Everglades: A Natural Estuary

The Everglades and the Ten Thousand Islands are a rare and beautiful place.  It is one of North America’s unsung wild places – a beautiful, rugged, subtropical landscape that is experienced by a relatively few adventurous souls each year.

Traveling in Southwest Florida isn’t complete without stopping in the Everglades.  Whether you want to step into a haven amongst the mangroves, immerse yourself in the sense of wonder that surrounds you or sink deep into the slow, languid pace of life in a swamp!

We have listed our favorite activities, restaurants and tips for your Romp in the Swamp:

Museum of the Everglades

105 Broadway Ave w

Everglades, FL 34139

239-695-0008

A showcase for the history of the Everglades region, the museum presents the story of 2,000 years of human habitation with artifacts and period photographs.


Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge

Immokalee, FL 34142

239-657-8001

Two hiking trails are open to the public.  They provide the refuge visitor a chance to experience the various habitats found on the refuge

Wooten’s Air Boat Rides 

**RECOMMENDED BY THE TEAM**

32330 Tamiami Trail E

Ochopee, FL 34141

239-695-2781

Glide across 259 acres of the Everglades!  Watch, pet and hold alligators!  Soak up the natural beauty of a cypress forest on a Swamp Buggy Tour!  See panthers, tigers, otters, snakes and much more….

 

Fun Restaurants (try the gator..it’s delicious!)

Camelia Street Grill – 201 Camelia Street

City Seafood – 609 Begonia Street

Everglades Scoop – 203 Copeland Avenue

Grimm’s Stone Crab – 919 Dupont Street

Leebo’s Rock Bottom Bar – 801 S Copeland Ave

Oyster House – 901 Copeland Ave

Triad Seafood – 401 School Drive W

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Taste of Marco : Local Samplings

Marco has taste, Marco eateries have tasty treats, and if your taste in entertainment runs to sampling a smorgasbord of specialties, the Taste of Marco is for you.

The island’s signature food-tasting event returns to the Esplanade on Sunday, April 23.  The Taste of Marco, benefitting the YMCA, will bring more than 20 restaurants and food purveyors with thousands of eaters from 11am -5pm.

This food spectacle gives restaurants the chance to reach new customers, who may never have been exposed to their dishes, and lets the public try some of their signature styles, all for a $5 admission and a few dollars in food tickets.

The event is generally thronged, and could be considered the last hurrah of the season on Marco Island.  Restaurants put their best food forward, tempting tasters with unusual offerings, or bringing back tried and true favorites.

 

What: Taste of Marco

Where: Esplanade

When: April 23

Time: 11 AM – 5 PM

Cost: $5 Adults/Children Under 12 Free

Tips from the Team:  There is free parking available, but for a $5 suggested donation, patrons can park at Veterans’ Community Park, and arrive in the shuttle, with parking proceeds going to support the Lely High School football team.  For those arriving by boat, slip rental is available by calling the dockmaster at 239-394-6333.

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Sunrise Service: An Easter Tradition

A beautiful and tranquil service backdropped with the calmness of the ocean and paired with the salty warm air of the gulf…

The 29th Annual Easter Sunrise Service on the beach will be held Sunday, April 16th at 7 am on the beach at the JW Marriott Beach Resort, 400 S. Collier Blvd. Marco Island, FL 34145.

Beginning 29 years ago with 240 people, the event is now the largest one-hour event on the island with the last year’s attendance estimated to be 10,000.

Beach access is north of the Marriott Spa and the public access path north of Madeira.  The Marco Police and volunteers will direct traffic and assist with parking, including double parking along Collier Boulevard.  Additionally, the Resident’s Beach parking lot will at open at 6 a.m. for member parking.  Dress is casual, bring your own blanket or chair.   Musical prelude begins at 6:45 a.m.

For information call Marco Presbyterian Church at 239-394-8186.

 

Fun Easter Brunch Options:

La Tavola Restaurant and Bar 10am-2pm

Adults -$29pp

Children – $12pp

 

Bistro Soleil  10am-2pm

Adults – $49.95pp

Children – $30

 

Maia in the Marriott  12pm-3pm

Adults – $45

Children – $20

 

Mangoe’s Dockside Bistro

Adults – $28.95

Children – $12.95

 

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Luck of the Irish

Break out your green to avoid getting pinched on this lucky day filled with Irish beer and lots of corn beef and cabbage!  Who knows maybe there will be a pot of gold at the end of the festivities!!!

St. Patrick’s Day Parade

When: March 5, 2017

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Where: Veteran’s Park

Cost: Free

Tips from the Team: Arrive early and bring chairs!

