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Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

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Boston
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Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

My husband and kids (9 & 12) will be visiting Florida in late July. Our plan is 2-3 days in Olando followed by 4-5 days of relaxing beach time on the west coast. We did this last summer and spent the 2nd half of our vacation on Cocoa Beach. We had a nice time but, Cocoa Beach was much too commercial for our tastes.

From what I've read Sanibel is very appealing to me but, I'm concerned about the long drive from Orlando. I'd prefer to keep the drive between 1-2 hours. Any tips, suggestions and or feedback on Siesta Key vs. Sanibel would be appreciated.

We are looking for great beaches with minimal commercial areas.

Thanks!

Brandon, Florida
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1. Re: Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

All the popular beach areas will have lots of commercial. It is just part of the landscape. The only place to get away is in the Everglades or the Parks that are inland.

Any place on the Gulf coast will be at least two hours from Orlando. Sanibel will be 4 hours, Siesta Key 3 hours.

The Bakery
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2. Re: Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

Sanibel Island is 60% conservation land. Along the east to mid-section of the island there are lots of condos, but none higher than 45 feet - no highrises allowed. For stays of under 1 week, you will find places like Waterside a good choice. No restaurant, but a good family place. It is a SOLID 4 hour drive. I've done it many times from Orlando.

For a 2 hour drive, take a look at Anna Maria Island. A good compromise location. Not commercial like the east coast, but not as quiet as Sanibel.

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

Siesta Key is far more developed than Sanibel, but Crescent Beach on SK is a delight. If you can find a unit in Siesta Dunes, you will be able to have a bit of a "getaway from it all" feeling as the grounds are generous and the property is gated. If you choose SK, do ask if the unit is on the courtyard (Gulf View) or farther back (Garden View and clearly lower prices). Nothing wrong with Garden View...accommodations are equally nice, but you cannot see the ocean from your lanai and will have to walk just a bit to get to the pool, courtyard, beach.

Also, take a look at what is available on Boca Grande. This is another island that hasn't had the flurry of development seen at many other beach areas. Still...Crescent Beach on Siesta is one of the best!

Sounds like a fun time ahead...Enjoy!

Ohio
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4. Re: Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

While we love Sanibel, another vote for Anna Maria Island. It is beautiful and the water is a beautiful blue-green. Not as touristy as Siesta Key, but still nice and never more than a handful of people on the beach at any given time during July, yet close to Bradenton where there is plenty of shopping and things to do. You may have trouble finding a place for under 7 days as most rent condos on a weekly basis. Best to book soon as most are filling up (we are also going in July), or make calls. Best to do an online search.

Sarasota, Florida
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5. Re: Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

I live in Sarasota (Siesta Key area) - if you thought Cocoa Beach was too commercial, you will feel the same about Siesta Key. I would definitely opt to take the drive and go to Sanibel. It is a wonderful place to relax, with wonderful bike paths, great restaurants, and fun shopping.

New Jersey
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6. Re: Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

We' ve been to both Siesta Key and Sanibel. If you like the natural beaches Sanibel would be a better choice, and is less crowded than Siesta key. But Siesta Key is more crowded but beaces are wonderful. The water is clear with little waves unlike Sanibels water.The sand is very soft and white and powdery. Sanibels is more rough and shelly. I would prefer to got to Siesta Key.

Brandon, Florida
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7. Re: Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

madd5, this thread is almost *two years* old!

Captiva Island...
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8. Re: Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

Hey chuts, time flies when you are having fun, this thread is almost three years old!!!!

Sanibel Island...
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9. Re: Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

Gladiator games at the Colosseum vs. the Chariot Races at the Circus Maximus?

Roseville, MN
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10. Re: Siesta Key vs. Sanibel

I know you want to be on the west coast, but you might want to consider New Smyrna Beach which is just south of the Daytona area. It is a big beach with the usual condos upon condos, but it has a nice blend of beach and quaint small town feel. It is also the closest beach to Orlando.