Marco Island, Florida, a relatively undiscovered resort island 150 mi/240 km south of Tampa, offers a good alternative to some of the state's more crowded beaches. Only 4 mi/6 km wide by 6 mi/10 km long, it's one destination that you don't want to tell too many people about. There may not be a whole heck of a lot to do (although the island resorts have plenty of the usual activities), but that's precisely the point—it's a true getaway. Be prepared, though: In our experience, high-season rates on Marco Island are higher than rates in some of the more heavily developed resort areas.
You'll see lots of wildlife. Many birds frequent the so-called Ten Thousand Islands that lie near Marco—several bald-eagle nests have been identified in the area. If you get out on the water, there's a good chance you'll see dolphins frolicking. Affluent Miami residents who head to Marco for the weekend have built some impressive mansions there. For an enjoyable getaway, take a local charter boat to a private island for shell collecting.
Note: Florida sustained widespread damage during Hurricane Irma in September 2017. Travelers should investigate current conditions prior to planning a visit.
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