Party in the Plaza

When: March 17, 2017

12:00 PM – 2:00 AM

Where:  Marco Walk Plaza

Enjoy live music and festivities in the plaza!

 

Fun Facts About St. Patrick’s Day – Impress Your Friends!!!!

  1. Patrick is one of the most famous patron saints of Ireland. Acccording to the legend, he brought Christianity to the island, made the shamrock fashionable and freed Ireland from snakes.  This holiday marks St. Patrick’s death and has been observed as a religious holiday in Ireland for over 1500 years.
  2. Ireland only officially started celebrating the day in 1903. Since the Emerald Isle is mainly Catholic and St. Patrick’s day usually falls on Lent, it used to be a quiet and religious holiday – until the 1960s when a law allowed pubs to open…hence St. Paddy’s Day.
  3. Patrick is not actually an Irishman named Patrick : Born Maewyn Succat, the Irish patron saint was actually British. According to legend, he was sold into slavery in Ireland when he was a teenager, became religious, escaped back to England, became and ordained priest named Patrick and started converting all of the Irish Celtic pagans to Christianity.
  4. According to legend, St. Patrick freed Ireland from snakes. According to biologists, there were never any actual snakes in Ireland.  The diplomatic explanation is that the snakes are a metaphor for paganism that was forced out by St. Patrick
  5. It’s said that St. Patrick used shamrocks (clovers) to explain the holy trinity (God, Son and Holy Spirit) to the Irish. The Celts believed that each leaf of the clover has a meaning, so using clover leaves as a teaching material was fruitiful.  Patrick started several churches, schools and monasteries and made the clover popular.
  6. It’s green as far as the eye can see – from hair to clothes and even food. We’re not talking spinach here but bagels, pancakes and even beer – if you can put green food coloring on it, it will be served on St. Patrick’s Day.  But the coloring fun doesn’t stop there: rivers, monuments and even ski resorts have all been turned green to commemorate the occasion.
  7. Even though everyone does green, Patrick himself apparently preferred blue and proof can still be seen on old Irish flags. During the 1798 Irish Rebellion, wearing the clover and the color green became a symbol of nationalism – and it stuck
  8. Besides the drinking and green wearing, watching or participating in a parade is the perfect way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Interestingly enough the largest St. Paddy’s Day parades are held outside of Ireland as the Irish expat communities around the world are taking the festivities very seriously.
  9. During St. Patrick’s Day, the worldwide consumption of Guinness almost triples – from 5.5 million pints on a regular day to 13 million pints!! Cheers!
  10. Corned beef and cabbage is a classic dish that goes extremely well with all of that beer – even though the dish was “invented” by Irish immigrants in New York. This might explain why in the US, over 26 billion pounds of beef and over two billion pounds of cabbage are produced during the holiday.

 

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Hook, Line and Sinker

Southwest Florida is known for its commercial fishing heritage and quality seafood products.  Many communities throughout the state are home to annual festivals that celebrate the positive impact of commercial fishing and seafood.  All of these family oriented events have local flair that are unique to each community.

For Marco Island, that fun begins on March 24 and continues through March 26.    In addition to great music from some of the area’s best local talent, all of your favorite seafood specialties will be available as well.  You can sample plenty of fresh fish, grouper, crab cakes, stone crab, shrimp, crawdads, oysters, scallops, frog legs, gator bites, chowder and much more!  For the land lover, there will be plenty of local dishes such as steak and chicken kabobs and good ole fashioned hamburgers.

When your full of fish, you can sample fine arts and crafts from over 60 vendors.  Find the perfect take home keepsake from a selection of handcrafted furniture, fabulous florals, jewelry, wearable art, handmade soaps, candles traditional and fine art and a lot more.  A kid’s zone with bounce house, slide, rock climbing wall, trampoline will keep the children occupied while you enjoy the music, the food and the friends.

What: Marco Island Seafood Festival

When: March 24-26

Hours: 11am-9pm

Cost: $10 per person

Where: Veteran’s Park – Elkcam Cir W

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Stone Crabs, Snapper and Shrimp ..OH MY!

 

 

Calling all seafood lovers!  It’s almost time for the Everglades Seafood Festival, a popular annual event steeped in tradition with great live music, fun arts and crafts, and the finest, freshest seafood South West Florida has to offer.

This quaint little community of fishing and farming will be celebrating another year of fun festivities and boasts of the city’s most famous produce – seafood.  Among the craft booths and carnival rides, visitors will be entertained by the sights and sounds of live music being performed by some of Nashville’s up and coming stars. An assortment of culinary vendors will also be in attendance to tempt your taste buds with a variety of tasty delights from fresh Stone Crab Claws to fried gator and other country fair favorites.  Don’t forget the kids!  They will be sure to have a good ole time with the mechanical bucking bronco and high-flying amusement rides.

