Free Things to do Near Marco Island

As home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches and amenities, Marco Island is a must-see for your next Southwest Florida vacation. Marco Island has its own thriving hospitality industry catering to upscale travelers and budget-savvy adventurers alike. But there is plenty to see and do in Marco Island that’s completely free. Here’s where to get started.

Free Things to do in Marco Island, Florida. There is plenty to see and do while on vacation in Marco Island, Florida that's completely free. Here’s where to get started. | Must Do Visitor Guides
Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

Marco Island Historical Museum 

Visitors looking for free things to do in Naples and Marco Island, Florida can discover and explore local history at the Marco Island Historical Museum. Learn about the Calusa Native Americans with colorful exhibits and displays to revitalize this ancient civilization. The museum features items from area archeological digs going back as far as the 1800s. 

Get to know the most famous resident on the island; the famed Key Marco Cat statuette estimated at 500 to 1,500 years old. This rare Pre-Columbian Native American artifact is astonishingly well-preserved. After exploring the history of Marco Island, stroll the landscape ground with ponds, waterfalls, and tropical plantings for a tranquil backdrop. 

Marco Island Historical Museum, Marco Island, Florida. Must Do Visitor Guides.
Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

Museum of the Everglades 

Located in historic Everglades City, the Museum of the Everglades features local history from early Native American times to modern-day. Guests learn more about the earliest roots of the city, as well as permanent exhibits telling the story of perseverance in Southwest Florida’s “Last Frontier.” Art enthusiasts should check out the work of Florida Artist Robert L. Storter Jr. with 30 framed artworks and passages from his journal. 

And if you’re hoping to see even more free things to do in Florida; you’re in luck. All of the museums in Collier County are free to the public.

Museum of the Everglades Collier County Museum in Everglades City, Florida.
Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman

Mackle Park

Spend a day of family-friendly fun at Mackle Park on Marco Island. Take a jog or walk along the path or enjoy the wide range of amenities. Pool tables, shuffleboard, and more are perfect for big kids, with a toddler area and splash pad for littles. Play a game of basketball or soccer and end your afternoon with tranquil views of the on-site lake.

Lake at Mackle Park on Marco Island, Florida.
Photo credit Mary Carol Fitzgerald


Shelling is one of the best free things to do in Florida, with some of the best in the world located in Southwest Florida area. Shell hunters have their pick of pristine locations in Marco Island. Start your search at Tigertail Beach situated on the north end of the island. Look for lightning whelk, rare Junonia shells, sand dollars, starfish, and calico scallop among other beauties. Stick around for a free sunset and watch the shorebirds run along the white-sand beach and tidal lagoon. 

Boardwalk at Tigertail Beach on Marco Island, Florida.
Photo credit Jennifer Brinkman

Marco Island Center For The Arts

Creative minds head to the Marco Island Center for the Arts with new shows every month at the on-site Lauritzen, Rush, and La Petite galleries. Visit on the Second Tuesdays of the month from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm for a chance to meet current artists and learn more about their work and inspiration. Other events include Arts and Crafts Fairs, Cars as Art outdoor exhibits, Chalk Art and more. Museum visits are free, although guests can make a suggested donation as desired. 

Everglades National Park Gulf Coast Visitor Center

Learn more about the history and wildlife of Everglades National Park Gulf Coast Visitor Center. As a gateway for exploring the Ten Thousand Islands, visitors learn more about the mangrove islands and waterways extending to Flamingo and Florida Bay. Once you’ve brushed up on your Everglades knowledge, get ready to play for free. Ask the visitor center’s about free programs like nature walks, nature talks and Timeless Travel canoe Trips for a budget-friendly adventure.  

The best free things to do in Marco Island and Naples, Florida embrace a combination of nature, history, and culture for a greater appreciation of the area. Turn your next Marco Island vacation into your new favorite budget-friendly getaway.

Free things to do in Marco Island, Florida. There is plenty to see and do while on vacation in Marco Island, Florida that's completely free. Here’s where to get started. Must Do Visitor Guides |
Photo credit Debi Pittman Wilkey

