Whenever we feel like we need to recharge our batteries, we book a weekend in Marco Island. This popular holiday spot holds a very special place in our heart as we got married there. Moreover, after spending a weekend on this little island in the West Coast of Florida makes you feel as relaxed as a one week beach vacation does.
Depending on where you live in Miami Dade County, it will take you from 1.5 to 2 hours to get to Marco Island. You can either take 8th Street all the way west through the Everglades (which can be a bit scary as there is only one lane for each direction so the only way you can pass a car is to go to the counter traffic. But it is also a very Floridian experience) or you can take I-95. Whatever way you choose, you will be amazed by the tranquil paradise with its long powdered beaches that awaits you.
Where to Stay
There are several luxurious hotels in Marco Island but also more economical hotels as well as houses to rent. Our favorite hotel is the JW Marriott Marco Island. You can take an elevator right down to their phenomenally clean beach. The hotel has several restaurants – indoor and outdoor and two pools. It is very family friendly and there are plenty of activities for children: table tennis, an arcade, kids’ events by the pool* and a frozen yoghurt store.
If you are travelling kid-free, I recommend you try out their fabulous spa with great treatments and its own private pool. Outside one of their outdoor tiki bars, you are able to watch a sunset celebration* right on the beach: a fire show inspired by Pacific Islander traditions and dances.
Where to Eat
We used to not venture out much in the past as the Marriott has several dining options – until we discovered Sale e Pepe at the Marco Beach Ocean Resort right next door. From the amazing huge bouquet of exotic flowers in the entrance of the restaurant, to the beautiful wall paintings and stucco inside the restaurant to the breathtaking sunset that you can witness on the outside terrace: dining at this restaurant is an experience you should not miss. The food is high quality Italian food and the service is very attentive.
For brunch I absolutely recommend Doreen’s Cup of Joe. At this cute little farm fresh place you can find everything your brunching heart desires. From avocado toast for the health nuts to Nutella pancakes.
While the island itself is very calm and quite, if you are interested in more of a vibrant party vibe you should head to Marco Walk Plaza. You will find plenty of restaurants there: Marco Prime Steaks and Seafood, Nacho Mama’s Tex Mex, and others. Davinci’s Ristorante Italiano is a classic which turns into a club at night and others. There is also a dine-in movie theater as well as shopping opportunities during the day.
What to Do
I am 100% a beach gal. I feel absolute bliss by the ocean and I love walking by the long soft white beach and the clear water. Thus, we mostly come here to enjoy the wonderful calm ocean and some frozen drinks. However, if you are more the adventurous type, you should go on the Ten Thousand Islands Adventure Boat Tour where you get to observe local marine life in its natural habitat. You may see some dolphins as well.
Road Trips during COVID-19
2020 put a bit of a damper on our regular road trips. Our family took social distancing very seriously and we were hunkering down at home. Our son turned 2 on May 14th and unfortunately, we had to cancel his first Disney trip. However, after 2 months of isolation, we felt the itch to go somewhere. After informing ourselves of the precautions the hotel is taking, we decided to take our son back to our happy place for his birthday. This weekend ended up being an unforgettable experience. Since the beach is a private beach, the hotel’s guests were able to use the beach before the official opening of Florida beaches.
Precautions the hotel is taking:
- The hotel only opened one of their towers and made sure to stay under 25% occupancy.
- Only one family per elevator is allowed and they have hand sanitizer everywhere.
- Not all restaurants were open and they leave the tables far apart.
- All the staff is wearing masks.
- Beach chairs are at least 6 feet apart and beach service is only open from 9-5. You can still hang out there earlier and later but they won’t offer chairs/food/drinks outside of these hours.
I really hope you get to enjoy this little gem soon. If you have been to Marco Island and have any other suggestions, drop it in the comments!
Note: * These activities are suspended during COVID 19.