A Recommended Day Trip to Everglades National Park

A Recommended Day Trip to Everglades National Park

EVERGLADES NATIONAL PARK

The Park

The Everglades is a 1.5-million-acre wetlands preserve on the southern tip of Florida.  It gained national park status on December 6, 1947, when President Harry S. Truman dedicated the area as Everglades National Park to ensure the protection of its wildlife and plant habitats.  Although the park is primarily a fresh-water ecosystem, it also encompasses approximately 485,000 acres of the Florida Bay and Gulf of Mexico salt water areas.  This ecosystem reaches from the Kissimmee River to Lake Okeechobee.  From there the waters from the lake slowly move south toward the Florida Bay.  The Florida Bay is a shallow bay with an average depth of 4-5 feet, with the deepest point being 9 feet.  The bay is separated from the ocean by dense mangrove islands, sandbars, and the Florida Keys; thus providing limited water circulation.

A River of Grass

Everglades National Park has often been called the “River of Grass” (or a swamp by others).  It is really a long, shallow river nearly 50 miles wide and more than 100 miles long. The dominant life form in the “river” is periphyton, a mossy golden-brown substance found floating in the waterPeriphyton is a complex mixture of algae, cyanobacteria, heterotrophic microbes, and detritus that attaches to submerged surfaces in an ecosystem. It serves as an important food source for invertebrates, tadpoles, and some fish.

Sawgrass marsh makes up about 70 percent of the Everglades. In the northern Everglades it is tall and dense – in some areas the water is barely visible. In the south it tends to be short and less dense.  Sawgrass has serrated, razor sharp blades that can cut through clothing.

Everglades National Park is much smaller today than in years past.  Around 50% of the wetlands has been destroyed by construction and drainage projects.  The restoration of the Everglades has been an issue for many political debates in Florida.  Both the state and federal governments are committed to restoring and protecting the Everglades.

The Past

Calusa (kah LOOS ah) Indians lived on and controlled most of the southwest coast of Florida.  The Everglades were central to life in the Calusa Indian villages.  Many were located on the mouths of rivers above the Everglades. The natives traveled by canoes through the Everglades to hunt alligators, turtles, shellfish and small mammals that were essential to their food supply.  The teeth and bones of wildlife and reeds from the plants in the Everglades were used for making tools. The Native Americans called the area “Pahayokee (pay-HIGH-oh-geh), meaning “grassy waters”.  The Calusa declined with European expansion to the area.  Some were killed, but most died of diseases brought in by the European settlers.

Everglades National Park Weather

There are two seasons in the Everglades:  wet and dry.  The area alternates with seasons of flood and drought.

The wet (summer) season accounts for around 80% of the average annual rainfall in the area (50+ inches) and lasts from May through November.  The humidity and temperatures (90+F) during this time are high.  Most afternoons have thunderstorms (and occasional hurricanes) that bring rain to renew the fresh-water supply.  Hurricanes can be good for the ecosystem because they make new areas for plant growth, seeds are scattered, and waters are moved in the normally shallow, slow moving river. Recent hurricanes have impacted the Everglades (Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, Irma).

Rainfall is the primary method water enters the Everglades and evapotranspiration (the process by which water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil and other surfaces and by transpiration from plants) accounts for 70-90% of the rainfall leaving the area.

The dry (winter) season begins in December and goes through the month of April.  It brings cooler temperatures (55F-77F) and little rain.  The dry season is especially important for the reproduction of the birds and wildlife in the area.

Fire

As mentioned above, the Everglades has a dry season where drought like conditions are perfect for fires.  The Florida Everglades have recently experienced fires around the Big Cypress National Preserve (March 2017 and 2018).  Although fire may seem to be a destructive element to nature, most often it is not.  Fire is essential for maintenance and new growth of the land.

Environmental factors are always changing the ecological system.  The climate and frequency of rain, storms, and fire all change the Everglades on a continual basis.

Everglades Water Supply    

Approximately one third of people living in Florida (around 8 million) relay on water from the Everglades for their fresh water supply.  This makes protecting the Everglades extremely important.

Plant Life in Everglades National Park

As mentioned above, wet sawgrass prairies and periphyton are plentiful in the Everglades.  The river holds mangrove and cypress swamps, pinelands and hardwood hammocks. Hammocks are dry land that rise out of the grassy river. Tropical and subtropical trees such as the southern live oak grow on them.

The oldest and tallest trees in the Everglades are cypresses, the roots specially adapted to grow underwater.  Big Cypress Swamp is well known for its 500 year old cypresses.

Link to Big Cypress Swamp Website:        https://www.nps.gov/bicy/index.htm

Wildlife in Everglades National Park

Everglades National Park is home to at least 350 species of birds, 50 reptile species, 300 species of saltwater and freshwater fish, and 40 species of mammals.  The ecosystem provides protection for 14 endangered and nine threatened species, including the Florida panther, the Atlantic Ridley turtle, the leatherback turtle, the West Indian manatee, the snail kite, the Cape Sable seaside sparrow, and the American crocodile.  There are at least 36 species that live in Everglades National Park that are protected, threatened, or endangered.

The Everglades are a refuge for large wading birds, such as the wood stork, great blue heron, egrets, and the roseate spoonbill and it is the most important tropical wading bird breeding ground in North America.

