Looking to do something different for New Year’s Eve? Imagine sun-drenched beaches, swaying palm trees, and beautiful neighborhoods lined with canals. No need to bundle up, no snow, no stress from fighting the crowd or finding a parking space on your way to your favorite New Year’s Eve activity. Welcome to charming Marco Island!
A quaint resort island with a small town feel, this undiscovered piece of paradise has been beckoning visitors and their families for some years. Winter temperatures are very pleasant, ranging from the low 50s to high 70s. To err on the safe side, pack a few pieces of warm clothing just in case a rare cold front blows through.
Shooting fireworks is legal in Florida, so on New Year’s Eve, you are bound to find someone putting up quite a spectacular display of fireworks in his or her backyard. However, if you are seeking more action and excitement, head over to the pier in nearby Naples. Ring in the New Year on the beach with the locals at the annual New Year’s Eve fireworks show. If possible, return to Naples again for some of the most incredible shopping along Fifth Avenue, the Venetian Village and Waterside shops, and for the Downtown Art Festival on Jan 1st and 2nd.
Back on Marco Island, you can sit back, relax and soak up some rays. Interested in shelling? Walk on any one of the beaches at low tide to find a collection of exquisite seashells. Capture a memorable sunset celebration at Quinn’s on The Beach (at the Marriott), complete with live entertainment. For the angler in you, charter a boat to go fishing or to explore the unspoiled coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico. You will be delighted with a for-sure encounter with a manatee or a pod of dolphins.
To get a feel of the old Florida, drive over to the fishing community of Goodland and spend an afternoon at Old Marco Lodge. Watch boats come in and out of this historic restaurant overlooking the Marco River. Order their delicious grouper fingers; they are to die for. If you prefer the wilder side of town, check out Stan’s, where outdoor music and dancing bring this village to life on a Sunday afternoon.
No trip to Marco Island is complete without a side trip to the Everglades. An hour east on Interstate 75 (Alligator Alley) takes you to the Big Cypress National Preserve, where you can see some amazing wildlife, especially alligators. If you like to get up close and personal with nature, you can join a guided tour or rent a canoe or kayak to explore this subtropical wilderness on your own. There’s nothing like an eye-to-eye encounter with an alligator to get your adrenaline pumping. Winter is the dry season, but it doesn’t hurt to bring bug spray.
And you thought Marco Island is for retirees only. Who knows, this trip may turn into a holiday tradition for you and your family. Happy New Year!