Captiva: Things to Do?

Old May 29th, 2004, 05:57 AM
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Captiva: Things to Do?

Driving from S.C. to vacation in Captiva the last week of June for 5 days. Staying in South Seas with wife and 2 sons(11 & 15). We have never been, and we would appreciate any suggestions on things to do. I know beaching/shelling there is great. But what's to do if the kids get bored with the beach? Any ideas will be much appreciated!

Also, I will be glad to help with "to do" information for anyone planning to visit Beaufort S.C. and the surrounding S.C sea islands!
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Old May 29th, 2004, 07:31 AM
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Well there isn't much on Captiva besides the resort and a few restaurants and shops. Make sure to visit the Bubble Room restaurant!
You can visit Sanibel or Fort Myers Beach. I think that if you travel to Sanibel there is more non-beach stuff to do.
Have fun!
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Old May 29th, 2004, 07:38 AM
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Ding Darling Nature Preserve--you can rent a couple of kayaks and paddle through the preserve. It's enjoyable for both kids and adults. I know there is a sailing school based at South Seas marina...not sure if they offer any day courses or sails, but if so, that would be fun as well.

Our daughter's in-laws live in Beaufort (Lady's Island really)--beautiful area there!!
 
Old May 29th, 2004, 07:49 AM
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There is a place on Captiva where you can rent kayaks (you'll see signs). This is a novice level kayak trip that anyone could do. You cross a narrow channel to a mangrove island and kayak through it in the canopied mosquito trench that was dug in the 50s. YOu will see lots of racoons and birds.

There is a lot of surf fishing at Captiva. You can rent poles or bring your own, someone will know where you can buy some bait. My son enjoyed this for awhile.

Consider going to Sanibel and renting bikes to ride around that island, which has some bike routes and lots of pine trees to keep you in the shade. Have a planned stop where you can eat lunch.

Make a day trip into Ft. Myers to visit the Edison & Ford homes (next to each other). See Edison's old laboratory and learn about the reclusive genius' odd sleeping habits.

The Bradenton planetarium will most likely have some events. I would guess the drive there is about 40 minutes.

If you're boys spend a lot of time with Gameboys, video games, and computers, then they will most likely be bored. I suggest you let them do that in the evenings so they won't ruin your trip.

Reading is a wonderful thing to do at the beach, and if you encounter the usual summer rains, you will be glad you have some good books. Get a puzzle to set up on a side table and work on intermittently. Games are good. If it isn't lightning outside, walks in Florida mild summer afternoon rains can be fun. But be very wary of even the slightest hint of lightning.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 07:59 AM
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OO is right on with her suggestion of canoeing or kayaking through Ding Darling. I'm a long time canoe-er and having done a lot of it, I really preferred the island off Captiva as it was easy, convenient, and a different environment from most canoe trips. It is a good one to do first if the boys have not kayaked. You can see how they like it.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 08:22 AM
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Wow, there will be so much to do, you won't know how to pack it all in!

Alot of the fun will be on Sanibel, but it's so close, it doesn't matter. Ding Darling has already been mentioned. When you cross the causeway onto Sanibel, look for the Chamber of Commerce on the right. Pull in there and you can get the current tide chart. (Plus coupons and other good stuff.) Try to go to Ding Darling at low tide - you will see the most birds and wildlife. Stop by San-Cap Preservation Foundation and check out the cool butterfly garden, go on a hike in their large plot of land -- you can climb their tower and last year in mid-May there was a huge osprey nest with babies in it - you could look right into it! The Shell Museum is supposed to be nice and has hands-on displays, but I haven't been myself. There's a wildlife rehabilitation center (CROW I believe) that your boys would probably like. I agree wholeheartedly that canoeing/kayaking from Tarpon Bay (right next to Ding Darling) is great. It's very easy, you can go through the mangrove forests, when we went last year, there were several young little blue herons (white turning to blue) sitting right there plucking the mangrove crabs off the mangroves. It was really cool! Make sure you do all the walks in Ding Darling, they are well worth it. We've never done the tram in Ding Darling, but I've heard it's good. Make sure you go to Bowman's Beach on Sanibel, the canal between the parking lot and the beach is full of birds and sometimes you'll see gators early in the morning and near dusk. You may want to go on a dolphin-watching cruise or a shell charter - they take you to Cayo Costa where it's basically deserted and lots of great shells - it's a fun boat ride. Definitely take the boys to the Bubble Room - it's fun and the "adult" food is actually quite good.

