MARCO ISLAND WATERSPORTS

THREE BEACHFRONT LOCATIONS ON MARCO:

MARCO ISLAND MARRIOTT, HILTON MARCO ISLAND

 AND MARRIOTT'S CRYSTAL SHORES

MARCO ISLAND, FLORIDA

NAPLES BEACH WATERSPORTS

ON THE BEACH BETWEEN THE WEST END
OF VANDERBILT BEACH ROAD AND THE RITZ-CARLTON

PUBLIC PARKING GARAGE NEARBY

VANDERBILT BEACH, NAPLES, FLORIDA

AWESOME ADVENTURES VIDEO

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Naples, FL

Current weather on

Marco Island, FL

  • Florida Travel & Life     Review

    6.6.14

    THE ISLAND: The first hint you’re on the edge of the Everglades is the yellow road sign with a silhouette of the Florida panther. Most Marco Island residents admit they’ve never seen Florida’s endangered cats that roam the swamp covering the southwest tip of the state. So the idea of an encounter with a cousin of the cougar quickly fades once you’ve driven over the bridge onto the six-mile-long tropical island. Here, sea-grape trees pruned into boxy hedges pair up with deep-purple bougainvillea to adorn entrances to high-rise resorts and condominiums. Side streets are lined with canals, and the homes here sport mailboxes resembling manatees and seahorses. Kitschy faux pink flamingos on someone’s lawn are a throwback to Old Florida.

     

    STAY: A crescent-shaped, sandy beach facing the Gulf of Mexico is a good enough reason to visit Marco Island, but then there are the resorts that dot it. Properties tastefully blend into the environment. Our pick is the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort, where rows of chickee huts stud the shorefront. Duck under one and marvel at the woven palm roofs, an art form passed down by Florida’s Native Americans. Every room in the hotel’s two towers has a balcony with views of the glistening Gulf. We love the lower-level lanai units that put you in the pool or on the beach in seconds. A recent $225 million redo leaves this place sparkling like new.

     

    EAT: This is the only hotel on the stretch that sits right on the sands. Grab a beachfront table at Quinn’s on the Beach and chill out with a mojito. Lunch is a blackened grouper sandwich.

     

    PLAY: Head into the Ten Thousand Islands with tour guide Brian Scuderi, who leads a small caravan of WaveRunners through the Everglades’ mangrove maze. (Book at the beach shack in front of the resort, marcoislandwatersports.com.)

     

    Keep an eye out for dolphin fins breaching the surface. As you pass Kice Island, search the tall snags for the American bald eagle that proudly guards its nest. Ospreys, ibis, snowy egrets, blue herons, great white herons and an occasional roseate spoonbill are among the bird sightings. Don’t be surprised if brown pelicans in a V formation fly above the open water. As you weave into narrow passageways, the personal watercraft turns the dark-green waters into a rushing, foamy, riverlike waterscape. Stand-up paddle boarding is another way to play — and it’s quite the rage. Jill Massura, down from Michigan, couldn’t get enough. “It’s great for your arms, shoulders … in fact the whole body,” she says as her husband books the boards for yet another day of fun on the Gulf’s placid water.

     

     

    SUNDAY: Visit Goodland, a spit of land connected to Marco Island. Funky restaurants like the Little Bar (littlebarrestaurant.com) with its 1924 Mohler pipe organ on display and Old Marco Lodge Crab House (oldmarcolodge.com) where boaters dock and dine under umbrellas for a view of Goodland Bay compete with Stan’s Idle Hour (stansidlehour.net). Eighty-something Stan Gober entertains a motley crowd, ranging from bandana bikers to Gucci socialites, at this irresistible dive that bears his name. Toe-tap to live music as you down a glass or two of Stan’s buzzard punch and dine on fried soft-shell crabs with sweet-potato fries.

     

    BEST TIME TO GO: Marco Island throws a rousing music festival on Oct. 29: Marco Island 2nd Annual Beach Music Festival (marcoislandbeachmusicfestival.com). The sands in front of the Marriott serve as battleground for local eateries participating in the “Best Burger in Paradise” competition. Aromas of fresh-off-the-grill burgers include those from the Crazy Flamingo (thecrazyflamingo.com) with patties tucked between slices of garlic bread to CJ’s on the Bay’s (cjsonthebay.com) Angus beef stuffed with foie-gras butter. After dark, Jimmy Buffett fans wave their arms and sing “fins to the left, fins to the right” as bands like the Land Sharks get the party started. (With petitions to recruit Buffett, the singer just may make a surprise appearance.) Fireworks over the Gulf wrap the night. paradisecoast.com, marcoislandmarriott.com

     

    http://www.floridatravellife.com/articles/secret-island-getaway-marco-island

  • The Express News        Review

    April, 2014

     

    TripAdvisor's 2014 “best islands” list ranked Marco Island No. 1 in the U.S. and No. 4 worldwide. Its allure owes to natural and manmade beauty, sweetened with a boatload of indulgence.

