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Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

Buffalo, New York
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7 posts
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Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

We went with another couple from Saturday 12/28 to Saturday 1/4. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Ft. Myers airport. $6 toll every time you want to go onto the island. Main road on the island are Periwinkle Way and Sanibel/Captiva Road (one basically turns into the other). Most commercial establishments (restaurants, shopping, liquor stores, souvenirs) are on these 2 roads, while most of the lodging (condos, beach houses, many motels/cottages) are on the water. Meaning you have to drive or walk or ride a bike/scooter etc to get to these. A major pain, especially in traffic. But there are bike paths everywhere, so if you like walking/biking, you are in the right place. And the traffic……HORRIBLE at this time of year!!! People come from the mainland to go to the beaches, and it creates gridlock. And the volume of people at that time of year is intense. Mostly families. Many residents noted it was the busiest they have ever seen the island. Tons of people and kids on bikes riding through the parking lots and crossing the roads…..accidents waiting to happen. Dinnertime is especially horrible, as everyone is going at the same time. If you want to avoid these hassles, eat at your unit, or get to your dinner destination by 5PM. Otherwise be prepared for traffic and an hour to more wait for a table, as most places DO NOT take reservations. Restaurants were nothing special, nothing memorable. The Island Cow was fun and had a great menu, but the drinks and the service were spotty. Island Pizza was cool.....check them out for sure. They roll up the sidewalks on Sanibel at about 9PM, even on weekends. Couldn’t get a pizza delivered at 9PM on a Friday night. Couldn’t even find an open place to pick one up, and there are 4 pizza places on the island. Prices for most establishments of any kind were 10% to 25% more than the mainland. No chains out here, except for CVS. Use them for HBA and kitchen items and you will save a bit over the supermarkets. Beaches were nice, shelling nice, especially at low tide. But no nicer than Jupiter/Juno beaches. Beaches were not manicured or cleaned at all, as they do in Cape Cod, Pompano, Deerfield, and other places I have been, but that was not a turn-off. Overall, if you like crowds, and paying more than you need to, and driving everywhere to need to go, Sanibel is the place for you. We were told it is quieter in January and the fall….but it doesn’t matter, as we won’t be going back. Too many other places to explore……I invite comments from residents and others who were there at the same time……

Captiva Island...
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28 reviews
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1. Re: Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

Sounds like you didn't do much research before your trip. Sanibel is over 2/3 rds nature preserve with all natural ungroomed beaches. There are ways to avoid traffic during high season, wish you would have asked here, we could have shared some hints. No offense, but if you were looking for a great meal, Island Pizza and Island Cow would not have been my recommendations! By the way, there aren't 4 pizza places on the Island, just one. Sanibel is ranked third, yes I said THIRD, in the world for shelling. I truly doubt that Jupiter or Juno beach comes even close.

I'm sorry that your time on Sanibel was so horrible. Vacation time is what you decide to make of it. I hope you were able to enjoy a few moments on the Island!

2. Re: Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

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UK
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for Florida
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22 reviews
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3. Re: Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

:shelling nice, especially at low tide. But no nicer than Jupiter/Juno beaches. "

Wrong, been both places Sanibel has better shelling. By far

Sounds like Sanibel isn't for you, try Fort Myers Beach or Clearwater beach next time.

northern IL
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1 post
5 reviews
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4. Re: Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

Interesting - I was there at the same time. We were able to avoid the traffic, had wonderful meals at Doc Fords and many others, saw Ospreys daily, dolphins on the first day . . . Sanibel is a wonderful place, and thank goodness nobody combs the beaches like other "developed" areas of Florida. Crowds? Well, go the busiest week of the year and you will get more people than normal - but any other time that will obviously not be the case. One of the best kept secrets in the USA, and we continue to return time after time.

UK
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for Florida
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5. Re: Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

Didn't think to check. Ok just have:

"Driving in Nantucket is nightmarish.....tons of traffic,"

"not to mention the 100s of cyclists all over the roads in the towns....driving there was the least pleasurable tourist driving experience of my life"

"shops and restaurants are 25% (or more) overpriced."

I see a pattern here. The OP doesn 't like beach islands in peak season. So perhaps should not visit Nantucket in Summer and Sainbel in winter. Lots of people and cars then, but not in low season - try Sanibel in September.

Also, islands are expensive for property/rent, and everything has to come from t he mainland. this means that costs of groceries and meals are more on beach islands than on the mainland.

Buffalo, New York
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7 posts
106 reviews
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6. Re: Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

The mainland is a causeway. I live in Buffalo. Grand Island is right next to us. You have to cross a bridge to get there. Things are not 10% to 25% more expensive there. Go away troll!!!!!

UK
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for Florida
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22 reviews
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7. Re: Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

So who is the troll, the DE or the one with 4 posts all the same, complaining about tourist islands in peak season.

The mainland is a continent, a causeway is a bridge.

Go, but choose another month? that isn't peak season? When there are less cars and people?

Ottawa, Canada
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2,153 posts
35 reviews
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8. Re: Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

It is a shame that you did not enjoy your trip. I do agree with the other posters. If you had done some research here on this forum you would have known exactly what you were getting. This is one of the great things about using TA forums. This is where you will learn whether or not this holiday location is for you.

I have been a dedicated TAer for many years now - especially since I too learned the hard way and had a few bad holiday experiences. Once I discovered TA I have had amazing holidays and ensure that the little vacation time and vacation budget is well spent.

Sorry for your loss.

Hopefully for your next vacation you will utilize the TA experience and we will read a happy review :)

Victoria, Canada
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9. Re: Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

I love Sanibel !!

But, to be fair, I did not think the OP's review was worthy of the some of the harsh criticism here .. I think alot of what he's reporting is fair game .. and let's leave Nantucket out of it pls.

He has an honest opinion and is entitled to it.

Captiva Island...
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5,259 posts
28 reviews
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10. Re: Review of Sanibel Island 12/28-13 to 1/4/14

The OP went 3 days after Christmas into the New Years, which is likely the busiest week of the year other than Easter week.

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