This area is the only place in the world where alligators and crocodiles co-exist together in the wild.  Crocodiles are mostly found in small numbers in the coastal areas of the Everglades.  Alligators stay more inland, near the freshwater.

Even mosquitoes play an important role to the Everglades.  The larvae of grown mosquitoes are food for fish, which in turn become an important food source to the diets of the wading birds.

Pythons have become an invasive species to the area.  In the last few years, professional trained python bounty hunters are now being paid to help remove these large snakes from the area as they pose a threat to the ecosystem food source.

Wading Birds in Everglades National Park

 

Visitors to Everglades National Park

The Florida Everglades is visited by more than one million people from all over the world every year.  It is the third biggest national park in America. Only Yellowstone and Death Valley are greater in land mass.  Everglades National Park provides a fantastic learning experience to those of all ages and is also a great family adventure.  Photographers find the landscape and the wildlife the perfect setting for great photos.

The busy visitor season is from December through March.  This is the driest time of the year, the temperatures are cooler, and there are fewer mosquitoes.

If you are considering a trip to the Everglades, be sure to bring along water and an insect repellant.  Protective clothing may also be necessary depending on what you are doing or where you are going.

Everglades National Park Visitor Centers

The park has 4 visitor centers:

Shark Valley Visitor Center

Address: Everglades National Park, 36000 SW 8th St, Miami, FL 33194

Hours of Operation     
8:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Mid-December – Mid-April
9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Mid-April – Mid-December
Hours are subject to change. Phone 305-221-8776.

Visitors wanting to explore alone can walk the short trails and portions of the tram road, or bike. An observation tower located halfway around the tram road provides a spectacular view into the sawgrass marsh.

Guided tram tours, bicycle rentals, snacks and soft drinks are available from Shark Valley Tram Tours, Inc.

http://www.sharkvalleytramtours.com/

Shark Valley Trails:

Bobcat Boardwalk: sawgrass slough and tropical hardwood forests

Otter Cave Hammock Trail: tropical hardwood forest with small footbridges over a small       stream.

Tram Road: flat, paved road used for tram rides, bicycling, and walking.  You may see alligators, herons, egrets, turtles, and snail kites.  An observation tower provides panoramic views of the tropical hardwood hammock.

Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center (Park Main Entrance)

Address: Everglades National Park, 40001 State Hwy 9336, Homestead, FL 33034

Hours of Operation
Mid-December through Mid-April 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Mid-April through Mid-December 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Hours subject to change.  Phone (305) 242-7700

The Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center is open 365 days a year. It offers educational displays, orientation films, and informational brochures. Special collections by local artists are often displayed. Books, film, postcards, and insect repellent may be purchased in the adjoining bookstore. A series of popular walking trails begin only a short drive from the visitor center.

The main park road runs 38 miles from the Ernest Coe Main Entrance through the park to the Flamingo Visitor Centre.  A series of walking trails along this road begin a short drive from the visitor center.

Trails from Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center:

Anhinga Trail: Four miles from the main entrance, this is a 0.5 mile round trip trail that is self-guided.  The trail winds through a sawgrass marsh, where you may see alligators, turtles, herons, egrets, and other birds, especially during the winter. Because of the wildlife, this is one the most popular trails in the park.

Gumbo Limbo Trail: This self-guided, 0.5 mile round trip tail is 4 miles from the main entrance. The paved trail meanders through a shaded hammock of gumbo limbo trees, royal palms, ferns, and air plants.

Pahayokee Overlook: Located 13 miles from the main entrance the trail is 0.25 miles.
An observation deck on this loop provides views of the Everglades.

Mahogany Hammock Trail: Located 20 miles from the main entrance this trail is 0.5 miles round trip.  It is a self-guided boardwalk that meanders through a dense hardwood hammock with gumbo-limbo trees, air plants, and the largest living mahogany tree in the United States.

Alligator in Everglades National Park

Flamingo Visitor Center

AddressEverglades National Park, 1 Flamingo Lodge Hwy, Homestead, FL 33034

Hours of Operation
8am – 4:30pm mid-November through mid-April
No regular hours off season – intermittent staffing (Mid-April through mid-November).

Hours are subject to changePhone (239) 695-2945

The Flamingo Visitor Center lies roughly 38 miles south of the park main entrance at the Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center. Visitors should expect to drive about an hour before arriving at Flamingo.

The Flamingo Visitor Center offers educational displays, informational brochures, and backcountry permits. Campground facilities, a public boat ramp, a marina store, and hiking and canoeing trails are located near the visitor center.

Flamingo Marina Rentals and Boat Tours (239) 695-3101
Houseboat, canoe, kayak, bicycle rentals and boat tours are available through the marina store. The marina is open year round.

Flamingo Trails:

West Lake Trail: Located 7 miles north of the Flamingo Visitor Center on the park road, this is a 0.5 mile round trip trail. It is a self-guided boardwalk trail that wanders through a forest of white mangrove, black mangrove, red mangrove, and buttonwood trees to West Lake.

Eco Pond Trail – Near the Flamingo Visitor Center this 0.5 mile round trail allows visitors to walk around a freshwater pond while watching wading birds, song birds, ducks, alligators and softshell turtles.

Gulf Coast Visitors Center Everglades National Park

Gulf Coast Visitor Center

Address: 815 Oyster Bar Ln, Everglades City, FL 34139

Hours of Operation
9:00 am to 4:30 pm Mid-April- Mid-November
8:00 am to 4:30 pm Mid-November – Mid-April
Hours subject to change. Contact by Phone: 239-695-3311

The Gulf Coast Visitor Center serves as the gateway for exploring the Ten Thousand Islands, a maze of mangrove islands and waterways extending to Flamingo and Florida Bay accessible only by boat.

