Travel - Marco Island, Florida

June 02, 2015

My family and I love America, it's such a fun place to go for a road trip and there are some really beautiful parts. I've talked about California before here and here but this post is all about Florida, specifically Marco Island down on the Gulf of Mexico on the Southwest Coast. I love sharing holiday photos on here to look back on. It's also raining as I type this so looking at the sunshine and beach photos makes me want to beam myself back.

{Road trip palm tree heaven}
Back in Easter 2012, we flew on my Birthday to Orlando for a two week trip. We had a week to do the theme parks and Orlando in a villa on a golf course and then my favourite part which was moving down to Marco Island. It was our third visit to Florida, although Ben's first, and so we only did a few days at the theme parks this time. They're fun but we've outgrown them slightly and didn't want to spend half the holiday in queues for rides. If you're thinking of going. and everybody should at least once in their lives, then you should definitely buy The Unofficial Guide to Disney and Universal, it will be your bible out there and has amazing advice about how to minimise queues for rides and ratings for everything from food to which tickets to buy etc. Orlando aside, let's talk Marco Island! I really love the Gulf Coast in Florida. The beaches are incredible and it's just so laid back out there with great shopping and restaurants.

{Orlando. And too much love for these guys}
We always opt for renting a private villa in Florida rather than going down the hotel route. There are so many to choose from, they're incredible value for the space that you get and it means you can self cater {I love American food but sometimes you just want a simple bbq without the three million calories and huge portions!}. The best websites for villa hunting are and homeaway and owners direct. You can spend hours searching but think about what you want from a villa e.g. location, pool size etc. Look for ones with good reviews and one thing we always look out for is the aspect of the sun for the pool and terrace, you want to make sure it gets sun for most of the day. We stayed at a beautiful villa backing onto the water with it's own dock and swimming pool, it was gorgeous, huge but amazing value too. Easter does tend to get booked up fairly well in advance or sometimes the owners will have booked it out for peak times so it pays to research your trip early and get something booked. Likewise for flights and car hire. 

The location was great, we could walk or cycle to the beach one way and main town with a Publix supermarket and shops the other just a couple of minutes walk. Plus the best ever ice cream parlour called Sweet Annie's and the best ever fish from Leebee's. The boys spent most of their time fishing from the dock {without much success!}

Our days were mainly spent at the pool or beach relaxing after our week in Orlando. Tiger Tail beach was beautiful, and I've written before about the shells we collected from there to make into artwork in our bathroom here and here. Sand Dollars are my favourite, and so fascinating.

In the evenings we'd go and watch the sunset before cooking a BBQ back at the villa.

We had a day trip to Captiva Island, one of my favourite places on earth. It feels like you could be in the Caribbean, it's just such a relaxed place with the best beaches ever. Likewise Sanibel Island is well worth a visit. But ssh don't tell anyone, sometimes I want to keep all of these places a big secret!

Naples is also an amazing place to visit, with the cutest little streets, upmarket shops and restaurants and the whitest sand beach where you're almost guaranteed to see dolphins.

We rented a boat one morning and were given a map with a route to follow to find tiny islands where we could dock and wander onto the beaches while the boys fished.

We all love American life where we could just wander to the farmers market to pick up breakfast, sit by the pool and then walk out for a smoothie or ice cream. 

{Farmers market purchases}
{The sweetest strawberries}
{Florida is famous for key lime pie}
... Rent a movie, go for a walk at sunset, see dolphins and pelicans, go shopping in all the cool American shops. Why is everything so much better over there?! I would quite happily move to Florida, California or NYC tomorrow! A lot of lovely memories from that holiday with a few more photos below. If you're planning a trip out to Florida then I highly highly recommend a week down in Marco Island/Captiva/Sarasota kind of area. Also you can fly out of Miami which makes for a fun drive through the everglades national park and a bit of star spotting on Ocean Drive before you fly home. 

{Waffles and farmers market fruit for breakfast on the terrace}
{Standard sunshine and palm tree photo}
{The first time we ever tried a Five Guys burger. We've been hooked ever since}
{Beautiful sunrises from our villa, and then we'd go to the beach for sunset}
{Tigertail beach}
{Pre sunrise reading on the dock when I woke up early one morning}
{A Denny's breakfast is a must when you're on the road}
{Pink sky reflections by the Marco Island marina after dinner}
{We love you Florida}
Yay for family road trips. We're planning another one next summer, Canada possibly for something new but equally we love California and Hawaii which may be a good option. Although the Florida Keys are meant to be amazing too! You know how I live for holidays...

R <3 xx 

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