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Help?- St.Petersburg, Ft.Meyers or Ft. Lauderdale?

Help?- St.Petersburg, Ft.Meyers or Ft. Lauderdale?

Jul 30th, 2004, 06:53 PM
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Help?- St.Petersburg, Ft.Meyers or Ft. Lauderdale?

I need your expertise? Which would you choose between the three- St.Petersburg/Clearwater, Ft.Meyers or Ft.Lauderdale as a vacation destination for DH & I (no kids). Looking for someplace nice and romantic on the beach with good restaurants, entertainment and shopping. Any suggestions? What is the difference between the 3? Pros and cons?

travelin9 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 06:35 AM
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travelin9 is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 06:44 AM
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My personal choice of those areas would be Fort Lauderdale, with Clearwater/St.Pete second. The Fort Myers area has never really appealed to me. Fort Lauderdale in my opinion offers the most in the way of dining and nightlife and offers the largest beach area. On the beach hotels are pretty much limited to either the Marriott Harbor Beach http://www.marriottharborbeach.com/ or Lago Mar http://www.lagomar.com
There are some located just across the A1A roadway from the beach.
The Fort Lauderdale area offers dining from fast food up to 5* and the nightlife on Las Olas Blvd., Beach Place and the Himmarshee district dowtown is great. Dining and nightlife in the other areas can't compare in my opinion. We visit Fort Lauderdale at least once a year and love it. Our favorite place to stay is at Lago Mar in an Executive Suite. While you didn't ask, I would say that you would need a car in any of the places to fully enjoy them. There is a Water Taxi in Fort Lauderdale that can get you many places, but not all. http://www.watertaxi.com/FortLauderdale/FLLHome.Asp Good Luck.
HarryR is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 06:59 AM
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This question gets asked fairly regularly. If you type ft lauderdale AND st peterburg in the text search above you'll find a number of previous threads. Here's one of the recent ones


I think the decision is somewhat based on your age, time of year traveling, whether you care about ocean vs gulf swimming, your budget, convenience to get there and finally, whether you want to avoid having to drive.

I mostly agree with Howard but can tell you a friend went to the Marriott and felt overwhelmed with kids there.

To muddy the waters a bit, I also like Delray Beach. There's a Marriott on the ocean there and you're right in the middle of a town with tons of restaurants. I also like Naples but you have to drive if you want to stay on the beach. None of the downtown hotels are on the beach.
mclaurie is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 06:21 PM
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Have you considered Sanibel Island? It seems to fit the bill pretty well. It's right next to Ft. Myers. It will not have as many shopping opportunities as the other places, but makes up for it in the romantic category (at least I think so!). There are recent threads that have debated the merits of Sanibel versus Ft. Lauderdale, so you should check those out, at the very least they will give you a better idea re: Ft. Lauderdale. I just moved to the St. Pete/Tampa area but had to fly back up to Virginia for 2 weeks so don't know enough about that area to give my opinion on it. But I know the St. Pete area does have a ton of shopping and entertainment, as well as nice beaches.
birder is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 04:12 AM
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I prefer the ocean so I suggest Ft. Lauderdale. I'd also suggest Lauderdale-by-the-Sea (LBTS) if you want to stay at a quite beachtown that has a grocery store and small mall on A1A within walking distance of most motels there. LBTS is a walking town and there are several restaurants in the area with a few having live entertainment on weekends.

Stephanie is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 06:39 AM
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Seems like the vote is for Ft.Lauderdale. The Marriott looks nice. Right on the ocean plus DH likes the ocean. Is Sanibel Island right on the ocean? Haven't heard much about St.Pete?
travelin9 is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 12:39 PM
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Sanibel is on the Gulf Coast, and it is right in the Gulf.

Rather than give up on St. Pete, you really should search the older threads - there's a ton of information in them. I know I've typed up a ton about Sanibel and I don't always have the energy to retype it.
birder is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 01:19 PM
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Divorced/Hispanic - Fort Lauderdale will be your scene for nightlife, more singles, and higher Hispanic population. Prices will be $$$$$

Fort Meyers Less of the above

St. Pete Less of the above

All have good restaurants, entertainment, shoppings but less of each as the list is populated above.

Of course you all can find the exceptions in each place.

Sanibel Island is for couples and families. Not the place to find anyone. Very quiet..it just happens to be my favorite because of this and the shelling and true wildlife.

St. Pete has beautiful wide beaches, lots of fun and not as wild as FL. Still has the nightlife/beach style.

Can't really speak too much of the nightlife though because I'm not into that scene.

florida_native is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 01:22 PM
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My bad, DH and I ( dear hubby and I ), I misread that.....Either go to Sanibel or go to St. Pete.

florida_native is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 01:28 PM
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Hey, just wanted to jump back in here. I'm a 48 yr old married woman. Sanibel is my all time favorite place to go.
If you are not looking for something "touristy" but more tropical, secluded etc. They have a few good restaurants ( not too many restaurants on the island ) and there is the other connecting island Captiva that is even more quiet. You cannot miss going there. It is off of the coast of Ft. Meyers. The third best shelling area in the western hemishere ( for real ). Go to The Bubble Room on Captiva Island. And I'll have to get back to you on the Sanibel ones because my memory has taken a vacation.

