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Trip Report July 10-17

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Port St. Lucie, FL
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Trip Report July 10-17

This was my (our) first time to Sanibel and it was great!!! Myself, husband, and 3 kids (ages 10, 6, and 2) have never been here and we were worried about not having enough to do while staying here for the week. We live on the east coast of Florida and at first, thought why spend the money just to go somewhere that is so much like where we live (HOT weather and beach). Boy were we surprised!!! We did not want to travel to far with my 2-yr old son, who isn't all that thrilled with long car rides. Sanibel fit the bill perfectly.

We stayed at the Beachview Cottages, and we couldn't be happier. Only about 200 yds to the beach made it so convenient to just walk out whenever we wanted, without having to lug a bunch of stuff with us back and forth. Our cottage was very simple but clean and suited us just fine. What I like about Beachview is that it isn't a big place, so there is never a crowd around the pool, or the laundry. It felt just right like you were staying in your own place. Loved everything about it.

Having kids, we wanted to make sure we had plenty of other things to do, besides the beach. We spent lots of time looking for shells, and I was amazed at the number of shells here!!! There is nowhere near this many shells on our coast. Not only that, but after a day or so, we all became 'experts' at identifying the shells and still laugh that we sound like we are 'shell snobs', knowing the names of them all. We found a few good-sized lightening whelks, apple murex, and banded tulips, along with lots of augers, olives, kitten paws, and calico scallops.

Our first couple of days was spent at the beach and the pool at the Beachview, and then on Monday, we went on the Sanibel Thriller. This was awesome!!! The dolphin 'show' was the highlight, of course. And we had nice weather for it, too. You know the kind of Florida day....clear, bright blue skies, no clouds, and just downright HOT. Coming from a native Floridian, I just loved it. My New Englander husband....not so much. :) Anyway, we went to the Shell Museum on Tuesday (my girls loved it, and enjoyed the little scavenger hunt they give you), Ding Darling refuge on Wed. (the visitor center and then did the drive ourselves...way too hot for the tram), the Sanibel Historical Village and Museum on Thurs., (recommended...a great display), and on Friday, we visited the CROW, the SCCF (not much there but a nice stop nonetheless) and the touch tank with Tarpon Bay Explorers. During the week we also did some bike riding, light shopping, and just overall relaxing.

As for dining, we usually have really bad luck when eating out on our vacations. No matter what reviews, etc, we always are never very impressed by many places. Here is where we went: Schnapper Hots was very good, and convenient for a quick meal. We ate at Gramma Dot's for lunch after we rode the Thriller, and while the food seemed ok, I'm sure it's much better when it's not so hot out (there is no a/c in the restaurant) and to me, fried food and heat just don't mix. All we want is a cold beer and maybe some ice cold watermelon. But it wasn't too bad. We LOVED Doc Ford's, and went there 3 times during our stay. I recommend the mojitoes, the banana leaf snapper, shrimp and grits (my FAVE) and the yucatan shrimp. We also went to the Island Cow 3 times (once each for breakfast, lunch, and dinner) and while not as good as Doc Ford's, it was ok and has an extensive menu. We waited for 45 min the first time and the two times after that, we were able to get seated right away and if there would have been a wait, we would have left. The food is good, but not THAT good, IMO. We don't even know why we went there 3 times...we weren't overally too impressed. But it's not bad. We also went to Over Easy Cafe for breakfast one morning, and it was very good. My girls loved the oreo pancakes (who wouldn't!??!) We got take out cake from The Bubble Room for my son's 2 yr birthday and the orange crunch cake is too good for words! You can't even describe it. We also got the rum cake, and it was good, but not as good as the orange crunch. As for ice cream, we tried both Pinocchio's and the Sanibel Scoop. We did Pinocchio's twice, and really liked it there. I had both the Sanibel Krunch (YUMMY) and the Wedding Bells (even better...if you like Italian amaretto type of flavor...). My husband and both of my girls really liked the Dirty sand dollar (they are whoppers fiends). Don't even bother with the Sanibel Scoop, unless you are desperate for ice cream and are looking for no lines and maybe the location. We thought it was horrible. Especially compared to Pinocchio's. We also got coffee every morning from the Bean and the coffee and selection was good.

Overall, we had a wonderful trip to Sanibel. We are alittle heavier in the tush, a lot lighter in the wallet, but it was a relaxing time and I'm so glad we came. The best part, too, is that we only have a 3 hr drive home. Nothing like feeling like you went so far away when you aren't really that far from home :)

I've been on TA for months, getting information with regards to our trip, so thanks to you all for all you've written and suggested, because it's helped with our trip, as well. We hope to be back soon.

Florida
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105 posts
4 reviews
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1. Re: Trip Report July 10-17

Thanks PSLtraveler for your trip report,sounds like you & your family had a great time :) We always hear great things about the Sanibel Thriller but I'm curious how your 2 yr old son did on it? We are going down very soon and hope to take our 3 yr old grandson but not sure if we should leave him in the hotel with a family member. Thanks for the info on the Sanibel Scoop,we were going to try it on our last visit but didnt.

