Marco or Sanibel Island? Difference?

Old Feb 24th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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Marco or Sanibel Island? Difference?

I want to split my time between the Keys and one of the above islands. Anyone have thoughts on which is better? I have two little kids but enjoy fine dining and a nice resort. Thanks!
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Old Feb 24th, 2006, 10:38 AM
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Lenlu:

I haven't been to Sanibel for about four years, but when we were there, the no-seeums (little black bugs) that came out at dusk were atrocious! I had big bite marks on my legs for weeks.

AND, on two different afternoons there was an alligator or crocodile (from the sanctuary at the end of the island, perhaps?) in the gulf water. I know, it sounds crazy. I'm a Florida girl, and had never seen it before. I thought that people were joking when they motioned for us to get out of the water. We stood on the shore and watched it for a long time. It headed toward the shore once, then back out into the gulf.

So before planning another trip to Sanibel, I'd ask someone about the bugs, and the alligators!
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Old Feb 24th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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Lenlu,

Have only been to Sanibel so I can not comment on Marco but I have heard nice things about it.

Our family absolutely loves Sanibel. We have been going their for the past 5 years. We too have two little ones and they can not wait to go back every year. We usually go in May or begining of June. We have never had a huge problem withthe no-seeums. Typically a little bug spray at dusk and we are good to go. It may depend on the time of year.

Yes, there are alligators on the island but from what I have heard there are alligators pretty much all over Florida. We were actually in Sanibel when there was an alligator in the gulf. From what I understand it was due to a draught, when that happens they do go into the gulf to get fish. Not sure if that is true but that is what we were told.

Any how...Great great restaurants on Sanibel and Captiva. All very kid friendly too. We always stay at Casa Ybel. You may want to check Sundial Beach Resort on Sanibel. That is more like your typical "resort" atmosphere.

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Old Feb 24th, 2006, 02:27 PM
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Just came back from Sanibel end of January. No bugs.

I would stay in Sanibel over Marco.
They have the Ding Darling refuge, bike trails, shelling, relaxed atmosphere. Excellent restaurants.
We stay at the Shell Island Beach club. Sanibel has the fine dining you are looking for, and resort atmosphere without the bars/paryting/bright lights. A wonderful family atmosphere. See if the Shell Island Beach club has availability. Run by Hilton time shares- perfect for a family- 2 bedroom with kitchen etc
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Old Feb 24th, 2006, 03:05 PM
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a good web site for marco , to see if there are attractions, etc there that might fit the bill for your kids (not knowing their ages) is
www.marco-island-florida.com

my kids spent over 18 yrs visiting gramma in marco and always loved it, tigertail beach and walking the 2plus mile stretch, the sandbar, shelling, etc but again, I don't know the ages - also nature trails, kayaking, shelling tours to other islands, but basically they just loved being on the beach -

also, it seems there were a few recent threads here on marco and sanibel, you might want to plug it into the search bar and see what people ended up deciding and why.
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Old Feb 26th, 2006, 05:45 AM
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The main difference between these islands is their attitude toward nature and living with it. Sanibel has prohibitions in place that do not allow: high rise construction (3 story limit), traffic lights (one intersection has a policeman directing traffic, otherwise nothing), no national chains of restaurants, etc ( the 7-11 and Dairy Queen are grandfathered having been there for over 30 years), no neon signs, no signs over 10' high. Sanibel has first right to buy land when it comes up for sale, they have the money to pay top rates. This slows development.

The beaches on Marco are lovely but there is no restriction on development so the result is a wall of high rise hotels and condos and massive development. Many prefer this. Sanibel is glad of it.

No see-ums are on most SW Florida beaches at dusk and sunrise. Wear long thin pants and shirt and you are ok.

Sanibel has taken steps with the alligator population. They really are no longer endangered and in some areas are a nuisance.

LMF
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Old Feb 26th, 2006, 01:37 PM
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A food article in today's NY Times gushes over alligator ribs. So maybe a resourceful tourist can find a way to take this delicacy back with them to more civilized locales.

Now if we could only SEE those no see-ums, maybe we could find a way to sell those too.
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 06:50 AM
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Sanibel, Sanibel, Sanibel.

Very kid friendly, even at finer restaurants(just go a bit earlier).

The beach is beautiful, and no high rises! Stay somewhere on Middle, or West Gulf if shelling is important to you, shells just seem bigger on that end.
But the East end is quiet, relaxing, and beautiful too.

Biking is also a big attraction on Sanibel. The trails are paved, and flat, and if your kids aren't too young-very manageable for them.

No-seeums:
Use bug spray in the mornings on the beach. If they are bothersome, stay off the beach at dawn, and dusk. If there is a breeze they aren't as bad.

And for heavens sake, the alligators aren't roaming the sidewalks eating small children!
Use your head, and don't let them walk unattended near ponds etc. and everyone will be fine.

At Ding Darling Preserve(a natural habitat for all kinds of wildlife, including alligators) you can bike the trails, and as the one guide added with a grin, "We haven't lost anyone yet!"
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Old Feb 28th, 2006, 10:38 AM
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Hello All,
These are all excellent and helpful posts! I REALLY appreciate everyone's insight...I have little time to research this trip! Thank you!
lenlu is offline  
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