Create vacation memories by taking a few day trips while enjoying a stay at Marco Island rental homes. Discover wildlife with a trip to the Zoo, explore nature on a self-guided tour through mangroves, play name that dolphin or take a kayak excursion through the Everglades. All this is readily accessible from your rental home, so pack a lunch and head out for a day of fun.
Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens
Visit early in the day to experience the best of the Zoo's numerous exhibits. Fences are virtually nonexistent, being replaced by glass walls. Acknowledged as the largest exhibit east of the Mississippi, the Black Bear Hammock offers visitors an up-close encounter from behind 2 inch thick glass walls. Watch zookeepers entice huge gators ashore to feed and get a friendly pat on the head at Alligator Bay. From endangered Madagascar fosa to Malayan tigers and black leopards, plan to spend 4 or 5 hours discovering wildlife. Located at 1590 Goodlette-Frank Road, the Zoo is open daily from 9am to 5pm, adults $19.95; children $11.95. The Primate Expedition Cruise is included with admission.
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
Three 1/4 mile trails form the Trails Through Time interpretive route, where you can explore the natural flora and fauna of Marco Island. Following a mangrove edged shoreline, Shell Mound Trail passes historical pre-Calusa Indian sites and connects to Monument Point Trail for access to Henderson Creek and Children's Monument. Traversing through hardwood forest, Cat Claw Trail follows a natural storm berm, offering great views of black and red mangrove forests. A canoe launch is adjacent to the parking lot. Head north from your rental home on Route 951, turn left on Shell Island Road. Open daily sunrise to sunset, with hourly free guided tours offered on Tuesdays from 10am to 2pm.
The Dolphin Explorer Eco-Tour
Join a professional survey crew for an exciting three-hour expedition to sight and study bottlenose dolphins in open waters aboard a 30 foot catamaran. Powered by two 225 HP outboards, the wake it creates attracts dolphins on every trip. If you're fortunate to spot a new dolphin, you get to name it. Located at Marco River Marina at 951 Bald Eagle Drive, trips depart at 9am and 1pm daily; advance purchase is highly recommended by calling (212) 209-3370.
Crystal Seas Kayaking
Take in the beauty of Everglades National Park with experienced guides on half-day or full-day kayaking adventures. Since 1993 the Crystal Seas team has escorted guests on paddles through mangrove swamps. Following an equipment orientation and paddle lesson, your expedition begins with a short shallow water crossing to access Turner and Lopez Rivers. Meandering through a maze of mangrove tunnels, the winding cuts and creeks lead to passages and bays beckoning to be explored. It's not unusual to encounter dolphins feeding, manatees surfacing for a breath of air or snowy egrets perched silently waiting to dive for a tasty tidbit. Tours depart from Everglades City daily from December to April; half-day tour $75 per person, full-day tour $99 per person. For reservations and times call (877) 732-7877 or (360) 378-4223.
To search for Marco Island homes by location, amenities and price, visit VacationHomes.com today, and start planning your next Florida vacation.