Isnt it great to just drive for a few hours to get there,we have about the same drive time,no having to fly or driving long periods of time in a car with young kids. Hope you & your family get back to Sanibel soon,it's worth every penny :)

DeLand, Florida
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445 posts
245 reviews
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2. Re: Trip Report July 10-17

Great report! We left the Beachview on 11th and loved it. I made the misfortune of going to the scoop instead of Pinnochio's and I am still kicking myself. Glad you had fun.

Sanibel Island...
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1,290 posts
8 reviews
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3. Re: Trip Report July 10-17

Thanks for the trip report. First vacation on Sanibel is always special. So many new things to see/do. Your three children are at such a good age to enjoy Sanibel. Glad you found some nice shells. A word of caution is probably appropriate. Beware, vacationing on Sanibel and shell collecting can be habit forming. If you return next year, you will probably get hooked, if you are not already. As for restaurants, Doc Ford's is also our favorite, but there are so many good ones. Glad you were able to enjoy so much of what Sanibel has to offer.

North Carolina
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50 reviews
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4. Re: Trip Report July 10-17

PSLtraveler, thanks for sharing your trip with us! I completely agree with you on Doc Ford's, the best IMHO. Island Cow has been good about half the time on our last two trips, but I keep hoping it'll get back to being as good as it once was. Gramma Dot's, we found wonderful, but we had more moderate temps (in May) ... I can imagine you would not be comfy there in super heat!

Were you in a "pet" cottage at Beachview? That looks like a very comfy place to stay ... glad you enjoyed it.

Totally agree with you about the ice cream at Pinocchio's ... love the Wedding Bells and Sanibel Krunch!

Hope you will get back to Sanibel soon!

Edited: 17 July 2010, 17:39
Bradenton, Florida
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29 reviews
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5. Re: Trip Report July 10-17

Great trip report. DH and I are booked at Beachview in October, for a first ever trip with this dog. Really looking forward to it. We have been to Sanibel a couple of times for really short trips, but this will be first time for a week. Just curious, is there anything walkable from there? Shops, restaurants?

Hell, Michigan
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6. Re: Trip Report July 10-17

Great report, PSL. Glad you loved it so much - isn't it awesome to watch your kids discover shells? I imagine it is wonderful to be so close - but I do love every aspect of going on vacation, even traveling with small children.. Watching them pack up their backpacks for the flight, the discussions on what the weather will be and what to pack and what will fit in the suitcase, the anticipation at the airport to be on an airplane - they jump and down everytime the see a plane take off. My favorite part is when we cross over Florida and fly down the coast - and see all the islands, trying to guess where we are.

Did you write a review of Beachview? If you have time, i'm sure they'd appreciate it, we can never have enough real reviews by real travelers.

Kris - Nice to see you here. You'll love beachview, very sandy old Florida style. Not walking distance to much - there is a restaurant at West Wind Inn nearby, and Twilight Cafe is walkable also. In October you should be able to bike to Doc Fords also. If you don't know, there are no street lights on Sanibel, so it gets dark very quickly - no cycling allowed and walking would be pretty eerie, except for on the beach.

Bradenton, Florida
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7. Re: Trip Report July 10-17

Hi, sunny. I am looking forward to going. These trip reports are getting me very excited. After spending a week on our beach, AMI, this summer, decided it was time to try a trip with the dog, and had bookmarked Beachview earlier this year. AMI does not allow dogs on the beach. Will write a trip report when we return.

North Carolina
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8. Re: Trip Report July 10-17

kris, the Normandy Cafe at West Wind Inn, right next door, has excellent breakfasts and lunches everyday. We eat there frequently when we stay at West Wind. The Twilight Cafe is very charming, with very good food as well. For most people, that would be very walkable.

Have a great trip!

Bradenton, Florida
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9. Re: Trip Report July 10-17

Thanks, will try them.

Port St. Lucie, FL
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52 posts
17 reviews
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10. Re: Trip Report July 10-17

FloridaIrishGrl, my 2 yr old did not do so well on the Thriller. He is a handful as it is and does not like to be contained/restrained so forcing him to sit on a lap and be held was tough. However, he did fall asleep about half-way through, so he must have been tired/cranky. I think if your 3-yr old grandson is normally pleasant and not so active, then he'll be fine. If he is like mine and likes to move around and explore, it'll be hard to contain him. There is also a big difference between 2 and 3, so he might be ok. Sorry, I know that's not much help!!! :) Definitely save your money and skip the Scoop and go to Pinocchios instead!

Rodneyj, we must have just missed you then...you leaving the morning after we got to Beachview! We just loved it there.

Arabella, I think all of the cottages at Beachview can accomodate pets. It's a $20 a day charge if you bring your pet...and lots of people did!

Kris, there isn't much in the way of shops/restaurants within walking distance but you can definitely bike to Doc Ford's, Over Easy Cafe, and depending how ambitious you are, the shops and restaurants on Periwinkle....or like Sunny said, the Twilight Cafe and other hotels' restaurants nearby.

Sunny, yes it was fun to see my girls so into the shelling. We had a really nice time and I'm already missing it!! I did write a review on Beachview. I usually try to write a review on here for every place we go because I know how much I read them and rely on them...no matter where I'm going.

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