North America Beaches and Islands

Insiders Guide to Sanibel and Captiva Islands

For those of you who don’t know, Sanibel and Captiva Islands are located off the coast of Fort Myers, Florida, in the southwestern part of the state. They are one of the last vestiges of “old Florida” remaining with mom and pop restaurants and very few chains.

I grew up coming here for family vacations, I learned to swim here, and my best friend got married here.  I’ve seen all the changes, good and bad- but know where all the good stuff is too. This is basically a list of some of the best things on the two islands ?

I promise I won’t steer you wrong…

Best Breakfast:  Amy’s Over Easy Cafe on Sanibel.  Try the giant grilled homemade muffins with butter.  Hey, you can always run on the beach later right?

Best Lunch: Bubble Room on Captiva. Ok,  so they serve dinner too and some people would argue with me about which is better and I think everyone is right.  The atmosphere and decor are like nothing you have ever seen before, or will ever see again.  Memorabilia from decades ago, vibrant colors, and a running train set through restaurant just to name a few things….  The desserts are to die for, fish sandwiches are a must. Carolina moons app is my fave.

Bubble Room

Best Dinner: Doc Ford’s on Captiva Island. It’s owned by best selling author Randy Wayne White, and based on the lead in his books.  He has been known to hang out here and write since he doesn’t live that far away.  You can buy Doc Ford stuff and autographed copies of books too.  As far as the food-can’t go wrong here, everyone has a different favorite.  Bloody Mary’s and Oysters on the Half Shell are always a winner.  Shrimp and Grits are yummy too.

Best Key Lime Pie: Key Lime Pie Bistro on Captiva.  With its name, it better be good.  Also, the drinks are pretty stellar as well. It’s within walking distance to the beach and has live music. Get a drink and a slice to go and go watch the sunset at the beach by the Mucky Duck.

Most Instagrammable spot: Lands End Beach/ Point in South Seas Resort on Captiva. About an hour before sunset head out here, on foot only, for some gorgeous sunset photos pretty much at every angle.

Best Place to see Manatees: South Seas Resort Marina on Captiva.  There are always one or two manatees hanging out in the marina, pretty close to the docks.  They are used to humans wandering around, photographing, etc.  Remember touching, feeding, harassing, swimming with them, etc is illegal.  They are pretty awesome though, and if you are lucky there will be a baby with them.

Best Fishing Guide: Jimmy Burnsed. Southwest Florida has some of the best saltwater sports fishing anywhere.  Whether you are interested in the year round big money tournaments or just a fun afternoon on the water, Jimmy can hook you up. Even if you just want to cruise around and see some dolphins, he can make that happen too. Check out my pics below.

Best Day Trip: Cabbage Key. About 30 minutes away by boat, but tons of fun.  Good restaurant, great bar (stiff drinks), started the tradition of leaving a dollar on the wall with your name on it.  The restaurant is now covered in money, and all the money that falls off gets donated to charity. Be prepared to wait, its always popular.

Best Shopping: Shops at Periwinkle on Sanibel.  Lots of cute boutiques, restaurants, and even a spa if you are beached out.

Best Place to Stay: South Seas Resort on Captiva.  No where else is even close.

If You’re Feeling Adventurous: Check out YOLO Watersports on Captiva by the Mucky Duck.  The have tons of cool options, a cute shop, and my personal fave, parasailing with a birds eye view of the islands.


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