Things To Do On Marco Island: Otter Mound Preserve

Thousands of years ago, the ancient Calusa American tribe inhabited our barrier island of Marco Island. These native people used what was provided by nature to survive including shells, oysters, clams and other shellfish. As time passed, large shell mounds were created as they disposed of these items after use. Evidence of these shell mounds still exists today including a massive mound that at one time stretched a whole 80 acres!

Credit: Atlas Obscura

Because of Marco Island’s unique climate and soil, many Calusa artifacts including pottery, tools and bones remained preserved in the mounds for thousands of years. As the years passed, a tropical hardwood hammock formed atop the elevated landscape and created homes for wildlife.

Many years after the Calusa disappeared a local settler named Ernest Otter established his home on top of the shell mound in the 1940s. He used many of the shells to build his home. The area now known as Otter Mound Preserve opened to the public in 2004. Now protected by Collier County, visitors are encouraged to visit the site and travel back 12,000 years in time.

The site is now just 2.45 acres but provides visitors the opportunity to stroll along a trail lined by gumbo limbos, strangler figs, and swaying palms. A few structures from Earnest Otter’s settlement remain on the site and include walls constructed of lightning whelk shells. It truly is a unique can’t-miss destination during your stay on Marco Island.

Tucked away in a residential area on the southern tip of Marco Island, Otter Mound Preserve is located at 1831 Addison Court. There is a small three car parking lot. Parking and entry is complimentary.

Our valued guests trust us with their precious vacation time and our executive guest services concierge is always on call to provide you with island information including local attractions and activities. At your convenience, please call us and ask us what we can do to make your Marco Island escape a getaway you will never forget 239-217-6300.

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