Exploring Marco Island Beach with Kids

Our family loves visiting Marco Island, Florida. It is one of the best cities to visit while on a road trip in Florida. Since I was a kid, my family stayed in Marco Island beach for a week every summer. Now that we have kids of our own, we wanted to continue the tradition and stay in Marco Island at least once a year. Besides going into the ocean, there are many things to do when visiting Marco Island beach. Here are some of my favorite things to do when exploring Marco Island beach.

Marco island beach boogie board

Marco Island Beach: Things to Do

During your Marco Island beach vacation, there are numerous activities to enjoy. Be sure to pack your beach bag essentials for a fun day along the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Besides walking along the beach and enjoying the sand/water, Marco Island is one of the best beaches in Florida for shells. Explore Marco Island by checking out one of these activities:

Take a Day Trip

A day trip to another Gulf Coast beach or nearby city could be another activity to see more of Florida. Naples is a quick 20 minute drive out of Marco Island and has plenty of restaurants, a small downtown area, and activities. Fort Myers is about an hour away and is the “biggest city” in the area. Check out these visitor guides to explore some of the day trip options.

Sanibel Island is another option for a day trip. The drive is about 1h 30m and quite scenic as you get off the highway and cross the bridges to reach it. Just a little further is Sarasota. From a marine laboratory and aquarium to sea cruises and beaches, Sarasota is a nice day trip option too. This one day itinerary in Sarasota show you why this small city deserves a visit.

Marco island beach

Miromar Outlets

These outlets have it all! Whenever it rains in Marco Island (which is pretty common), we drive 45 minutes to Estero and go shopping. We often buy the kids their school shoes and clothes for the upcoming year here. Since the discounts are significant, we buy a lot! Besides the beach and food, we look forward to our annual visit to these outlets as well.

Go to the Marco Movies

Shady Rays

Where to Stay in Marco Island – Beachfront Hotels

Marriott Crystal Shores

This is our favorite place to stay and one of the best family friendly hotels in Marco Island! It has 3 different pools, a water slide, and plenty of family friendly activities on site. They have a giant chessboard, ping pong table, billiards, foosball table, ladder toss and corn hole available for families to enjoy. Since it’s a Marriott Vacation Club, they only have 2-3 bedroom villas available for rent – most with waterfront balcony views. Read why this is my pick for the best family resort in Marco Island.

Marco Beach Ocean Resort

This is another great option for families as well in Marco Island beach. We stayed here for a few years and enjoyed the balcony views, beachfront access, and pool. Don’t forget to pack hats, sun shirts, sunscreen for the unforgiving Florida sun. To look at rates for other Marco Island hotels, click here.

Get $40 off your first booking with AirBnB by clicking here

Marco Island Beach: Where to Eat

Here are my favorite places to eat in Marco Island:


They only offer take out. These are among the best ribs you will ever eat! They offer a la carte items, but we always opt for family packs that include side items like baked beans and coleslaw. Highly recommend this place!

Joey’s Pizza

We always take out or get delivery from this place. Their pizza and pasta dishes are delicious. They are quick and deliver right to your room.

Doreen’s Cup of Joe

Our favorite breakfast place…this is a must do! Delicious egg dishes, pancakes and my favorite – crunchy french toast! They are open for lunch too, but I have never been. Please eat here!

CJ’s on the Bay

This was a nice place to eat out. If you can get an outdoor table by the water, it is worth the view. This restaurant has great fish and plenty of other options for non seafood eaters.

Stilts Bar and Grill

This is the restaurant on the Marriott Crystal Shores property. We often will order appetizers or have lunch brought to the pool deck from here. They have delicious options and happy hour specials starting at 2pm.

Pelican Bend

We love this restaurant. It is a small “mom and pop” place that is technically just outside of Marco Island. It is about a 10-15 minute drive, but it’s one we look forward to all year. Our “go to” meal is a sautéed roughy fish (white fish with garlic and butter and lightly fried) that comes with a wedge salad covered in a homemade garlic dressing!

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What to do in Marco Island

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