Most people, if they’re lucky, get only two weeks off a year for vacation. When you have so little time to spend, you want to make sure your vacation is as magical as possible. For this reason, it’s important to choose your vacation destination wisely and make sure there are awesome activities around for you and your family to enjoy. And when it comes to awesome vacation activities, we can’t think of anything more enjoyable or magical than swimming with dolphins near Marco Island.

If you and your family are thinking of spending your next vacation in Florida, this article will cover dolphin swim programs available near Marco Island as well as accommodations and other fun activities to explore.

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Did you know that the state of Florida actually has ten thousand islands? And only ONE of those islands has been developed? It happens to be the largest island and that is Marcos Island.

Close to Naples and just a short ride from the Florida Everglades, Marcos Island is considered a Gulf Coast retreat that offers gorgeous beaches, unspoiled parks and luxury resorts that pamper your every need.

People who have visited the island have called it magical and alluring, and once you experience the area for yourself, it’s easy to see why. The white sand beaches are the perfect location to snooze a day away or search for seashells. The island is also home to a lot of amazing wildlife to spot and photograph, and with sun most of the year, there are a ton of water sports to enjoy.

But the island offers more than just natural beauty. There are many wonderful restaurants that offer upscale cuisine. And if you want fresh seafood, Marco Island has fresh seafood! And while the island isn’t known for its wild nightlife, there is a comedy club and some local watering holes for an after-dinner cocktail or two.

But with all of these great draws, there is something even better to do in the area, and that is swim with dolphins.

Marco Island

Marco Island Florida

There is something for everyone here !

Dolphin Swim Programs Near Marco Island

If you asked people what their favorite animal is, you’d get many who’d say dogs, cats, and horses. But there is one another animal that many people would name their all-time favorite, and that would be the dolphin.

What is it about dolphins that fascinates us humans so much? They are certainly intelligent. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if we someday found out they were even more intelligent than people. They are also friendly and playful and seem to be as curious about us humans as we are about them.

If you have ever wanted to swim with dolphins and you are headed to south Florida, you will have the opportunity of a lifetime. Dolphin World Miami, which is very close to Marco Island, is an incredible facility that offers different programs for individuals, families and large groups. You and your family and friends will have the opportunity to learn all about dolphins through interactive and educational programs and have a ton of fun at the same time.

Let’s take a look at the programs offered at Dolphin Swim Miami so you can choose the one that’s best for your needs.

swimming with dolphins Miami

Dolphin Swim Program

Who is the Dolphin Swim Program in Miami Program good for? People of all ages, provided they are good swimmers? The facility recommends children who are at least 8 years of age.

This program starts with an educational component where you will learn all about dolphin physiology and behavior, as well as how they hunt and communicate with one another. Questions you may have will all be answered at the end of the educational part of the program.

Once all of your questions have been answered, it’s time to slip into the water and prepare yourself for the thrill of a lifetime. There is absolutely nothing like waiting in perfectly-warmed water for dolphins to arrive. You can feel the electricity in the air. Suddenly, you see ripples in the water, then the dorsal fins coming straight toward you, and then SPLASH! Out of the water, flipping and jumping, come the most amazing creatures you’ll ever meet.

Once you get over the shock and awe of meeting dolphins face-to-face, or face-to-beak, you’ll get to hug and kiss them and generally splash around having the time of your life.

But just when you thought you couldn’t have any more fun, MORE fun arrives in the form of a dorsal fin ride. This is when you hang onto the dolphin’s dorsal fin and they pull you around in the water. You’ll feel like you’re absolutely flying.

After experiencing the Dolphin Swim Program at the Dolphin World Miami facility, people have told us it was one of the most amazing things they have ever done in their lives. And some of these people we talked to were in their 80s! If you want fun and thrills, you can’t go wrong with this dolphin swim program.

The Dolphin Encounter

The Dolphin Encounter Program in Miami is perfect for families with very little ones, seniors, or anyone who isn’t a confident swimmer because it takes place in shallow water. But just because you won’t be swimming with dolphins doesn’t mean you won’t have the time of your life!

