Top Restaurants to Visit after a Kayak Tour in Marco Island
You did it! You pulled yourself away from the poolside to get out on the water and experience Southwest Florida for the amazing place that it is. The biologist guides of Rising Tide Explorers took you on a journey kayaking over mudflats and oyster beds filled with strange wildlife before winding through meandering mangroves tunnels in the backwaters of Marco Island. Maybe you got to experience the incredible sight of a thousand birds flying home to roost at sunset on the Sunset Bird Rookery Island tour, and upon exiting the tunnels and making it down the home stretch, one thought comes to mind… “What am I going to eat?!” Adventure works up quite the appetite and food never tastes better than after 3 hours of paddling in the sunshine.
Here is a list of our favorite places to grab some delicious local grub and ice cold refreshments after an adventure to remember- with choices in Marco Island, Isle of Capri (less than 2 miles from Capri Paddle Craft Park), and a taste of Old Florida in Goodland.
Best Restaurants in Marco Island
CJ’s on the Bay
Featuring gorgeous outdoor seating overlooking the bay with sunset views and daily happy hours from 4-7, this locally owned restaurant has something for everyone on their menu– fresh and locally caught seafood, a full bar with drink specials, and a lunch menu with sandwiches.
It is even a Blue Zone Certified Restaurant – featuring a variety of healthy plant based selections marked on the menu.
Frequent favorite seafood options include CJ’s home made crab cakes, rum butter mahi, scallops, or lobster tail. They offer a steak menu, creative salads including the classic Caesar, and more modern options like a Beet Salad with goat cheese, or a crunchy kale salad.
From the Blue Zone Menu, try the Charred Veggie Stack – portabella mushroom, zucchini, tomato, onion, jalapeño, red wine vinaigrette, roasted red pepper coulis, on a veggie-infused polenta cake- You can even add Beyond Burger!
CJ’s is located on N Collier Blvd, on Marco Island, less then a ten minute drive from the Shell Island Road or Capri Paddle Park, and it is open daily 11am to 10pm.
Newly opened in November 2020, The Smith House is serving breakfast and lunch, and will soon be adding dinner! Breakfast options include Benedicts, egg sandwiches, omelets, pancakes, waffles, and more. Lunch favorites include burgers, fish n’ chips, coconut shrimp, croissants with chicken or tuna salad, creative salads with chicken and mandarin orange, and much more. They even have a vegetarian section with wraps, sandwiches, and gluten free options.
Located at 210 Royal Palm Dr, and open 8am to 2pm
Marco Island Brewery
Do you love beer and want to catch the football game? Look no further than the Marco Island Brewery! They feature 3 In-House Brews and the largest bottle selection on Marco Island. Full Liquor Bar, over 35 Flat Screens, NFL Package, Florida State University/OSU Bar & supporting all Florida Colleges. Their menu features homemade pizzas, burgers, Mahi salad, salads, and bar favorites like potato wedges and firecracker shrimp.
Located at 1089 N Collier Blvd, and open 11:30 am to 12am daily.
For over 30 years, the Snook Inn has been a landmark on West side of Marco Island. Located right on the water, the Snook Inn is best known for the salad bar, but they also offer a full menu of fresh seafood, island entrees, marked Gluten Free items, a vegan Beyond Burger, refreshing frozen drinks and live entertainment 7 day a week from their famed palm thatched Chickee Hut. Grab a seat by the water and enjoy your frozen concoction as you watch dolphin and other marine life from the shade of the Chickee. If you’ve just got done landing a big one on a kayak fishing tour, bring your freshly caught filets to be prepared by their kitchen with all the trimmings!
Located at 1215 Bald Eagle Drive, open 11 am to 10 pm daily.
The Summer Day Café and Market
Rated the #1 option for veggie food on Marco Island! The Summer Day Café has been family owned for 15 years! Home made soups, smoothies, juices, salad bar, acai bowls, and a full sandwich menu with something for everyone – chicken Caesar, chicken pesto, tuna salad, Waldorf chicken salad, veggie sandwich, and tons of options for breads.