Festival Schedule:

Friday, Feb. 10 – 5:30pm to 10:30pm

Saturday, Feb. 11 – 10:00am to 10:00pm

Sunday, Feb. 12 – 11:00am to 6:00pm

Tips from Our Team:

Traffic can be tricky, so arrive early and bring your patience.

Wear comfortable shoes!  You will be walking!

Bring cash.  Very few vendors take credit cards.

No Pets

No Coolers

Bring your appetite!!!

Posted in Marco Escapes News

Gem Hidden: Tigertail Beach

Located on Hernando Drive on sunny Marco Island, Tigertail beach offers thirty-one acres of everything from natural resources to beachside amenities, making your visit a rewarding one.   Tigertail’s dunes, famous bird watching setting, and a plethora of lagoon wildlife suggest picturesque calm many seek in a day at Marco Island’s famous beach.  A short distance across the tidal lagoon, what only ten years ago was Tigertail’s sandbar is now Sand Dollar Island, a barrier island in the making.  Changes in the formation of the island are noticeable on a yearly basis and it’s development is a welcome occurrence for the many shorebirds using it as a nesting site.  You will see Herons, Egrets, Ibis and many kinds of Terns, Sandpipers, Plovers and Gulls.  You will even see birds of prey such as the Osprey gliding overhead.  A trip to Tigertail is not complete without a stroll along the beach for shells and other beach items!  You may even find a sand dollar or two!

Location: Herando Drive
Hours: 8 am to sunset
Phone: 239-252-4000
Parking: $8.00 daily rate
$1.50 hourly rate

Amenities:

  • 6 boardwalks
  • Tigertail Beach Café/full service restaurant serving breakfast and lunch/beer and wine available
  • Restroom Facilities
  • Education Kiosk
  • Children’s Playground
  • Butterfly Garden
  • Picnic Area with Tables and Grills

 

Beach Rentals:

  • Stand-up Paddleboards
  • Kayaks
  • Electric Seaquirts
  • Water Trikes
  • Electric Boats
  • Paddleboats
  • Beach Cabanas and Chairs

 

Posted in Marco Escapes News

New Year’s To Do List: Part Two

July:  Take a Swing – Situated along the sun drenched coastline of the Gulf of Mexico, Naples boasts more than 10 miles of Florida’s pristine sand and warmest waters.  The city is known just as much for its golf as for its beaches.  With more than 35 golf courses right in the city and over 50 championship courses in the surrounding area, Naples is the state’s self-proclaimed Golf Capital.  The city has the highest ratio of golf courses to golfers In the country.

August:  Natural Park/Natural Sites – Florida is home to well over a dozen national parks and monuments, all of which are a joy for the visitor to explore.  A must see is the Everglades National Park, which occupies much of the Southwest portion of the state.  The largest subtropical wilderness in the U.S., the Everglades is home to many rare species of animals, birds and plants and an airboat ride to view them is a must.  State Parks are excellent as well, like Sarasota’s Myakka River Park where guests can experience a diverse natural area of wetlands, prairies, hammocks and pinelands.

September:  Splish Splash with Watersports- Visit a state surrounded by water and you will no doubt want to take advantage of the myriad of water sports available there.  Take your pick-from calm and water related pursuits like fishing or sailing to more exciting adventures, such as jet skiing, scuba diving, kite or wind surfing, wake boarding, parasailing and more.  With 8,500 miles of shoreline, 7,800 lakes, 320 spings and 35 rivers, the possibilities are endless.

October:  Cast a line – Southwest Florida has some of the best backwater and deep sea fishing in the state.  Angling is extensive in the network of bays, mangrove islands and tidal creeks that permeate the region.  There are thousands of miles of shoreline, countless oyster bars and acres of seagrass beds that attract an abundance of salt water fish.  Roaming these waters are five of the state’s most sought after game fish: snook, redfish, snapper, grouper and tarpon.  Always a sure catch in these waters!

November:  Key Lime Pie – This delightful confection had it’s start in the Keys.  In fact, nearly every restaurant in the Keys, especially in Key West serves this dessert.  The key lime tree arrived here in the 1500s and recipes for the pie began appearing as early as the late 1800s, though it became really popular in the 1930s.  Some restaurants make it with a graham cracker crust, others with pastry crust.  Either way, it’s a must-have several times over.