Similar to the Dolphin Swim Program, your encounter will also start with an initial educational component where you will have the opportunity to learn all about dolphin behavior in the wild and ask any questions you may have, including about how trainers are able to train dolphins to perform numerous tricks.

Once this part of the program is over, you’ll slip into a pool of shallow water and prepare to meet your new dolphin friends.

Now, just because the water isn’t as deep doesn’t mean you won’t also have the time of your life splashing around with these amazing creatures. You’ll also get to hug and kiss your new pals and watch then as they thrill you with their acrobatics. Dolphins have a way of doing everything in their power to make you laugh and ensure you have a wonderful time.

After your program, be sure to stick around to explore other areas of the facility. There are some other excellent programs and animals to discover.

Dolphin World Miami – What Makes it So Special?

The wonderful thing about your trip to Dolphin World is it won’t just be memorable because of the dolphins but because of the facility itself. For starters, Dolphin World Miami’s location is set in a tropical paradise. Located on Key Biscayne, the location is perfect and beautiful. If you’ve never been to Key Biscayne before, it is a set of islands that extends from downtown Miami. As soon as you drive up to the facility, you’ll know you’re in for a spectacular day.

Another wonderful aspect of the facility are the people who run it. The owners and staff of Dolphin Word truly care about the well-being of the dolphins and also about their visitors. Everyone who is connected with Dolphin World Miami is committed to teaching visitors about bottlenose dolphins and the dangers they currently face out in the wild. They dedicate their time and energy to share their knowledge so that we can all enjoy and do our part to care for the dolphins.

The staff of Dolphin World also wants you to remember your time at the facility, which is why they provide a complimentary professionally taken photo of your visit with your dolphin pals.

Getting to Dolphin World Miami from Marco Island

When it comes to getting to the Dolphin World Miami facility, you have a few different options:

Car Rental

If you’ll be flying into Miami, you may want to consider renting a car at the airport. As of this writing, Miami International Airport offers many car rental agencies, including Advantage, Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz, and more. Give them a call for pricing or check online.

Of course, renting a car while on holiday has its good points and bad points. Let’s start with the benefits of renting a car.

When you have your own car at your disposal, you can come and go at your own schedule and not be at the whim of public transportation. This can be especially helpful when you’re traveling with little ones, who tend to get cranky and like to have very loud meltdowns in public. Just scoop them up, get them in the car, and head back to the hotel room ASAP for a nice, long nap.

And speaking of meltdowns, South Florida is hot. It’s not where you want to be stuck on a bus that has no air conditioning. When you have a rental car, you can be assured to stay cool while you’re traveling.

Okay, now let’s look at some of the cons of renting a car while on vacation. Well, to start, it’s an added expense. It can be worth it, or it can not be worth it. Only you can budget and see if it makes financial sense.

Also, it can be nerve-wracking driving around an unfamiliar location, especially a big city like Miami. And parking can be a nightmare (an expensive nightmare).

Buses

You have the option of taking a bus from Miami to Naples, which takes a little over 2 hours and costs $200 round trip. From Naples you would simply get a taxi to the Dolphin World Facility on Marcos Island.

Lyft

Another option for you and your family is to hire a car and driver though an app like Lyft or Uber. I just did a quick estimate check of hiring a car from Marcos Island to Miami and it is $150 – $165 each way and takes 2 ½ hours.

Private Van Shuttle

Dolphin Word Miami offers round trip shuttle service to and from your hotel in one of their private shuttle vans. Visitors to the facility often find this is the easiest and most cost-effective option.

Your private shuttle van will pick you up in the morning outside of your hotel and drive you straight to the facility in Miami. When your time at Dolphin World has ended, you will be picked up once more and driven back to your hotel.

This is a great option for visitors to the dolphin facility because it means you don’t have to worry about driving in an unfamiliar place or getting on a crowded bus. All vans are clean and air conditioned, and you are even provided snacks and beverages for the trip.