I will report back to ya.
florida_native is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 01:46 PM
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(Favorite Breakfast/Lunch)
The Island Cow
2163 Periwinkle Way
Sanibel Island, FL 33957
(239) 472-0606

533 Rum Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 395-1500

Portofino Restaurant
East At Sanibel Inn # G, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-0494

Traders Store & Cafe - Cafe & Reservations
Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-7242

Viva 15050 Captiva Dr - Take Out
15050 Captiva Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 395-0089

Lazy Flamingo
6520 Pine Avenue, Sanibel, FL 33957
(941) 472-5353

RC Otters Island Eats
11506 Andy Rosse Lane, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 395-1142

Mad Hatter Restaurant
6460 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-0033

Dolce Vita Restaurant
Po Box 371, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-5555

Island House Restaurant
Po Box 167, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-8311

Johnny's Pizza
2496 Palm Ridge Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-3010

Twilight Cafe
751 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-8818

Jean Paul's French Corner
708 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-1493

(Favorite Dinner)
Timbers Restaurant & Fish Market
707 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-3128

Sanibel Grill
703 Tarpon Bay Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-4453

(Favorite Menu/Portions)
Hungry Heron Eatery Inc
2330 Palm Ridge Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 395-2300

Seafood Factory
2499 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-2323

Cheeburger Cheeburger Restaurants Inc
2413 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-6111

Green House Grill
2407 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-6882

Perwinkley Place Bistro Inc
2075 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-2525

Sanibel Cafe
2007 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-5323

Pippin's Restaurant
1975 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 395-2255

LA Vigna Italian Restaurant & Grill
1625 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-5453

Schnapper's Hots Inc
1528 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-8686

Mct's Shrimphouse & Tavern
1523 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-3161

Riviera Restaurant
2761 West Gulf Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957
(941) 472-1141

Sanibel Steakhouse
1473 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-5700

Temptations Fish Market
1473 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957
(239) 472-1967

949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel, FL 33957

(Favorite Dessert)

florida_native is offline  
Aug 1st, 2004, 02:20 PM
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Flrida native: I disagree wtih you about FLL having "divorced/Hispanic singles scene" (whatever that is). In fact, I don't know where you get your statistics.... I think you need to do a demographic profile. There is little to no shopping, on Sanibel IMO. FLL has easy access to b-ball, football, basketball, hockey and concert venues. FLL has excellent restaurants too. Ft Myers beach is okay...not upscale at all, and there are few decent restaurants IMO or shopping and no entertainment at all. Naples is very nice and tres chic...maybe you could think about that too.
Judyrem is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 01:56 PM
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It doesn't matter as to the divorced/hispanic population because that is not what she was asking about. I had misread and had taken her "DH" as that instead of "Dear Hubby".

Sanibel has some shopping, not the best but there is an outlet place in Fort Meyers just as you leave Sanibel or before you get to the bridge. And Fort Meyers is a short drive from Sanibel. It has anything that Sanibel would not offer.

Sanibel is a lovely, quiet and romantic place and a place no one should miss!
florida_native is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 04:34 PM
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Thanks for the all the restaurants on Sanibel. Now how far is Sanibel Island from Ft.Myers airport? Isn't this where the lady got bitten by the alligator? Didn't some people mention wildlife on Sanibel Island? What type of wildlife are you referring too?
travelin9 is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2004, 07:18 PM
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I'd go to St. Pete Beach and get a place at the Don. It's very romantic, lovely, the beach is the best. There are wonderful seafood restaurants nearby, and downtown St. Pete has a lot going on. I'm not sure you'd find very much entertainment -- and what kind of entertainment do you like. All these places have restaurants and shopping but the entertainment element is very different at all three.

I believe in Sanibel the height of entertainment is the Sanibel stoop -- that's their name for bending for shells.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 06:03 AM
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travelin9 - You will find some great info if you search in this forum on Sanibel or St. Pete etc. You had asked about wildlife in Sanibel, here's something I posted a few months back:

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!
birder is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 06:05 AM
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Oops, I forgot to say, that I was going to recommend exactly what Tandoori Girl recommended - the Don Cesar in the St. Pete area - but I didn't only because I know of it only through this forum and I was hoping someone else would. I think there's a good mix of shopping, beaches, entertainment and of course the Don Cesar is world class.

TG - haven't seen your posts in a while - good to hear from you!!
birder is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 05:22 PM
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Is St.Pete more secluded city than Ft.Lauderdale? I should say, not as big? I remember seeing the Don Ceaser hotel on the travel channel before. Looks interesting. I would love to stay there. Does look costly too. For entertainment we would like jazz bands. Something along that lines.
travelin9 is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 07:33 PM
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The best jazz place in St. Pete just closed down, sadly. The Hampton House of Jazz. A lot of the old-timers played there. But you can still catch Buster (I've forgotten his last name) at the Club Detroit. Jazz is becoming a harder commodity to find in these parts.

St. Pete is an older city than Ft. Lauderdale. And it's going through a wonderful renaissance of its older buildings now with lots of renovatings and newer retro buildings going up. There is a lot to do in St. Pete, from museums to parks to beaches. And Tampa is a short ride across the bay. It has a vibrant and multicultural mix of people, art, food.

I've heard that you can find some great rates on the Don Cesar if you can catch some of the specials. But there are other lower priced places in the vicinity.

Birder, sorry to be so out of pocket. I've got a touch of workaholic. It seems there's no end in sight so be sure to set travelin9 on the right path in my behalf as I'll be only sporadically available for awhile. boohoo.
Tandoori_Girl is offline  

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