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View Full Version : Going to Sanibel Island and need advice


kidzluvwdw
05-10-2007, 01:01 PM
Hi all,

We are heading to WDW for 6 nights then heading to Sanibel Island for 3 nights - probably July 26th to July 29th. We need advice on where to stay, what to do, where to eat...Best beaches for shelling....We are DH, DW, DS, DD, and DMIL (80 and needs wheelchair for most activities).
Thanks for the help!

swilshire
05-10-2007, 05:29 PM
There is a very nice visitor center just as you come on the island. We always stop there for coupons. They'd be happy to answer any questions regarding handicapped access.

If I remember correctly, there is one beach with a boardwalk to make it more handicapped accessible. They may even have a beach wheelchair to loan.

All of the beaches have lots of shells. The beach at the end of Captiva is one of our favorites. All beaches charge for parking, but some have free spots if you have a handicapped placard or tag. The one at the Captiva beach is NOT one of those.

The Island Cow is our favorite restaurant. Good food, generous portions and reasonable prices.

Note that it will be HOT at that time of year. We went once at the end of June and said never again in the heat of the summer.

If you like thrift stores, there is one sponsored by a church on the right mid-island. We always find nifty things there.

Sheila

shortbun
05-10-2007, 06:48 PM
Look at the larger resorts for wheelchair access. Sundial, Tween Waters and South Seas on Captiva. It's a long way to go for 2 days. Why not check out Sarasota?

A Mickeyfan
05-10-2007, 06:49 PM
South Seas has just recently reopened since Charley hit. Everything is like brand new there!! That would be your best bet..

jncvh
05-10-2007, 07:02 PM
I'm a Captiva resident and Captiva has some of the best shelling around as less tourists come up here than Sanibel. The best public beach on Captiva is Blind Pass, park south of the bridge as parking is more readibly available than the north end. There isn't much public access on Captiva as many of the beaches are private. Another beach on Captiva is at the most northern end just past South Seas but parking is limited. Another nice beach that you must attend is by the Sanibel lighthouse. Nice walking area with a fishing pier and nature walk but not as many shells.

For restaurants I would pick Island Cow for dinner, especially when there is a live singer and Doc Ford's down on rabbit road. There are many restaurants to pick from and all are unique in their style.

For places to stay it varies on price. Captiva, Tween Waters and South Seas, remember South Seas did just re-open but is still very limited in their offerings and very expensive. On Sanibel I would check Sanibel Inn or any of the motels they own. Check SanibelInn.com and there will be links for all there motels.

Your best bet will be to check Traveladvisor.com and read reviews but take them with a grain of salt. SouthWest, FLA can be hot, there are bugs, sand get into your shorts :banana: , and the bay water can smell sometimes and I wouldn't trade it for the world.

If you are traveling up to Captiva, just as you pass the Bubble Room your will see a housing complex on the left called Sunset Captiva, wave and say hi :hippie:

swilshire
05-11-2007, 04:13 AM
There isn't much public access on Captiva as many of the beaches are private.

I thought all beaches in Florida were public.

Sheila

tkd lisa
05-11-2007, 06:47 AM
We've visited there a couple of times.

My mom really likes the Mucky Duck restaurant. It may actually be up on Captiva. I know it seemed like we drove a while to get to it. Typical beach front seafood restaurant, but the food was good.

Also, just off the island there was a nice family restaurant called the Sunshine Cafe. It's across from the outlets. They have really good early bird prices (as I recall they include a glass of wine with the meal).

And our favorite activity was the Segway tour we took. Check out Billy's Bikes website. I actually wrote a mini-trip report for it. I can look up the link if you're interested.

I can't give you any info on hotels. We took day trips.

Have a great time.

Miss Jasmine
05-11-2007, 07:58 AM
Yes the Mucky Duck is Captiva. Awesome place to have a drink and watch the sunset!

We stayed in Captiva and LOVED it. The Bubble Room is great (have a slice of the Orange cake!). The Key Lime Bistro is also very yummy (but can be a little $).

We stayed at the Tween Waters Inn. It was nice, but I think we are going to Jensen's on the Gulf the next time we go.

