’ll instantly feel immersed in the local culture. We also have several parks (including the visitor-favorite Canine Cove), a historic Catholic Church, pineapple plantations, a classic movie theater, and numerous salons and spas. There’s something for everyone, and the culture of Marco Island will be sure to make you feel at home. 

4. Sports and Activities 

Marco Island includes several attractions for sports lovers as well. You can experience some of the best golf in the world with scenic tee-offs and views of the city and the sea. Visitors can also find several bicycle rental shops, putt-putt golf and games at Marco Golf and Garden, plenty of fishing opportunities, tennis courts, paddle boarding and kayak rental shops, pedal boating clubs, and even fitness and gym centers across the island. 

Come for the Beach, Stay for the Fun

You’re not alone in wanting to relax on the beach for your vacation, but after a day or two of recouping your energy, you’ll surely want to tap into the extensive Marco Island attractions. Between all the attractions we discussed (history, wildlife, culture, and sports) there’s one activity that will ensure you can do it all! Reach out to Avi’s Watersports to learn more about our jet ski tours and how they can turn your vacation into the experience of a lifetime. 

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