Well, that's my brain dump for right now. A great web site is http://www.sanibel-captiva.org/ Also, you may want to purchase the Neal's Sanibel and CAptiva book - it is truly great!
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Old May 29th, 2004, 10:48 AM
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I just got back from Sanibel Island, right next to Captiva, and my husband and I rented bikes and had a wonderful time...well paved, flat bike trails made for easy, scenic riding.
Have fun-I went to Sanibel and Captiva once...and never have stopped thinking about it since and remains my vacation of choice every year.
Happy and safe travels to you and your family!
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Old May 29th, 2004, 02:39 PM
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I meant to say, I almost did the kayak trip that Tandoori Girl mentioned - the Sanibel Captiva Foundation was holding one there and they were going to point out birds, so I signed up. But it did seem like you rent them there anytime you wanted. (The trail takes you to Buck Key, is that right?) Anyway, unfortunately it was too windy that day, so I didn't get to go. But I definitely want to do it, I had heard good things about it.

My parents drove down from Bradenton to see us when we came down to Sanibel, they said it was almost 2 hours. But they live right near Anna Maria Island which definitely adds time. But I'm not sure if it would be as quick as 40 minutes, I think it's almost 35 minutes to get to the interstate from Sanibel. But I'm not 100% positive.

Of course, now that we are moving to Tampa, I'll have a better idea since we'll get to go more than once a year. Yeah!
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Old May 29th, 2004, 03:30 PM
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birder, you're right about it being a longer trip. Getting from the interstate to Captiva is probably a half hour itself. I've driven Ft. Myers from Tampa in an hour and fifteen minutes but I forgot about that long leg.

birder, where are you moving to in Tampa?
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Old May 29th, 2004, 03:32 PM
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Silly me. I recall now you're moving to Oldsmar. I guess you know the history of the area, its' Oldsmobile connection. I recall there are streets named after old-time movie stars there. Isn't that right?
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Old May 29th, 2004, 05:49 PM
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I did know that it was named after R.E. Olds, the founder of Oldsmobile - but not that the streets were named after movie stars! I'll have to look it up and see. The house we are buying is 3 lots from the R.E. Olds Park right on Tampa Bay. I'm so excited! We can't wait to visit both Sanibel/Captiva and the Everglades from there. I'm also interested in exploring the natural areas around Tampa. I've been buying books up like crazy on half.com and ebay, etc. We have 2 dogs and I just bought the Dog Lover's Companion to Florida. Hey, maybe I'll have to make a post on that, to see what tips people have for having fun with dogs in Fl...
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Old May 29th, 2004, 06:19 PM
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You can rent fishing poles at South Seas and fish off the docks or at the point. We didn't fish, but one day we took a walk to the point and there were several people fishing and 3 fishing boats just off shore. What was really neat is that we saw lots of dolphins while the fishing boats were there ... many jumping out of the water. When the boats left, we didn't see as many.
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Old May 29th, 2004, 08:37 PM
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Oldsmar was platted eons ago and I think I'm not dreaming -- I remember that the streets were named after movie stars. But then for some reason, it never took off so for years there were just these streets with no homes.

You will be near Upper Tampa Bay Park. It is a great place to boat and I'm sure you could canoe (if you have your own), there are zillions of birds. And there's a park in Safety Harbor on the waterfront, darned if I can remember the name.

