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Harry153 Feb 3rd, 2014 11:38 AM

san marco or ft myers beach
Am planning a vacation beginning of May for me & my husband both 55+ on the soutwest coast of Florida. We've never traveled there b4. Looking for a beachfront place condo or studio on a great beach with clear water & good food. Will have a car. Heard Sanibel was gorgeous but shelly & had murky water. Were considering Ft Meyers Beach or San Marco Island. Ft Myers more convenient trip from the airport, San Marco over an hr away. Heard Ft Myers had red tide. Unsure what to do. Found reasonable condos in both places. All opinions on these locations or others are welcome.

gmoney Feb 3rd, 2014 11:58 AM

It's not San Marco Island, it's just Marco Island.

charsuzan Feb 3rd, 2014 12:01 PM

Red tide report

I don't think you can predict if there will be a red tide at a certain place 3 months out.

gmoney Feb 3rd, 2014 12:01 PM

There is also Naples, which is between Ft. Myers and Marco Island.

gmoney Feb 3rd, 2014 12:03 PM

True, red tide is like a hurricane, there is no way to predict when they will occur. I will say that in the 40 years I have lived in Fl. I have only encountered red tide twice. Wouldn't obsess over it.

Harry153 Feb 3rd, 2014 12:19 PM

read other forums that said Marco Isl was cleaner & less crowded than Ft Myers Beach. Don't know if that's true or not. But Ft Myers Beach is appealing due to proximity to the airport.

Ackislander Feb 3rd, 2014 02:01 PM

While Ft Myers Beach may be closer to the airport as the crow flies ( is it?) much of the trip is on 4 lane streets with strip malls and traffic lights. Marco is accessed by interstate and other high speed roads.

Ft Myers is great, but I find Ft Myers Beach to be crowded, and getting over the bridges rom Ft Myers itself was a nightmare. Marco is a long way off and not a convenient base for touring other places, tho there are plenty of beach front condos if all you want to do is soak up the sun.

May is getting pretty close to being off season, so I would look in Naples, North Naples (Vanderbilt Beach) or Bonita Beach. Prices tend to come down once it gets hot.

mrsgo Feb 3rd, 2014 02:21 PM

Go to Naples. No comparison with other areas. Go to and rent a place to stay by negotiating directly with the owner. Enjoy!

Harry153 Feb 3rd, 2014 02:59 PM

Appreciate the insight.

May want to go to Captiva or Sanibel for the day. Will meet friends for lunch in Naples. Hubby wants to tour the everglades & also do a wave runner tour.

But which has the better beach...Marco Isl or Naples?

Harry153 Feb 3rd, 2014 03:56 PM

Looked on VBRO in Naples area, not much in 1 bedroom condos. Only thing I found that was beachfront was on Little Hickory Island/Bonita springs & the beach didn't look as nice as Marco Isl. Anyone familiar with Little Hickory Island?

Ackislander Feb 4th, 2014 02:57 AM

There are lots of one bedroom condos in Naples that you don't rent through VRBO. We rented once at Naples Cay, a high rise right on the beach in Naples and were quite happy with it.

I don't think you can distinguish very easily between beaches. None of them is anything like beaches in the north, or in the Panhandle or on the East coast of Florida. All of them are open to the public, and none is particularly crowded on weekdays, especially post season.

NeoPatrick Feb 4th, 2014 06:19 AM

The comparisons between Marco Island and Sanibel are kind of strange. Marco Island does have a nice beach, but overall it is filled with high rise condos, rows and rows of little strip malls, and is essentially an ugly concrete jungle (beach aside). Sanibel Island has only low rise buildings, miles and miles or beach, and has a "tropical and rustic, overgrown with vegetation" feel totally different from Marco Island.

You will not find any condos for rent ON the beach IN Naples -- but there are some north at Vanderbilt Beach.

gmoney Feb 4th, 2014 07:49 AM

We stayed at the Sommerset on Marco Island last summer and loved it. We rented from Century 21 and highly recommend them.