Located on Marco Island in the Marco Town Center Mall, the Summer Day Café is open Monday- Friday 9-6, and Saturdays 10-4 and has outdoor seating.
Lee Be Fish Co.
If fresh seafood is what you are after, Lee Be Fish Co. is the place to go! With two fishing boats running 70 to 120 miles offshore on a regular basis, you can’t get much fresher. Buy fresh grouper, snapper, and shrimp to cook at home or take a look at their menu and indulge in one of their freshly cooked fish sandwiches, baskets, platters, or the famous FISH TACO! They even have a vegetarian taco, and a veggie platter. Lee Bee is a common lunch spot for our biologist guides after a morning of kayaking adventures. Watch the cooks filet the fish for your taco just before tossing it on the grill, adding just the right amount of spices, and sliding it across the counter to satisfy an adventurer’s appetite!
Located at 350 Royal Palm Drive Marco Island Florida, open 11 am to 8:30 pm daily, cash only.
Family owned and operated since 1986, Kretch’s Restaurant is best known for their famous fish strudel, they also offer fresh seafood, prime meats, and BBQ ribs, and freshly baked bread. They have a bar with happy hours daily and sports on TV. Some favorites from the menu include – crab stuffed mushroom caps, baby spinach salad, fresh mahi sandwich, and more.
Located at 527 Bald Eagle Dr, and open Monday thru Friday lunch 11 am to 2 pm, and dinner 4 to 9, Saturday and Sunday dinner only, 5 to 9.
2Shea’s Salty Dog
The Salty Dog is a local favorite sports bar with TVs, bar, and food. If you want a fun and relaxing place to hang out and watch the game, enjoy a drink and some fish tacos, this is the place for you. The dinner menu also features a collection of salads, burgers and sandwiches, fish baskets, lobster ravioli, and other local classics.
Located at 599 S Collier Blvd, and open 11am to 2am daily.
There are several restaurants right down the street from the Capri Paddlecraft Park where the Rising Tide Explorers Mangroves and Mudflats Kayak Tour launches- Just take a right out of the park and go less than two miles!
Island Gypsy Café
After your adventure with Rising Tide Explorers, you’ll surely want to reward yourself by kicking back and enjoying the island life. Find a seat on the water right down the street from where you just returned from your adventure and soak in the island feel of the Island Gypsy Café. Reminiscent of old Southwest Florida and the Keys the coastal feel complements the wide array of refreshments, cocktails, and fresh food. Indulge in one of their island inspired ‘Tropical Impairments’ and chow down on their light appetizers and satisfying entrees. Their creative and indulgent menu features fish tacos, lobster Reuben, and lobster and shrimp mac & cheese which are all the perfect rewards for getting out and exploring the estuaries of Southwest Florida.
Located at 292 Capri Blvd Naples, and open 11 am to 9 pm daily.
Family owned and operated since 1979, Pelican Bend knows how to do seafood the right way. After a day of kayaking, head over to their chickee hut to catch some shade, cool mist from the misting fans, and look through the unique license plates plastered all around the inside of the palm thatched roof. Look out onto the water at as you peruse their menu of fresh Florida seafood and be sure to try their delicious Coconut and Isle of Capri shrimp or one of their fresh fish sandwiches. Right around the corner from our favorite kayak launch site, it’s hard to beat after paddling the Mangrove Tunnels and Mudflats!
Located at 219 Capri Boulevard, Naples, open 11 am to 9 pm Tuesday to Sunday.
The Capri Fish House
Family owned and showcasing live music several days a week, the Capri Fish House serves lunch and dinner, with menus featuring seafood, steaks, burgers, pastas, and more. Or, you can also order homemade pizza from Uncle Micky’s Pizza Kitchen also located here. Enjoy their daily Happy Hour from 2:30 to 5:30 on their private beach!
Located at 203 Capri Blvd, Naples, open 11 am to 9:30 pm daily.