We drove through Sanibel, went to the pier and lighthouse, but REALLY loved Captiva.

jenwolgey
05-11-2007, 09:50 AM
I've been to Sanibel/Captiva 3 times now. I've stayed at Tween Waters on Captiva and Song of the Sea on Sanibel. Both were very nice. For a good family restaurant, I would recommend McT's on Sanibel. The food at Dolce Vita (also on Sanibel) is very good, a little pricey. Atmosphere there is great! On Caotiva, Mucky Duck was good, avoid RC Otter's at all costs-YUK! Don't miss the NASCRAB races at the Crow's Nest at Tween Waters if you're there on a Monday night. The food there is good, too.

Sanibel Captiva Conservation Center is nice, as is the Ding Darling Preserve. You can drive through Ding Darling and pull over when you see something of interest, which would be nice for your DMIL. Have fun-that's one of my favorite places!

kidzluvwdw
05-11-2007, 11:33 AM
I appreciate all the feedback! I knew I would get some excellent answers by posting here.
Thanks!!

tink~r~bell
05-11-2007, 11:48 AM
subscribing--we are also interested in going to Sanibel Island. I booked something for end of June at Sundial Resort. I am now having second thoughts because I've sinced visited the Tripadvisor spot and they gave it bad reviews. :confused3 So, now I'm really confused about what to do. Any suggestions? Also, they mentioned the red algae in the water??? Any suggestions are appreciated.

mamaminnie
05-11-2007, 02:45 PM
Is the Bubble Room still open? If it is don't miss it and save room for dessert!

Miss Jasmine
05-11-2007, 02:56 PM
Here is a Sanibel/Captiva message board: http://forum.bestofsanibelcaptiva.com/index.php

i3utterfli82
05-11-2007, 03:29 PM
Is the Bubble Room still open? If it is don't miss it and save room for dessert!

OMG my husband is always talking about the Bubble Room (I have never been) must be good! His parents live down there so I will have t check it out next time we are there (hopefully it is open)

Seahunt
05-11-2007, 09:48 PM
We stayed at South Seas Plantation in August one time, and it was so hot that we were always trying to find a cool place to enjoy outdoors - we hated to stay in the air conditioned villa the whole time! The ocean was so warm that it was like bathwater and if you tried to swim in the swimming pool you got so overheated that we would periodically get out and stand under the shower beside the pool just to feel a little cool (well, at least lukewarm) water :laughing:

This was years ago - I remember the Mucky Duck (Ploughmans Lunch) and eating the best fried clams of my life at Timmy's Nook (which I heard is no longer there :sad1: ).

You might look into Captiva Cruises (captivacruises.com) - we took a trip over to Useppa Island and that was really interesting. They also show now they offer shelling trips to secluded beaches, a sunset cruise, a dolphin watch cruise, etc.

They always say there are so many shells that everyone gets the "Sanibel Stoop" in your back from bending over to pick them all up :rotfl:

SunKat
05-11-2007, 10:11 PM
[QUOTE=swilshire;18603403]There is a very nice visitor center just as you come on the island. We always stop there for coupons. They'd be happy to answer any questions regarding handicapped access.

I agree, the visitors center is the first place to stop. On our last trip we started chatting with one of the women who works there and it turns out that she leaves Sanibel every summer and returns to NY where she literally lives around the corner from me. Small world!

We had breakfast at the Lighthouse Cafe on Sanibel and it was very good. We were able to bring home some great shells, but we should've arrived at the beach earlier in the day for a better selection.

A Mickeyfan
05-12-2007, 11:29 AM
I thought all beaches in Florida were public.

Sheila

No, they are not. Some are private to the resorts and some are private to the home owner.. actually a better way of saying it is.. the sand and water are private, but you cannot access them if they are backing up to someones home or resort.. did that make sense to you???

swilshire
05-12-2007, 03:18 PM
Is the Bubble Room still open? If it is don't miss it and save room for dessert!

It was open when we were there in December. We've still never managed to visit it. Maybe someday.

Sheila

MK Familystone
05-12-2007, 11:11 PM
Hi All!
We like the Country Inn and Suites at Sanibel Gateway Fort Myers, Both of All worlds : Suites, Free Breakfast, Main land shopping and Eateries, Quick access to Sanibel, and good room rates.
If you are flying into RSW stop at the first Perkins you see and pickup the local maps and coupon booklets on the tourist info stand in the front door enterance waiting area, not bad food either.

pirate: Beastys doesn't like Captain and Rum Desert! ARRRRRR!

