I swam with sharks here. Marco Island is just south of Naples and where I had what I believe is the coolest beach experience I’ve had in North America so far. I’ve never been outside of North America but whatever. Tigertail boasts hard-packed sand, tons of fiddler crabs, a lagoon, a mangrove path, and a white sand beach on the gulf with mad birds and sea life. Shit is so, so tight.
It’s $8 to park here. Kinda steep but get over it. There’s a restaurant, clean bathrooms, boardwalks with showers, and 2 parking areas. It’s located in a residential area so there really isn’t a parking alternative. To get there, take Collier Blvd south from Naples, turn right onto Tigertail Ct then left onto Hernando Dr. Follow this road and it will dead end at the park.
After you park, walk through one of the tree-lined paths to follow the boardwalks to the beach. There are a few access points but they all weave toward the center. The first beach area is the lagoon so the water is perfectly calm. You can rent kayaks, paddleboards, buggies, etc from the hut along the water.
You may notice in that last picture that people are walking through the water on the far right. This is an area of the lagoon that is particularly shallow so people can walk across to go chill on the gulf on the other side. It’s also possible to walk around the lagoon on the south side or to paddle out and around to the north. We walked through because we’re boss ass bitches and aren’t afraid to walk through the slush. A small sign indicates the ideal crossing spot.
Once on the other side you walk on path filled with crabs scurrying about.
Finally, you reach the gulf beach. It’s calm and quiet with a sandy upper portion perfect for creating a chill zone and a short drop off where the water meets the shelly shore.
We walked into the water and immediately saw a fin. We assumed it was a dolphin because dolphins are everywhere in the gulf so we pressed on, swimming and laughing like a couple of school kids. We saw more fins. We saw gray bodies swimming a mere 3-4 feet from our legs. Then we thought, “hold up these things don’t seem to be coming up for air.” And then we thought “hold up those are smaller then dolphins.” Then we thought “ok those are sharks.” We stood frozen in awe and amazement as we watched a wave roll in with 5 or 6 sharks riding it. Maybe we should’ve gotten out of the water. Maybe I didn’t give a hoot. After some web scouring I discovered that hammerheads and black tips are both very popular at this beach. The head shapes were indistinguishable but I’m leaning toward black tip due to size and gut feeling.
Even without the shark encounter this beach is quite a gem. Would make a special trip. Would go again. Links: