02/11/2014 11:46 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Finding Adventure (and Food) in Southern Florida

I'll send you a postcard from the Marco Island Marriott in sunny Florida, because that is where I will be taking my extended vacations. Seriously though, this small island is the largest barrier of Southwest Florida's Ten Thousand Islands, but more on that later. There is no shortage of white sand covering these expansive shores -- and trust me after gazing at the pearly shoreline and crystal-blue Ocean, you will be compelled to dive right in. Staying at the Marco Island Marriott, there is no shortage of Florida adventure mixed with everything you want out of a relaxing beach vacay.

Possibly one of the most memorable things I have ever done is take a wave-runner tour, weaving in and out of the Ten Thousand Islands. Zipping through mangrove forests and exploring the open sea -- you will experience Marco Island in a whole new light. And hey, I even got my Florida state boating license (not sure if I should be commanding a boat let alone a wave-runner, but you know, just in case). After actually doing an activity while on vacation I can only image how hungry you would be, which is why you should grab a bite at one of the many dining options at the resort. I personally like Kurrents (Marco Marriott's answer to "farm to table" cuisine).

The last place I thought I would ever thought I would find myself is on an airboat in the Everglades, well that happened (even have the pictures to prove it). When the airboat starts to pick up speed, while weaving through jungle-like mangrove forests a childish smile starts to take over and all other emotions become mute -- don't fight it, just embrace that you are actually having a good time in a place where an alligator can pop out at any moment. Ok, so it's not going to hurl itself onto the boat, but it is both nauseating and thrilling to be just feet away from these monstrous reptiles. Oh, and if you thought the gator sightings stop after you exit the boat, think again. A baby (and actually super adorable) gator is waiting for you to hold/pet it back at the dock. After that you will obviously be famished so, (I hate to say it) but why not try some gator? We stopped by a local dive bar/restaurant to try Southern Florida's version of "chicken of the sea swamp" and it's actually not half bad -- conveniently available frozen for all those recipes you've been meaning to try.

I finally figured out how beach people (yes, I am calling them beach people) have jars and jars of perfectly swirly sea-shells, the kinds that I didn't even think existed until a catamaran trip to one of the Ten Thousand Islands. This was the most relaxing part of the trip (for me) sitting/tanning and searching for seashells -- everything you want in life. I have a food recommendation for this part of the trip as well (I always do). Who doesn't at least crave a little slice of Key lime pie while vacationing in Florida? Well, Randy's Pie on a Stick anticipated my craving and solves many issues for the girl on the go who just wants a slice of Key lime pie. Collect your shells with one hand and enjoy a frozen treat in the other -- go-ahead you deserve it. After all, discovering islands and picking out your favorite shells (out of millions) can be exhausting.

The Marco Island Marriott creates fun vibes, thrilling adventure and quite memorable experiences. Take a mini-vacation from your desk to dream about shell hunting, exploring new islands and going on an Everglades adventure -- also Randy's Pie on a Stick. Now book your flight to The Marco Island Marriott and away you go.

Via: Trends on Trends

All images via Instagram: @emilyelysem