BuzzLightYear3
05-13-2007, 01:48 PM
In addition to checking out some of the hotels/resorts mentioned, you might also check into renting a condo for a week. There are many "northerners" who own condos and houses on both Sanibel and Captiva and then rent them out when they aren't being used. Most are managed by the real estate agencies on Sanibel or you can find them on the Internet. Can be a very economical alternative and a more home-like setting!

jbthi
05-13-2007, 05:05 PM
We've been going to Sanibel/Captiva for 35 years, staying anywhere from a week to 3 months at a time.

All the beaches are public but the access to them is not. Once you get on the beach you can walk as far as you want.

We own timeshare at Hurricane House and South Seas Plantation and then we rent for the rest of the time. Our favorite location is West Gulf Drive. I find the shelling is best there.

Some of our favorite restaurants are Timbers, Matzaluna, Traders and the Sanibel Grille. I like Bubble Room for dessert but don't really care for their dinners. Key Lime Bistro and RC Otters are across from each other on Captiva and are owned by the same people. I used to love Key LIme Bistro but we weren't too happy with it the last couple of times. I like RC Otters. Both of them have outdoor seating and live music.

You might enjoy the trip to Useppa or Cabbage Key through Captiva Cruises. If you go in the summer there are coupons worth $25.00 or so if you buy two cruises. If you go in the winter, the coupon in the entertainment book is good any time.

I don't think I would like being a "day tripper". Beach parking is limited on Sanibel/Captiva.

Back to the restaurants, I forgot to mention the Greenflash. It is on Captiva, where the old Timmy's Nook was. It's one of my favorites.

Have fun!!

wannabePRINCESS
05-13-2007, 07:14 PM
Mucky Duck is yummy for lunch and dinner. GREAT sunsets here! (they have a beachcam). Lazy Flamingo was good for dinner too.
Bubble Room....mmmmm....they have the YUMMIEST cake.:love: make a quick stop to take some back to where you are staying for a late night snack....YUM!!
also The Mermaid Kitchen and Cake Factory on Sanibel has really good cake too. HUGE pieces!!
check out the chamber of commerce and visitor center's website. the sanibel message board site that someone posted is a WEALTH of information too.
I'll be on Sanibel the end of July and am counting the days!! :goodvibes one of my FAVORITE beaches anywhere!! the shells, the water, and the sand....ahhhhh...:cloud9:
Enjoy your stay!

GalDisney
05-13-2007, 09:21 PM
<<
<<I thought all beaches in Florida were public. >>
No such thing as a private beach, anywhere. No one owns the beach, like no one owns the ocean. So, yes all beaches everywhere are open to anyone.

moparop
05-14-2007, 08:09 AM
We went to Sanibel for our homeymoon (after a few days at Disney of course) and stayed at a friend's home. We loved it there!

Have the Carolina Moons at the Bubble Room... Yum-O!!!

kidzluvwdw
05-14-2007, 10:34 AM
We went to Sarasota for a day two years ago, and couldn't swim in the Gulf because of red tide. I'm a little concerned about red tide down at Sanibel. What are the odds of red tide for the end of July??

Kay1
05-14-2007, 11:57 AM
We've been going to Sanibel/Captiva for 35 years, staying anywhere from a week to 3 months at a time.

All the beaches are public but the access to them is not. Once you get on the beach you can walk as far as you want.

We own timeshare at Hurricane House and South Seas Plantation and then we rent for the rest of the time.

Have fun!!
I've been going to Sanibel for almost thirty years and the first place I stayed was the Hurricane House, though it looked nothing like it does today. I remember asking the owner to recommend a restaurant and she told us about a new place called the Bubble Room. Anyhow, we still go every June and we like Doc Ford's a lot because they have amazing cheese bread, clam chowder and black beans and rice. The fact that my husband is a big Randy Wayne White fan doesn't hurt. ;)

Kay1
05-14-2007, 11:58 AM
We went to Sarasota for a day two years ago, and couldn't swim in the Gulf because of red tide. I'm a little concerned about red tide down at Sanibel. What are the odds of red tide for the end of July??

