Explore the Everglades on Your Next Marco Island Vacation

Situated in Southwest Florida, Marco Island is a famous beach destination for those looking to escape to a quaint and peaceful beach. Marco Island has plenty of things to do! Most people head to Marco Island to kick back and relax at the white sand beaches, enjoy the warm Gulf of Mexico waters, and partake in fun water sports that the beaches offer. 

While there’s nothing wrong with doing all of that, and you should, there’s a lot more to do during your visit to Marco Island than soaking up the sun on the beach.

If you’re looking for something different to do while you’re staying on the island but still want to be outside, exploring the Everglades is a great option. It’s one of the most popular things to do near Marco Island.

Everglades National Park is one of the largest parks in Florida and is only about 30 miles from Marco Island. It’s a truly unique place that you have to see to believe. This protected area of land is one of the best ways to spend a day while you’re visiting Marco Island. Before you start loading up the car to head to the Everglades, here are a few things you might want to know about how you can spend your day there.  

Overview of the Everglades

The Everglades isn’t just a wild place you hear about on social media, even though it is a little wild compared to other National Parks. While it does have plenty of wildlife, there’s a lot more to know about the park than that. Everglades National Park sits at the Southern tip of the Sunshine State and spans 1.5 million acres, making it the largest tropical wilderness in the country. 

The two main things the Everglades is famous for are its slow-moving sheet of water that flows out of Lake Okeechobee, creating what many call “river grass,” and the American alligator. It’s estimated that over 200,000 alligators call the Everglades home, but the park is home to several other animal species and plants, and you can’t find many of these anywhere else in the world. 

Besides alligators, the Everglades has other reptiles like turtles and snakes, including the invasive Burmese Python. The park also has over 360 species of birds that live or are regularly spotted around the 1.5 million acres. It’s a prime location for bird spotting and seeing wildlife that you can’t always see otherwise. 

Since the Everglades is a protected area of land, it’s incredibly quiet and without human interference other than to preserve the park. Scientists also use the land as an outdoor laboratory to learn more about environmental changes and the wildlife that calls the area home. 

Unlike other parks around the country and in Florida, the Everglades is one you want to visit with a tour guide. Much of the park is water with alligators and snakes in it, and your guides will know where to show you and teach you more about the park without a lot of planning on your part. The biodiversity of the Everglades is unmatched and something everyone should see at least once while in the area. 

airboat in everglades
Photo from Shutterstock


We mentioned briefly that you will more than likely want to take a tour if you plan on visiting the Everglades. Airboat tours are some of the most popular ways to experience the Everglades. 

They can be a little intimidating, but several tour companies know what they’re doing, and there’s no better way to see what the Everglades has to offer. If an airboat tour isn’t up your alley, there are other ways to see the beauty of this diverse ecosystem. 

Dreamlander Tours is one of the most popular tour companies in Marco Island. Not only do they provide some of the best Marco Island tours, but they also venture into the Everglades. With their Everglades tour, you’ll be able to visit the Everglades by airboat and safari cruiser. The tour guides share information and history about the Everglades, including things about the animals and the Indian tribes that previously and currently live there. 

You’ll spend time seeing the park by both vehicles, feeding tarpon and other fish, visiting the Animal Sanctuary, and partaking in “Gator Time.” “Gator Time” is where you’ll get to ask questions about the American Alligator and even take photos of yourself holding, kissing, and hugging a real gator. 

Another great tour company to consider booking your adventure with is Captain Ron’s Tours. Captain Ron has been giving tours of the Everglades since 1987, so he has a lot to share with you and whoever you’re traveling with. He has a three-hour jet ski tour where you’ll cover 50 miles of the Everglades, see a variety of wildlife, and have a blast driving your own jet ski. 

If you want to visit the Everglades by airboat like most people do, you can’t beat Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours. An airboat doesn’t feel like your standard boat and provides you with a more exciting and up-close experience since regular boats can’t easily navigate the mangroves that consume the area. Captain Jack’s also offers a grassland buggy tour if you prefer to stay on land while you visit the Everglades. If you want to make it a longer trip, you can bundle your package and do the airboat and grassland buggy ride. They also have the option to hold a baby alligator! 

What to Bring? 

Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, the clothing you’ll want to wear will vary, but there are a few things you should always bring with you on your tour in the Everglades: 

  • Sunscreen 
  • A sun-protective hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Mosquito repellent 
  • A water bottle
  • A camera
  • Binoculars 

Be sure to check with your tour company for further instructions on what you need to bring with you, like ID, specific clothing requirements, etc. 

Things to See 

By now, you’ve probably realized how diverse the Everglades is. There are so many things to do and see. Some of the main things you’ll be able to see while you visit are: 

  • American alligators 
  • A variety of snakes 
  • A variety of turtles 
  • A variety of birds 
  • Tarpon and other fish
  • Mangroves
  • The boardwalks you can stroll through 

Plan Your Visit

Start planning your Marco Island vacation in a vacation rental just as beautiful as the area with Re/Max Affinity Plus! Our vacation rentals are equipped with everything you need for the perfect getaway and are so relaxing you’ll never want to go home! Book your stay today!

Where to Stay? 

No matter what you plan on doing when you visit the Everglades during your time on Marco Island, you need a place to stay. Our Marco Island rentals offer you a comfortable and elegant place to call home for the duration of your stay. 

At Re Max Affinity Plus Rentals, we take pride in our rentals and our love for Marco Island. We have a rental that will suit any group, from smaller groups to the whole family. Our Marco Island beachfront rentals are some of our most popular and place you in a great location to visit the Everglades.

If you’re looking for a beautiful place to stay in Marco Island that has everything you need to create a home away from home, we have what you’re looking for. Contact us today to learn more about our rentals and all the things you can do during your stay in Marco Island.