A boat trip to Cape Romano and Keewaydin Islands while visiting Marco Island is a fun day on the water! If fears of operating a boat on the ocean and navigating the waters around Marco Island are holding you back, fear no more!
Before Leaving the Marina
Our group of 5 arrived at Dolphin Cove Marina https://www.boatrentalsofswfl.com on Bald Eagle Drive around 7:30 in the morning. Our boat was ready and waiting for us at the end of the dock. A member of the staff there provided us with instructions on operating the boat (a 21′ deck boat) and safety procedures while on the water. We were shown where life jackets were and given custom navigational charts showing the 2 locations we wanted visit. The navigational signs located in the Gulf were also explained and how to use them during our trip.
We left the marina around 8 am and navigated toward Cape Romano and the Dome Homes. This took about 45 minutes, taking us past Tigertail Beach and South Beach. We went around the point of Cape Marco, past Dickmans Point and Kice Island before arriving at Cape Romano. We were able to get some fantastic pictures of the Dome Homes and docked at water’s edge of Cape Romano to walk the beach and do some shelling and sightseeing.
The Dome Homes at Cape Romano were built in 1979 by retired businessman Bob Lee from Gatlinburg, TN. He and his family lived there until 1992 when Hurricane Andrew destroyed the interior of the house. Since that time, erosion and Hurricane Irma in 2017 have left the homes further from land and 2 of the 6 domes are now underwater. Since we and our visitors are from this area, the now abandoned homes of Cape Romano hold a special interest for us.
Our group consisted of Larry and me, a couple of our friends visiting Marco Island, and our property manager, Andrew. Andrew was very familiar with the boat and is familiar with the waters around Marco Island, mostly by jet ski. Larry and I both had previous boating experience on a local lake around our home in Kingsport, TN, however Larry and I had not operated a boat on the ocean before. After Andrew navigated the boat to Cape Romano, he turned the vessel over the Larry to show him the ropes.
Once you learn to follow the navigational signs in the water and use the map provided by the marina, boating around Marco Island was fairly easy. It does help to have previous boating experience, but previous experience on the ocean is not required. Dolphin Cove Marina did a great job of explaining everything upfront. They also provided us telephone numbers to call if we needed assistance during our boating excursion.
After leaving Cape Romano, our group boated to Keewaydin Island to the North of Marco Island. Keewaydin is an 8 mile barrier island that has no cars, roads, or bridges. The island is part of the pristine Rookery Bay Reserve. It is only accessible by boat, and is a popular boating destination, especially on weekends. Among the boaters there, you will also find snack boat concessions selling burgers, brats, hot dogs, drinks, and ice cream. Note: There are no bathroom facilities on the island. The waters around Keewaydin are crystal clear and beautiful.
A Fun Day of Boating
This was a fun day of boating for our group, and it is something I would definitely recommend to others. The boating was fun, the waters smooth and crystal clear, and the scenery beautiful. Renting a boat will no longer be something we hesitate to do because we know now that with the proper instruction, it is easy. Taking a boat trip to Cape Romano and Keewaydin Islands is something we will definitely do again.
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 Treesand 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!
Marco Island Farmers Market: A Fresh Slice of Paradise
The Marco Island Farmers Market is a great way to spend a few hours on a Wednesday. All of the fruits and vegetables look really fresh and snacks like kettle corn and chocolates are delicious. It’s also a pretty place with all the fresh cut flowers and beautiful arrangements of fruits and vegetables. The farmer’s market is also the perfect place to pick up a take home souvenir or a gift.
Larry and I made our first trip to the Farmers market on the island when we were there last December over Christmas. We enjoyed talking to many of the vendors and learning about their products or crafts. I couldn’t believe the selection of goods and the beautiful layouts of each vendor. I purchased a beautiful aerial photograph of Marco Island for Sea Mar Condo. Our guests love it!
The Farmers Market is open every Wednesday beginning November 13, 2019 through April 15, 2020 from 7:30am – 1:00pm at Veterans’ Community Park. It is located at 901 Park Avenue, Marco Island. The market is operated by the City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation.