The visitor center offers educational displays, orientation films, informational brochures, and backcountry permits.

Boat tours and canoe rentals are available.

Restaurants and stores are located nearby.

Activities:

Ten Thousand Islands Boat Tour: (1 ½ hours, fee charged). Discover the Ten Thousand Islands of the Gulf Coast. Concession operated boat tours are narrated by naturalists year round.

Everglades Highlights: (30 Minutes- held on the grounds in front of the Gulf Coast Visitor Center). Join park staff for a short talk about important features of the Everglades; ecological, historical and environmental issues are discussed.

Paddle the Wilderness: With a ranger as your guide, paddle through the Ten Thousand Islands to look at wildlife and mangroves while you learn about the park’s natural and cultural history.

*Reservations are required 7 days in advance. For reservations and further trip details, call the Gulf Coast Visitor Center at 239-695-3311.

 Everglades Airboat Tour

Airboat Tours

Three authorized airboat businesses offer professional airboat tours inside Everglades National Park.  All three (Coopertown, Everglades Safari Park, and Gator Park) are located along US Hwy 41/Tamiami Trail between Miami and Shark Valley.

Coopertown
http://coopertownairboats.com/

Everglades Safari Park
http://www.evergladessafaripark.com/

Gator Park 
https://www.gatorpark.com/

Everglades National Park Prohibited Activities

Personal Jet Skis and Airboats

Swimming is not recommended due to low visibility and the presence of alligators and crocodiles in fresh water areas and sharks, barracuda and sharp coral in the salt water areas.

Visiting Marco Island and the Everglades

Visiting the Everglades from Marco Island requires a car.  There is no public transportation available to Everglades National Park from Marco Island.

Everglades City is a 45 minute drive from Marco Island and is the closest entrance to the Everglades from the island.  Loop Road, which is a 16 mile drive (gravel road) offers visitors a chance to see the beauty of the Everglades and wildlife of the area.  There are several airboat and swamp buggy rides and boat tours from Everglades City.

Everglades City Airboat Tours

http://www.evergladescity-airboattours.com/

Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours

http://www.captainjacksairboattours.com/

Jungle Erv Airboat Rides

http://www.jungleervairboatworld.com/

Captain Doug’s Airboat Tours

http://captaindougs.com/

Wootens Everglades Airboat and Swamp Buggy Tours

http://www.wootenseverglades.com/

The Shark Valley Visitor’s Center is a 40 miles past Everglades City where a tram ride is available.

Another fun adventure is a jet ski adventure from Marco Island around the Ten Thousand Islands of mangroves off Marco Island.

Avi’s Watersports

http://aviwatersports.com/

Captain Ron’s Awesome Everglades Adventures

https://www.evergladesjetskitours.com/

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We highly recommend a day trip to Everglades National Park to our guests at Sea Mar Condo (www.seamarcondo.com).  On one of our recent trips there we saw almost 30 alligators, many wading birds (including a roseate spoonbill), and a python.

Looking for Manatee on Marco Island

Looking for Manatee on Marco Island

Looking for Manatee on Marco Island

As frequent visitors and part-time residents, we often find ourselves looking for manatee on Marco Island. Although there are several of these gentle giants on the island, if is often hard to spot them.

Eco boat tours touring through the 10,000 island Gulf waters offer guests a good opportunity to see a manatee up close and personal. Manatee viewing is a pastime enjoyed by many visitors and residents in any season on Marco Island.

Manatee

Manatee Behavior

The Florida Manatee (commonly known as a sea cow) is a gentle, slow moving giant of the sea.  They can weigh between 800 and 1,200 pounds, but are not “fat”.  Like other mammals, their organs and bone structure take up most of their body weight.  In fact, they have very little body fat and, depending on water temperature, can easily be the victims of hypothermia.  They rarely venture into waters below 68 degrees Fahrenheit.

The manatee is a large aquatic relative of the elephant.  They are grayish brown in color and have thick, wrinkled skin. Their front flippers help them steer, or sometimes crawl, through shallow water.  Manatees have powerful, flat tails that help propel them through the water.  Although they rest and feed often,  manatees also body surf or barrel roll when playing.  Despite their small eyes and lack of outer ears, manatees are thought to see and hear well.  They communicate by squealing under water to demonstrate fear, stress or excitement.

The Florida manatee play an important role in influencing plant growth in the shallow rivers, bays, estuaries, canals and the coastal waters they live in.  Their diets consist mostly of sea grasses and freshwater vegetation.

Manatee calves are born weighing between 60 and 70 pounds and measure about 3-4 feet long.  They nurse underwater.

They are mammals and must surface to breath air on an average of every three to five minutes. Because of having to surface for air frequently, manatee stay close to the surface of the water. Unfortunately, this makes them easy targets for boat propellers. From April 1 through November 15, seasonal manatee zones require boaters to slow down in certain areas to protect these beautiful sea creatures.

How to Spot Manatee on Marco

The best way to see manatee in the water is by wearing polarized sunglasses to help see through the glare on the water. Manatee also make large circles on the water called “manatee footprints”. Also, look for a manatee’s snout sticking up out of the water or a large dark spot in the water.

