Sanibel Island-is it for me?

Old Apr 6th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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Sanibel Island-is it for me?

We are looking for a dog-friendly place to go for a few days. I am interested in seeing Sanibel Island, because I like shelling. However, I am concerned that it will be too commercialized for my tastes, based on what I've read. Here are some beach areas I liked: Ocracoke Island, NC, Carmel Beach, CA, Hapuna Prince Beach, Big Island, HI. Here are some beach areas I don't like, not because of the beauty of the beaches, but because they feel like a giant strip mall: Virginia Beach,VA, Pensacola Beach, FL. Any comments on Sanibel? We tried Siesta Key, but couldn't find anywhere to keep our dog, and since we're driving, we want to take him, so we thought we might give Sanibel a try. Thanks for any comments you might have.
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Old Apr 6th, 2003, 01:52 PM
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Jenny,
If you did enjoy Siesta Key, here is a pet friendly place:
http://www.turtlebeachresort.com/
I think you will like Sanibel judging from your post, but also look into Captiva Island, even more laid back, but you have to drive through Sanibel to get there.
Whatever you choose, have a great trip!
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Old Apr 6th, 2003, 04:25 PM
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Sanibel is a beautiful place - sounds like you would like it. There are atleast 2 places that allow pets although their names escape at the time.

There are no McDonalds etc on either Sanibel or Captiva. If you stay on Sanibel its a short drive (15 minutes tops during the non-season) to get to Captiva. They have a rule that no building is to be taller than the tallest tree. Appeared to be true to me.

Its very quiet and the shells there don't get any better. Can't speak for Siesta Key - but love Sanibel.
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Old Apr 6th, 2003, 04:41 PM
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Sanibel is less commercial than Siesta Key. I wasn't aware that dogs were allowed on the beaches at Siesta Key. I have been there many times and haven't seen them.

On Sanibel however, they are a definite presence although most hotels do not allow them. I do know that you can bring a pet to Tween Waters on Captiva and their smaller sister motel on Sanibel. They have specially designated animal cottages. These are pretty basic but animal lovers book them all the time. I know this as we took our beloved Golden Retriever there for what was his last trip to the beach.

He was very old and not getting around too well at the time but when he got to the resort he rallied and acted like a pup for the entire stay. There were quite a few dogs for him to sniff and check out. He had a stroke about 2 wks later and we had to stay goodbye but I will always have fond memories of his last weekend at the beach.

P.S. (There was also just this awesome brunch at Tween Waters with the most amazing pastries ever. I usually shy away from this type of brunch but these pastries were awesome!) LMF
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Old Apr 6th, 2003, 06:47 PM
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I can't help with the dog issue, but I can tell you that you won't find any commercialization on Sanibel (except for one Dairy Queen). Tall buildings, billboards, stoplights, strip malls, putt-putt golf and chain restaurants are non-existant. It is extremely laid back - most of the island is a sanctuary. The shelling is fantastic. Based on your preferences, I think Sanibel is the place for you. Have fun no matter what you decide!!!
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Old Apr 7th, 2003, 08:48 AM
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Just back-stayed at the South Seas Resort on Captiva Island. Did see many pets, but could have been people that had their boats docked at the marina. Very relaxing resort with a beautiful beach. Not at all like Virginia Beach, etc.
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Old Apr 7th, 2003, 10:34 AM
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Thanks for your replies. You understood exactly what I was trying to ask. A place without McDonalds and strip malls is what I was looking for. We are looking into Castaways (which I think is the sister resort of Tween Waters) and Mitchells Sandcastles by the Sea which both are dog-friendly. We looked at Tween Waters, but wanted somewhere we could put our dog directly on the beach. LilMsFoodie, sorry to hear about your retriever. We have a lab mix puppy that we can't bear to leave at home for our beach trip. Thanks again for taking time to respond.
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Old Apr 7th, 2003, 01:47 PM
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Castaways is the resort I was thinking of. It basically hasn't changed since the 50's or early 60's. Very funky charm IMHO. I really wouldn't worry about the Tween Waters. I drive by there every week during my work and everyone yields to the pedestrians and pups. There is a little more going on at Tween Waters. If you want a throw back experience I suggest the NasCrab races at Tween Waters bar. It is ridiculous. It is hokey. You will have a ball. The early show is good for families, the later one is definitely r rated.
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Old Apr 7th, 2003, 02:08 PM
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You will not be disappointed with Sanibel. All buildings must be 4 stories or less and they require large landscaped setbacks from the beach so you don't feel too crowded or overwhelmed by large hotel/condo monsters. I believe dogs are allowed on the beach but have to be leashed. There is also an excellent system of bike/ped. paths throughout the island that you could walk/run/rollerblade with your pooch. The crab races mentioned earlier are hilarious. They are held every Monday night with a second night sometimes during high season. The MC/race director, Tim, has been doing this for 19 years. If you can swing it, I highly recommend the late running of the crabs. If you like stone crab claws, definitely the Lazy Flamingo; pub grub - Sanibel Grill; and italian - Riveria. Enjoy.
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Old Apr 8th, 2003, 03:13 AM
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Sanibel is an interesting city that is proactive on development, some would say to an extreme, but I think it is what has made the island one of the favorite tourist spots in the country.

