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InMiami Jun 11th, 2004 04:38 PM

Lodging in Sanibel or Captiva?
Can anyone recommend lodging in Sanibel or Captiva? We are a couple and are looking for something quiet, lots of nature. Thank you

Tandoori_Girl Jun 11th, 2004 05:20 PM

Tween Waters Inn in Captiva. I haven't stayed in SAnibel except in rental houses.

sludick Jun 11th, 2004 05:55 PM

Captiva would be my choice. And, there are some cute little B&B's there. Can't remember names, sorry..but you should be able to find them by doing a search. We stayed at Tween Waters Inn, and really liked that as well. But if you stay south of that, on Sanibel, you will be in a pretty developed tourist area, lots of traffic and stores.

LilMsFoodie Jun 12th, 2004 05:09 AM

T'ween Waters is a great choice for you. The beach is across the road and the resort backs the Roosevelt channel and Pine Island Sound, a naturalist's paradise. The restaurant Captiva House is outstanding.

The bed and breakfasts mentioned are on Andy Rosse Lane and operated for the most part by Captiva Island Inn. The Key Lime Bistro is part of this as is Latte Da (for coffee and ice cream). Andy Rosse Lane looks like some Disney nightmare to me any more and is not all that quiet, even in the summer, which is the best beach time and filled with families.

Check it out for yourself:

Tween Waters looks like some sort of throwback and the rooms will not be luxurious. This is a relaxing place, not a pampering place. It looks like they had added a day spa. Seems to be a requirement anymore.


Cher Jun 12th, 2004 05:35 AM

If you're thinking of staying on Captiva, you should also look into the South Seas Resort. We stayed there in April in the Beach Villas in a 1 bedroom unit and really liked it. It was right on the beach with a pool also next to our unit. (There are 18 pools scatter throughout the large spread out resort right on the tip of Captiva.) We also had a huge screened in lanai facing the ocean. South Seas does seem to get mixed reviews, mostly because some of the units are a bit dated. We asked for a newly renovated unit and we're very pleased with our accomodations. They were very nice and we would definitely return there.

Sanibel is also very nice and I would also stay there ... probably at Casa YBel ... very nice resort on the beach. Although Sanibel has more restaurants and shops than Captiva I would not characterize it as a really touristy type of town like some typical Florida beach towns. I think it has a lot of charm. Lots of trees all over the island. You won't find a fast food restaurant on either island. There are some bike paths around Sanibel that are also nice.

I love both Captiva and Sanibel. Captiva is a bit more lush and almost reminded me more of the Caribbean. I also found that there seemed to be more shells on Captiva's beach (therefore, more "crunchy" type sand than Sanibel), perhaps because Captiva's beach faces directly west and Sanibel's faces south. Oh, but the sunsets on Captiva ... breathtaking. We had a great view every night right out our lanai.

benj Jun 12th, 2004 05:40 AM

We stayed at Song of the Sea many years ago & loved it. Sanibel is a very relaxing place & the beach is excellent for shells.Just take bug repellant for the "no see-ums" that you might run into. Not a bad problem but it is nature.

LilMsFoodie Jun 12th, 2004 07:06 AM

A correction to a prior post:

Sanibel is the shelling destination because its beaches face south instead of west, like Captiva. Captiva has several areas good for shells, primarily at the Santiva bridge but the eastern end of Sanibel is shell heaven, particularly after a storm.

"A combination of fortunate geography and media exposure around the world make Sanibel Island practically synonymous with seashells. While other beaches may produce beautiful shells, none possess the mystique of the shells from Southwest Florida in general, and Sanibel Island in particular. Rave reviews of the island and its seashells have been published for decades, accounting for the unprecedentedworldwide awareness of the area as the "shelling Capital of North America."

With no offshore reefs to break the incoming water, the Gulf of Mexico's flat, sandy bottom creates a plane that allows seashells to reach land largely intact. Sanibel's fortunate east-west alignment allows it to "catch" the animals as they are pushed northward by prevailing winds and currents. Add this to the fact that the warm clear waters of the Gulf create an area where the mollusks creating the shells naturally flourish, and it's easy to see why they are plentiful....."

birder Jun 12th, 2004 01:56 PM

If you are looking for something small and not too fancy, you might want to try one of the small resorts on West Gulf Drive on Sanibel. One is the Blue Dolphin, another is Mitchell's Sand Castles (which recently was bought and the new owner has really done up the web site). West Gulf is the residential side of Sanibel, it's almost all homes, so the beach is not very crowded and everything is very quiet. Another few spots that I've heard very good things about are West Wind Inn and Shalimar, both on West Gulf Drive. They are probably a little more upscale than the first two I mentioned. I personally prefer to stay on Sanibel if only because they are so absolutely progressive on environmental issues - dark skies initiative so that baby sea turtles don't get confused on their way to the ocean, no fast food allowed (the Dairy Queen was already there and so it was grandfathered in), no buildings taller than a palm tree, the residents tax themselves quite a bit to buy up conservation land etc. It's not that Captiva is "anti-environmental" - not at all, it's just that Sanibel has really distinguished itself that way and I really love it and want to support it. The other thing I like about Sanibel is that it's so conducive to walking and biking, whereas Captiva's roads are so narrow and winding, walking/biking for any distance isn't recommended. However, there are all minor points around the edges - either island will be fantastic. One other thing: I've heard very bad things about both South Seas Resort and Sundial (on Sanibel) - mainly because people got stuck in lousy units, since they are owned individually, if someone hasn't cared for one well or hasn't updated it, it might not be worth the big bucks you'll be charged. Personally, I don't like big resorts. I would rather stay at someplace small with character than a big impersonal resort. Of course, if you have three young kids, you might like Sundial because they have a kids program and there will be lots of other kids there for them to play with!