Visit vendors who will be selling items such as: fresh fruits, garden vegetables, herbs, fresh flowers, seafood, baked goods, honey, sauces, kettle popcorn, chocolates, fresh flowers, soaps, exotic jewelry and works from local artists.
One great thing about the Marco Island Farmer’s Market is admission is free.
Visit our website at www.seamarcondo to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides lots of information about things to see and do in Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation! http://www.seamarcondo.com
Things To Do With Children in Marco Island
Before arrival, many of our guests inquire about things to do with children in Marco Island. We love our young visitors to Sea Mar Condo and wanted to put together a list of the many fun activities for children in Marco and the surrounding areas.
1. Our pool is great! The pool is open from morning until dusk.
2. We highly recommend that you take youngsters on the “DolphinExplorer” tour. We have heard great things about it, although we have not personally been on the tour – and it is on our bucket list. Their website is www.dolphin-study.com. This tour is an interactive study of the dolphins around Marco Island. They get the kids very involved on the tour and their ongoing dolphin experience. https://dolphin-study.com/
3. We enjoy kayaking at Tigertail Beach. Several places will deliver kayaks and paddleboards to South Seas. Once you leave the pool area and cross the boardwalk to the beach, you will turn right to get to the launching area.
5. Marco Golf and Garden has mini-golf and is located at 971 Winterberry Drive.
6. One of the most fun things we have done is a sightseeing cruise or a dinner cruise on the Marco Island Princess. The cruise is beautiful (especially sunset), the food is good, and the prices are very reasonable. Children 4-11 are half price and those under 4 are FREE. We have done this cruise 3 times – 2 for dinner and 1 for sightseeing and it was great each time. http://www.themarcoislandprincess.com
7. The Snook Inn has waterfront dining with live music each night. Many parents love dancing with the kids to the music each night.
8. A fun FREE adventure is just to walk the beach collecting sea shells or go on a shelling tour. There are many colors and shapes on the beach. We have shelling baskets in the condo and there is a shell washing station around the gated area to the beach.
9. Golisano Children’s museum of Naples is a 30 minute drive from Marco Island and is great for young children. It is located at 15080 Livingston Road, Naples, FL 34109. https://www.cmon.org
11. We also have games, puzzles and beach toys in Sea Mar Condo for our young visitors to enjoy.
12. The Marco movie Theater is located in the marco Town Center at 599 S Collier Boulevard and is a great place to take the kids on a rainy day or on a day you are taking a break from the beach. They offer at-your-sea-dining options of casual American foods for you to enjoy during the movie.
13. Rent a bicycle from Marco Bike Rentals and bike around the island.
14. See the fire dancer at Quinn’s Restaurant at the Marco Marriott Hotel. The show begins each night at sunset and is a high energy performance that kids love! They can also meet the fire dancer and have their pictures taken with him after the show.
15. Take an airboat ride with Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides. Children get the chance to get up close to alligators and other wildlife. This was at the top of our nieces fun things to do during their vacation. https://cbairboatrides.com/
16. Family fishing the Gulf waters. Marco Island is know for it’s spectacular fishing either on the island or on a deep sea adventure. Some captains even specialize in first timers.
17. Rookery Bay Learning Center is a fully air-conditioned 2 story facility with a variety of hands-on-experiences, including a 2,300-gallon aquarium and interactive exhibits. There is also a nature store and picnic area. Admission is free for kids on Friday. https://rookerybay.org/
18. Visit Marco Island’s Playgrounds. Both Mackle Park Playground and WaterPark and Tigertail Beach Park have full facilities. They offer play structures, swings, monkey bars, and slides as well as water activities.
19. Take an ice cream break at Sweet Annies! Yummy!!!! Children of all ages enjoy this tasty treat. In addition to the ice cream there are lots of souvenirs for all ages in this cute ice cream parlor. https://sweetanniesicecreammarcoisland.com/
20. Build a sand sculpture on the beach. Who doesn’t like to play in the sand? We have the perfect toys and buckets in Sea Mar Condo to make the perfect sand castle!
