Tigertail Beach – Marco Island, Florida - Atlas Obscura

Tigertail Beach

Wading through a small lagoon reveals a secret, wild stretch of pristine beach. 


There’s a secret sliver of Tigertail Beach that’s separated from the main section by a small lagoon. The quickest way to reach this untamed stretch of land requires wading through the salty pool, and the reward is well worth the effort.

When the tide is low, it’s possible to walk across the lagoon, backpack full of picnic gear raised overhead. Those who don’t want to trudge across the squelching, soggy muck blanketing the lagoon floor can also rent a kayak or paddleboard. At high tide, the water level can easily reach chest height.

Once on the other side of the lagoon, it feels as though you’ve stepped into a small slice of wilderness far removed from the beach umbrellas and sunbathers peppering the main part. The serene strip of milky sand is sprinkled with seashells rather than tourists. Dolphins playfully splash above the surf offshore, and waves of fiddler crabs scurry about the dirt near the lagoon’s edge.

The beach is also a fantastic birdwatching spot and is even part of the Florida Birding Trail. Shorebirds dominate the spit of sand year-round. Bald eagles, osprey, and pelicans can be seen plunging into the nearby water to hunt for fish. Migratory birds like to use the beach as a stopover point during their biannual journeys up and down the coast. This is also a great place to find sand dollars, just make sure that the animal inside is not alive.

Know Before You Go

The currents of the lagoon can be strong at both low and high tides. It's best to use caution when crossing them. It is possible to take a detour and reach the outer stretch of the beach without crossing through the lagoon. However, use caution if crossing as there are no public facilities on or close to the beach.

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