Marco Island, FL Roundup and Travel Guide + A Comfy Polka Dot Dress

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably saw that I was on vacation last week in Marco Island, Florida.  One of my mom's best friends called me a couple of weeks ago and asked me if I wanted to get the heck out of Hendersonville and join her for a trip to the beach.  I mean, who can say no to that?  It was totally last minute, but so needed and perfect. We had the absolute best time!  While we did not get to do everything, we did relax and didn't follow a schedule or any type of itinerary at all, and for a planner like me, it can be hard to for me to just let go and go with the flow.

When we began to plan our trip, we decided to fly into Punta Gorda via Allegiant Air, because the flights are super reasonable out of Asheville and it is so much better than driving 12 hours!  Ha! Terry and I stayed at the Marco Island Lakeside Inn.  It was 2-3 miles from the beach; but it was exceptionally clean.  It was a small room, but really, who cares when you aren't in there very much!  We had one queen size bed, a table and small kitchen and a bathroom.  It was the perfect size for two guests.  It also had a nice pool we could cool off in and a small "patio" right outside our door with a table and chairs too.  

Once we arrived we went to scope the area and figure out the best way to get to the beach.  The inn told us about two places for public beach access.  One was located at Tigertail Beach and the other at  South Beach.  I had read online that Tigertail was beautiful so we started there.  We had to pay $8 to park and then we grabbed our cooler bag and started for the beach....except the beach wasn't really that close.  When you go into the entrance there is a huge natural lagoon, again its beautiful but it isn't the beach.  So we followed the signs and thought well, this can't be too far of a walk.  We were so wrong. It felt like over a mile walk to the beach and the sand was kind of deep and really it was not an ideal walk to make every day.  So we sat on the beach in the breeze and then decided we had to find better beach access.  We walked 500 miles the mile or so back to the car and then took off for South Beach.  We parked and walked across Collier Blvd and to the boardwalk to the beach.  It was so much easier and we breathed a huge sigh of relief.  On the way back to the inn, we spotted another beach access next to the Crystal Shores Marriott and it had bike racks so we were thrilled because it was even closer to the Inn and looked less crowded.

The next item on the agenda was to find some bikes to rent, map a bike route to the beach access and find some chairs and umbrellas to rent!  We called around and got our bikes from Island Bike Shop. The bikes were in nice shape and had baskets since we wanted the cruiser type.  It was a reasonable cost of $30/each for the 4 days we were going to use them.  I wish that they had been able to deliver but their driver was out of town when we needed them.  We figured out our bike route to the beach and calculated it to be around 2.5 miles or so.  

We had called around and asked several people about renting chairs and umbrellas on the beach and they told us time and again, "we can't do that here".  But it just didn't make sense.  So when we were at the South Beach  entrance we walked down the beach and after a while we came across Pauls Beach Rentals.  The chairs were so nice, they had great comfy cushions and a large umbrella for shade since I am a bit over the top with sun protection. They looked practically brand new. If you don't want to lug your chairs and umbrella to the beach every day, I highly recommend them!

Food is a big deal when you are on vacation.  I love to eat at new places and try new things.  Luckily, I have a good friend that gave me the lowdown on some places to try while we were there.  She recommended Snook Inn, which is a fun little waterfront restaurant.  You can eat inside and still see the water, which is great because it is so hot.  Terry and I split the Snook Inn Platter which was grouper, mahi mahi, scallops, shrimp crab cake, veggies and rice pilaf.  It was a lot for one person to eat!  I did not really ask but I assumed some would be fried and maybe some grilled, but all the fish was broiled with a creamy sauce over it.  It was really good, but I am not gonna lie, something about grouper makes me want it fried.  I am sure it is the southern girl in me.  That and my Daddy says that water would be better if it was fried. LOL!

As you can imagine, since I was still craving some fried fish, I had to scope us out another restaurant.  One evening we went to Naples to shop and I found a hole in the wall with great reviews called Grouper and Chips.  I was really hoping that since it was their name, they would do it right.  And oh my word, it was so good!  Terry and I split the order of hushpuppies and discussed how they were crunchy on the outside like my Mama's.  They were so close to being as good as hers, but no one can surpass her.  Then we shared the fried grouper and french fries.  If I was going fried, I was going all out. Ha!  The grouper was amazing.  The breading was fantastic and everything was so fresh and fantastic.  We loved this place and even though we couldn't eat everything, we took the rest back to the room and had it for lunch the next day.

On one hand, I wish I could tell you more things to do while you are visiting here, but to be honest, I needed time away that did not include a lot of entertainment.  I felt like I just needed to relax and let things go for a bit.  It was the first time I can remember not having to do a lot and I throughly enjoyed it.  I am the typical overly prepared, planner that probably takes the fun out of vacation with my itinerary.  It was nice to just do whatever without a plan.  I highly recommend it.

I was able to grab some photos of this fun polka dot dress from the Dressbarn while I was at the Inn one evening.  I love how comfortable this dress is and polka dots have always been a favorite of mine.  The dress is navy but I love pairing polka dots with red, so red block heels were perfect.  It feels very retro to me.  I actually had a red belt too, but it was too big.  And of course, I love a red lip.  This is Lipsense in Blue/Red that my sister gave me.

In conclusion, if you are looking for a beautiful vacation destination, I would visit Marco Island again in a heartbeat.  Thanks for stopping by and reading about my travels, I have some pictures from the trip below too.  I hope you all have a great week!

Marco Island Lakeside Inn

Marco Island Lakeside Inn
Marco Island Lakeside Inn
Chairs and Umbrellas from Pauls Beach Rentals
Marco Island Lakeside Inn
Sunset in Port Royal, FL
Marco Island, South Beach
Marco Island, South Beach
Snook Inn Platter
Grouper and Chips-Hushpuppies
Grouper and Chips
Working Cow Ice Cream, Punta Gorda


1 comment:

  1. Loving this beautiful polka dot dress and your travel review!
    Hope you have a lovely weekend, Laura!