     

    Marco's Gulf-front resorts have struck a balance of sleek-modern and exotic-ageless and capitalize on the picture-postcard sunsets. Marco Beach Ocean Resort, for example, offers Mediterranean luxe and rings a captain's bell as the sun sinks into the sea.

     

    A hotter sundown celebration lights up the recently renovated Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort. My friend Christine and I gape at the heart-stopping Fire Dance performed nightly by a master from Tonga. His daredevil torch juggling complements the resort's theme, evident in its escapist Bali-inspired architecture. One of the town's first high-rises, the huge resort features a dreamlike A-frame lobby window framing the sea (and built in 1971), Polynesian-accented pools with built-in waterfalls, flaming fountains, a wide white-sand beach dotted with palmetto-thatched-roof chickee huts and tropical restaurants, explaining why some guests don't venture beyond the resort.

     

    To create a paradise within a paradise, the resort's designed to engage all senses. The spa's redolent with citrus, primarily kumquat; its signature “Balinese” treatment combines Hindu, Chinese and European bodywork. Beach-themed music wafts from speakers tucked between pools and beachfront. Resort chef Juan Martinez draws from his Shanghai years, Latin roots and onsite chef's garden of tropical fruits, lemongrass and other aromatic produce for a melting pot of Asian, Indian and Caribbean flavors. Tiki bars hydrate sunbathers, and right from the hotel's beachfront, energetic sorts can go parasailing or depart on WaveRunner and paddleboard eco-tours around the Ten Thousand Islands, of which Marco's the biggest.

     

    The island's origin story's told in the new Marco Island History Museum, a pleasant jog from the beachfront. Artifacts include Calusa Indian carvings and tools uncovered during an 1896 archaeological dig; the most famous find, the Key Marco Cat statuette, is at the Smithsonian, but a fine replica is displayed. The Calusa beat back Spanish conquistadors but succumbed in the 1700s to European diseases. But they left shell mounds around the island up to 50 feet high, used to elevate villages. Other displays reveal the fits and starts of development that turned wilderness into a chic resort crisscrossed by canals.

     

    The island's not completely polished and manicured. Rookery Bay and Tigertail Beach shelter bald eagles, burrowing owls and egrets. The Goodland neighborhood's dive bars brim with another kind of wildlife.

     

    But we can't leave the beach. The setting sun has cast its spell.

     

     

    Robin S. Soslow, a writer who explores mainly on foot and bike, can be reached at rsoslow@gmail.com.

  • Live Travel          Waverunner Tours Blog

     

    BY LYNDA – JULY 3, 2014

    POSTED IN: ACTIVITY REVIEWS, MARCO ISLAND, MY TRAVEL BLOG, REVIEWS, THE AMERICAS, UNITED STATES, VISIT FLORIDA

    Hands down, the highlight of my entire Marco Island weekend. The 10,000 Islands Guided Waverunner Tour operated by Marco Island Water Sports simply blew my mind! I honestly don’t think there’s a better way to see the island and its wildlife. Where do I even begin?!

     

    MARCO ISLAND WATER SPORTS REVIEW

    Marco Island Water Sports is located on the beach of the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort (they also have three other locations on the island!) – you’ll find them at the straw hut pictured below! It was super convenient to wake up in the morning, put our swim gear on and just head downstairs onto the beach.

     

    Marco Island Water Sports - Marriott Beach Resort

     

    They offer several different types of water sports adventures and activities, but we chose to give the 10,000 Islands Guided Waverunner Tour a shot.

     

    10,000 ISLANDS GUIDED WAVERUNNER TOUR

     

    I was slightly nervous about this tour. I’d only ever handled a jet ski solo once before, and it was only for a couple of minutes. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I was definitely up for the challenge!

     

    Feel the sun on your shoulders and the wind in your hair as you explore the pristine backwaters of the Ten Thousand Islands on one of our unique 90 minute tours.

     

    As you skim near the mysterious mangrove forests, be thrilled by eco-sensitive encounters with dolphins, manatees, native birds and other diverse wildlife residing in the mangroves. Your expert tour guide will highlight interesting facts about nature and the geography of the region.

     

    After signing our lives away we were handed life jackets and joined the rest of our group to watch a safety briefing. Once the video had played through, Brian, our tour guide, repeats all safety instructions again to ensure we understand how to navigate our Waverunner and the rules we must follow while out on the water.