Contact Dolphin World for more information and pricing.

Map

Accommodations on Marco Island

Marco Island has a ton of great places to stay. Some of them are very pricey and some are quite affordable. We’ve gone ahead and chosen three options that we think you might be interested in. One option is very affordable, one is mid-range and one is on the higher end.

We don’t get any kickbacks from these hotels, we just like to help our readers have the best vacation possible.

With that said, let’s start with the least expensive option, then move on to the mid-ranged option and finally end with the priciest of the three.

The Boat House Motel

The Boat House Marco Island FL

This is a charming little motel located in “Old Marco.” It has been family owned and operated since 1994 and is a great option for those who need some peace and quiet away from crowds. Depending on when you book your stay, rates can be as low as $159 per night, which is great for the area. The rooms aren’t fancy as in some of the luxury resorts, but they are clean and comfortable. If you only plan on sleeping in your hotel room and don’t require too many amenities, this is a great option for you.

Marco Beach Ocean Resort

Marco Beach Ocean Resort

The Marco Beach Ocean Resort is a mid-priced option starting at around $230 a night. But for that price you get the epitome of AAA Five-Diamond standards. Marco Beach Ocean Resort features both casual and elegant dining, a spa and fitness center, pool and hot tub, rooftop gardens, four miles of white sand beach and nearby golf, tennis and shopping. Oh, and my favorite part is they offer free smoothies on the beach and by the pool starting at 3pm. For those travelers that require a bit more elegance and hospitality, this hotel will make you happy.

JW Marriott Marco Island

And now the priciest option, which will set you back around $320 a night, give or take the month you will be traveling. The JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort is located on a huge private white sand beach with the Florida Everglades right at their doorstep.

These rooms and suites offer the epitome of luxury and offer scenic, private balconies of the gorgeous beach beyond. Are you a golf fanatic? The hotel offers not one but wo private 18-hole championship golf courses. There are also three swimming pools, an array of water sports and recreational activities, and a children’s Tiki Tribe camp. With upscale dining options, there’s almost no reason to leave the resort – except to swim with those dolphins!

Things to Do on Marco Island

While we absolutely think swimming with dolphins should be at the top of your list, there are some other cool activities to do on or around Marco Island

Things to do in Marco Island

South Marco Beach

South Marco Island Beach is the quieter of the two only public beaches on Marco Island. And it makes the perfect backdrop for a fun family outing. Kids love the beach for shelling and kicking a soccer ball around. There are restrooms and a paved walkway to the beach.

Briggs Nature Center

Briggs Nature Center is located between Marco Island and Naples at the Rookery Bay National Estua-rine Research Reserve. The center offers easy walking trails so you can catch a glimpse of bald eagles, bob-cats, snakes, and river otters, to name a few of the local area’s fauna.

401 Shell Island Road, Naples, FL 34113, Phone: 239-337-3332

 Isles of Capri Paddle Craft Park

This is a great paddling park built specifically for kayaks and paddleboards. No motorized boats are allowed on these waters so you feel safe and don’t have to deal with that motor noise. Simply pay a small fee when you enter the park and launch your boat for a day of fun in the sun.

Local Information

Weather

South Florida’s climate is tropical, and that means it’s great in the fall and winter, but can get pretty hot and sticky in late spring and summer. The best time to visit Marco Island is during the spring, between March and May, with temperatures in the high 70’s and low 80’s during the day.

Festivals

Marco Island has a lot of fun festivals and events going on year-round. You can find out what may be happening during your vacation by visiting this website.

And you can also find something fun going on right next door in South Beach. You may learn about upcoming scheduled events here.

Helpful Travel Links

Marco Island Chamber of Commerce

Miami Chamber of Commerce

Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Miami International Airport (MIA)

 

Marco Island is truly a beautiful spot to spend your vacation. With plenty of great weather and water activities, there is something for everyone. And don’t forget to book your visit to the Dolphin World facility. Spots go quickly, so book now!

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