Best of the Best- Sanibel & Captiva
My family has been vacationing in the land of the mango sunsets my entire life. To me, the islands of Sanibel and Captiva are a true second home. There is a reason why artists such as Robert Rauschenberg have called the islands home- these subtropical barrier islands are gorgeous and the people are easy going and funky. Beautiful at all times of the year, I enjoy being on the islands most in the winter. It is less crowded, still fairly warm and a sense of calm pervades the area.
- Go to Captiva and watch the gorgeous sunset. Grab a drink at The Mucky Duck and gather with other admirers on the beach. Local lore has it that at the exact moment the sun dips below the horizon a bright green flash will appear. I have yet to see this but fully believe it to be true. Do let me know if you see the flash! Finish the night with a giant piece of cake from the oh so funky Bubble Room- they are giant and delicious.
- J. N. Ding Darling. Rent a bicycle and ride through this beautiful nature preserve, which is a part of the largest undeveloped mangrove forest in the country. Or, if you are a bit more adventurous, rent a kayak and float through the mangrove forest and out into the bay. You will see abundant wildlife such as snowy egrets, tree crabs, rosy spoonbills and dolphins.
- Eat at The Lazy Flamingo and Gramma Dot's. The Lazy Flamingo is a true south Florida dive and is fantastic! Be sure to try the conch chowder and steamer pot, yum! Gramma Dots is a charming restaurant located on Yachtsman Drive in the marina. Get a glass of lemonade and watch the boats go by- I suggest the soft shell crab sandwich and coconut shrimp.
- Hire a boat and captain or be your own captain, either way exploring the nearby by islands of Useppa, North Captiva and Cayo Costa are a must. All three are only accessible by boat and are uniquely different. For some of the best shelling in Florida, go to Cayo Costa.
- Visit the Sanibel Lighthouse, built in 1884 and the area surrounding declared a National Wildlife Preserve in 1950. Also, be sure to visit Bailey's Shell Museum for an interesting look back at the island's history.
Would you like my suggestions for places to stay on the island? Please just email me at email@example.com and I will be happy to help!
*Images from captivaislandflorida.com, fws.gov, irelandyachtsales.com, useppa.com, sanibelislandvideos.com