A Quick Guide to Great Beaches in Naples & Marco Island, Florida

Splashing in the surf

A couple splashes in the surf on the breathtaking beaches of Naples and Marco Island, Florida.

By Samantha Crespo

Naples and Marco Island beaches have climbed to the top of countless "top beaches" lists and won many prestigious awards, ranking consecutively on Dr. Beach’s list of the top 10 best beaches in America for 2014 and 2015. 

On a coast where beaches abound, it’s easy to find one that's just your style.

Luxe Resort Areas with Great Public Beaches

Guests of Vanderbilt Beach ResortLaPlaya Beach & Golf Resort and The Ritz-Carlton, Naples call Vanderbilt Beach their backyard, but you don't have to be a resort guest to enjoy this popular spot. Vanderbilt Beach is open to the public and offers direct access to the Gulf of Mexico, white sands wispy with sea oats, abundant shells and birding. More than a pretty view, this stretch of beach is rich with amenities including concessions, restrooms and showers, expanded parking and handicap access. The resort area is conveniently located near the shops and restaurants of north Naples.

Marco Island's four-mile shoreline welcomes guests of the Hilton Marco Island Beach ResortMarco Beach Ocean Resort and Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, Golf Club & Spa. The pristine coastline is book-ended by the public accesses of Tigertail Beach Park and South Beach. Both beaches juxtapose natural with manmade – Tigertail's untouched dunes and lagoon contrast South Beach’s palm-lined walkway and skyward architecture.

Family Beach Days & Pier Fishing

On Marco Island, Tigertail Beach Park rates highly with families for providing nice-to-have amenities in nature. A playground, sand volleyball court and picnic area with grills help stage the quintessential family beach day. Other essentials include concessions for beach equipment and refreshments, parking, showers, restrooms and handicap access.

Amenities are everything during a family beach day, and Naples Municipal Beach delivers with parking aplenty at a metered lot on 12th Avenue South, picnic tables and showers. Its residential surroundings give it a low-key feel, and its landmark pier is a classic beach attraction. Besides holding nostalgia for being the site of many family gatherings, the Naples Pier also has a solid place in local history – the dock dates back to 1888 and was originally used for freight and ship passengers. Today, the pier features a concession stand, parking access and restrooms and invites fishing 24 hours a day (no fishing license required).

Captivating Nature at Marco Island Parks

Tigertail Beach Park’s amenities improve on its natural assets: a butterfly garden, tidal lagoon, picturesque dunes and boardwalks that grant glimpses of numerous bird species. The beach is a site on the Great Florida Birding Trail, as is Naples' Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park. It’s equally celebrated for its mangrove forest and tidal pools that support a variety of marine life, including loggerhead sea turtles. An observation tower, boardwalks and boat ramps greet guests at this barrier island escape.

At nearby Clam Pass Beach Park, you can view the mangroves up close from the boardwalk (a tram also runs the three-quarter-mile stretch to the dune-dotted beach).

North of Naples, Barefoot Beach Preserve County Park calls to naturalists. Explore on your own or inquire about ranger-led programs to learn of the flora and fauna that characterize the barrier island, from the gumbo-limbo tree to the gopher tortoise.

Sea Excursions for the Island Adventurer

Take your love of nature further by cruising to Keewaydin Island as part of the Ten Thousand Islands Dolphin Project. Sea Excursions' master naturalist will guide you along Keewaydin's beach; aboard the 30-foot Dolphin Explorer, researchers will engage you in identifying and tracking dolphins in area waters.

For additional dolphin and wildlife sightings, take the Marco Island Ski & Watersports-guided WaveRunner tour, departing from the beach in front of the Marco Island Marriott and Hilton.

Browse all local beaches here

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