Manatee prefer waters that are aoub 3-7 feet deep like the Marco Island canals and the surrounding 10,0000 island area. Often times, it is best to drive by some of the island’s canals and make a stop to look for the manatee.

Of course, if you fail to see a manatee on either your eco boat tour or on your canal tour of the island, you can always spot the many manatee shaped mailboxes on the island.

Manatee Mailbox on Marco

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Visit our website at www.seamarcondon.com.  Our “Top 10 List” provides information on bird watching, sea life, and fishing on Marco Island. We recommend several tour companies to make looking for manatee on Marco Island more enjoyable.

A Fantastic Sightseeing Cruise in Marco Island

A Fantastic Sightseeing Cruise in Marco Island

A Fantastic Sightseeing Cruise in Marco Island

If you are looking for a fantastic sightseeing cruise in Marco Island, we recommend the Marco Island Princess!  There’s nothing like stepping aboard this beautiful boat!  Getting to see Marco Island from the water is a must for visitors to the island.

This is one of my favorite things to do on Marco Island. The food and the sightseeing are spectacular! The sunsets are beautiful.

The Marco Island Princess sails daily from her dock at Rose Marina cruising the pristine waterways of Marco Island.  Locals and visitors alike enjoy the outstanding cuisine, professional & friendly crew, and comfortable ambiance of a cruise aboard the beautiful 90’ Marco Island Princess!

Meals are prepared fresh on board for your enjoyment. The crew will attend to your every need. Two full service cash bars are set up to serve your favorite drinks!

Marco Island Cruises

The Marco Island Princess offers Sightseeing, Nature & History Lunch Cruise, Captain’s Sunset Dinner Cruise, Admiral’s Sunset Dinner Cruise, Sunset Cocktail Cruises and much more! While cruising, enjoy playful dolphins, warm sunshine, and Gulf breezes.  The beautiful view changes every moment.

Aboard the Marco Island Princess

Marco Island Princess cruises can accommodate individuals, families, small and large groups and any special event!

Marco Island Special Events

In addition, the Marco Island Princess specializes in wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, bridal luncheons, bachelorette/bachelor parties and gift brunches.   They can arrange everything from start to finish.  The staff will completely accommodate your needs including table settings, custom menu, flowers, entertainment, photography, transportation, special decorations and all the extras.   Luxurious appointments and first class service are provided aboard a beautiful yacht accommodating parties of up to 149.   Enjoy the pristine waters of Marco Island and the Gulf of Mexico!

Wedding Cake

The Princess departs from the convenient Rose Marina, 951 Bald Eagle Dr., Marco Island, FL.  It is located just minutes from anywhere on Marco Island.  Call (239) 394-4364 today to learn more about your many options, to reserve a date, or to speak with their event planning professionals.  Don’t miss this opportunity to see beautiful Marco Island with this fantastic sightseeing cruise.Sea Mar Condo Logo

Visit our website at www.seamarcondo.com to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides more information on Sea Mar Condo and Marco Island.  Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!

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Sea Turtles on Marco island

Sea Turtles on Marco island

Sea Turtles on Marco Island

Sea turtles on Marco Island are one of the island’s greatest assets! Did you know that on average there are 80 Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Caretta caretta) nests per year on the 4 miles of Marco Island’s beach?  Whether you live here or are just visiting, you can easily participate in protecting these threatened creatures and their important nesting environment.

Turtle Nesting Season

Turtle Nest on Tigertail
Sea Turtle Nest on Marco Island

 

Each May and continuing through early August, female loggerhead sea turtles crawl out of the Gulf of Mexico and nest on Marco Island’s beach. The baby turtles, or hatchlings, will emerge 60 days after the nests are laid. Hatchlings generally are emerging from early July through the end of October each year.  During this time, Marco Island has regulations regarding outside lighting at night along and on the beach.  Each turtle nest is recorded and monitored during the nesting season.

Sea Turtle Facts

It takes a female turtle 1 to 3 hours to lay an average of 100 eggs in the sand.

*A female turtle can nest several times per season (up to 7), but may only nest every 2-3 years.
*The female turtle uses her rear flippers to dig the nest cavity before depositing her eggs.
*Male turtles spend their life in the open ocean never crawling up on the beach.
*The temperature of the sand determines the sex of the hatchlings.
*It is estimated that only 1 in 1000 sea turtle hatchlings will survive to reproductive maturity.
*Sea turtles cannot retract their heads into their shells.
*A group of sea turtles is called a flotilla.

How Long Do Sea Turtles Live?
No one knows for sure. According the US Fish and Wildlife Service, scientists are uncertain how long they live because there is no known way to determine their age.

Sea turtles spend almost their entire lives in the sea. They are excellent swimmers, gliding gracefully through the water with flipper-like forelimbs and a streamlined shell. The Sea turtles frequently come to the surface to breathe when active, but can remain underwater for several hours when resting. They are always on the move and travel hundreds of miles across ocean waters.

Sea Turtle Species

The six sea turtle species in the United States are; Loggerhead, Green turtle, Leatherback turtle, Hawksbill turtle, and the Olive Ridley sea turtle. Marco Island’s most common variety of sea turtle is the loggerhead, which averages 200 to 250 pounds. Larger leatherbacks and green turtles nest here in smaller numbers.  Most of Marco Island’s sea turtle nests are usually on Sand Dollar, near Tiger Tail Beach. The remainder are located on the main beach and Hideaway Beach. Marco Island beach is vital to the sea turtle’s continued survival in Southwest Florida.