21. Pirates of Marco Island. Climb aboard the Black Pearl for an interactive family adventure. Watch your children transform into little buccaneers complete with pirate tattoos and pirate’s attire! The Black Pearl offers interactive pirate themed tours, sunset cruises and special event charters. https://piratesofmarco.com/
Reserve your fun family vacation now in Marco Island at Sea Mar Condo.
Visit our website for rates and availability. http://www.seamarcondo.com
What could be more fun than seeing Marco Island by boat? Boating around Marco Island with Eco Endeavors offers you the opportunity to tour by boat or kayak. They offer public and private tours to see the Ten Thousand Islands, sea life and many bird species, shelling, and beautiful sunsets.
Josh Erickson has been running charters for 18 years and started Eco Endeavors 4 years ago. Eco Endeavors specializes in group adventures through the Ten Thousand Island area, Rookery Bay and the mangroves of Everglades National Park. Their professional captains and guides will navigate through the beautiful Gulf waters and mangroves while highlighting wildlife along the way.
Eco Endeavors offers several types of excursions including day tours, moonrise cruises, and private island beach days. Their boats are USCG inspected and can accomodate parties of up to 16 passengers. An Eco Endeavor tour is the perfect way to celebrate birthdays, weddings, bachelor & bachelorette parties, and family gatherings. It can also be the perfect get-away for you and that special person in your life.
Dolphin and Shelling
The Dolphin and Shelling tour is a 3 hour excursion that takes you through mangroves and the barrier islands around Marco. The tour covers over 25 miles round trip. You will get the opportunity to see aquatic wildlife and a diverse species of birds. Guests also visit a quiet barrier island only accessible by boat for shelling. This is the perfect time to see dolphin, pelicans, herons, eagles, osprey and the beautiful roseate spoonbill. You may also find that perfect rare sea shell (think junonia). There are three times for departing tours (9am, 12:30pm, and 4:00pm). Seasonal sunset tours are also available.
Paddle the Islands
All Eco Endeavors kayak tours are private with single and double kayaks available. These tours are perfect for beginner paddlers to avid kayakers. Life jackets are included with the tour. Half day and 3 hour tours are available.
The kayak tour offer guests the chance to explore the mangroves of the 10,000 island National Wildlife Refuge and Rookery Bay. Rookery Bay offers some of the best kayaking in southwest Florida. Kayakers paddle through thick mangroves and narrow winding creeks. The route offers abundant wildlife. This is the perfect tour to experience a calm, serene environment in this coastal ecosystem.
Sunset Dolphin Tour
The sunset dolphin tour is an excellent excursion for wildlife viewing! In addition to seeing a fabulous sunset, you will search for dolphin, manatee, and several species of birds. A visit to the Cape Romano Dome house is also on the tour. The captains will share their knowledge of local history and ecology. It’s a great time to learn more about Marco Island, the dome houses, and the 10,000 islands.
The tour is between an hour and a half and two hours in duration.
The moonrise cruise is a unique experience. The tour takes guests around Marco Island and out to the Cape Romano Dome House. You will cruise along the coast of the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to beautiful scenery you will see dolphin and diverse species of birds. As the boat cruises back to dock, guests will watch the sunset over the Gulf accompanies by a magical full-moonrise. The tour covers over 40 scenic miles.
This specialty cruise is weather dependent and is 2.5 – 3.5 hours in duration.
A Private Island Beach Day
After boating around Marco Island with Eco Endeavors, how about your own private island beach day? This specialty tour begins with an eco-tour through the 10,000 Island National Wildlife Refuge. You are then taken to a beautiful barrier island only accessible by boat for a private beach day. Eco Endeavors sets up all amenities (chairs, umbrella, noodles, paddle boards, horse shoes and sand toys) ready for you and your family and friends to enjoy.
This tour is a 6 hour adventure with drop off and pick up shuttle service from the barrier island. The tour times are 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
All boat tours depart from Goodland Boat Park, 740 Palm Point Drive, Goodland, FL .
Kayak tours depart from Capri Palle Park, 1295 Capri Blvd, Naples, FL.