Written by: Must Do Visitor Guides Staff Writer

[gravityform id="3" title=false description=false ajax=true tabindex=-1]
<div class='gf_browser_unknown gform_wrapper' id='gform_wrapper_3' ><div id='gf_3' class='gform_anchor' tabindex='-1'></div><form method='post' enctype='multipart/form-data' target='gform_ajax_frame_3' id='gform_3' action='/articles/free-things-to-do-near-marco-island/#gf_3'> <input type='hidden' class='gforms-pum' value='{"closepopup":false,"closedelay":0,"openpopup":false,"openpopup_id":0}' /> <div class='gform_body'><ul id='gform_fields_3' class='gform_fields top_label form_sublabel_below description_below'><li id='field_3_1' class='gfield field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_3_1' >Email Address</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_email'> <input name='input_1' id='input_3_1' type='text' value='' class='medium' aria-invalid="false" /> </div></li><li id='field_3_2' class='gfield field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' >Locations</label><div class='ginput_container ginput_container_checkbox'><ul class='gfield_checkbox' id='input_3_2'><li class='gchoice_3_2_1'> <input name='input_2.1' type='checkbox' value='Fort Myers' id='choice_3_2_1' /> <label for='choice_3_2_1' id='label_3_2_1'>Fort Myers, Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel & Captiva</label> </li><li class='gchoice_3_2_2'> <input name='input_2.2' type='checkbox' value='Sarasota' id='choice_3_2_2' /> <label for='choice_3_2_2' id='label_3_2_2'>Sarasota, Siesta Key, Longboat, Lido, & Venice</label> </li><li class='gchoice_3_2_3'> <input name='input_2.3' type='checkbox' value='Naples' id='choice_3_2_3' /> <label for='choice_3_2_3' id='label_3_2_3'>Naples, Marco Island, Everglades</label> </li></ul></div></li><li id='field_3_3' class='gfield field_sublabel_below field_description_below gfield_visibility_visible' ><label class='gfield_label' for='input_3_3' ></label><div id='input_3_3' class='ginput_container ginput_recaptcha' data-sitekey='6LeAjKsUAAAAAD72VNHUsfFGdrDsUtYUWAB67i6n' data-theme='light' data-tabindex='-1' data-size='invisible' data-badge='bottomright'></div></li> </ul></div> <div class='gform_footer top_label'> <input type='submit' id='gform_submit_button_3' class='gform_button button' value='Submit' onclick='if(window["gf_submitting_3"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_3"]=true; ' onkeypress='if( event.keyCode == 13 ){ if(window["gf_submitting_3"]){return false;} window["gf_submitting_3"]=true; jQuery("#gform_3").trigger("submit",[true]); }' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_ajax' value='form_id=3&amp;title=&amp;description=&amp;tabindex=-1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='is_submit_3' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_submit' value='3' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_unique_id' value='' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='state_3' value='WyJbXSIsIjFjZTA0OTU3N2MzMjA5N2M1OWE4Yzk4ZTAyMzU0MjJmIl0=' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_target_page_number_3' id='gform_target_page_number_3' value='0' /> <input type='hidden' class='gform_hidden' name='gform_source_page_number_3' id='gform_source_page_number_3' value='1' /> <input type='hidden' name='gform_field_values' value='' /> </div> </form> </div> <iframe style='display:none;width:0px;height:0px;' src='about:blank' name='gform_ajax_frame_3' id='gform_ajax_frame_3' title='This iframe contains the logic required to handle Ajax powered Gravity Forms.'></iframe> <script type='text/javascript'>jQuery(document).ready(function($){gformInitSpinner( 3, '' );jQuery('#gform_ajax_frame_3').on('load',function(){var contents = jQuery(this).contents().find('*').html();var is_postback = contents.indexOf('GF_AJAX_POSTBACK') >= 0;if(!is_postback){return;}var form_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_wrapper_3');var is_confirmation = jQuery(this).contents().find('#gform_confirmation_wrapper_3').length > 0;var is_redirect = contents.indexOf('gformRedirect(){') >= 0;var is_form = form_content.length > 0 && ! is_redirect && ! is_confirmation;var mt = parseInt(jQuery('html').css('margin-top'), 10) + parseInt(jQuery('body').css('margin-top'), 10) + 100;if(is_form){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_3').html(form_content.html());if(form_content.hasClass('gform_validation_error')){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_3').addClass('gform_validation_error');} else {jQuery('#gform_wrapper_3').removeClass('gform_validation_error');}setTimeout( function() { /* delay the scroll by 50 milliseconds to fix a bug in chrome */ jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gform_wrapper_3').offset().top - mt); }, 50 );if(window['gformInitDatepicker']) {gformInitDatepicker();}if(window['gformInitPriceFields']) {gformInitPriceFields();}var current_page = jQuery('#gform_source_page_number_3').val();gformInitSpinner( 3, '' );jQuery(document).trigger('gform_page_loaded', [3, current_page]);window['gf_submitting_3'] = false;}else if(!is_redirect){var confirmation_content = jQuery(this).contents().find('.GF_AJAX_POSTBACK').html();if(!confirmation_content){confirmation_content = contents;}setTimeout(function(){jQuery('#gform_wrapper_3').replaceWith(confirmation_content);jQuery(document).scrollTop(jQuery('#gf_3').offset().top - mt);jQuery(document).trigger('gform_confirmation_loaded', [3]);window['gf_submitting_3'] = false;}, 50);}else{jQuery('#gform_3').append(contents);if(window['gformRedirect']) {gformRedirect();}}jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [3, current_page]);} );} );</script><script type='text/javascript'> jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_render', function(event, formId, currentPage){if(formId == 3) {} } );jQuery(document).bind('gform_post_conditional_logic', function(event, formId, fields, isInit){} );</script><script type='text/javascript'> jQuery(document).ready(function(){jQuery(document).trigger('gform_post_render', [3, 1]) } ); </script>