Not sure if distance is a factor but Naples and Marco Island are both a 3 hour drive. I like both those areas but I would choose to drive half that time to get over to Clearwater Beach. In my opinion the beach is just as nice, if not nicer, and it's closer. Of course Cocoa Beach is the closest but I prefer the Gulf Side of Florida.
It takes about 4 hours to get to Marco Island from Orlando. Whether it's worth it depends on your beach preferences & the amount of time you have to spend there. We like MI way better than Cocoa Beach or St. Pete, but you could probably find many that disagree. We like a quiet beach that is more natural and less touristy - Marco is just that. Some other places to consider would be Siesta Key or Sanibel. If you like more upbeat beaches with more people watching, consider Ft. Myers or Clearwater. SO difficult to give you advice when we don't know what you're version of a great beach/beach vacation looks like.
Hi there! Thanks for the reply. We are doing this vacation as a honeymoon so we want to stay somewhere less party and more relaxed. Also places with a nice resort or hotel would be preferable. I've heard that the water in Marco island is beautiful but is it so much better as to drive double?
We haven't been to places north enough for me to compare with certainty, but IF IT WERE ME, I think I'd stick with Anna Maria, Siesta Key, or maybe Sanibel Island. They are closer & should be low key. All of the places we have been on the lower gulf coast (Clearwater, Sanibel, Ft. Myers, St. Pete, Naples & of course Marco) have had very pretty water, so I'm sure it's not too different. We are visiting Siesta Key in the winter & I've heard WONDERFUL things about it! We would be going to Marco, but we don't want to drive that far for a small vacation. By the way, Siesta Key is supposed to have one of the top rated beaches in the US!
That was not very well written. What I meant is that, while we've spent considerable time along the gulf coast, most of it has been in and around Marco. We have spent a night here & there, and have also taken many day trips. However, it hasn't been enough time for me to say for sure whether the water is as nice in other places as we feel it is in Marco. The water clarity in any location can change from day to day with the weather & other factors. Marco's water tends to be fairly clear (although it is nothing like the keys or Carribean) & is usually a bluish, green color. It's really pretty around the jetties or at Tigertail beach! If you do go to Marco, consider renting a boat for a day & exploring the gorgeous islands!!
We enjoy the Gulf Beaches ourselves, but I can't comment on beaches south of Venice. We tend to visit Siesta Key most often, but you might consider Longboat Key since it has several "public access points." Those, from my experience are the quiet calm and relaxing areas around Sarasota. I generally think Siesta Key has gotten over crowded and since the #1 Beach in the US staple (2011), it has only gotten worse. I personally don't like the long walk to the beach. If you want to look for sharks teeth, everyone goes to Venice. If in Venice, you may like the North Casey Key Jetties. If it were me, I'd stay north and enjoy more time with each other and less time on the road.
You did not say what time of year you are coming to visit. During summer it won't make much difference, but during winter, it is better to go as far south as possible, because it should be warmer.
>>we want to stay somewhere less party and more relaxed.<<
Less party than what? Spring break. That is a specific time of year. Very few beaches in Florida have the level of activity of Spring Break that Daytona Beach or Panama City Beach have had over the years.
>>Also places with a nice resort or hotel would be preferable.<<
Clearwater beach - check these resorts - Opal Sands (opened this year) and Sand Pearl.
Naples is an upscale area generally and has only a few resorts that are directly on the beach, as most of the beach is fronted by either private homes or condos.
We just returned from Marco island Marriott. It's a beautiful place with white sandy beaches and clear water. I would recommend this resort for a relaxing vacation!!
Is it pretty, yes. Prettier than Cocoa, yes.
Is it worth the drive? Unfortunately, I don't read minds and don't know your likes and dislikes.
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