     

    Marco Island Water Sports Waverunner review

     

    We’re riding brand new 2014 Yamaha Waverunners. They are bopping up and down in the water, about four metres out from the sand, just calling our names! I swim out to mine, jump up on it and wait for someone to come and release my anchor… but first, let me take a selfie!

     

    Marco Island Water Sports Waverunner Tour

     

    I’m not going to lie, it was bumpy to begin with. The lady in front of me had her own Waverunner at home, so she was riding like a pro and zipped way ahead of me. Unfortunately this meant I had no one in front of me to break the waves and leave a smooth trail of water for me to ride along in. I started to become semi-worried that I was going to fly off… until our fearless tour leader, Brian, rode back over to me and came to the rescue!

     

    Brian asked me if I drive my car with two hands or one; I tell him one. He goes on to tell me that he teaches hundreds of people to ride these so he needs me to trust him and steer my Waverunner with only one hand. Given how choppy the water is, I think Brian may have been just a tad crazy, but he tells me if I steer with only one hand, it will prevent over-steering. This makes sense so I give it a shot. He also suggested catching up to the lady riding ahead of me so I can stay riding in the smooth wave-breaks that she’ll be creating for me.

     

    Turns out Brian is some sort of Waverunner genius, because within minutes, I was feeling completely safe, confident and in control. Yay, thanks Brian!

     

    We weren’t riding for long before Brian spots some manatees and gathers us in to grab a closer look.  I’ve never seen a manatee before and am taken aback as to how large these guys are! There are two swimming right by us and even under our Waverunners. Another swims right up to a guy and his daughter and pops its head up out of the water to say hi – so awesome! If it weren’t illegal, I’d have jumped in and given them a big hug, haha.

     

    rian is fantastic at pointing everything out and sharing his vast knowledge of everything we come across. He genuinely loves what he does and despite running this tour two times a day, seven days a week, he is still insanely enthused about everything we are seeing.

     

    Next up, we’re zipping through the mangrove channels. Some of them are quite narrow but it only adds to the fun. I revert back to my 12 year old gamer-self and think I’m in a racing car video game. The sensation of the wind blowing through my hair and bouncing off my face makes me feel so invincible and free. I am loving every second of this wonderful experience and I don’t want it to end. It’s surprising to see from some of my photos that I was only going 10 miles per hour, because it felt so much faster than that.We slow down and gather around one of the mangrove areas. Brian tells us that there is one week out of the entire year that Nurse Shark come out to these mangroves, and this week just so happens to be it… but, will they make an appearance for us? The sun dims behind the clouds making it harder for Brian to spot any swimming around the low-bearing trees. After patiently waiting around for a few minutes hoping to grab a glimpse, Brian begs for some golden rays of sun. Someone up there must have been listening, because just like that, the clouds part ways and a heavenly beam of sun shines down right in our direction… and then… dun dun, dun dun, dun dun dun dun dun dun…

     

    Seriously, manatees and nurse shark, pretty awesome… but Brian is hungry to score the trifecta so off we go to find us some dolphins!

     

    It would just be my luck that my camera battery decides to die on me right as we approach a pod of dolphins. They’re swimming around and directly under our Waverunners and jumping out of the water right in front of us. I’ve never seen wild dolphins up this close before and I can’t believe my eyes! Brian is so excited that he starts screaming out “We’ve scored the trifecta!!!” haha, got to love his enthusiasm and zest for life.

     

    This really was the cherry on the pie. It definitely ranks up there as one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever encountered throughout my travels!

     

    Seriously, if you find yourself on Marco Island, this is definitely something you do not want to miss!

     

    TIPS FOR THIS TOUR

     

    1. If you have a water proof camera or a GoPro, I highly recommend bringing it along for the ride. There’s plenty of time to grab photos and you’ll definitely regret not taking any.

     

    2. If you have a pair of polarized sunglasses, take them with you and wear them. I didn’t know this prior to the tour, but polarized lenses allow you to avoid the waters glare and help to see through the water a lot deeper and clearer.

     

    3. If you’re keen to participate in this tour, be sure to make a reservation, especially during peak season! It’s the best way to avoid disappointment!

     

     

  • Live Travel           Parasailing Adventures Blog

    BY LYNDA – JULY 8, 2014

     

    POSTED IN: ACTIVITY REVIEWS, MARCO ISLAND, MY TRAVEL BLOG, REVIEWS, THE AMERICAS, TRAVEL BLOG, UNITED STATES, VISIT FLORIDA

     

    We had a second day out on the water booked in with Marco Island Water Sports, but this time it was to go parasailing! I had never been parasailing before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I had seen plenty of photos of young children doing it, so figured it couldn’t be that scary, right?!