Among the largest of living reptiles, sea turtles have scales and a bony shell, are cold-blooded, breathe air, and lay their eggs on land. It is illegal to hunt sea turtles in most countries; however they continue to be harvested for food and are considered a delicacy in many parts of the world. Sea turtles play a key role in the Gulf Coast’s fragile ecosystem. Manatee and sea turtles are the only creatures in the world to eat the sea grass which grows on the ocean floor. Sea turtles are vulnerable to oil pollution because of their tendency to float upon the ocean surface.

Your Role in Protecting Marco Island’s Sea Turtles

What can you do to protect the sea turtles on Marco Island?

*Make sure you leave the beach clear of all beach toys, fishing line, plastic bottles or any other item that would be an obstacle for turtles either leaving the water or returning to the water.  The adult turtles often become entangled in fishing line and the baby turtles can become disoriented when objects are in their path to the water.

*Turn off lights after 9 pm in condos and hotel rooms along the beach in turtle season.  Avoid flash lights on the beach during turtle nesting season.

*Fill all holes along the beach that turtles could become trapped in or that could cause a female to return to the ocean instead of laying eggs.

*Comply with posted signs that are on nesting sites asking that you stay back from the nests.

*If you are lucky enough to see a nest hatching, please follow all instructions from the volunteers that are monitoring the nesting process.

Sea Mar Condo LogoVisit our website at www.seamarcondo.com to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides more information on Sea Mar Condo and Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
www.seamarcondo.com

Marco Island Deep Sea Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico

Marco Island Deep Sea Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico

Marco Island Deep Sea Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico

Marco Island Deep Sea Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico is a thrill to many of our island visitors!

The area around Marco boasts some of the best year round sportfishing in the world.  It is surrounded by water with the 10,000 Islands to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west.  Marco Island is located in southwest Florida just 10 miles south of Naples and 85 miles north of Key West.

The shallow waters around Marco and the 10,000 Islands hold sportfish such as Tarpon, Snook, Redfish and Sea Trout. For those of you that prefer the deep waters venture in to the Gulf of Mexico for a catch of Grouper, Snapper, King Mackerel, Little Tuni, shark and Cobia.

BIG Fish, tough fighting fish and great edible fish….they are all here on Marco Island!

Fish the Everglades
Fishing the 10,000 Islands

Many of our guests at Sea Mar Condo look forward to a day excursion of deep sea fishing in the Gulf.  It is a great place to find varied fishing all year round. Charter boats go out each day and many of the island restaurants are waiting to prepare your catch of the day when you get off the boat!

Offshore fishing from Marco Island is quite different from most other places because even when you are 30 miles out you may still be in 60-70 feet of water. This means there is no trolling and waiting hours for a bite as reefs, shipwrecks and hard bottom within reasonable depths make great havens for a variety of fish.

A day offshore fishing is a great family event. The fishing is definitely tougher, the fish are certainly bigger – with grouper 100+ pounds common. Larger king mackerel, snapper, shark, cobia, and grouper in water up to 80 feet deep will challenge even the best fisherman (or woman).

Depending on what time of the year you visit, you might try fishing the scenic mangrove islands of Marco for Redfish, Snook, Tarpon, Pompano, Trout, Snapper and many others. While you fish, enjoy watching beautiful birds, manatee and of course dolphins that actually come right up to the boat.

Reefs in the Marco Island Waters

New to our Gulf waters are 36 beautiful reefs funded by BP and some private donors. This should make for some great fishing for all species such as Grouper, Snapper, Amberjack, King Mackerel, Goliath Grouper and many other species.

The boat captains will clean your catch and gab it for you as part of their service. Then you take it to one of the restaurants on the island that prepare it for your dinner that night!

 

Offshore Fishing Charters: Fish On (239) 687-8352
Reel Thrills (239) 825-4611
SeaGone (239) 642-7310
Six Chuter Charters (239) 389-1575
Wild Thing (239) 821-7054
Sunshine Tours (239) 642-5415

 

Sea Mar Condo LogoVisit our website at www.seamarcondo.com to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides more information on Sea Mar Condo and Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
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Marco Island Farmer’s Market: A Fresh Slice of Paradise

Marco Island Farmer’s Market: A Fresh Slice of Paradise

Marco Island Farmer’s Market: A Fresh Slice of Paradise

Farmers Market
Fresh Fruits at Marco Island Farmer’s Market

The Marco Island Farmer’s Market opens today!  It’s the perfect place to spend a few hours on Wednesdays.  The fruits and vegetables are 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.

Marco Island Farmers Market
Snacks and Souvenirs at Marco Island Farmer’s Market

The Farmer’s Market is open every Wednesday through April 24, 2019 from 7:30am – 1:00pm at Veterans’ Community Park.  The address is 901 Park Avenue, Marco Island.  The market is operated by the City of Marco Island Parks and Recreation.

Marco Island Farmers Market
Marco Island Farmer’s Market

 

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.

The great thing about the Marco Island Farmer’s Market is admission is free.

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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

Golf on the Paradise Coast

Golf on the Paradise Coast

Golf in the Paradise Coast

Whether you are visiting Marco Island for fun or business, a round of golf on the Paradise Coast is a top priority for the avid golfer.

