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When to visit?

Wisconsin
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When to visit?

We were in Florida in December and are looking at changing beaches (loved where we were just have always wanted to try sanibel). We want to come down later into the winter this time to break up our winter better.

We usually get snow starting in late oct early nov and usually it clears out around mid April but we still get snow in may at times. We are thinking January or February would work best for us but we don't like to be around large crowds. How are crowds around this time of year or would it be best to stick with early December? April is getting too late. My husband works commercial construction and they are really getting going on outside projects at that time. I assume match is bad with spring breakers.

Any help is greatly appreciated! Looking at casa ybel but have yet to hear back from them. Let a message a couple days ago and have called since with no luck in talking to an actual person.

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Florida
Florida
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1. Re: When to visit?

Early Dec will be less crowded, Jan-March are peak season.

After Easter it drops off dramatically but I am guessing that is too late for you if you want to break winter.

Madison, Indiana
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2. Re: When to visit?

Consider November, which up until Thanksgiving, is not busy on the island. It's busy through that holiday, then again quiet until just before the next holiday. As said in the first reply, from Christmas through April you can expect it to be the busiest and most crowded. However, a crowd on Sanibel is still smaller than most places--depends on your definition. I've been there in many different months and other than right before Christmas (my favorite time), I've never felt the island seemed to have too many people. Suddenly the island explodes with visitors! When you don't have multiple high rise condo's, like many FL destinations, the number of people who can find lodging on the island at any one time is ultimately limited, if you want to consider whether it's crowded or not, compared to other destinations.

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Sanibel
Sanibel
Sanibel Island, FL
The Bakery
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3. Re: When to visit?

The first two weeks of Dec are a great time to be there. The decorations are up and the rates at the condos WAY down. After that, I'd say January. The weather is least reliable those two months, they can warm or chilly, sometimes on the same day. The Gulf is warmer in Dec. Jan is more expensive, but most prime rates don't hit rentals till the second week of Feb, so expect about a 20-30% off the winter rates at many places. Others, no discount. That time of year, even in early DEC, you will need reservation in the restaurants, well the better ones. The casual places have a 'call ahead seating' which means you call after a certain time of day and say "Our party of X people will be there at 6PM" and you'll 'jump the line' of walk-in customers when a table opens. You might still wait, just not as long.

Both months usually offer decent to excellent shelling. One of my very best shelling days was in mid Dec at l

Lighthouse Beach. WOW!

Do keep in mind, is the cold fronts push south, Sanibel can be chilly, so you still need long pants and jackets or heavy sweatshirts at night and sometimes during the day.

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Sanibel
Sanibel
Sanibel Island, FL
UK
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4. Re: When to visit?

Yes, not being retired, and with kids at College. I dont go to FL much in winter, I rent mine these days. But I do go in Nov and agree it is wonderful then. But maybe not winter enough in Wisconsin (nor depressed enough after many cold days) to go.

Jan I have been and it isn't hot, but sometimes warm. I would call it Pleasant. That can be disappointing for some, but maybe not for you. I just went in Feb to the Southern Med as it was cheap and only 3 hours by plane for me. And was 59-64F as a high and sunny so felt really nice compared to home (which isn't as cold as Wisconsin-i'd never last a winter there as I am from MD).

So, depending on your schedule looks like Dec and early Jan could be your best bets for good prices, but I don't feel you will find it 'crowded' even in peak season.

I tend to be there at Easter, and am a daytripper to Sanibel as i have a house not far away. I find public beaches more crowded then (not super crowded, but parking lots can be full), but you won't if you have a beachfront condo. You certainly won't have to queue to get back over the bridge like I would do if I stayed late in the afternoon.

Edited: 12 March 2013, 20:21
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Wisconsin
Wisconsin
United States
Sanibel
Sanibel
Sanibel Island, FL
Wisconsin
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5. Re: When to visit?

Ok thanks for all the advice so far. So busy in sanibel is different than busy in clearwater? We want go avoid the crowded beaches. We like to have a nice space between us and other visitors. We did Disney the first week of December, the so called slow time, and found if way too crowded for us. I mean it was hard walking around and had bottlenecks all over.

Not too worried about the weather. Anything is better than we would have back home. We hit good weather in December (high 70s low 80s during the day, 60s at night) and locals were in sweatshirts at night. Last week we hit 38 here and we were out in sweatshirts and some in shorts. So we will be happy no matter what we get.

UK
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6. Re: When to visit?

I'd say so, but wait for others to chime in? Never been to CWB in peak season and TBH, I don't go much as if I am up that way I prefer ST Pete B or TI.

Clearwater s a large high rise resort area, so each 100 yards square of hotel/condo land will disgorge many more tourists as there are so many more floors. But you have to balance that with a wider beach?

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Madison, Indiana
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7. Re: When to visit?

it's nothoing like Disney, that's for sure--LOL

Sanibel has such a strong emphasis on conservation and wildlife, that tourism has a different focus. The usual hype and entertainment isn't the draw, it's the shelling, the beaches, the refuge, the slow pace of island life. That keeps many of us coming back year after year. Very different vacation spot from places that offer you "entertainment" options beyond the natural enjoyable beauty of FL beaches.

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Sanibel
Sanibel
Sanibel Island, FL
8. Re: When to visit?

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