The Marco Eagle Guide to Local Beaches

Tigertail Beach’s concession rents water toys ranging from kayaks to paddle boats, but nothing that has an engine to disturb the peace.

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Tigertail Beach’s concession rents water toys ranging from kayaks to paddle boats, but nothing that has an engine to disturb the peace.

South Beach

Located on South Collier Boulevard, this county beach is known for shelling and dolphins; manatees have been spotted there. Hours are sunrise to sundown. Collier County residents may obtain a free beach parking sticker at the Marco Island Branch Library or the Caxambas boat ramp from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays. You must show proof of Collier County residency.

Pros: Beautiful view, walk to watersport rentals, borders Sunset Grill beachfront restaurant. Cons: sometimes difficult to park, no facilities. Likely visitors: Visitors or local residents. Getting there: south on Collier Boulevard, parking lot is on left; access path is on south side of Apollo Condominiums. Parking: 70 spaces. $8 meter or beach parking permit. Recreation options: fishing and shelling. Boat ramp: no. Equipment rental options: none, but available nearby at hotels. Facilities: none. Food options: none. Pets: None. Wheelchairs accessible: Yes, via boardwalk.

Sarazen Park South Beach is maintained by the Marco Island Civic Association for the use of property owners and renters. See Resident’s Beach. Information: 642-7778 or marcocivic.com.

Tigertail Beach

This county facility, located on the northern side of the Island, this is perhaps the region’s top beach for viewing wildlife. Protected wading birds typically line the shores of a lagoon that separates the parking and facilities area from the beach. Birds have become acclimated to people and aren’t prone to spook. It’s a great chance to watch some of the state’s most unique birds hunt and gather food. Park rangers offer educational programs each week, including birding tours and presentations on coastal wildlife ,such as sea turtles and manatees.

Collier County residents may obtain a free beach parking sticker at the Marco Island Branch Library or the Caxambas boat ramp from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays. You must show proof of Collier County residency.

Pros: beautiful shoreline that’s relatively undeveloped, while still close to residential and rental areas. Cons: traffic can be a challenge during winter and spring months. Likely visitors: nature lovers. Getting there: take Collier Boulevard to Tigertail Court, turn right, and then left onto Hernando Drive, which ends at the beach. Parking: $8 meter or county beach parking permit. Recreation options: hiking, volleyball. Boat ramp: no. Equipment rental options: kayaks, canoes, beach chairs and windsurfers. Facilities: Restrooms, showers, playground and picnic area. Food options: concessions. Pets: None. Wheelchair accessible: Yes.

Residents’ Beach

Residents’ Beach is maintained by the Marco Island Civic Association for the use of property owners and renters. This is a members-only beach on Collier Boulevard at the intersection of San Marco Road. The beach is very wide, white and soft, providing plenty of sunbathing space. The Sessions Pavilion contains brand-new restroom facilities, as well as a large, partly shaded deck for dining. A shell kiosk at the end of the boardwalk to the beach educates visitors about shells. The Snack Shack at the pavilion severs breakfast and lunch. The beach closes at sunset.

Pros: secluded, widest beach area on Marco. Cons: Must be a resident or renter for longer than one month and a member of the Marco Island Civic Association. Likely visitors: year-round and winter residents and their families/guests. Getting there: go south on Collier Boulevard, turn right into the parking lot opposite San Marco Road. Parking: ample. Recreation options: fishing, volleyball, shelling and playground. Boat ramp: no. Equipment rental options: none. Facilities: Restrooms, showers, playground, picnic area with grills and chickee huts on the beach. Food options: concessions. Pets: none. Wheelchair accessible: yes, beach wheelchairs available. Information: 642-7778 or marcocivic.com.

Cape Romano/Kice Island

Cape Romano can only be reached by boat. The closest public boat ramp is at Caxambas Pass park, at the south end of Marco Island. Cape Romano and Kice Island are within reach of canoe and kayak paddlers, as well as powerboat owners wanting to see an undeveloped Southwest Florida shoreline.

Pros: close to Marco Island while maintaining a feeling of remoteness, with beachfront camping permitted. Cons: no facilities and need a boat to access. Likely visitors: adventurous visitors and beach campers. Getting there: southwest of Caxambas Pass on Marco Island. Recreation options: fishing, hiking, camping, shelling and swimming. Boat ramp: no. Equipment rental options: none. Facilities: none. Food options: None.

Keewaydin Island

A boater’s paradise on the south side of Gordon pass, this sparsely inhabited island abuts the Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, a pristine coastal wilderness. Keewaydin is a mostly undeveloped shoreline that’s home to a population of iguanas. The island is also the domain of many area boaters and fishermen. Dozens of vessels can be found anchored off the beach whenever weekend weather permits.

Pros: Secluded beach with no vehicle traffic. Cons: No facilities, boat access required. Likely visitors: Local boaters with access to Naples Bay or passengers on charters and rentals. Getting there: Keewaydin is only reachable by boat. The closest water access is in Naples Bay at Bayview Park, off Danford Street. Parking: spaces at Bayview Park are limited. Recreation options: fishing, hiking, camping, shelling and swimming. Boat ramp: no. Equipment rental options: none. Facilities: none. Food options: None.

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