Like a bookend, Goodland too stays rooted to fishing, and many of the locals still make their living from the sea. It shows in the village’s funky waterfront restaurants: Stan’s Idle Hour, Little Bar Restaurant, and Olde Marco Lodge Crab House. Most times you’ll hear live music dockside. From here you can also catch an airboat ride into the labyrinthine Ten Thousand Islands.
Sandwiched between its more rough-and-humble extremes stretch Collier Boulevard’s gulf-front condo complexes, resorts, restaurants, bars, and strip malls. Two beach access points permit the public to cross into this world of luxuriously wide sands and manicured landscape.
Nature-lovers head off Collier Boulevard (named for Barron Collier, not Bill) to Tigertail Beach, where a protected lagoon attracts birds by the flock. Across the lagoon, Sand Dollar Spit is accessible by boat or a long walk south down Tigertail. Sand Dollar Spit’s north end is known for its wealth of seashells and fish.
Collier Boulevard’s South Beach access requires a bit of a walk from parking, but is easier to find. Many stop in next door at the Sunset Grille for a burger, cold beer, and view of beach or sports TV.
Other dining hot spots along Collier Boulevard include Verdi’s, with its new American fare, and Sale e Pepe, part of the Marco Beach Ocean Resort, with Tuscan-inspired cuisine.
Marco Beach Ocean Resort, with 98 rooms, is a smaller and more boutique style resort than the Marriott — a 727-room destination resort complete with a stand-alone spa, golfing, restaurants, watersports, a kids club, and upscale shops.
By day, resort guests walk or drive along the candy shops, clothing and jewelry stores, bookstore, day spas, and delis across the street. By night they hit the Marco Theatre for dinner and a movie in one spot or Captain Brien’s Seafood & Raw Bar for entertainment of a different sort in the Off the Hook Comedy Club.
Those looking for a wayback night out head to Goodland, however. Things again reach their peak of wacky in late June when Little Bar hosts Spammy Jammy — an offering of Spam creations and nighttime apparel to the hurricane gods.