Public Courses Near Marco Island

As for public courses, there are no public courses on Marco Island. Probably the closest public courses are at Lely — the Mustang and Flamingo courses. Other courses not far away are Eagle Lakes, Hibiscus and Links of Naples. Other options will take you further into Naples/Bonita Springs.

Hammock Bay, Rookery and Fiddler’s Creek are three courses which are close to the island. All are private but will allow public tee times during the off season subject to availability. The prices at these courses are higher but there is usually a lower price available in the afternoons.

Naples “Golf Capital of the World”

Naples GolfWith 90 golf courses and 3 annual pro-golf championships, Naples is #1 in the National Golf Foundation’s rankings of Golf Holes Per Capita. Florida’s Paradise Coast was selected by the International Association of Golf Tour Operators (IAGTO) as the 2014 Golf Destination of the Year-North America. It was named a finalist by editors at USA TODAY for the 10 Best Golf Destinations in the world.  Online voting by readers placed Naples at #5 on that prestigious top ten list.

Calling itself ‘The Golf Capital of the World’, the Naples area is brimming with golf courses and year round incredible weather. Around one-third of Naples’ golf courses are open to the public. Having some of the most exclusive private clubs in the world, golfers can also play quality rounds at public courses like the Greg Norman-designed Tiburon Golf Club and Lely Resort.  Here the course’s Sam Snead’s Tavern is the perfect place to unwind on the patio after a day on the course.

List of Courses

http://www.marcoislandgolf.com/listman/listings/

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Visit our website at www.seamarcondo.com to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides more information on Sea Mar Condo and Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
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Boardwalk and Nature Trails close to Marco Island

Boardwalk and Nature Trails close to Marco Island

Boardwalk and Nature Trails Close to Marco Island

The are several boardwalk and nature trails close to Marco Island. These beautiful areas offer our guests to Sea Mar Condo an opportunity to see the varied landscapes and wildlife around the area. All of these boardwalks and trails are within an hours drive from Marco Island and are great day trips.

Briggs Nature Center Boardwalk Trail

Briggs Nature Center Boardwalk
Briggs Nature Center Boardwalk

 

This trail is a .6 mile loop trail with light traffic located near Naples. It offers scenic views and is good for all skill levels. The trail is accessible year round and is perfect for birding, hiking, walking, and nature trips. Dogs are allowed on the trail, but must be kept of leash.

 

Rookery Bay Boardwalk

rookery-bay-environmental

 

Across from Walmart on Rt.951 (15 minutes away from Marco) , this trail is about a 1 mile loop. It’s close, easy, and offers great birding. Visitors can experience a brief trek through tangles mangroves, palms and oaks with resurrection ferns, bromeliads, and orchids growing in oak tree bark. The trail winds past an old homestead dating back to post-Civil War times.

Serenity Walk

Located on Route 951 nine tenths of a mile north of Rattlesnake Hammock Road. Serenity Walk Park is small but very interesting. The trail is dirt/sand and is a 1 mile loop winding around pine flatwoods and a cypress pine mixed forest.

Bird Rookery Swamp

Bird Rookery Swamp
Bird Rookery Swamp

This trail is located on Shady Hollow Road (45 minutes away from Marco). It offers 12 miles of hiking and biking trails and a 1500 foot boardwalk. The trails are old tram roads used when the area was logged many years ago. The maple-cypress swamp is home to alligators,otters, Florida panthers, bobcats, and white-tailed deer. The trail also is great for birding with many raptors and wading birds in the area.

Freedom Park

Freedom Park Naples
Freedom Park, Naples

 

This park is located at 1515 Golden Gate Parkway in Naples (about 1/2 hour from Marco Island). Freedom Park includes a 5 acre lake with 3500 feet of boardwalk throughout the 50 acre park. It also has 6 lookout pavilions and numerous walking trails.

Corkscrew Bird Sanctuary

Corkscrew Bird Sanctuary
Corkscrew Bird Sanctuary

 

This sanctuary is located on Immokalee Rd. (About 50 minutes from Marco). The 2.5 mile boardwalk trail takes you through pine flatwoods, wet prairie, around a marsh, and into the largest old growth Bald Cypress forest in North America. The area is home to hundreds of alligators, otters, white-tailed deer and red-bellied turtles. A wide variety of wading birds, songbirds, raptors and the painted bunting can also been seen throughout the year. Guided walks are available.

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve
Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve

This slough is located on Six Mile Cypress Parkway near Ft. Myers (about an hour away from Marco). A Slough is a long, narrow wetland with slowly flowing freshwater. During the rainy time of year, the Slough catches and slowly filters rainwater on its way towards Estero Bay. Animals that have adapted to the wetlands, like alligators, turtles, otters, and wading birds, live at the Slough year-round. Additionally, many types of migratory birds use the Slough as a rest stop and feeding area. The park has 3,500 acres with wildlife, a butterfly garden, and boardwalk trails through wetlands.

