Florida : Safety by City
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Marco Island, Florida, is a stunning spot on The Paradise Coast nestled in the middle of the Ten Thousand Islands of Florida.
Here you have Naples to the north and the large span of the Everglades to the east.
This trip comes with so many choices you can contemplate while lying on a white sandy beach with waves lapping at your feet.
You’ll be surprised to find out this is where Hurricane Irma made one of seven landfalls in 2017.
You hardly see any remnants of the damage.
Despite the strong Category 3 storm, with winds of 115 mph, the damage was much less severe than expected.
A symbol of hope came from a lone eagle’s nest that weathered the storm unscathed.
“For me, this is a huge sign of hope, unity, and strength,” Marco Island resident Lynn Roscioli said.
“That’s why this majestic bird represents our country and this island.”
The island has rebuilt and restored the peaceful vibe of this enchanted area.
Nearly 1.5 million visitors come here every year.
Some fall in love and make a permanent move to live on beach time.
Warnings & Dangers in Marco Island
OVERALL RISK: LOW
The crime numbers here are extremely low, and that's before you even consider the tourism numbers into the equation. It's a very low overall risk, aside from when a hurricane is approaching.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: LOW
Marco Island doesn't have the traditional public transportation of buses, but it does have cab services and ride shares, both of which are regulated by the county. It's safe to hop on a ride. Biking is also encouraged as the island is just 25 square miles. There are also some very walkable parts of town, so bring sturdy shoes. All that said, it's a low risk.
PICKPOCKETS RISK: LOW
There were four pickpocket reports in 2020, and that's out of more than a million visitors. You have a pretty low risk of being a victim, but don't create a crime of opportunity by leaving your bag lying around or showing off large amounts of cash.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM
Hurricanes, tropical storms, and thunderstorms are the biggest risks here. With any Florida city, we're going to call it a medium risk, because storms can be intense. Especially coming off the damage done by Hurricane Irma in 2017, it's important to be aware of tropical activity during hurricane season, which runs from June through November but heats up in August and September.
MUGGING RISK: LOW
There was one robbery in Marco Island in 2020, and in the previous 10 years, there haven't been more than two robberies in a given year. There's an extremely low risk.
TERRORISM RISK: LOW
There's a low risk of a terror attack here. There are no hard targets nearby and, quite frankly, there would be more alligators killed than people. It's just too much of a natural area for any terror group to think this was a prime target.
SCAMS RISK: MEDIUM
There's a medium risk of scams here if you are booking a rental property. This is a trend across Florida beachfront cities. Here's how it works. A traveler finds a "great deal" online and wants to book it only to find out they have to wire cash ahead of time to "secure a great deal." They send the money and when they arrive the rental home either doesn't exist or is someone else's house. The traveler is out the money and has no place to stay. Several recent scams were posted on Craigslist. Always verify a renter is licensed by the city and insist on putting the deposit on your credit card so you can get the money back if it's a scam.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW
Women are safe here, there's a low risk. Use basic judgments about how much alcohol you drink or how much information you share with someone while you are visiting.
TAP WATER RISK: LOW
The tap water is safe and there's a low risk on average of drinking it or using it for bathing. If there is a boil water order that comes down, it's quickly communicated to the impacted area. This can happen after heavy rain or flooding.
Safest Places to Visit in Marco Island
A little fun fact to start — Marco Island is the only developed island in the chain of Ten Thousand Islands.
Turns out, there aren’t ten thousand islands.
There are several hundred.
Marco Island has more than 100 miles of waterways and six miles of beachfront, so there’s always a fun activity to do on or near the water.
Kayaking, standup paddleboarding (SUP), fishing, boating, and beachcombing are popular activities.
You can rent a boat, jump on a fishing charter, go on an interactive dolphin cruise, and ride through the Everglades on an airboat.
In the mood for pillaging and piracy?
Hope about the Black Pearl Pirate Ship for an interactive experience including water cannons and treasure hunts.
When you’ve had your share of outdoor activities, don’t miss the Marco Walk Plaza where you can shop and dine in style.
The Marco Island Historical Museum is a great way to see the history of the island dating back to ancient burial mounds and artifacts found in the area.
Restaurants are spread out on this island, and you’ve got everything from fresh seafood in beach casual attire to fancy steak and lobster dinners with elegant dress codes.
Places to Avoid in Marco Island
Marco Island has been rated the safest city in Florida for several years in a row.
There are no “bad parts” of the town.
There are some things you need to be aware of when visiting.
Not every beach on Marco Island is public.
There are two public beaches.
Tourists can go to South Marco Beach or Tigertail Beach.
All the other beach shorelines are private property or for Marco Island residents only.
The beaches are open from sunrise to sunset.
You can’t be on the beach at night.
There are many private clubs on Marco Island, and membership can set up back thousands of dollars.
