Located just south of Naples, Florida, and reachable from Southwest Florida International Airport in Ft. Myers, Marco Island is a gem of Florida Beach destination that is incredibly welcoming to families. Here are 5 fun activities your family will love on this sunny Florida Gulf Coast island.
Jet Ski the Ten Thousand Islands
Consider a stay at the lovely JW Marriott Marco Island, a Balinese-style property with everything a family needs for a week’s vacation right at the resort. From this family-friendly Florida hotel, you can jet-ski right off the beach for a guided tour of the Ten Thousand Islands in the Florida Everglades.
Kids can hop a ride with an adult, zipping through mangroves and spotting everything from eagles to plentiful dolphin to manatees — if you’re lucky! It’s a great opportunity to get extremely close to dolphins, who literally come right up to the jet-skis, and watch them hunt for their afternoon meal.
Beach-combing and Metal Detecting
Marco Island and Naples have absolutely fantastic shelling. During some seasons, you even need to wear water shoes into the ocean simply to avoid cutting your foot on a shell. A day spent meandering on the beach in search of the best shells, which may include whelks, olive shells and scallops, can make for great exercise and free souvenirs of your family vacation.
If you have a metal detector, it can be fun to scan the beach for lost “jewels,” which will no doubt capture the imagination of any child, especially when you dig up a few coins — even if you don’t find that elusive diamond ring.
Hunt for Dolphins
Kids will love the Dolphin Explorer Cruise on the island that not only heads out in search of these friendly mammals, but provides an educational component, getting kids involved in dolphin research. The three-hour tour, which leaves twice daily, records activities and behaviors of dolphin and lets children complete their own nature survey.
If they happen upon an unrecorded dolphin, they even get to name it! Don’t be late for this tour, which leaves promptly at the departure time.
Take a Boat Ride
Seeing the area by boat is a wonderful way to get a different perspective of the island. Not only can you head out into the Ten Thousand Islands, part of Everglades National Park, you can visit islands and great shelling spots that are only accessible by boat.
Don’t miss the out-of-this-world Cape Romano, which looks just like a scene out of Star Wars and is a former home that the ocean is now reclaiming. Choose from Marco Island boat rental companies at Rose Marina or Dolphin Cove Marina.
Pretend You’re a Pirate
All aboard the Black Pearl for the chance to make like you’re a pirate complete with clothing and tattoos! On this hour-long Marco Island pirate cruise, kids will go on an adventure to find Pirate Pete, who holds the keys to a treasure chest. Along the way, they’ll practice singing, talking and even dancing like the old buccaneers who used to rule the Florida coast. The fun concludes with a water cannon battle and a chance to share the pirate booty.
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