What to Bring on Your Excursion
Sunscreen, Sunglasses, Camera, Towel, Water Shoes, Hat, Shelling Bag, Reusable Water Bottle
Water and Ice are provided – you are welcome to bring snacks
Wear swimming attire
Boating around Marco Island with Eco Endeavors is easy to schedule. Contact information is below:
We recommend Eco Endeavors to our guests at Sea Mar Condo. Please visit our website for more information on things to see and do on Marco Island. Our 19th floor penthouse condo with beautiful views of South Beach and the Gulf is perfect for your stay on Marco Island. We would love to have you as our guests! https://seamarcondo.com/
Marco Island’s beautiful birds are one of the island’s greatest assets. Bird watching on Marco Island is especially rewarding. There are so many species native to the island.
This osprey is posing on Tigertail Beach. Although these majestic birds are not normally people friendly, this one seemed to enjoy the attention!! If you are like me, it is special to capture a beautiful photo to use in your home. What a precious vacation memory! This osprey’s picture is now in Sea Mar Condo!
There are many birds which are native to Marco Island and the southern Florida area. Some birds that are more common on Marco Island include the white egret, osprey, pelican, bald eagle and burrowing owl.
The Great Florida Birding Trail
Tigertail Beach Park is located on the Great Florida Birding Trail. It is a nice place to see and photograph many species of birds. There are other bird watching sites around Marco Island. They include Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Briggs Nature Center, Frank E. Mackle Jr. Community Park, Eagle Lakes Community Park and Sugden Regional Park. A short 40 minute drive to Big Cypress Welcome Center and Turner Loop Road near Everglades City are also great birding sites.
Burrowing Owls on Marco Island
Marco Island has been recognized by the Audubon Society for their efforts to increase the numbers of burrowing owls. The small owls are protected by both the state of Florida and the city of Marco Island. Many island residents have volunteered to adopt and offer protective housing (borrows) for these beautiful birds. For the last three years, a family of burrowing owls have made their nest on Resident’s Beach, a private beach for residents and long term renters on the island. The owls are given a wide roped off space, but are yet visible to beachgoers. Hint: They tend to pose for pics in the morning and late afternoon hours.
Osprey on the Island
Anytime you are on the water around Marco Island, you will likely see large osprey nests built of sticks on channel markers. Ospreys have a large brown back and a white underside. Visitors to Marco Island see these birds soaring around condo buildings and over the Gulf waters. They are very large with wingspans of between 4-5 feet. Ospreys soar above the shallow water along the beach, then hover briefly before diving feet first to grab a fish. The bird then takes off with its fish to carry it back to its nest or perch. It is not uncommon to see ospreys perched on a building or along the beach on driftwood in the Tigertail area.
Lots of Pelicans on Marco Island
This is my favorite bird to watch on Marco Island! What fun it is to see these impressive divers circling high above the Gulf waters before diving headfirst in search of the perfect feast. Often you will see the brown pelicans fly in group formation in a V-shape along the water. Pelicans are plentiful on Marco. It is common to be in the water and see one swoop within a few feet. Watch the pelican as it expands its throat pouch to trap fish, filling it with over 2 gallons of water, then enjoying a tasty meal! A friend of mine took the picture to the left as we left on a Marco Island Princess dinner cruise. This picture is also in Sea Mar Condo for our guests to enjoy! See our full article on brown pelicans by clicking on the following link: https://vacationsoup.com/marco-island-wildlifethe-brown-pelican/
More rare to spot when bird watching on Marco Island are white pelicans. They arrive in the area in late fall and stay until the early spring. The white pelican has white feathers and a pink-tangerine colored bill. They are shy and prefer isolated areas like mangrove islands. White pelicans are less social than brown pelicans. Your chances of seeing a white pelican are better during a boat tour of the 10,000 islands with binoculars. White pelicans also differ from brown pelicans by working as a team to herd their food prey, fluffing their wings to assemble and gather the fish.
Bald Eagles on Marco Island
Marco Island Nature Preserve is home to the island’s nesting American Bald Eagles during nesting season. The preserve is located at 665 Tigertail Court, Marco Island, FL. They work alongside volunteers of Marco Island to guarantee the safety of the active Bald Eagle nest on the island. Visitors may visit during nesting season between November and May. You can also view a live web cam during the year to see eagle activity by viewing this link: https://www.earthcam.com/usa/florida/marcoisland/eagle/?cam=marcoisland
The Marco Island Nature Preserve & Bird Sanctuary also has a FaceBook page with lots of great information on these majestic birds and their activity during the year.