     

    MARCO ISLAND WATER SPORTS REVIEW

     

    Marco Island Water Sports is located on the beach of the Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort (they also have three other locations on the island!) – you’ll find them at the straw hut pictured below! It was super convenient to wake up in the morning, put our swim gear on and just head downstairs onto the beach.

     

    PARASAILING ADVENTURE

     

    The parasailing description seemed pleasant…

     

    Parasailing is the ultimate eco-thrill! Enjoy a bird’s-eye-view of the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico, possibly seeing dolphins, manatee, fish and tropical birds flying beside you. Fly high about the pristine waters of the Gulf and soar like an eagle. This safe and truly spectacular experience will amaze and delight guests of all ages with breathtaking views of Marco’s beached, the Gulf and a glimpse of the 10,000 islands.

     

    Starting from a sitting position on the back of one of our specially equipped parasail bots, you will be gently lifted into the air. You will exhilaratingly ride on the wind ends with a gradual descent and soft touch down back onto the boat. Take a waterproof camera along or order one of our photo packs with pictures taken of you as you fly. Fly solo, double or triple.

     

    Sounds easy enough, right? Right, so off we went!

     

    GETTING SUITED UP

     

    We could not have asked for a more perfect morning for this; there was no wind and for the most part, the sky was crisp and clear. Upon boarding the boat, we are each handed a life vest to put on. We then take turns standing up to pull our legs through a harness which when all strapped in, will become our parasailing seat.

     

    We are told to walk towards the back of the boat and sit down. My harness is not attached to anything just yet, so I get a little nervous doing this, but manage to keep my balance and successfully sit down with my legs out in front of me. Clipping us in only takes a few seconds, and before I know it, my butt is being raised off the boat. I’m pretty sure my face says it all… OH EM GEEEEE!

     

    UP IN THE AIR

     

    I love flying; when I’m up in the air in a plane, I feel like I can take on the world, but this, this is a whole different story. Terrified doesn’t even begin to convey what I am feeling. At least in a plane I have a metal tube supporting me, here, it was a piece of fabric under my butt and a couple of ropes and knots.

     

    You expect the wind to frantically rush up against your face and for that same gush of insane air that prevents you from hearing clearly when you open your car window while driving fast, but it’s completely the opposite. There is no wind. You can hear everything perfectly. From up here, life seems so serene.

     

    There are times when the boat needs to turn, so instead of having a nice, taut rope between you and the boat, the rope gains some slack to make the turn. It is at these points where I am convinced we’re going to take the plunge; either just our feet or our entire body. You come quite close to the water before the boat completes its turn, picks up speed and taut-ness is re-established again, yay! And yes, I did just make the word taut-ness up.

     

    After ten or so minutes of being airborne, I have relaxed enough to remove my hand from its tight grip of the harness and take some photos. The views of Marco Island from above are spectacular. The turquoise water glistens as it captures the suns morning rays. A sense of tranquility eases over me… until we look down and spot a hammerhead shark swimming directly below us. Nothing like a 9:30am shark sighting to get the heart racing!

     

    COMING IN FOR LANDING

     

    Unless you need to make an emergency landing for whatever reason, all parasail landings should be made on the back of the boat. As we are being reeled in for landing, our captain brings us in for a touch down, dunking our feet into the Gulf. Obviously this makes me scream like a girl…

     

    You land standing up making it easy for someone to come around, grab you, unlatch you and set you free. Our landing was extremely smooth and within seconds, I was unbuckled and sitting back in the boat, safe and sound. I didn’t check the time, but I think we were up in the air for roughly 20 minutes.

     

    Although I was terrified at first, parasailing really was an incredibly enjoyable experience and something you definitely need to try for yourself, preferably over a picturesque back drop! The team at Marco Island Water Sports were fantastic, and if you don’t believe me, check them out on TripAdvisor, they’re ranked #3 of 62 activities in Marco Island!!!

  • Yelp                     Some Current Reviews

    “Jet Ski Eco Tour-Nice Anniversary”

    5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2014

     

    Take the Eco Tour. Up to 25-miles of exploration thru the 10,000 Mangrove Islands. We could not have done it without our guide, Mark King. Departed from the Hilton after a safety video, demonstration, assisted start and away we went. If you've ridden a bike you can do this. Mark stopped at various points to provide info and nature bits about what was around us including some of the area's history. He also ambushed along the way for photos which he promptly texted to us at journeys end when we texted his number with our names. We watched a pair of dolphins in the throes of mating, Mark spotted a pair of bald eagles and of course the Osprey nests at markers and channel signs. Lather up with sun screen, bring a waterproof camera on a lanyard, and leave the hats. The Hut will also let you leave your bags while you are out and about. Why rent a ski for $135 hr. and not know where to go or what to see, when for $50 more you get at least 1.5 hours on the ski and enjoy it much more. They use top of the line Yamaha 3-seat equipment. Thanks for the great pictures, Mark!

