Although we have been coming to the islands for several years, this was my first time taking 2 full weeks, which was a splurge but so worth it. As I told a colleague, the extra time truly meant I was able to slip into that peaceful, no-worries island vibe.
The first few days I was there, I had invited my 3 sisters for a long weekend and family retreat which went great. What fun to spend the mornings chatting over breakfast, then relaxing at the beach, then out for dinner and a peaceful finish of the day watching the sunset. We don't ever get to spend time together as just us with no spouses or children (not that we don't love them too!), so it was really special. After they left I had a few days to myself, and during my second week I was joined by my 20 year old daughter and her 18 year old best friend. The three of us have been taking an annual summer Sanibel-Captiva trip for 6 years now and we always have a great time. This year was no exception.
We stayed at Sunset Captiva 28, which turned out to be excellent. This is our third SC property and definitely my favorite so far. Will write up a separate review for folks who may want full details but it was nicely appointed, had everything needed and then some for a great vacation and had at least one comfortable bed--which was the one I slept in so it was all good.
Tried a few restaurants we hadn't gone to and of course our old favorites. New to us were Cip's Place where the food was delicious, and they had live music the night we went (a Saturday). Very clean, just a nice vibe. We also revisited Sanibel Grill which we hadn't eaten at in a few years. It was AMAZINGLY good. The food was excellent and the prices, for the island, were terrific. My daughter got a sirloin steak dinner for $11(!) and her friend had glazed salmon for $13(!!). We also tried out the Sanibel Fish House. The food was ok, but somehow it seemed a bit 'flat'. It's a very large restaurant and it just felt impersonal. I can't say it was a bad experience but I don't think I'd return. Our old faithfuls came through-Timbers for Shrimp Fest on Tuesdays was as good as it always is. Went to Doc Fords-what visit to Captiva/Sanibel is complete without that outing. Dairy Queen for dessert of course. We tried to go to Over Easy cafe but both times it was jammed. Instead we had breakfast at Jerry's Restaurant, inside the store, which is one of the best deals around. The food is really good and the prices are LOW. It's short on atmosphere, granted, but for a decent meal at a very reasonable price it can't be beat. And we had our traditional last dinner at the Green Flash. That is a place that feels a bit dressier, and the food and presentation are so nice. We sat by the water and got to watch the day ending in such peace and calm. It was a great way to finish the visit.
We took Captiva Cruises out to Cabbage Key one day. I was very impressed with the cruise. The staff were very helpful and professional, the boat was comfortable and everything ran on time and very efficiently. Cabbage Key was fun; we ate at the restaurant and were pleasantly surprised at how good the food was. As a captive audience, we weren't expecting much but my mahi-mahi sandwich and the girls' burgers were all tasty. We walked the nature trail and climbed up to get a great panoramic view from the water tower on the key. Side bonus for the day was the chance to see inside South Seas Resort, as the cruise departed from their marina. My girls weren't all that impressed with SSR. As they correctly pointed out, it is even more distant from everything than the village area of Captiva and I don't think the chi-chi resort aura particularly lured them. Then too, now that my 'kids' are young adults, the need for an inclusive program of children's activities isn't there for us.
Spent time every day on the beach of course. As others have mentioned the erosion is very noticeable, at least around the Muck Duck/Sunset Captiva area. It wasn't so bad as I walked down toward the Tween Waters stretch though. Did some casual shelling and got a few pretty ones. Mostly I just basked in the calm and beauty of being at the ocean. I never, ever get tired of that.
So another much anticipated trip to Paradise has come and gone. Now to dream of next summer's trip!