Located about an hour south of Southwest Florida International Airport and Fort Myers, Marco Island is the southernmost tourist destination along Florida's Gulf Coast. This vacation paradise brings the feel of the keys up to the mainland in a way that you won't find anywhere else in Florida.
Where to Stay: JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort
With more than a dozen fantastic resorts located along Marco Beach, there is no shortage of incredible places to stay in Marco Island. One of the most fabulous of those options is the luxurious JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort.
This massive resort features two towers of standard family rooms, as well as a brand new building for their “Paradise by Sirene” adults-only experience complete with spacious suites and a private, adults-only rooftop pool.
Regardless of where you stay on the resort, you will have access to 12 outstanding restaurants, first-class service, and one of the best beach experiences you will find anywhere in Florida.
Day One: Enjoy the Fabulous Beach Resort
Assuming you are going to be hungry upon arriving at the hotel, our first stop will be either Quinn's on the Beach or Kane Tiki Bar & Grill. Both options are part of the hotel experience, with Quinn's offering traditional Florida vacation cuisine while Kane focuses on Indonesian street food.
No one should come to the Gulf without getting out on the water, so that is what we are going to be doing on our first afternoon in Marco Island. This is a choose-your-own-adventure option as you will have kayaks, jet skis, and guided tour charters all available within walking distance of your hotel.
Dinner on our first night will be at Ario, which is also located right inside the JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. One thing that most of the JW Marriott properties seem to get right is the steakhouse concept, and Ario is surely no exception. Dry-aged steaks are the specialty here, but make sure you save room for dessert too!
After dinner, we have two options for evening drinks that are located right on the property. 10K Alley is perfect for casual fun featuring tons of big screens for sports, bowling lanes, and just about every arcade game you can imagine. If something more romantic is what you had in mind, Tesoro is located right around the corner with gorgeous views of the water.
Day Two: Beach, Pizza, Golf, and Oysters!
There is nothing quite like the beautiful beaches of the Gulf Coast of Florida, and Marco Island features one of the best beaches of the entire stretch, so there is no doubt that our second day is going to kick off with some beach time. This could mean grabbing a beach chair or going for a walk, but either way, make sure you spend some time with your feet in the sand.
We're heading up to Sami's for some of the best pizza in town for lunch today. Seafood lovers will definitely want to try the Crab, Shrimp, & Bruschetta Flatbread. If you're up for some exercise, the short walk from most of the major hotels will help you work off those carbs!
Following lunch, it's time to get out and enjoy one of the local golf courses. Rookery at Marco is the most popular course on the island, but don't forget that you are just minutes away from dozens of other great options up in Naples. And if golf isn't your thing, there's always the option to spend more time at the beach!
We're making reservations at The Oyster Society for dinner on our second night in town, and make sure you show up hungry for this one! Oysters are the main attraction here, and they're served with way more than the standard horseradish and cocktail sauce here! There's also plenty of other options on the menu for any non-seafood lovers in your party.
After dinner at The Oyster Society, head right across the street to the Hilton Marco Island and check out the bar scene at The Deck at 560. This is a fantastic place to finish an evening with a view of the water!
Day Three: History, Brunch, and the Naples Pier
We're starting the final day of our trip with a visit to the Marco Island Historical Museum. This newer museum complex is an excellent way to learn about the island's history, the native Calusa Indians, and what life might have been like in Southwest Florida dating back to the 1800s.
We're heading over to Stonewall's for one of the island's most popular brunch experiences following our museum visit. This family-owned restaurant is known for its breakfast options, but don't sleep on that turkey reuben either!
As you leave the island and head back to everyday life, make sure that you reserve enough time for a quick stop at Naples Pier on your way. Even if you only have time for a short walk, you won't want to miss the photo opportunities here!
And since 48 hours wasn't enough for the full Marco Island vacation experience, be sure to start thinking about planning your next trip to paradise in Southwest Florida as soon as you possibly can.
Want to Stay Even Longer?
Valencia Trails in Naples offers the best resort lifestyle with a magnificent 42,000 sq. ft. Clubhouse where every day new events, clubs, and entertainment abound. Relax by the pool, grab a bite at the restaurant, catch a show in the social hall, or take a relaxing stroll or jog along the community’s iconic trails. The options are endless!
Designed for 55+ living, the gorgeous contemporary style single-family homes at Valencia Trails offer the ultimate in style, convenience, and luxury with spacious living areas, impressive gourmet kitchens, and screened and covered patios to make the most of Florida’s beautiful weather year-round. Come home to luxurious standard features including tile roof, brick pavers, stainless steel and gas appliances, designer tile flooring throughout main areas, rich stone exterior finishes and so much more.
You can request more information, including floorplans and current pricing, here:
Marco Island is my favorite place. My husband and I fell in love with Marco on our first trip, which was a gift. We have continued to drive Alligator Alley, a short trip from our home in Parkland for years, as often as we can get away.