A Guide to Marco Island’s Beaches
Marco Island counts Tigertail (on the island’s northern end) and South Beach (on – you guessed it – the southern end) among its beautiful, family-friendly beaches. Here, miles of shell-encrusted shores and small, white-capped waves break gently onto the shore.
Birders and nature enthusiasts will revel in the flora and fauna at Tigertail, while beachgoers looking for a relaxing day at the beach will find it at South Beach, where the livin’s easy and the sunsets are legendary.
Looking for something a little more secluded? Take a 30-minute boat ride to Keewaydin Island, where you’ll find a remote, mostly uninhabited beach popular with locals and visitors alike.
You’ll also note Residents’ Beach on the map above. This private, members-only beach is only open to Marco Island residents or those renting on the island for longer than one month. Hideaway Beach also a private beach, restricted to members and residents of the Hideaway Beach Club.
Tigertail Beach: For Nature Lovers
Birding enthusiasts and beachgoers looking for a one-of-a-kind beach experience will find it at Tigertail, where mangroves and other native flora make a stunning setting for a laid-back lagoon beach that offers water sports such as stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, water trikes, and paddleboating.
Grab refreshments at the beach café, then take in the local wildlife from the newly constructed observation deck, which offers great bird-watching: During nesting season, it becomes one of the largest coastal nesting areas in the state.
Tigertail has excellent public facilities including parking, grills, a playground, and bathrooms. Park your car for $8 a day, or ride your bike and park it in one of the plentiful free spots.
Important note: To get to the Gulf side, you must either walk around the lagoon or traverse through its 2-3 foot deep waters. But those who do so will be richly rewarded with a beautiful, family-friendly beach.
At the northern tip of Tigertail, you’ll find a remote beach known as Sand Dollar Spit, where sand dollars and shells abound.
South Beach: For Sun & Adventures
Sun-worshippers looking for an old-fashioned day at the beach will find paradise on South Beach. Let the gentle waters of the Gulf crash against your ankles, or stretch out with some beach reading for a lazy afternoon in the sun.
Stroll into the chickee bar at the Apollo’s Sunset Grille and nosh on the blackened mahi mahi, or take your drink to go. Just be sure to leave only your footprints. Straws and other trash can harm Marco Island’s wildlife – especially the sea turtles that use this beach as their nesting sanctuary.
The Gulf’s famously gentle waters make this a perfect beach for kayaking or paddleboating; rentals are available on the beach. Marco Island Water Sports, located a half-mile up the beach, offers everything from waverunner rentals and parasailing to dolphin watching and sunset cruises.
Both of our beachfront vacation condos, the Apollo and Sea Winds, are located directly on South Beach, with non-public restrooms available in the complex pool area. And don’t worry about parking, either – it’s provided with our rentals, and the beach is just an easy stroll down from your Gulfront vacation condo.
Each condo comes equipped with beach chairs, beach towels, sun umbrella and cooler. In the event that there’s something you want that we don’t offer, Beach Bum Equipment Rentals will provide free delivery to either condo. Their easy up tents (8 by 10 feet) will provide enough shade for 4 to 6 chairs. Ask for Holly and she will provide you with their lowest guaranteed pricing.
Keewaydin Island: For Secret-Seekers
For boaters and vacationers who can’t resist a good local secret, the nearby Keewaydin Island offers beachgoers the chance to relax on a stretch of pristine white, sandy beach. The island is accessed by a 30-minute boat ride, where lucky beachgoers may have the chance to spy dolphins, ospreys, and even bald eagles.
Uninhabited by morning, the beach offers sprawling sugar-sand shoreline with excellent shelling. As the day stretches out, the shores slowly fill with food boats offering hungry beachgoers everything from tacos to ice cream.