Any tourist who has bothered to venture outside his or her beach cabana may have had the occasion to discover Goodland, the hidden gem of Marco Island—by car, at least.
The casual tourist visit to Goodland might include the cultural phenomenon known as Sunday at Stan’s, where the rich and famous rub elbows with the not-so-rich and famous and have a heck of a time in the side lot of Stan’s Idle Hour, listening to country/rock music and enjoying some cold ones.
Others might continue around the bend to The Little Bar for seafood and live music in a bar that was shipped all the way from Chicago and is reputed to come from an establishment that Al Capone frequented.
But it’s unlikely that the preponderance of Marco Islanders—let along tourists—have ever discovered the fair village by sea.
To the uninitiated, ducking in and out of Goodland’s bays and skinny canals can be tricky—and can leave you high and dry on a sandbar or stuck in the muck.
But the raw beauty of Goodland makes those possible pitfalls well worth the risk.
Goodland has long been a charming fishing village, dotted with a collection of small, wooden houses that were moved—almost overnight—from the hilly estates area of Marco Island in 1949.
In recent years Goodland has also become an artist enclave, with perhaps a dozen talented residents drawing inspiration from their sub-tropical surroundings.
Enjoying Goodland at idle speed unfolds breathtaking panoramas of palm trees and puffy clouds, crab boats and crab traps, osprey and pelicans. And all at a pace that would have made Ernest Hemingway want to drop a line.