Loved by locals as “a drinking town with a fishing problem”
Crabby Lady Restaurant
The Crabby Lady Restaurant is a Local’s Favorite and the perfect when you are hungry after kayaking- as their homepage says “Hitting the water can leave you hungry. Our fresh seafood, laid-back atmosphere, and homemade pies are just waiting for you to dock. Before setting sail, we’re the only place open and ready to serve you breakfast. After a long day on the boat sit back and listen to some live music on Friday and Sunday afternoons. The perfect complement to a day out on the water is Joe’s crab balls, key lime pie, and good times. So even during the slow season, stop by and see us. We may be crabby, but we promise we don’t pinch.”
Their Lunch Menu features classic appetizers like home made crab dip, peel and eat shrimp, and calamari, and lunch entrees such as shrimp or scallop baskets, fresh catch, and even a veggie burger! The Dinner Menu takes dining to another level, with dishes like chicken parmesan, a vegetarian fettuccini special, steaks, catch of the day, scallops, and shrimp. Of course, home made Key Lime Pie is always an option!
Enjoy the outside waterfront dining Tuesday to Saturday 11am to 8pm, Sunday 11am to 6pm, on Bayshore Way in Goodland.
Little Bar – “The Little Restaurant That Could”
The TripAdvisor #1 restaurant in Goodland (on Marco Island), the Little Bar Restaurant will not disappoint! A menu featuring fresh local seafood and steaks, lunch and dinner specials, happy hour from 3-6, live entertainment featuring the best bands you have never heard of in an intimate venue, and waterfront dining. The Little Bar is well known for their eccentric and eclectic interior decorations, including walls covered in stuff collected from across the country
Little Bar is beloved by locals for their annual Spammy Jammy party. The best way to celebrate the last day of Spring, and get ready for the upcoming hurricane season, locals wears pajamas and make sculptures out of spam!
Open Monday thru Saturday, 11:30am to 10pm. Located on Harbor Pl N, in Goodland.
Stan’s Idle Hour
A quintessential park of Southwest Florida’s history, Stan’s Idle Hour has been rocking the house for over 47 years, especially on their Sunday night block parties! Located on Goodland, an island community proudly known as a drinking town with fishing problem just East of Marco Island, Stan’s welcomes all visitors to Goodland with its colorful building just as you drive onto the island. With live music, and menu of local favorites including your choice of frog legs, gator nuggets, or freshly caught seafood and the infamous Buzzard Punch, Stan’s is a great place to kick back and enjoy the island life. And be sure not to miss the annual Mullet Festival where you’ll witness the Buzzard Lope and the election of the new Buzzard Queen! Don’t take her parking spot!
Located at 221 Goodland Dr, Goodland, and open 11 am to 7 pm on weekends- Friday thru Sunday.
Kirk Fish Company
Looking for fresh locally caught seafood to take home and cook? Look no further than Kirk Fish Company!
The Kirk Family is a 5th generation Florida fishing family with deep seated ties to the Southwest Florida community. Their goal is to keep the commercial fishermen alive and provide the public with only the freshest local seafood. No farm- raised, no imports (except the killer Salmon and Dry-pac sea scallops). They are home to several commercial boats that supply their retail market with the daily catch. Their main catch is Stone Crabs, which they catch, cook, and crack for you! You’ll also find fresh Grouper, Snapper, Drum, Sheepshead, Mullet, live Blue Crabs, Gulf Pink Shrimp and a variety of other local delicacies.
Located in Goodland with a new and improved Kirk Fish market. They are Fresh from Florida and HACCP certified!
Open Monday to Saturday, 10 to 5. Conveniently located near the Little Bar and the Crabby Lady!
Get out and explore the mudflats and winding mangrove tunnels of the estuary with the only biologist guides in the region!
For more information on how to get out and explore the estuaries of Naples and Marco Island on a biologist guided kayak tour with Rising Tide Explorers, visit www.RisingTideFL.com for more information or to book online. Call (239)734-3231 to reserve via phone.