Birdwatching on Marco Island is more exciting with color! Another of my favorite birds around Marco and the 10,000 island area is the roseate spoonbill. The spoonbill is a beautiful pink wading bird. Although rare to see on Marco, they have been spotted near Tigertail Beach. Visitors taking eco tours of the 10,000 islands commonly get to see the roseate spoonbill. I was fortunate enough to see one on a boat tour a few years ago and again on a drive along Turner Loop Road in the Everglades. The roseate spoonbill has bright pink feathers and red eyes with a giant spoon-shaped bill. These birds are especially beautiful in flight flying with their outstretched necks. A couple of neat facts about the spoonbill: They bald as they mature by losing feathers from the top of their head. And their pink color comes from the crustaceans they eat containing pigments called carotenoids that turn their feathers pink.
Least Terns Nesting on Marco Island
The least tern is the smallest of the American terns. They grow to a length of 8 1/2 to 9 inches with a wingspan of 21-23 inches. Tigertail Beach on Marco Island is one of the largest nesting areas in Southwest Florida for the least tern. This bird has a gray back, black wings, a yellow beak and a white belly. It also has pointed wings and a forked tail. Least terns nest in colonies and stay on sandy beaches with a path to the water. They also are listed as a threatened species. Visitors to the island can walk along the north tip of Tigertail Beach during nesting season (April-August) and see large colonies of 200 or more least terns nesting. Nesting areas are roped off to protect the nesting birds. Signs give warnings to keep a distance from nesting birds.
Black Skimmers on Marco
Black skimmers can be found year round on Marco Island. The island has the largest black skimmer colony in the state at the end of Tigertail Beach. Many of the black skimmers on Marco are banded to track the movements, lifespans, and survival rate of the species. Black skimmers also nest in large colonies around April-August. Visitors to the Big Marco Pass area during nesting season can see colonies of 400 or more black skimmers. The area is roped off and visitors must keep a distance from the nesting birds. Although normally a calm bird, the black skimmer will dive bomb anything getting close to a nest of newly hatched chicks. During the winter months, visitors to the island will see black skimmers resting on the beach in front of the Marriott.
The black skimmer has a wingspan of around 45 inches. They have a black back, white belly, orange-red legs, and a black-and-red bill. Orange color on their bill and legs make them easy to spot. Black skimmers fly very low above the water.
Snowy Egrets Along the Beach
It’s not often you walk along Marco Island’s beautiful beaches without one of these guys joining you! Known for their “strut” and “ruffled feathers” the snowy egret can become quite comical in their appearance. (Makes for a great photo!) The snowy egret is a water bird that is around 26″ tall with white feathers and a black bill. It has black legs and bright yellow feet. In spring, the egret has “fancy” lace-like feathers on its head and along its back for its showy displays of courtship. Marco’s snowy egrets are very used to people and will virtually “walk the beach” with you!
Great Blue Heron
The great blue heron is the tallest of the wading birds. It is slate blue in color with a white head, a black stripe above the eye, and a yellow bill. This bird has a wing span of 65-79 inches. The blue heron is a solitary bird that can usually be seen standing motionless in shallow water. I have seen great blue heron along Tigertail. Taking an eco tour or a drive to the Everglades along Turner Road is a great way to see a blue heron.
Anhinga (Piano Bird)
The Anhinga is a most unusual bird. It swims with its webbed feet, can dive under water, and spears its food by rapidly stretching out the neck. Anhingas feathers are not waterproof as other types of water birds and their feathers get soaked when they are submerged in water. They cannot stay in the water for long periods of
time. The bird stands with it’s feathers fanned out to dry. Anhingas are seen with outstretched wings in trees once they are dry enough to fly. The male anhinga is a glossy black with white tail feathers. When outstretched, the bottom of the male’s wings have white strips that resemble piano keys and they are sometimes called “paino birds”. The female is pale gray in color or light brown. I took the picture of this bird at the Big Cypress Welcome Center along the boardwalk.