The community routinely buys up large chunks of undeveloped land as they come up for sale. This restricts development and of course keeps housing values high. There are height and set back limits. There are no stop lights anywhere on the island. A traffic cop is there at the crossroad to get to the causeway at peak house but that is it. There is no signage allowed over a few feet and no neon. The 7-11 and Dairy Queen are grandfathered in. Dogs must be leashed on the beaches and you must pick up your mess but they can still swim and have fun. Yesterday I saw a family and their dog in one of the Surrey bikes (held about 5 plus dog) riding down the main bike path.

Sanibel is a family place. There is scan night life (hence the big attraction of the crab races). Beach and relaxation are what is available. Enjoy your trip. LMF
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 05:47 PM
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Just wanted to say thanks again for the recommendations. We just returned from Sanibel on Wednesday. We stayed at Castaways and loved it. It was low key, relaxing, and not commercial, as I was looking for. We canoed and walked on the beach. Our dog had a great time, too. He loves the beach...so many interesting smells! If only I could teach him to play in the ocean, but not drink the salt water! Thanks again!
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 03:03 AM
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Jenny depends on where you live - you mention beaches all over the country but it sounds like you live near FL if you are driving.
Sanibel is ok - summer is very hot and humid.
Personally, being a dog person, the best dog beach I've been to is Cannon Beach, OR.
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 05:05 AM
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JennyL, glad to hear you enjoyed Sanibel! Thanks for posting what your decision was and how you enjoyed it. I wish more travelers would do so.
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 05:59 AM
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Had never been to Florida until a few years ago - first trip was to Sanibel Island. Have been to the Caribbean numerous times and was sure to be disappointed with Florida in comparison to Caribbean. I was not disappointed at all. In fact I found Sanibel/Captiva to feel very Caribbean. Have also been to Virginia Beach which I was not impressed with in the least, and I loved Sanibel. I don't think you'll be disappointed. I have a question though. Those of you who bring dogs to the beach, what do you do about their droppings? I would hate to squish into one of those walking along a beautiful white sand beach... I hope they are picked up and disposed of appropriately.
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 02:40 PM
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Deborah, I know. I always wonder if people liked my travel advice or if I should have kept my mouth shut so I always try to post when I get home. Stephie, I never leave for a walk on the beach without several plastic bags. It's disgusting carrying around a little brown bag, but picking it up helps keep dogs from being banned from the beaches (and I wouldn't want to step in it either).
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Old May 25th, 2003, 05:10 AM
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Jenny, glad you liked Castaways. Dog friendly places are increasing but still relatively rare.

I've never seen anyone not pick up after their dog on Sanibel. I'm sure it could happen but so far in 9 years...

Thanks for your followup report. LMF
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