Hitting the Beach
The sugar-white Crescent Beach curves for 3 1/2 miles down the western shore of Marco Island. Its southern 2 miles are fronted by an unending row of high-rise condominiums and hotels, but the northern 1 1/2 miles are preserved in Tigertail Beach (tel. 239/252-4000), at the end of Hernando Drive. Restrooms, cold-water outdoor showers, a children's playground, watersports rentals, and a snack bar are available here. The park is open daily from dawn to dusk. There's no charge for the beach, but parking in the lot costs $8 per vehicle. The beaches in front of the Marriott, Hilton, and Radisson resorts have parasailing, windsurfing, and other watersports activities, all for a fee.
Marco River Marina, 951 Bald Eagle Dr. (tel. 239/394-2502; www.marcoriver.com), is the center for boat rentals, fishing, and cruises. Operating from a booth on the marina's dock, Sunshine Tours (tel. 239/642-5415; www.sunshinetoursmarcoisland.com) will book offshore fishing charters and arrange back-bay fishing ($60 for adults, $50 for children 9 and under), shelling excursions to the small islands ($50 adults, $40 children 9 and under), and sunset and dinner cruises on the Marco Island Princess ($37-$57 per person). The back-bay fishing trips go at high tide, the shelling trips at low tide; call for the schedule and reservations.
Sea Excursions (tel. 239/642-6400; www.seaexcursions.com) also has a booth at the marina and books fishing, boating, and shelling cruises on the Dolphin Explorer (www.dolphin-explorer.com).
SCUBAdventures, based at 845 Bald Eagle Dr., Olde Marco (tel. 239/389-7889; www.scubamarco.com), charges $75 to $95 for two-tank dives, depending on the distance offshore.
The closest public golf course is Marriott's The Rookery at Marco (tel. 239/353-7061; www.therookeryatmarco.com), in the marshlands off Fla. 951 north of the island. A sign at the course warns: PLEASE DON'T DISTURB THE ALLIGATORS. Fees range $45 to $129 in winter, less in summer.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.