Be sure to ask when booking a reservation for lunch or dinner if the club is private and ask if tourists are allowed to dine at the restaurants.
Even if you do get a reservation, you also need to ask about the dress code.
Most beaches in Florida are very casual and allow jean shorts, tank tops, and flip flops.
Marco Island is a little more upscale, so if you are dining at a nicer restaurant, follow the dress code listed on the website or call before you go to confirm.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Marco Island
- If you want to go fishing, you’ll need a Florida fishing license. There is a separate license for saltwater and freshwater fishing, so be sure to get the right one (or both) before you go. You can contact Florida Fish and Wildlife online to get licensed.
- You need to wear sunscreen every day and re-apply often. The sun here is intense. Even on cloudy days, the rays that cause sunburn come through the clouds and can cause skin damage.
- Don’t try to sneak onto a private beach if you aren’t staying at a specific resort. You’ll see all the beautiful lounge chairs with umbrellas and the resort atmosphere and it’s tempting. You don’t want the embarrassment of being kicked out. Enjoy the two public beaches.
- Bring some fancy clothes if you want to enjoy upscale dining. As we mentioned before, there are dress codes at many places on Marco Island. You won’t be let in if you aren’t dressed according to the standards. For men, it means collared shirts and Bermuda shorts, and for women, a nice dress or a pretty tunic with leggings. Generally, jeans are not allowed.
- Don’t feed the birds in the area. It’s so tempting because there are so many varieties and the birds are just stunning. I didn’t appreciate birding until I moved to Florida. I have a special affinity for the Roseate Spoonbill. Feeding the birds can make them sick, or attract so many other birds you’ll feel like you’re in an Alfred Hitchcock movie.
- Marco Island has a strict noise ordinance that goes into effect at 9:00 p.m. daily. Don’t have loud parties or blare music after this time or you’ll get a visit from the police. If you haven’t figured it out by now, this upscale community is pretty conservative.
- There’s a scam on Marco Island that primarily targets elderly Latino women, but I want to tell you about it no matter what age or ethnicity you are, just so you can be aware. Someone will approach you saying they have a winning lottery ticket, but can’t cash it because they are in the U.S. illegally. They ask you to give them the money in exchange for them giving you the winning ticket. The ticket is a fraud and you are out the money. Just avoid anyone who claims to have a winning lottery ticket.
- Sign up for Code Red Alerts through the Marco Island Police Department website. This will alert you to emergencies like approaching hurricanes, flooding, or other emergencies in the city.
- Parking is limited on Marco Island and residents are fed up with their streets being clogged with cars. There are strict No Parking Zones throughout the area. You can see a map of them on the police department’s website and there will be signs on the road. They take this seriously and you can get a $95 fine for parking in a restricted area.
- There’s also a problem on Marco Island with parking lot accidents. The top three reasons for crashes are failure to yield, not paying attention, and improperly backing up. Use extra caution when getting in and out of parking lots.
So... How Safe Is Marco Island Really?
This is an island so safe even that powerful Hurricane Irma didn’t want to do much damage to it.
But seriously, the island is safe.
The crime statistics are incredibly low and it’s the safest place you can visit in Florida.
Here’s how the chances of you being a victim break down:
- Violent Crime: 1 in 1050
- Robbery: 1 in 15,760 (not a typo)
- Aggravated Assault: 1 in 1432
- Theft: 1 in 210
This is a well-protected, upper-income community.
The neighbors are almost as diligent as the police when it comes to watching for a crime.
The real dangers come from the water and in the environment.
Check the beach flags to make sure it’s safe to swim that day.
Anything but a green flag means you should talk to a lifeguard about the dangers.
The sun can quickly burn your skin if you don’t wear sunscreen.
There are sharks in the water off Marco Island, but it’s been a while since a shark attack was reported here.
The last one I could find in my research was in 2015.
How Does Marco Island Compare?
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|La Paz (Bolivia)||52|
Visa requirements are taken care of at the airport or port of entry. You don't need any other ID to get onto Marco Island.
You'll use the U.S. Dollar here and everywhere in Florida. There's little reason to carry cash, and a credit card should suffice for your purchases. Credit cards also offer the best protection in case of identity theft.
You are rarely going to have a day here where the temperature gets below the 50s. Fall and spring bring the best weather, with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s. Summer gets very hot and humid with highs in the 90s and lows only getting to the mid-70s. The island gets 54 inches of rain a year, so always bring rain gear, especially in the summer.
Unless you have a private plane, you need to drive to Fort Myers for the closest commercial airport. That's about an hour away. Miami International Airport is two hours away along a stretch of road known as "Alligator Alley."
Marco Island is a beautiful getaway, but with airports being farther away and the unpredictable Florida weather, it's a great idea to get travel insurance.
Marco Island Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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