Sea Mar Condo is the Perfect Place to Stay for Bird Watching on Marco Island
Sea Mar Condo is located on the south end of Tigertail Beach and the north end of Marco Island’s South (Crescent Beach). Our 19th floor penthouse condo overlooks South Beach with beautiful views of the beach and Gulf waters. We are a short 40 minute drive to Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades City. There are many guided eco tours of the 10,000 islands from a short 5 minute drive to Caxambus Park or Rose Marina. All of these areas are perfect for bird watching on Marco Island (and surrounding areas). Visit our website https://seamarcondo.com/ for more information on Marco Island and Sea Mar Condo. We would love to have you as our guests!
Just 10 minutes from Marco Island, the Rookery Bay Learning Center is a 16,500 square-foot facility. Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in the United States. The learning center has four research laboratories, a 140-seat auditorium, and a two story visitor center. The visitor center offers a variety of hands-on experiences. These include aquariums and interactive exhibits addressing ongoing research and stewardship within the reserve. There is also a nature store, gallery and picnic area.
The center has 3 “focus” tanks, one oyster tank, a seagrass tank, a 180 gallon marine life exhibit and a 2,300 gallon mangrove tank. The relatively new observation bridge, 1/2 mile “Snail Trail” and viewing platform encourage visitors to explore the surroundings. Visitors may see manatees, tarpon and even sharks when conditions are right. Visitors can experience a short walk through tangled mangroves, palms and oaks with resurrection ferns, bromeliads, and orchids growing in oak tree bark. The trail also winds past an old homestead dating back to post-Civil War times.
Rookery Bay is an area where rivers and streams meet the sea. It forms a unique habitat with a myriad of wildlife including 150 species of birds. Many threatened and endangered animals also thrive in this and the surrounding 10,000 island area of Southwest Florida.
Rookery Bay Programs and Tours
Rookery Bay Learning Center offers many opportunities for visitors to explore and learn:
Science Saturdays: Families learn about environmental science and the natural world. Visitors have hands on experiences with marine-life touch tanks and scientific displays. Science Saturdays are from 9 am to 4 pm October through April.
Kids Free Friday Summer Program: From mid June to early August Kids Free Fridays provides free admission for children 12 and younger with a paid adult. Weekly topics include sharks, manatees, sea turtles, and birds. Program activities include story time, naturalist lecture, craft room and face painting. A food truck is on site from 11 am to 1 pm.
Guided Sunset Bird Rookery and Mangrove Tunnel Kayak Tours: Visitors can paddle through magnificent mangrove tunnels and shallows on a 2-3 hour guided kayak tour. This tour offers the opportunity to see wildlife like sea stars, large snails, birds, dolphin, and manatee. Prior kayaking experience is not required. Tours offer single and tandem kayaks and accommodate children ages 3 and up. Tours are offered daily and registration is required.
Guided Boat Tours of Rookery Bay: A relaxing boat tour offers an up-close and personal experience with this unique coastal environment. The tour is led by Rookery Bay staff with an emphasis on learning. Five different tours are offered, each with a different theme. The tours provide a chance to see native wildlife and a great opportunity for photography.
We recommend a visit to Rookery Bay for our guests at Sea Mar Condo. Sea Mar Condo is located in Marco Island, FL It is located on the 19th floor of South Seas Towers with beautiful views of Crescent (South) Beach and the Gulf waters. Visit our website to see availability and rates and contact us for the vacation of a lifetime! http://www.seamarcondo.com
Marco Island’s climate and weather are all year round perfect! Did you know that Marco Island has an average of 205 sunny days each year?
The “Busy Season”
The “busy season” on the island is January through mid-April when the temperatures range from 71-75 during the day. The months of July, August, and September are the hottest months. During those months the average temperatures ranges from 87-88 during the day and highs can get into the mid to upper 90s.
The winter months of January, February and March are heavily sought by Snowbirds each year. The winter months have mild night temperatures and warm, comfortable days. Marco Island is a great escape from other areas of the country where winter brings snow and ice.