They are very professional and everything went very smooth.

Harry153 Feb 4th, 2014 08:13 AM

Thx for the input. Looked at the Sommerset but no 1 bedrooms for rent. Others rent by the month only. Don't mind the high rises on Marco since we'll be doing several day trips to Sanibel/Captiva, Naples, Everglades. We like to drive around and see the area. Primary housing interest is an ocean/gulf front condo with a great view at a good price since we'd like to do 3 vacations this year, one to Europe. The Apollo has several 1 bedrooms for less than $1,000 and many amenities. So far, that's our choice since we'll be there off season, beach should not be too crowded. Thx to everyone for your input. Greatly appreciated. Any reocmmendations for restaurants and beaches on Sanibel, Naples & Marco Isl are welcome. Would love some stone crabs.

gmoney Feb 4th, 2014 08:27 AM


I walked down to the Apollo to try their beachfront bar/restaurant. It seemed to be very nice and the beach is wonderful. The thing I liked about Marco was there was no traffic, parking was easy, and no wait to get into restaurants. We rented a boat and went to Keywadin island which was the highlight of our trip. The kids took a jet ski tour of 10,000 islands that they said was fantastic. It left right off the beach in front of the Marriott hotel.

Harry153 Feb 4th, 2014 12:42 PM

Thanks for the info on Keywadin Island. What was there? Was it a great beach? How far away?

Also, was it a jet ski or waverunner tour of the 10,000 islands? I think my husband would love that? Can you have 2 on a waverunner?

How far away was the Marriot?

Harry153 Feb 4th, 2014 12:43 PM

Also, where did you rent the boat? For how long? and if I'm not too nosey, how much?

gmoney Feb 5th, 2014 06:28 AM


Here is where we rented boat from:

prices are on there depending on type/size of boat. It was really easy and they give you a detailed map on how to get to keewaydin. We did a 10 person pontoon for half day it was $205. Keewaydin is a beautiful uninhabited barrier island only accessible by boat, very popular place.

gmoney Feb 5th, 2014 06:33 AM


It was a waverunner tour, and yes two can go on one. My nephew and my daughter rode together. They got lucky and the other group did not show up so it turned out to be a private tour with just them and the guide. You can easily walk to the Marriott from the Apollo.

Harry153 Feb 6th, 2014 06:39 AM

TYTYTYTYTYTY!!! These are great ideas! My husband will absolutely want to do both. It's his birthday week so I think I'll surprise him. Thanks again for the websites & activity ideas. They seem absolutely perfect for us both!

gmoney Feb 6th, 2014 07:26 AM


Glad to be of help. I think you will love Marco Island. I live in Orlando and have been to many different Florida beach towns over the years and Marco is one of my favorite. I actually looked at the Apollo first but I needed a 3 bedroom. I hope you will write a trip report when you return, I would love to hear how you liked it. Enjoy your trip!!!

CaptivaBeachVilla Feb 9th, 2014 03:14 PM

Take a look a Bonita Beach. You seem to like to explore alot. Bonita beach is centrally located between Ft. Myers and Naples and close to the airport. You can cover Captiva to Marco within an hour. (good traffic) Lovers Key State Park is there.

Beach front condos there are probably less expensive than Naples, Sanibel, and +/- Marco.

Harry153 Feb 10th, 2014 05:50 AM

Thanks for the recommendation. Wish I read this sooner but we already booked on Marco. Yes, the prices were considerably lower & the trip from the airport would have been shorter. Next time! Thanks so much for the recommendation. Greatly Appreciated.

NeoPatrick Feb 10th, 2014 06:29 AM

OK. I get that the prices are lower in Marco -- of course they are. But the "trip from the airport is shorter" than to where? Surely not to Naples, Ft. Myers Beach, Bonita, or even TO Sanibel (not counting how long it might take to drive on Sanibel and Captiva).

But in any case, have a good time.

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