Situated along the southwestern border of Florida in the Gulf of Mexico, Marco Island may be small in size, but it’s big in amenities. You’ll have no trouble discovering the perfect accommodation in the area. From sprawling mansions on the beach to well-furnished apartments inland, the Marco Island vacation rentals are unforgettable. Whether you enjoy hiking and biking, or swimming and other water sports, there is plenty to keep you busy on the island. Here are the most exciting attractions in and around Marco Island.

1. Central Marco Island

Marco Island covers a land area six miles long by four miles wide. Many of the main attractions can be found near the center of the island, and vacation rentals are within walking distance to the beaches where you can go sailing, paddleboarding, swimming, or parasailing. The Briggs Nature Center has three miles of easy trails ideal for an afternoon walk. There is also a natural nursery for fish, shellfish, and crustaceans for you to explore. Marco Island Boat Tours takes you through the mangroves on kayaks and canoes to see various wildlife in the area

2. Downtown Naples

Travel to one of the wealthiest spots near Marco to downtown Naples where you will find the Naples Pier, a popular tourist hotspot. Here, you can watch the dolphins play in the water, or rent some poles and go fishing. The Naples Zoo is home to over 70 species of rare animals and exotic plants. You’ll see lions, giraffes, pythons, and even bears on your expedition. If the kids are getting antsy, head to Lowdermilk Beach Park where they can play on the playground with plenty of green spaces for them to run.

3. South Naples

History buffs will love exploring the Collier County Museums in southeast Naples. Five different museums tell the history and culture of the region. The Naples Botanical Gardens is another point of interest near the southern part of the island. Located on 170 acres, this garden represents the flora of the tropics. If you prefer the water, rent a boat from the Hamilton Harbor Yacht Club and go skiing or cruise around Dollar Bay.

4. North Naples

The Northern part of Naples is ideal for those who love to shop. Play a round of golf at Pelican Bay, or travel to Moorings Park for a bite to eat at one of the four-star restaurants. Clam Pass Park is a beautiful beach area on the northern side of Naples. This park is accessible by trolley or by car. You’ll find a long boardwalk for biking or simply an evening stroll by the water. There is also a 35-acre mangrove forest with plenty of shade to beat the heat of the day.

5. Bonita Springs

Bonita Springs is located to the north of Marco Island. This small city offers the Barefoot Beach Preserve where you can collect seashells or watch the manatees play in the water. Sign up for parasailing on Bonita Beach, or try your skill at paddleboarding. There’s waterskiing and jet skiing, or head to the Everglades Wonder Gardens to explore the animal exhibits under a canopy of trees.

6. Ten Thousand Islands

If you prefer seclusion in a tropical environment, Ten Thousand Islands is the perfect place for a vacation rental. Take a long stroll through the National Wildlife Marsh Trail, or grab a canoe and paddle your way through the mangroves and labyrinth of waterways. Sign up for a fishing charter, or rent a kayak from the Naples Kayak Company. If you love cars, head to the Revs Institute which has a large collection of historically important automobiles.

7. Ochopee

Located near the Big Cypress National Preserve, Ochopee is a tiny town off the beaten path. Visit the smallest post office, or sign up for a tour with the Billie Swamp Safari. Airboat tours provide a tour through the preserve or spend a day at the Skunk Ape Research Headquarters where you can have a hands-on experience with many of the animals of the region.

8. Big Cypress

Enjoy nature when you reserve a vacation rental near Big Cypress. Home to the Big Cypress National Preserve, this area in Florida lies inland to the east of Marco Island. Head to the welcome center to learn about the animals that call the preserve their home or sign up for a guided tour. Go kayaking through the waters, or visit the Museum of the Everglades and get to know the ecosystem better.

9. Sanibel Island

Sanibel Island is one of the more popular tourist locations to the north of Marco. Vacation rentals include charming beachfront cottages, apartments, spacious homes, or furnished island condos. Start your vacation here with a tour of the Sanibel Lighthouse. The included museum provides the history of the lighthouse and the location. Visit the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum to discover the shells and the animals that made them, or take a tour of the Sanibel National Historical Museum and Village. There’s also a farmers market and scuba diving at the Veterans Memorial Reef.

10. Cape Coral

Cape Coral is located to the north in Lee County. Relax and enjoy your vacation by floating down the Cape Coral Canal and enjoy seeing the various wildlife and birds including herons and owls. The Cape Coral Farmers Market offers fresh fruits and vegetables of the region, or there are several bars and clubs in the area to stop for a drink. If you prefer to stay outdoors, go hiking and biking at the Sirenia Vista Park, or rent a kayak and go on a guided tour through the canal.

11. Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach vacation rentals are conveniently located near a variety of things to do. Visitors can engage in parasailing, kayaking, boating, and there is even a pirate ship where you can fulfill your dreams of a pirate. Cycleboats are an excellent family activity, or spend the day on the beach swimming, collecting shells, and sunbathing.

12. Everglades City

Everglades City is part of the Marco Island Metropolitan area. This small city is home to the Everglades City Hall, which is one of the most popular spots for pictures in the area. Plan your trip in February and visit the Everglades annual Seafood Festival where you can taste some of the freshest fish and best meals in town. This quiet location is ideal for anyone who wants to avoid the crowds.