Sea Mar Condo Logo

Visit our website at www.seamarcondo.com to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides more information on Sea Mar Condo and Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
www.seamarcondo.com

Marco Island’s Beaches

Marco Island’s Beaches

Marco Island’s Beaches

Our location at Sea Mar Condo couldn’t be better – we are located on Tigertail Beach, overlook South (Crescent) Beach, and are a boat trip away from Keewaydin Beach.  We want to introduce you to Marco Island’s beaches, some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

The largest Island in Florida’s chain known as Ten Thousand Islands, Marco Island features two public beaches, as well as several offshore island beaches. For the beach-goer looking for quiet, pristine beaches and an escape from the party scene of other Gulf of Mexico beaches, Marco offers an ideal destination. Beautiful landscaped walkways and surrounding properties set Marco Island’s beaches apart. Enjoy miles of clean, uncrowded beaches of white sand and famous Marco sunsets. Marco Island’s beaches are world famous – one visit here and you will understand why.

Tigertail Beach – Hernando Drive on Marco Island

Tigertail Beach
Tigertail Beach and Sand Dollar Split

It is best to consider Tigertail Beach as two quite distinct areas, the Lagoon and Sand Dollar spit. Because of Marco’s intense development, it’s the last place to expect to find one of the most beautiful wild beaches in Florida. It is perfect for beach walks, shelling, bird watching, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Make sure to take along a shelling bucket to haul back all the beautiful shells. It is also a great place to see lots of Marco Island wildlife.

The Lagoon

Paddleboarding
Paddleboarding Tigertail Lagoon

The lagoon is a great place for families with younger kids to spend the day since it is normally very calm and the concession rents cabanas. In addition, you can rent aqua-trikes, paddleboards and stable kayaks. The beach concession also offers guided kayak and paddleboard tours.

Observation Tower and Fantastic Wildlife

The newly constructed Observation Tower, with two levels and permanently fixed binoculars, gives unobstructed views of the lagoon and out to Sand Dollar Spit. It is handicap accessible from the main walkway close to the snack bar, and is open from dawn til dusk.

Black Skimmers on Tigertail Beach
Black Skimmers on Tigertail Beach

The lagoon is also a great place to fish (either spinning or fly) with many secluded areas around mangroves or shallow water towards the Big Marco Pass. Over the years it has become an important rest area for migrating birds and also a major nesting site in spring and summer for several endangered species and is listed as Site # 73 on the Great Florida Birding Trail. You can expect to see many types of heron, ibis, egret, black skimmers, plovers, sandpipers, willets, pelican, osprey, roseate spoonbills, and even a bald eagle. There are always mullet jumping and you should also see fiddler, horseshoe and ghost crabs and maybe three kinds of sea stars depending on how far you walk!

Café and Playground

The great benefit to this part of Tigertail Beach is that you are also close to all of the facilities – restrooms, showers, BBQs, a great kids’ playground and the café that offers lunch and light snacks, beverages and ice cream. Kids’ meals come with a beach frisbee, ready for fun in the sand.

Sand Dollar Spit – a Magnificent Unspoiled Gulf Beach

To reach Sand Dollar Spit and the beautiful, pristine, soft sandy beach on the other side of the lagoon, you either have to wade through it, head south some distance to where the lagoon ends and make a turn to the north, or rent a kayak or paddleboard and make it part of a day trip. It’s a bit of a trek to walk to the spit, but it’s definitely worth it. The beach here (which abounds with wonderful seashells) is absolutely breathtaking and totally natural.

The walk to the end of Sand Dollar Spit has changed many times and no more so than over the past three years, due to the impact of storms. The spit is so narrow in a number of places that breaches can occur, especially after strong tides. There are easy, sandy trails leading around the high water areas.

Many of Florida’s beach-nesting shorebirds that face conservation challenges can be regularly spotted on Sand Dollar Spit and Tigertail, including the snowy plover, least tern, black skimmer, American oyster catcher, and Wilson’s plover. So please keep your distance and never intentionally force birds to fly or run.

No two visits are ever the same in this area and you can walk for miles with just the lapping of the waves, the rustle of the sea oats and the cries of birds to keep you company. In our view it’s the best part of the whole beach and is well worth the walk. Don’t forget to take some water and some shelling bags since there are over 200 different shell varieties that can wash up on the shore.

On Tigertail Beach, the choice is Yours:

• Experience 32 acres of one of the world’s most important habitats for wintering and nesting shorebirds. Listed in the Great Florida Birding Trail Guide as one of the best all-around birding locations in southwest Florida.
• Explore the tidal lagoon that separates the Tigertail Beach Park from the state managed Big Marco Pass Critical Wildlife Area popularly known as the Sand Dollar Spit. The lagoon is home to a wide variety of wildlife including horseshoe crabs, needle fish, Florida fighting conchs, and more.
• Enjoy the Gulf of Mexico from the Sand Dollar Spit. If you visit this site, be aware of seasonal postings designed to protect the nesting colonies and remember to practice good birding etiquette.

South (Crescent) Beach

Marco Island Aerial Picture
South (Crescent) Beach, Marco Island, FL

Marco Island’s beautiful South Beach stretches the whole length of the west side of the island. Of course the beach is public property and open to all. It is perfect for beach walks, shelling, relaxation, sailing, parasailing

Marco Island’s South Beach is 3 miles of soft white-sand beach, wide and usually teaming with activity – volleyball, jet-skiing, and parasailing. South Marco Beach (also called Crescent Beach) also features beachfront property, lined with sabal palms and the large, luxury hotels of Marco Island. Swimmers and sunbathers populate the beach on South Marco from 8:00 a.m. until sunset each day. Crescent Beach is also a great place for beach fishing and dolphin watching.

