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Marco Island Florida is absolute paradise on earth. White sand, fresh seafood, crystal waters, friendly people. The list goes on forever.
Seriously, I consider Marco Island one of my “happy places.” Anytime I need a brief escape from New Jersey, especially in the middle of the dreary grey winter, Marco Island is always at the top of my list, because it fills my heart and soul with peace.
Plus it reminds me of my childhood, because we’ve taken several family vacations there. Nothing is as glorious as nostalgia, right? I just love Marco Island so much.
I honestly recommend taking a trip to Marco Island if you’re looking for an experience that allows you to decompress and unwind into a puddle of relaxation. You’ll thank me for it.
While you won’t run all over the place checking off impressive sites, Marco Island will instead replenish your physical and mental health needs with its abundant sunshine and stunning views of the Gulf of Mexico.
But what should you bring? What are the essentials for a good Marco Island trip? How do you avoid overpacking for a Florida beach vacation?
Never fear! This post is meant to help you decide what to pack for Marco Island Florida.
Keep in mind that most hotels and home rentals will provide bulkier beach gear, such as umbrellas and chairs, so you shouldn’t have to worry about checking a ton of luggage if you play your cards right.
What to Pack for Marco Island Florida
What to pack for Marco Island Florida is basically similar to any packing list for a beach vacation. When you take a trip to Marco Island, you will, without a doubt, spend most of your days lounging by the water. Endless summer weather is the name of the game here.
For the sake of simplicity, I’ve divided this packing guide into two sections: the necessary items (like protective sun lotion) followed by the best clothing to wear in Florida.
Marco Island Florida Essentials
Firstly, I want to state that if you’re an especially light packer, don’t worry if you accidentally forget an item or two, or want to save extra space in your luggage.
Marco Island Florida essentials (for the most part) can also be purchased on your trip. You’ll find a TON of beach shops. They’re everywhere. Everywhere.
However, keep in mind that since Marco Island is a huge vacation destination, prices for basic beach items might cost more here than at home.
So, if you’re on a tight budget, it might not be a bad idea to compare prices ahead of time, or bring the basics with you from home.
High SPF Sunblock
Florida’s sun is no joke. I’m deadly serious. Even in winter, if you lounge on the beach for hours, your skin sizzles under the sun’s strong rays. You want to reapply sunblock as much as possible if you’re swimming in the pool or Gulf of Mexico, too. I personally recommend you pack SPF 50+ sun lotion to keep your skin safe and happy.
SPF Lip Balm
In addition, you don’t want to forget your lips’ exposure to the sun! Your mouth will burn just as easily as your shoulders or legs if you lay out in the sun in the middle of the afternoon. I would pack lip balm with SPF just to add an extra layer of safety.
Packable Beach Towel
Most rentals and hotels will provide beach towels, but feel free to bring your own towel if you want! I personally like packing microfiber towels that easily fit into any size luggage. These towels also dry incredibly fast. Leave them out overnight, and they should be fine to bring to the beach the very next day.
If you’re like me, then you’ll spend a ton of time reading as you listen to the waves roll onto the soft white sand. However, all avid readers know how much space physical books take up in one’s luggage. I remember, years ago, when I traveled to Marco Island, TSA actually joked about how many books I had crammed into my suitcase.
Personally, I recommend bringing a Kindle paperweight, so you’re able to enjoy tons of great books without taking up tons of space. Well worth it. The new Kindle paperweight is waterproof too, which is perfect for reading next to the pool.
Reusable Water Bottle
You’ll need to stay hydrated in Marco Island especially if you’re doing outdoor activities such as kayaking or boating or swimming. My advice is to pack a collapsible water bottle that won’t take up too much room. Having this water bottle will also protect Florida’s delicate ecosystem. You don’t want to burn through plastic bottles every single day.
Marco Island Florida Wardrobe
Whew! Now that we talked about all the essential items, let’s discuss the fun part of this packing guide: cute clothes and shoes to wear on your tropical adventure!
My suggestion is to keep it casual, lightweight, and cool as far as style is concerned. Let’s dive into the specifics about fashion in Marco Island.
Colorful and Fun Bathing Suits
In Marco Island, you’ll practically live in your bathing suits. So you don’t want to skimp on money and will want to bring at least two high quality swim suits with you on your vacation. I personally think Lands Ends makes a variety of fun bathing suits. Pick whatever options are best for your body type and confidence!
You also want to bring a beach cover up to keep your skin protected when you’re not splashing around in the Gulf’s emerald waters.
Comfortable Flip Flops
You will be spending a ton of time at the beach and pool in Marco Island. You will want comfortable, well-broken in flip flops that feel great on your feet. I love these Crocs, because of the comfort. You don’t want to wear flip flops that are flimsy or will cause blisters to form between your toes, after all.
Floppy Travel Hat
Like I already said, Florida’s sun is very strong even in the winter months. You will want to do whatever you can to protect your skin. Bring at least one floppy and fun hat that’s versatile enough to wear at the beach and at brunch. Bring a packable and foldable large hat that you’ll have no issues fitting in your luggage.
What to pack for Marco Island Florida also includes a lovely pair of sunglasses that will adequately protect your eyes from the bright rays! You don’t need to spend a fortune on sunglasses, but make sure the lenses block UVA and UVA radiation.
I absolutely love bringing fun costume jewelry on my trips! Dangly earrings and jangling bracelets add a lot of fun and color to any casual outfit. You can also use the costume jewelry to “dress up” a simple outfit for Happy Hour.
Lightweight Shorts and Tee-Shirts
Keep your wardrobe lightweight and casual in Marco Island. After all, you’re in a tropical climate and humidity is high on most days. In particular, Coolibar makes some fantastic summer clothing, such as these classic and simple UPF 50+ shorts and shirts. Coolibar items are on the pricier side, but I think their clothes are well worth the prices, because of the UPF protection and high quality.
Summer dresses are essential for Marco Island, especially if you want to dress up and take advantage of the island’s vibrant food and Happy Hour scene!
I love these neutrally colored summer dresses that are easily worn with sandals and purses of any color.
Other Tips for What to Pack for Marco Island Florida
Last but not least, I wanted to include a couple more suggestions for what to pack for Marco Island Florida. I always find that warm weather destinations are easier to pack for, because you have less bulky items compared to winter destinations.
However, I still recommend bringing packing cubes to keep all of your items neatly organized for your adventure down to southwest Florida.
Furthermore, if you want to bring smaller bags with you, then I recommend bringing waterproof purses to keep all your items safe on the beach or in the parks. And don’t forget waterproof protection for your phone either!
Last but not least, any form of carry-on luggage is appropriate for traveling to Marco Island. Keep in mind that a lot of budget airlines go to Fort Myers Airport (the closest major airport), so either a carry on backpack or rolling suitcase would probably be best suited for this trip.
I hope you have a better idea for what to pack for Marco Island Florida. As always, feel free to reach out with additional suggestions! Marco Island is a stunning place, and I promise you will have a wonderful time exploring this region of Southwest Florida!