Welcome to Tampa!
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Old May 30th, 2004, 05:03 AM
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TG...We had our company picnic yesterday at Upper Tampa Bay Park and believe it or not, I was thinking of you, and trying to figure out a way to tell you about the park if you didn't already know of it. I'd taken a walk through the trails and came across the canoe launch--floating dock and all. It is a gorgeous waterway, and knowing that you love to canoe, I wondered if you knew of its existence.

I'd been up there years ago but they've done a lot with it since, and either I missed the canoe launch before, or it hadn't yet been built. What a peaceful, beautiful, spot. Have you canoed there and if so, how far can you go? It was hard to tell how extensive it was from the dock as the water soon winds off into the mangroves. I'd love to go back with a kayak.

Apologies to lowman1959 for veering off topic here...
 
Old May 30th, 2004, 05:51 AM
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Do try to take in a cruise to Cabbage Key to have a cheeseburger. Very nice trip. They board right where you are staying at South Seas. WWW.Captivacruises.com. Very inexpensive and a lot of fun. You will see dolphins on most every cruise and the narrators give a lot of history of the area. Do take bug spray if you go on one of those kayak/canoe trips in June. It will be very hot and muggy, and you will definitely need the bug spray. There is also a shelling cruise to one of the islands, but you do have to pack a lunch. Two other places you boys might enjoy eating are CheBurger and Lazy Flamingo on Sanibel. There are 2 Lazy Flamingo restaurants and we prefer the larger one on Sanibel with a more extensive menu, but the one on the border of San/Cap has more history and JFK Jr was said to have eaten there. There is plenty to do and we absolutely love the area.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 06:48 AM
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Thanks to all posters! Great information that we will certainly use!

Two specific questions: (a) should we bring snorkeling gear for Captiva waters? (b) how about a trip down to the everglades - would it be worth the drive (& heat)?

Note to OliveOyl: We live on Ladys Island!
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Old May 30th, 2004, 08:16 AM
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As long as you are driving, why not just throw the gear in the car so you'll have it if you want it. There isn't much to look at underwater in that area. It's sandy, no reefs, but your mask will help you find shells that have yet to make it to shore, giving you a little edge over other shellers, and kids always seem to enjoy snorkelling whether or not there is much to look at. If you were flying instead and lugging it all around, I wouldn't think it'd be worth the effort.

Your area is so pretty...her in-laws built on a marsh lot with an elaborate dock system...we are tres green with envy! They don't have deep water, but it's perfect for canoes and kayaks and they are happy to be "home" again having grown up there. We have poked around a bit there too with an eye to possibly buying. Who knows. We sure missed the golden window of opportunity though. It's now been "found" in a big way.
 
Old May 30th, 2004, 09:01 AM
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Beaufort is gorgeous, lowman. You are lucky to be there. The town itself has such an interesting history.

As OO says, do bring your snorkel gear to Captiva. If all the little sand dollars are washing ashore, which happens seasonally, you'll be the envy of the beach, finding them first in the surf. Promise me you'll save only a few and let the others nestle in the sand so they can regenerate.

OO, I was there when Upper Tampa Bay opened, 1985 I believe. Since then I've only entered on the bayside in a very slow-moving shallow-draft boat. It's a bit confusing to go back in there that way but they probably have some navigation maps. I was with someone who knew where to go. And no, I haven't canoed back in there. I don't own a canoe, guess I'm too much of a weenie. I prefer to let the strong guys put me in, then pluck me out at the end (I get my workout at the Y).

So sweet you were thinking about me! I hope it wasn't because the heat had affected your brain. That must have been a hot one.
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Old Jun 11th, 2004, 01:29 PM
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Try going to Corkscrew swamp. It is a preserved natural area owned by the Audubon society and it is really incredible. There are the last full size Cypress trees in Florida. It also has an area that is exactly like the jungles in a Tarzan movie, meadows, swamp flowers and wildlife of every sort including deer and bears. There is a boardwalk that takes you through the entire very large park. It is about 40 minutes inland from Sanibel.
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Old Jun 13th, 2004, 01:52 PM
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we intend to take the keywest ferry from fort myers day trip looks great for a taste of the keys.
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