The sunsets along this beach are unbelievable – and if you are lucky you will get to see the “Marco Flash”, a flash of deep blue or green light occurring very seldom but always just after the sun sets into the Gulf.

Resident’s Beach

Residents Beach, Marco Island
Resident’s Beach, Marco Island

 

This beach is private for Marco Island residents only. Visitors of 30 days or longer may apply for a Residents Beach pass at the Marco Island Civic Association office.

Keewaydin Island 

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Keewaydin Island beach is only accessible by boat. However, there are day trips offered each day from Marco Island to Keewaydin by Hemmingway Water Shuttle.

Beach Hours 

Marco Island’s beaches are patrolled and are not available for overnight camping. Unless you are staying at a Marco Island beachfront resort or condo you are not permitted to enter Marco Island Beaches after 10:00pm. Marco Island, and the rest of the 10,000 islands in the Florida Everglades, is an important nesting and migrating area for birds. Wildlife and bird viewing, or “birding” is a popular outdoor activity. You should be careful not to disturb island birds and turtles when visiting Marco Island’s Beaches. Several of the island’s birds and turtles are on the endangered species list and fines are imposed for violators. Due to Marco island’s important and fragile ecosystem, dogs or pets of any kind are not allowed on any Marco Island Beaches.

Sea Mar Condo LogoSea Mar Condo, located at South Seas Resort on the north end of Marco Island is a 19th floor penthouse condo overlooking beautiful Crescent Beach. We welcome you to be our guests and enjoy everything that Marco Island has to offer.

Visit our website at www.seamarcond.com to see our rates and availability. In addition to “Our Top 10 List of Things to do on Marco Island, our website also provides lots more information on Sea Mar Condo and Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
www.seamarcondo.com

A Day Trip with Corey Billy’s Airboat Rides

A Day Trip with Corey Billy’s Airboat Rides

A Day Trip with Corey Billy’s Airboat Rides

Corey Billy’s Airboat Ride

Let’s leave the beach for a few hours for a day trip with Corey Billy’s Airboat Rides. This is a great adventure for the whole family and just 15 minutes from Marco Island. You can experience the Everglades history and folklore as the Seminoles lived in this 200 acre private piece of the Everglades.

What’s Unique About an Airboat Ride?

Airboats, or fan boats, cruise through the Everglades with an aircraft or automotive engine that powers a propeller enclosed within a protective metal cage. The flat bottom design, along with the above water operating system, allows easy access to the shallow swamps, marshes, and canals. of the Everglades. The ecosystem of a swamp is particularly delicate. Oftentimes life can be found right below the water’s surface, and this is why the use of airboats is so important. Corey Billie’s first concern is the preservation of the Everglades.

Guests board the state of the art airboats for a one of a kind Everglades airboat tour experience. The guides are native Floridians who will take you deep into the preserve for a tour that’s both educational and fun. Be prepared to see exotic tropical wildlife and lush plants. Guests are always prepared to see alligators!

Corey is a Native Seminole Who Knows the Everglades

The owner, Corey, is a true native Seminole who deeply appreciates the Everglades. Raised in a Seminole camp in Ochopee, Florida, he fondly recalls his childhood: gigging for fish in the canals alongside US41, chopping firewood for his family’s village, watching his mother and grandmother sew traditional clothing and cook traditional meals over an open fire, and learning his heritage and native language from his ancestors.

In 2008, Corey decided to pursue a lifelong dream to provide airboat tours of the Florida Everglades to entertain and educate people on the importance of preserving this beautiful and fragile land. His native American heritage gives him a unique understanding of the Everglades. His commitment to its preservation is a core principle at Corey Billie’s Airboat Rides.

Corey Billy's Airboat Rides
Petting a Baby Alligator at Corey Billy’s Airboat Rides

Want to Pet an Alligator?

Our niece and nephew were recently our guests at Sea Mar Condo in Marco Island and took their family on a day trip with Corey Billy’s Airboat rides. The two girls loved the alligators and the interaction with their guide. They even got to pet a baby alligator!

Reservations

Corey Billie’s Airboats comfortably seat up to 10 people. Their airboats travel at up to 40 mph. The airboat rides are 45 minutes long. Parties of 10 or more must book in advance.

Hours 9am-5pm each day

20610 Tamiami Trail East
Naples, FL 34114
(239) 389-4733
Reservations are highly recommended for December-April.

Posted by Randy Luber on Friday, August 10, 2018

A Tripadvisor Review
I have been on many Everglades tours, and this by far was my favorite place! We arrived at 2:45, bought our tickets & were on the boat by 3:00 with no waiting! It was a nice, comfortable air boat with lightly cushioned seats. Our guide was WONDERFUL!!! He stopped many times to explain what we were seeing & add a few funny stories of his own. Two alligators came right up to the boat & we were able to take fantastic pictures. Our guide even offered to take our family picture & let the kids look like they were driving the boat! They loved that!! The tour was a full 45 minutes. Afterwards we went to the back & one of the girls showed us several alligators ranging from a baby to 2 years. We were able to pet & hold each one… again, she offered to take our family picture.
My kids have said this was by far their favorite part of vacation. It is worth the money and an experience that will provide you with many memories!!

We Recommend Corey Billy’s Airboat Rides to our Guests

Visit our website at www.seamarcondo.com to see our rates and availability. Our website also provides more information on Sea Mar Condo and Marco Island.
Let us help you make the most of your Marco Island vacation!
www.seamarcondo.com