Start Early in the Morning
An early morning walk down the 2 1/2 mile stretch of Tigertail Beach is a great way to start the day on Marco Island. Walking early, especially in the hot weather season, is also more comfortable as the late morning and afternoon hours can become very hot.
Larry and I get up around 6:30 and start our walk around 7 am. We take along our water bottles, a snack, cameras, and shelling bags. Tigertail Beach offers a wide variety of shells and is a serene and peaceful environment. It is also located along the Florida Great Birding trail.
It is always good to time your Tigertail beach walk around the tide chart. Timing your walk around the window of 2 hours before low tide and 2 hours after low tide offers the best shelling opportunities.
Shell Trees and Sand Dollars
One of Tigertail’s shelling trees is the first thing you will see on your walk. These trees offer one the perfect opportunity to hang your “shell print” on Marco Island. Find a shell with a little “hanging hole” in it and place it on the perfect spot on the tree for all to see! This is a great place to get a beautiful picture of the shell tree with the ocean in the backdrop.
A little further along the beach walk, you will come to Sand Dollar Split, named for the many sand dollars that tend to wash up on this particular area of Tigertail Beach. We literally have to step around all the sand dollars on our walk. Sand Dollars are very fragile; however, with careful handling they can be collected and brought back home for beautiful souvenirs of your trip to Marco Island. (We have instructions in Sea Mar Condo for cleaning and caring for your shells).
Tigertail Beach Lagoon
As you come along Tigertail Beach Lagoon, you will probably notice several wading birds. The white egrets can be quite comical as they practically walk along the beach with you in their strutting fashion. Larry and I get very lucky on our walk and see a pink spoonbill (Roseate Spoonbill) in the lagoon area. This is one of my favorite birds on Marco Island, but it is not always easy to spot them.
Tigertail Lagoon is a nice place to paddleboard and it is not uncommon to see both paddleboards and kayaks in the lagoon. Many wading birds make their nests along the lagoon as well. At times during the year both least tern and black skimmers nest in large groups around the lagoon area.
Many beachgoers take the “short cut” and wade across Tigertail lagoon to reach the beautiful white sand beach on the other side. Although very safe as the water even during high tide is around waist high, the lagoon appears to be quite “murky” because of the silt in the bottom. Walking with a shuffle is also recommended as there are stingrays in the water at times. Beach shoes are definitely recommended. I much prefer leaving our condo and walking around the lagoon as I enjoy my beach walks over wading the lagoon waters.
A Serene and Calming Beach Walk
From the lagoon area, the walk along Tigertail beach is peaceful, serene, and calming. You will not find a lot of other beachgoers as this is not a populated area. There are no hotels or other commercial establishments along this beach. Look to your right as you walk toward the north end of Tigertail and you will see very nice houses and a private beach area. This is the Hideaway Beach community, a private gated beach area.
As you continue your walk, be sure you keep an eye on the calming crystal blue waters. You may be rewarded with seeing dolphin or even a manatee. I have seen both in this area. It is also common to see lots of pelicans, osprey, and at times eagles. You will definitely be rewarded with a beauty that calms the soul. Did you know that Tigertail Beach has been named by “Coastal Living” magazine as “one of the top secret beaches in the world”?
Our Tigertail Bounty
Larry and I are rewarded with some very nice pictures, a lot of sand dollars (my fav), and Florida fighting conch shells (Larry’s fav) from our walk. We also get a very perfect large banded tulip along the walk as well. On our return we encounter an osprey on a tree branch that even poses for our picture taking! Our walk takes around 3 1/2 hours although we stopped for snacks, water, and picture taking along the way. Even though we have walked this part of the beach many times, it never gets old, and perhaps even more rewarding each time. There are few places in this world where you can see this kind of beauty and experience the peace and serenity that this 2 1/2 mile stretch of Tigertail Beach offers.
Sea Mar Condos are located between Tigertail Beach and South (Crescent)Beach in Marco Island, FL. We are in South Seas Northwest resort in Towers 3 and 4. Our location makes it easy to visit both of these beautiful beaches while staying in first class accomodations. Our views are some of the best on the island. Come relax in Paradise!