December: Beaches, Beaches, Beaches – By far, the number one reason for scheduling a Florida vacation is to sit on the Sunshine State’s incredible beaches and enjoy the soft sand, warm water, and beautiful sunsets you’ll find there.  With thousands of miles of coastline, the beaches in Florida are many and quite varied.  Wherever you go, you’ll find a Florida beach where you can sun, swim and enjoy the view.

 

Posted in Marco Escapes News

New Years To Do List: Part One

With the new year finally here we know the routine of “New Year’s Resolutions”  all too well.  We decided to spice it up this year!  Out with the what NOT TO DO’s…. And in with the what TO Do’s!  So here are 12 reasons we think our Sunshine State remains the place you want on your bucket list this year!

January:  Ode to Sports – Major League Sports are an important part of life in Florida.  With teams like the American League champion Tampa Bay Rays calling Florida home, it’s no wonder some guests come here annually just to enjoy the sports that take place their year round, from NFL football to NHL hockey to pre-season and regular season baseball.  Add to that all the wonderful college teams and it’s easy to understand why this is a sportsman’s mecca.

February:  M-I-C-K-E-Y – Many Individuals would dub this the number one reason for vacationing here.  Theme park fanatics, most especially Disney fans, often head to the Sunshine State every year to get their dose of magic.  Speckling the state, Florida always lands the annual list for theme park enthusiasts.

March:  Shop till you Drop! – Every good vacation has a little shopping time built in.  The shopping options are many varied, ranging from upscale shops in ritzy Naples and South Beach Miami to popular outlets in Ellenton, St. Augustine, Florida City and Orlando.  You will also find everything in between at the many malls that dot the landscape.

April:  Learn a Little History – While most people tend to visit here for the recreation, the region’s interesting history is one of those side perks guests experience while exploring the region.  From the Calusa Indians settling on Marco Island, to the Spanish style architecture of St. Augustine – the oldest continuously occupied European established city in the US, to Tampa and it’s ties to the cigar industry, to the rich military history of the panhandle, Florida excites and educates visitors who enjoy gaining a little knowledge while on vacation.

May:  Take it to the Dance Floor – Nightlife sizzles in many areas of Florida.  On the east coast, the most popular nightlife spots are Miami Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, Naples and West Palm Beach.  On the west coast, Tampa’s lively Ybor City area is a favorite with the under 30-crowd, but the remainder of the Gulf Coast beach towns also offer a good collection of nightclubs and other popular party spots geared towards various age groups.

June:  Arts and Culture – Florida is lined with museums and entertainment venues up and down both coasts and everywhere in between.  Visitors can grab tickets for rock concerts, Broadway-style shows, dinner theater, and much more.  Other cultural sites include incredible art museums, history museums, aviation museums and science museums.

Posted in Marco Escapes News

‘Tis The Sea-Sun

 

As this Jolly season approaches, we can’t wait to build our sand snowmen and decorate our Christmas palms!  So pack your bags, leave the sweaters at home and get ready to spend this holiday season in abundant sunshine!  Don’t worry about leaving the snow behind, our beautiful island offers plenty of merry happenings to get you in the seasonal spirit.

Marco Island’s Annual Boat Parade

Come enjoy a little slice of Marco Island at the Annual Boat Parade.  This is a wonderful festive family evening for all ages.  Watch the boats sail by, decked out with festive holiday lights and decorations!

Date: December 10, 2016

Time: 6pm-9pm

Admission: Free

Recommended Viewing Spots:  The Esplanade on Smokehouse Bay and Snook Inn on the Marco River

Christmas Movie in the Park

Want to see a movie to get you in the spirit with the luxury of laying on the lawn in the Florida warmth?  Veterans Park is offering just that.  They will be showing The Year Without a Santa Claus, which is a great movie for all ages.  So bring a blanket and some snack, and see your movie Marco Island style.

Date: December 16, 2016

Time: 5pm-7pm

Admission: Free

Recommended:  Blanket and snacks of your choice

Christmas Street Parade

Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season at the Marco Island Annual Street Christmas Parade!  The floats will line up on San Marco and head down towards Goodland!  Recommended to find a spot early.

Date: December 17, 2016

Time: 6:30pm-8:30pm

Admission: Free

Recommended:  Early arrival, extra parking at Publix supermarket

Naples Botanical Holiday Party

Enjoy this spectacular holiday light show featuring entertainment, family activities, festive sweets and treats and much more!  This year, Night Lights in the Garden will include their seasonal exhibit, Origami in the Garden, lit especially for the evening event, proving a dramatic view of the enchanting sculptures.

Date: December 15-23, 2016

December 26-30, 2016

January 2-4, 2017

Time: 6pm-9pm

Admission: Adults: $20

Children: 4- 14 / $7

Children under 3: free/ticket required

Posted in Marco Escapes News