     

    “Bart is the BEST”

    5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2014

     

    My husband and I were walking down the beach and decided to stop at this beach hut to see what they had to offer and Bart was AMAZING!!! He was so in the know we couldn't help but book our tour with him. I would love to steal him for my business in Atlanta!!! You have an awesome employee!!! I hope you appreciate him as much as we did. Keep up the Great Work

     

    “Kudos for the Gang at the Hilton”

    5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 9, 2014

     

    We stay at the Marco Island Hilton Beach resort during our visits. This was our 4th and I cannot say enough about Bart Clarke and his staff at the Marco Island Watersports hut that services the Hilton. First, they offer quite a variety of watersports; waverunner tour, dolphin adventure, para sailing, waverunner rental, water hammocks, paddle boards, kayaks, hobie cats.... May I suggest the waverunner tour. Second, Bart and his staff are extremely professional, courteous, and attentive to any of your needs. Bart clearly makes a difference with top notch service. I sincerely hope the folks at Marco Motorsports appreciates him. Thank you Bart, from both my wife, Jeannine and I for making each of our days at the beach, days at the beach.

     

    “Guided waverunner tour”

    5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 8, 2014

     

    My husband and I took the afternoon waverunner tour guided by Mark King. We are regular travelers to Marco Island but have to say we've never seen so many dolphin as we did today on this tour. They were all around us, at times leaping in the air right in front of us. Mark took us through small canals of the 10,000 islands and gave us information we had never learned in our previous trips. A thoroughly exhilarating experience, so glad we did it!

     

    “What a great "3 hour cruise"”

    5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 6, 2014

     

    We had a blast with captain Joe & Co-Captain Brady on our recent dolphin adventure cruise! Brady had so many interesting facts about not only Marco Island but also fun information about our dolphin watch adventure. He kept things fun for all ages, even telling stories & appropriate jokes for the 3-5 year olds on board. Captain Joe has been nicknamed the "dolphin whisperer" because out of nowhere, a pod of dolphins started following us on our way back from our adventure, which ALSO included shelling....I have never seen so many big beautiful sea shells in my life! I appreciate that Joe didn't rush back to shore, but let the dolphins play in our wake extending the trip a few minutes. Can't wait to go back!

     

    “What a great day!”

    5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 5, 2014 via mobile

     

    We were staying at the Marriott for business and had a free day to play. We ventured down to Water Sports and took a tour with Brian Scuderi. What a great day ! Brian made sure we had a wonderful time and got the adventure we signed up for. He was full of knowledge about the area. Though we didn't see a manatee I did get Dolphins playing in my wake. Highly recommended

     

    “Wave Runner Tour of 10,000 Islands”

    5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2014

     

    Recently stayed (Sept. 26-29th) at the Marriott Marco Island Resort. My wife and I did the 10,000 island wave runner tour with guide Brian Scuderi. We did the 1:00 PM tour and had a great time. Three other couples each riding tandem like us were on the tour as well. After the standard paperwork, paying the bill and safety briefing (be sure to laugh at Brian's jokes), we were off and running. We first encountered a bald eagle. It was perched very high in a tree set back from the shore of one of the first islands, but it was perched there proud and tall. Next we saw two manatees swimming in the channel. A momma and her baby. While the water was a bit murky and cloudy in the channel, we could make out their dark shape and then would spot them when they would surface for air. After that, we cruised the narrow channels and cuts through various islands and spotted many different types of birds, including a quick glimpse of a falcon before he disappeared into the bush. The highlight of the trip was being surrounded by a small pod of dolphins out in the open water on the south edge of the islands. Brian has us group together to make as small a noise print as possible and we idled along while the dolphins jumped around us. Very cool!

     

    Overall, a fun time out on the water and a great tour guide.

     

    “Priceless tour with dolphins in the wild ”

    5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2014

     

    Our family had an amazing experience with the eco tour on the jet skis. Brian Scuderi was excellent with lots of knowledge and fun sense of humor. He made our tour very memorable with up and close encounters with pods of dolphins. Was amazed to see them so close, almost within arm's length of us. We could have stayed all day. My kids had a blast! Love supporting the eco program and seeing dolphins in their natural habitat, swimming and playing freely. Highly recommend and would return again!

     

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