Tigertail Beach ~ Marco Island, Florida

Look up anything about Marco Island and you’re sure to see a lot of recommendations to check out Tigertail Beach.

So obviously when I planned our trip to Marco, Tigertail was at the top of my must see list. I was excited to read that this public beach access had on-site parking, concession stands and bathrooms. What more could a mom of five want?

Once the mini van was parked, we hauled all of our beach gear and five children past the bathrooms and concession stand, down a long boardwalk expecting to arrive at the beach.

Surprise! Instead, we arrived at a sandy area with a big lagoon.

We were confused and asked some friendly folks how to get to the actual beach. They told us we could either walk close to a mile (a MILE!) south around the lagoon OR we could wade through the lagoon to get to the beach. Say what???

This was unexpected. And frustrating. Since there was no chance we were walking a mile with all of our gear and 5 kids, we decided to be adventurous. Let’s wade through the lagoon we said, it’ll be fun!

Marco Island, Tigertail beach. Florida beaches

Crossing the lagoon initially wasn’t too difficult since the water was only about up to our mid calves. The bottom of the lagoon was muddy and the water was murky, but we did it.

This is Big Papi’s are we there yet face?!

Marco Island, Tigertail beach. Tigertail lagoon

After crossing the lagoon and then walking down another long, winding path, I was expecting to arrive to a breathtaking, wide expanse of beach. Wrong again!

We arrived and there was only about 7 feet of beach. Since it was after lunch and during the high season, it was CROWDED. Like wall to wall people miserable crowded.

We were so disappointed. And maybe a little upset too.

After talking to others it seemed that to get to the beautiful, wide expanse of beach you have to walk around the lagoon. Apparently the beach a mile south is several football fields wide. Ugh!

Things quickly went from bad to worse when we realized it was time to leave and it was high tide.

We now had to carry all of our belongings above our heads to keep them from getting wet.

This picture shows us crossing back over the lagoon at high tide where the water was only at our hips. Once we got to the middle of the lagoon it was chest high. Most of our stuff ended up getting soaked.

Marco Island, Tigertail beach. Tigertail lagoon

Not only that, but we had to put our two youngest kiddos on boogie boards to float them across the lagoon as the water was over their heads. It took us several trips back and forth to get all our belongings and we left exhausted.

Needless to say, this beach day felt like an epic fail, and we decided we are not huge fans of Tigertail beach.

That being said, I have heard Tigertail is amazing and perhaps if we came equipped with beach carts and a wagon and were mentally prepared to make the 20-25 minute walk around the lagoon we would try it. And maybe it would be worth it. Maybe.

To read more about Marco Island beaches that we DID enjoy check out this post!

**UPDATE: Hurricane Irma affected Tigertail Beach and apparently it is no longer safe to cross the lagoon. All visitors will now walk around the lagoon to get to the ocean.




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  1. Vince | 8th Feb 18

    I’d also heard about Tigertail Beach, but if we ever head to Marco Island, I think we’ll pass after reading this. Sounds like the Marriott Vacation Club beach area and South Beach or more to my family’s interests. Thanks for the insight and tips!

    • Lisa | 8th Feb 18

      Yes, hoping to give other families a fair warning before attempting to visit to Tigertail! We absolutely love the rest of Marco Island though. Thanks for stopping by Vince!

  2. Laurence | 8th Feb 18

    Oh my, I enjoyed your post, Sorry, I laughed a bit. Because I can feel the “epic fail” feeling, been there done that. I mean after planning to go to Tigertail, you end up wading through Lagoon. Nonetheless, I know you had a great time. And you can try it again next time.

    • Lisa | 8th Feb 18

      Ha! Yes! It is a story we can laugh about now, but we were so frustrated living it. Felt like a completely wasted day. Live and learn! 😉

  3. Anna | 8th Feb 18

    Oh my, what an experience! I bet it was an adventure for your kids even though it felt like a ton of work for you. 🙂

    • Lisa | 8th Feb 18

      Yes, it was definitely an adventure that we can all laugh about now! Good memory maker! 😉

  4. Amie | 9th Feb 18

    I have never really heard of Marco Island. If I ever visit, I will most likely forego a trip to Tigertail Beach.

    • Lisa | 9th Feb 18

      It’s a great little island in Florida and you’re smart to avoid Tigertail Beach, unless you love a good walk! 😉

  5. Exploring Curiously | 10th Feb 18

    What an experience! It’s tough when a tide is involved. When I am traveling and something unexpected like this happens, I remind myself that this is what makes good travel stories.

  6. Dan | 11th Feb 18

    I never heard of this island before but it seems like I can add another place on my bucketlist! Thank you for sharing

    • Lisa | 11th Feb 18

      It’s a great spot to visit! Thanks for stopping by Dan! 🙂

  7. Darla | 11th Feb 18

    That sounds like a frustrating day! I need to visit Marco Island someday. I heard it is a really great area of Florida!

    • Lisa | 11th Feb 18

      It is a beautiful area and perfect for spring break with the warm weather! Just skip Tigertail! 😉

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