Summer and Fall on Marco Island
Although the winter months are busy each year, the summer and fall months are beautiful and less crowded on the island. There is no restaurant wait lists during the summer and fall months. The Gulf water temperature is bath water warm and pleasant. My husband and I have always taken a Marco Island September vacation each year. It is one of our favorite months to visit the island. This is a great time to go shelling or to do water sports on Marco Island. August and September are hurricane months. It does pay to make plans closer to those months or to make sure your vacation can be cancelled in the event there would be an evacuation notice due to bad weather.
The months of November and December are also very nice in Marco Island. The weather is still very warm ranging from 73 to 80 degrees with plenty of sunshine. It is a great time to sit on the beach and relax or walk along the Gulf sands. At our condo, the heated pool feels great during this time of year.
Average temperatures on Marco Island
During January – March temperatures range from 71-75 during the day.
During April – June temperatures range from 78-86 during the day.
During July – September temperatures range from 87-88 during the day.
During October – December temperatures ranges from 73-83 during the day.
Sea Mar Condo is located on the North end of Marco Island with a spectacular view of Crescent Beach and the Gulf water. The condo is located on the 19th floor of South Seas Tower 4 with an oversized balcony that is perfect for a morning cup of coffee or a late afternoon nap. We want your stay to be enjoyable every month of the year. http://www.seamarcondo.com
An afternoon at Marco Island’s Esplanade and Smokehouse Bay is an all inclusive treat. Let’s start the afternoon off shopping in the unique shops in the Esplanade. This italian-style village consists of upscale retailers and small specialty stores. The architectural detail is beautiful and colorful. The lush landscaping and fountains add to the retail experience.
The Esplanade is located on North Collier Boulevard, Marco Island’s main street. The area has more than 1,100 feet of waterfront on Smokehouse Bay. There is retail and office space, 72 multi-family waterfront residences and a 77-boat slip marina. Visitors at the Esplanade are treated to the promenade along the waterfront and a courtyard opening to the water. Let’s not forget the beautiful marina and great dining and shopping!
Smokehouse Bay Dining
Two of my favorite Marco Island Restaurants are located in the Esplanade. Dining at CJs or Mangos offers a delicious meal while dining waterfront. Be sure to take your camera as this is one of the most beautiful places on the island to capture a great sunset picture over the marina and Smokehouse Bay. It is a very relaxing spot to have an after dinner drink as the sun slowly sinks below the horizon.
End the evening with an ice cream cone at Cold Stone Creamery as the evening is winding down.
Visit our website at www.seamarcondo to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides lots of information about things to see and do in Marco Island. Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation! www.seamarcondo.com
The historic Naples Pier is located on the Gulf of Mexico at the West end of 12th Avenue South. The Naples Pier is a favorite location for sightseers and fishermen with plenty of space to cast a line. The Pier features restrooms, showers, a concession stand with covered eating area, and beach supplies. It is one of the most photographed piers in the United States and even an amateur photographer can get a great shot during the sunset hour.
A Historic Landmark
The Naples Pier was originally built in 1888 as a freight and passenger dock. It was first constructed by newspaper man Walter N. Halderman, founder of Naples. The pier was initially to act as a location for loading and unloading goods and baggage to help local commerce, and to serve a hotel located across from it at the time. After its construction, the Naples Pier became a popular location for social gatherings like parties and dances.
In 1922 most of the Naples Pier was destroyed by a fire from a discarded cigarette. It was rebuilt in 1924 extending it’s length to 1,000 feet. The pier has also had several renovations due to hurricane damage, the latest of those in 1960 and 2015.
Completed, the newly renovated Naples Pier remains a monument to the local lifestyle and culture. It is also a major attraction for both locals and tourists alike to visit while in Naples.
Parking at the Pier
Parking for beach access in the City of Naples requires the resident or visitor to have a beach parking permit, feed the parking meters, or pay-by-space. This is enforced year round.
Cost is $0.25/6 minutes
Credit/Debit Card: Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover
Cash: Quarters only
Features of the Pier
Fishing from the pier does not require a fishing license, as the City of Naples has purchased a bulk fishing license for the Pier. The beach at the Pier also features volleyball nets and is one of the best places to catch a spectacular Naples sunset.