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Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

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Denton, Texas
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Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

I am trying to plan a trip to the beach with my 2 children, ages 16 and 11 for Christmas and not sure which would be better: Sanivel or Destin?? any recommendations?

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

Two VERY different destinations. Sanibel has a beautiful, tropical, "get away from it all" feel when contrasted to the busy panhandle. Also, it is likely you can plan on the weather being considerably warmer in the Sanibel area at Christmas.

Suggest you spend a bit of time reading prior posts on this Sanibel board to help you get a sense of why families find Sanibel to be such an appealing destination for sharing time together. Of course, a lot depends on your two children and the type of activities they enjoy. Have fun with the planning....

Wyoming & Sanibel
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2. Re: Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

We know both areas very well, having spent many, many years visiting Destin before finding Sanibel. Destin in Dec. will be off season and the weather will be cool to cold. Sanibel in Dec. moves into high season and because it is substantially farther south will always be warmer. Most years, Christmas in Sanibel is shorts and t-shirt weather, but a cold front can come in and bring the temperatures down. In the years we've been in Sanibel it never has gotten down to freezing, whereas in Destin you would likely need coats, either light jackets to heavier winter.

Destin's beach is beautiful white sugar sand and the water is clear and blue. Sanibel's beach is natural and ungroomed, and generally full of shells. Sanibel has a number of sand bars that tend to keep the water murkier, but that also makes it generally calm and quite shallow a ways out which is great for kids playing in the water. Destin's beach is covered with high rises and development. On Sanibel, nothing can be built taller than a palm tree and the focus is on nature, development is low-key.

Destin will have more commercial things to do and Sanibel will have more nature-oriented things to do. I'm guessing Destin would be less expensive, but it all depends on the types of things your family enjoys doing.

Missouri
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3. Re: Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

If you're looking for "sit on the beach in my swimwear" weather I would pick Sanibel. The average high/low temps for Destin in December are 64/39 which is pretty cool for sitting or walking on the beach since there is also almost always a breeze off the gulf. The average high/low for Sanibel in December are 77/56. Of course a cold front can always move though but if it hits Sanibel you can be sure it hit Destin also. We used to go to Destin back when you could drive along 98 and see the gulf. The last time we drove 98 it was pretty much wall-to-wall condos and high-rises from Pensacola to Panama City.

Massachusetts
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4. Re: Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

Sanibel is better than anywhere else, always.

LINCOLNSHIRE ENGLAND
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5. Re: Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

I am very interested in all these replies as my husband and myself were thinking of planning a trip to Sanibel in December. We have visited twice before ( in May ) and the weather has always been hot. It is good to know that it should not be too cold in December. Can anyone tell me if Jerrys is open over the Christmas holidays and also if any restaurants are open on Christmas day so we can get a Christmas day lunch?. Also what is the wildlife like at this time of the year?. Am I right in thinking there are more birds as they are overwintering in Sanibel?. Thanks for you help.

Sanibel Island...
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6. Re: Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

I too would choose Sanibel of Destin; we are almost always on the Island the last week of December, and although the gulf can be cool, most days are pleasant and it should be possible for the kids to swim in a heated pool.

Both grocery stores have been closed on Christmas day in recent years, but 7-11 has been open if you need pick something up. Some restaurants close on Christmas day, but there are always quite a few open as well, although they might be serving a limited menu. This list changes from year to year, but your rental agent will be able to provide you with the information closer to the date.

Other than Christmas day itself, everything is open for business as usual around the holidays...this is high season on Sanibel, and a very popular time to visit.

Many waterbirds and shorebirds overwinter on the island, and the birding and photography at ding darling is spectacular in December and January...we try to ride bikes through the refuge every day, and often drive through as well, especially when low tide takes place in the early morning. Some of the smaller migrating and summering songbirds are not present in the winter, but overall this is our favorite time of year to visit the refuge.

Edited: 07 August 2011, 12:26
Sanibel Island...
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7. Re: Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

Don't know if there are more birds- you would think that migration times would be the peak but I can't speak with authority here...

I know Jerry's has been open over Christmas in the past and I don't remember trouble finding an open restaurant on Christmas Day but we don't tend to go down that week- we wait until February usually. Perhaps a resident can confirm that one.

Wyoming & Sanibel
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8. Re: Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

There will definitely be a number of restaurants, with a broad range of prices and menu options both on Sanibel and Captiva, open Christmas Day. We e are there every year that week. In the past few years, neither Jerry's nor Bailey's was open that day, but I can't remember before that. As someone who visits the refuge almost daily, there are definitely more birds in Dec. than May-Oct. and there will be more in Feb. than in Dec!

Both Bailey's and Jerry's have offered pre-cooked Christmas Dinners available for pick-up the day before, and it seems that you will need to pre-order those, but that might be another option for you!

Edited: 07 August 2011, 23:38
Sanibel Island...
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9. Re: Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

Migration (especially April) is the best time for smaller songbirds, but winter is better for wading birds including egrets and spoonbills, and is a great time for bird photography at DD.

Massachusetts
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10. Re: Sanibel or Destin for Christmas?

You'd get different answers if you posted on the Destin forum, of course, but they'd just be wrong. 8^D

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