Marianna Jun 12th, 2004 02:21 PM

Over many years of visiting Sanibel and Captiva, our favorite place for a restful vacation is Song of the Sea on Sanibel. However, we did not see the value in renting the units right on the water. We stayed in one once and were disappointed - not as nicely decorated or furnished as the other units nearer to the pool. We stayed many times at the South Seas and liked it also - much larger, lots of families - a different feel from Song of the Sea.

You will love the area - enjoy your vacation!

MSS Jun 13th, 2004 07:29 AM

We stayed at Song of the Sea a few years ago and although it was very nice (would stay again) our room was a little "tired" for the price. Bathroom was extremely small and carpet was showing signs of wear. Cute though and nice continental breakfast with lots of fruits, muffins, homemade breads, yogurt, etc., (no protein). The best part of this was there were few children and we mostly had the pool to ourselves daily, and also swam at 11p.m., and nothing was said to us. For the same price we also stayed at Sanibel Moorings, a condo very close to there with the most gorgeous view, immaculate grounds (had an avocado and lime tree right outside of our room), and a lighted screened in lanai with full ocean view and ceiling fan. The condo would take a page to describe, and had two full baths, one with walk in shower and mirrors everywhere. I can't say enough about this place, other than make sure you ask for an ocean view room and not the bay side. There were a lot of children here, but we only saw them at the pool (mine are mostly grown and don't usually travel with us, so we look for quieter places now), but will definitely stay here again. We also love nature and it is everywhere on these two islands, but you won't see the sunsets on Sanibel. We did go to Tween Waters for a piece of their Key Lime Pie, which is homemade and excellent, and it seemed a very original place, more like the old Captiva Era, guys were bringing their catch for the day in and cleaning the fish, can't speak for the rooms though. Also do recommend one of the short cruises to the outer islands out of South Seas if you like nature. We have been on most of them and they are very informative and educational. These two islands are abound with nature, and both very unique. Captiva is beautiful. Also recommended if you like to read, is "Sanibel and Captiva, a Guide to the Islands" by Mike and Julie Neal who live there and wrote a most informative book.

poet123 Jun 13th, 2004 01:49 PM

Where can I obtain a copy of the guide of sanibel/captiva?. We are from the UK and staying on captiva in july and i am sure it would be very useful, can anyone help?

LilMsFoodie Jun 13th, 2004 04:12 PM

Try Amazon UK first. I frequently order my Donna Leon books from them as they are not available in the states on Amazon.

If not here is the US Amazon link to the book which is excellent:

InMiami Jun 14th, 2004 02:44 PM

Thank you all for your fantastic suggestions. Now I am really excited about going! Question, has anyone stayed at the Island Inn? Tripadvisor gives it good marks. Also, how about any reasonable priced restaurants for dinner?

Candy210 Jun 15th, 2004 04:08 PM

Premier Properties. Also known as Pointe Santo de Sanibel.They are located on the beach at Sanibel
We just returned. We had a beachfront unit.Breathtaking! The Condos are rented by Premier Properties & other units are rented by individual owners.
The units facing the gulf on the ends are quieter than those around the pool area. Enjoy the gulf, pool, or hot tub.The fishing in the surf was unreal.I loved the sea shells. You can rent bikes at Billy's & have them delivered to the condo. Lots of bike trails on the island. Ding Darling is nearby(nature preserve).Lots of great restaurants & shops nearby. Have fun.

Avalon4 Jun 16th, 2004 06:17 PM

We stayed at Sanibel Moorings in April 2004 and I would highly recommmend it. It is quieter than larger resorts, has incredibly landscaped grounds ( which on Wed. you could tour with the gardener),beautiful beach and friendly staff. It's a convenient bike ride to many restaurants. My other recommendation would be the condos on Bowman's Beach- I think they are Blind Pass- the condos look old from the outside- and it's a hike to the beach, but we spent a day at Bowman's and the beach is spectacular. If you want isolation, I would stay at Blind Pass. Hope this helps.

MSS Jun 17th, 2004 08:30 AM

This is a direct link to purchase the book. However, since this one came out, they now have a more current version, although this one is very good.

LilMsFoodie Jun 18th, 2004 04:53 AM

best new Sanibel restaurant that is reasonably priced:

Doc Ford's Its on the corner of Rabbit Road. It is in a space that has been occupied by a comedy club and another restaurant but this time things have come together to make a very good restaurant.

Nice menu with lots of interesting entrees and appetizers. Nothing too innovative but everything was well prepared. Fish tacos were great with big chunks of grilled grouper.

Mojitos: the drink of the moment (good bye Cosmopolitans and dirty Martinis, you've been around too long) Their rum bar has 50 varieties. Perfect beach drink.

Best restaurant for a long time. Very laid back with a sports bar feel.

Named after Randy Wayne White's character Doc Ford. I believe he is an investor, he is very much a fixture in our local culture. LMF

jenny Jun 18th, 2004 04:48 PM

WE have been to Sanibel for many years and have rented a condo on Sanibel. Go to these websites : (rentals by owner) and for general info
Have fun !

chaz2316 Jun 18th, 2004 08:54 PM

For a good overview of places to stay go to

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