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New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

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New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

Hi - My husband and I are on our Spring Vacation search and are looking into Sanibel Island. We are in our early 30's - no children - we love lots of good waterfront restaurants, good shopping, fun things to do. What is your favorite thing about the island, is there good shopping, are there any outlets or boutiques close, is there anything (shows, etc) to go to at night? How far is Captiva Island - I keep seeing Sanibel and Captiva linked together alot ........ thanks soooooo much............. also, we enjoy high-end luxury waterfront places to stay - any suggestions? thanks!!!

Sanibel Island...
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1. Re: New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

Based on your questions, I would have to say that Sanibel/Captiva might not be the best fit for your preferences: Little or no nightlife, few waterfront dining spots on Sanibel, no high-end (four or five star) luxury resorts.. Shopping is pretty good with lots of local shops but to get to the outlets you have to go off-island.

Sanibel is laid back; ideal for nature lovers, bicyclists and folks who want to get away from the usual Florida atmosphere. Captiva is even more laid back with more limited shopping and restaurant choices although what's there is good.

Captiva is linked to Sanibel's outer point and it's about a half hour drive to get to the bridge that takes you to the mainland so if you are going to want to go off island to shop or find nightlife then I would rule that out.

There is a four star resort called Sanibel Harbour that is on the mainland that is in Punta Rassa ( Fort Myers) just across the bridge to Sanibel. It's on the bay and is not a beach resort but it overlooks the water and is not far from Sanibel beaches ( day trips) and there are outlets nearby and Fort Myers beach is about 15 minutes away with its nightlife. There is construction on the bridge so there might be a noise issue there so you might want to check some recent reviews.

You might also look down towards Marco or Naples if shopping and nightlife are important. Much more built up than Sanibel but each area has its attraction.

The Bakery
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2. Re: New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

I think you'd be happier in Naples or Marco Island. Take a look at the newly renovated Marco Island Marriott. It has a fantasy pool and just opened a new Italian restaurant on site and is reportedly an excellent spot..

In all fairness, nightlife all along the Gulf coast, with the possible exception of St Pete, is pretty dull. There are a couple of clubs in the Naples/Marco areas, but you'd have to ask there.

Longboat Key has 2 higher end resorts, Longboat Key Club and Hilton, but like Sanibel no real nightlife and limited shopping. Sarasota is right there by Longboat Key and has a big outlet mall and lots of shops, but not the high end stuff you'll find down around Naples. Naples has 2 Ritz Carlton resorts, Edgewater Beach, a sort of small condo resort now owned by LXR, La Playa Beach and Golf Resort and Bellasera, a new place that I've seen but heard no reports about. All are pretty upscale and the shopping and dining would certainly be there.

Sanibel is very much a family island and is geared to folks who like to rent condos and houses and dining an mostly mid-range comfortable places and just enjoy being outdoors doing rather simple family things. Its big with fishermen too. Sundial Beach and Tennis Club and the Sanibel Inn are about as classy as Sanibel gets and the closest to 'resorts'. Just be warned the food at Sanibel Inn isn't great and the condos at the Sundial can be pretty erratic unless you rent thru owners or an agency. There are a few better spots where the food is well above average, but only a couple of waterfront places. In maybe another year Captiva will have a good resort ready, but at the moment, South Seas Island Resort on Captiva is still being worked on and really isn't up to snuff.

If you're still interested, take a look at www.sanibel-captiva.org and www.fortmyers-sanibel.com

And the reason you'll hear Sanibel and Captiva, is Captiva is accessible only by driving the length of Sanibel and going over Blind Pass bridge to get to Captiva - or by boat. Captiva is almost entirely private homes and condos. There's just a few places to stay and only the 2 resorts, Tween Waters, which is about a 3* place and South Seas which is still under renovation. Its very quiet and my favorite place to stay.

Sarasota, Florida
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3. Re: New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

Take a look at several places in Sarasota: Longboat Key Club, Colony Beach Resort, and Lido Beach Resort. Longboat Key Club has onsite golf and tennis, Colony Beach is top-ranked by tennis fans. Nearby to all three places is St. Armands Circle, with 100+ shops and restaurants. Several outstanding waterfront restaurants. You're also close to downtown Sarasota with a good variety of restaurants. If it's Spring Vacation, several theaters will still be having shows; the opera will also be having performances if you're talking about March. Ringling Museum is a fascinating visit. Ditto for Selby Botanical Gardens. Sailor Circus may be having performances. Or are you interested in a sunset cruise in the Bay. Perhaps a tour of the art district on a Segway. Pet some stingrays at the Mote aquarium.

It depends on your interests, but I think there would be enough for you to do in Sarasota. This is the peak of our tourist season, though, so you'll want to reserve as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

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4. Re: New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

thank you all soooooooooo much .......... i am going to check out marco island - thanks again for all the helpful info - it is GREATLY APPRECIATED!!

Fairfax, Virginia
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5. Re: New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

My spouse and I are down here now and will be here for awhile.

The city seems to be saying it is cleaning city beaches which are but a miniscule portion of the beaches. We who are renting condos, homes, etc. have seen nothing happening on our beaches.

We are staying at a wonderful place, but have walked more than a mile each way up the gulf side of the island from our place and have seen zero cleaning efforts. I kid you not, the algae is very wide at many places, is up to more than one foot deep on the beach, and has even changed the sound of the water as the waves come into shore. No more sound of water running over shells. A few people are sifting thru algae looking for shells. This is a responsibility for city officials to step up to. Their announcement is very misleading because it makes it sound like they are cleaning up the islands beaches. Not so. Just the very small number of park beaches - - which we have not visited yet. I'll continue to report the conditions as we see them because we are financially committed to being here. Do not come down if it is the beaches you are coming for until you hear that there is an organized campaign to clean the place up.

Sarasota, Florida
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6. Re: New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

PJL, wow! It is so sad to hear what you are going through; I really feel sorry for you and your spouse. The action -- or actually the lack of action -- by the local Sanibel authorities is misguided, shortsighted, outrageous and probably every other adjective you can think of. How can they possibly justify what they are doing?

Tourmaline, I know you are as upset about this as anyone, and are active in the community and doing your best to wake people up to the impact it is having. Maybe you can print out some of the comments of people like PJL and take them to local government meetings and/or get them printed in the local newspaper? When you do so, remind them that while other beach communities along the coast get hit with things like Red Tide (we've not had Red Algae) they take immediate action to clean ALL of the beaches, as well as to clean canals and nearby waters.

Fairfax, Virginia
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7. Re: New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

I was on Lido Key one week ago today. The beach was entirely clear of red algae.

Fairfax, Virginia
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8. Re: New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

I was on Lido Key one week ago today. The beach was entirely clear of red algae.

9. Re: New Visitor ~ Any info helpful .... Lots of questions :o)

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