50 - 50, I'm afraid.

jbthi
05-14-2007, 01:44 PM
Kay1,

I can't believe that in my earlier post I forgot to mention Doc Fords. It's my all time favorite. I'm a big fan of Randy Wayne White also.

wannabePRINCESS
05-15-2007, 05:09 PM
We went to Sarasota for a day two years ago, and couldn't swim in the Gulf because of red tide. I'm a little concerned about red tide down at Sanibel. What are the odds of red tide for the end of July??

last year we were there the week of 4th of July and there was a bit, but mostly south (Naples and Marco Island). the chances are about 50/50. Sanibel has been having a problem for awhile with red drift algae. the city of Sanibel web site http://www.mysanibel.com/ has information with daily updates.

oh! and Doc Fords! yea! I'm a Randy Wayne White fan too, and sometimes he does book signings there. and the MOJITOS ROCK!! :banana:

KristinU
05-16-2007, 11:40 AM
Just another vote for the Bubble Room! Mmmm - tasty and lots of fun! www.bubbleroomrestaurant.com

soarin'family
05-16-2007, 10:25 PM
don't miss the Bubble Bread at the Bubble Room!!

Also, we have stayed twice at Pointe Santo de Sanibel...a resort/condo community where people come back for vacation over and over again. We rented from an owner there. It really felt like a vacation. I do love Captiva for shelling....the pass between the two islands has a great shelling area too.

you will enjoy it on either island. there was also a fantastic fish place on sanibel...maybe it was called "shutters?"

once you cross the bridge you will be transported to a tropical island where you can relax and collect some fantastic shells!!

enjoy!

wannabePRINCESS
05-17-2007, 05:53 AM
there was also a fantastic fish place on sanibel...maybe it was called "shutters?"

once you cross the bridge you will be transported to a tropical island where you can relax and collect some fantastic shells!!

enjoy!

was it The Timbers? They have FANTASTIC seafood!

I like how you described being "transported to a tropical island"....ahhhh....Sanibel is so beautiful, and it is my FAVORITE beach here in the USA. It's like another world....and I am COUNTING the days until I'm BACK! :cool1:

Here's a link for restaurants on Sanibel. http://www.sanibel-vacation-home.com/sanibel_island_restaurants.htm :cloud9: I used to have a link with menus...I need to search for that.

and now I'm thinking about the Bubble Bread...YUM-O! :woohoo:

kidzluvwdw
05-21-2007, 09:56 AM
Thanks for all the help! We booked a room at the South Seas Resort and can't wait! Now the only problem is that the vacation is 2 months away!

soarin'family
05-21-2007, 09:33 PM
was it The Timbers? They have FANTASTIC seafood!

I like how you described being "transported to a tropical island"....ahhhh....Sanibel is so beautiful, and it is my FAVORITE beach here in the USA. It's like another world....and I am COUNTING the days until I'm BACK! :cool1:

Here's a link for restaurants on Sanibel. http://www.sanibel-vacation-home.com/sanibel_island_restaurants.htm :cloud9: I used to have a link with menus...I need to search for that.

and now I'm thinking about the Bubble Bread...YUM-O! :woohoo:

Yes...the Bubble Bread...and you HAVE to take photographs of the kids in Bubba's cage....my cousins took the same photo about 24 years ago when they went to the Bubble Room! I hope they still have that cage...it's a great photo op.

yes, it was Timbers for seafood! Maybe they also had memorable shutters??!:laughing: I remember they had these incredible ceiling fans too...and when we were building our home, we got the same kind of fan for our 2 story family room...it is a showstopper.

there is also a Cheeburger Cheeburger restaurant on Sanibel which is great for burgers...the kids loved it there.

enjoy your stay....we envy you!

amy

wannabePRINCESS
05-27-2007, 01:15 PM
Thanks for all the help! We booked a room at the South Seas Resort and can't wait! Now the only problem is that the vacation is 2 months away!

Hi kidzluvwdw! :wave2: I just found this online while researching MY trip in July and thought I would pass it on to you as they offer courtesy beach wheelchairs for DMIL at Lighthouse Beach on Sanibel. that is cool!:cool1:

http://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/do/moreinfo.php/ID=8605/detail=beach

the lighthouse beach is nice too. (well, ALL the beaches on the island are! :goodvibes )

ENJOY your visit!:banana:

Florida Princess
05-27-2007, 09:00 PM
Just noticed that South Seas Island Resort is advertising a room rate special with a resort credit starting May 28 thru Sept. 30 (plus 50% off golf greens fees).
You will love Captiva---been going there since 1986----great restaurants and beautiful beaches.
Red Tide is hard to predict-----never know when it will become a smelly problem!!! Thank goodness you are not here now--it is love bug season and they are really here in force!!!! :eek:
Enjoy your visit----