|View from Residents Beach looking south - South Beach is at the end on the right|
Marco Island Beach Access
Marco Island has the biggest, widest, southern most beach in the county, but unfortunately access is limited to only two access points that have public parking—the South Beach Access (south end) and Tigertail Beach Access (north end). There are also public walkway access points, one is next to the Residents Beach lot.
It is worth the trouble to get to Marco's beach, the water is crystal clear and the beach is very large and deep beach, plenty of room for everyone. Fishing and cast netting here is great and it's common to catch a shark right from the beach.
Views from high up at Cape Marco looking north. Photos Courtesy of Dave Manierre of Top Drawer Custom Furniture Inc., Naples.
Marco Island - South Beach
930 Swallow Avenue, Marco Island 239-252-4000
Marco Island - Tigertail Beach
430 Hernando Drive, Marco Island 239-252-4000
Cape Romano & Morgan Beach
Only accessible by water, this area south of Marco Island has unspoiled beaches and deep water on the Gulf Side. The famous Dome House is working its way into the sea and many years back there were other houses built on stilts. When visiting anchor off the coast as there are many oyster beds close to land. The currents here are very strong, especially during moving tides so use extreme caution when swimming. Fishing from shore is excellent. If you venture south of Cape Romano there are shallow sandbars that are breeding grounds for hammerhead sharks. See Cape Romano for more info.
Residents Beach is a members-only beach right on Marco Island beach with parking and pavilion for property owners and renters. It also has a snack bar and boardwalk.
If you stay at a hotel or condo on Marco Island's beach front, you will have easy access to the beach. The hotels also provide all kinds of activities and you can rent kayak's, jet ski's, etc.
Mangrove Island Beach Fishing
A popular activity for locals and tourists alike is to beach your boat on a mangrove out island and fish from the beach. In Collier County most of these islands are located south of the Gordon River where you travel the Intercoastal Waterway to enter Rookery Bay and the 10,000 Islands. In Fort Myers, fishing the islands around Sanibel and Captiva Islands are popular along with the islands of Pine Island.
The southern end of Keewaydin Island is the most popular island destination in Naples and can be very crowded on weekends. The Intercoastal Waterway side of Keewaydin Island is where you beach your boat then walk across to the Gulf side to fish. Snook can be found in the surf at sunrise and sunset. The wildlife on this barrier island is exceptional with turtle tracks and nests, fiddler crabs everywhere, and plenty of birds including bald eagles.
Cape Romano Kice Island is due south of Marco Island and has the famous Dome Houses to explore. The fishing at Cape Romano is excellent due to a swift current that runs by the island. See Where Not to Build an Island Home for more information on Cape Romano and some great pictures.
Down in the 10,000 Islands south of Goodland to Everglades City there are literally 10,000 islands to explore, some with sandy beaches you can pull your boat on. Fish the shore lines especially on the tips of the islands where fish tend to congregate during tide changes. Be sure to use your GPS, a nautical chart, and have a marine radio as it is easy to get lost here—all mangrove channels and islands look the same. Also be aware that the waters in the 10,000 Islands are very shallow, even in the channels, so watching the tides is important and traveling this area during low tides can be hazardous.
Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge
The Judge S.S. Jolley Bridge is the main bridge used to enter Marco Island from Naples. This bridge recently received 2 additional lanes and the base of it was recreated, removing the old fishing pier that existed for years underneath it. But not all is lost with the removal of the pier. You can still fish from land on all sides of the bridge. There is limited parking on the southeast side and if you find a spot you will be pleased to find great fishing right under the bridge from a seawall. On the northwest side you can pull into a sand based lot and fish from the shore or walk under the bridge and fish from a concrete pad. Under the Jolley Bridge is known to hold some big fish including sharks, snook, and Goliath grouper. Working the swift tides by casting under the bridge towards piling and supports are great placing to score a big fish.