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First Time Visitor with Questions

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First Time Visitor with Questions

My two adult daughters and I are considering a trip to Sanibel in early May, 2015. I have been studying the many topics on the Sanibel forum and have learned a great deal. I do have some questions, however.

1) I never heard of noseeums but noticed a number of posts on this subject. I have been to Indian Rocks Beach in July and Madiera Beach in May and never had a problem (or heard of them). Is this a Southwest coast issue? Should I be concerned (I made notes of the tips to avoid/minimize the problem)?

2) I read a post about "shelling shoes". Do I need something specific? Are bare feet not a good idea? I am the avid shell shopper and will follow any/all advice. My daughters, on the other hand, will be unhappy if they need to wear anything but flip flops to get to and on the beach and bare feet in the water.

3) What is the closest major airport? We will be traveling from Philadelphia.

4) Is there a difference in the various areas on the island (as I recall, I may have read "mid" island)? We do not need much entertainment beyond the beach and two or three nights out for dinner. We will only go shopping to bring home souvenirs for the husband/father we will be leaving behind (this is girls only trip - LOL)

I appreciate your guidance.

Worcester MA
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1. Re: First Time Visitor with Questions

The beach has lots of shells and broken shells on it. Sometimes to get to the water you have to walk across an area of broken shells. I always wear crocs when I'm on the beach on Sanibel, and most people do. On the plus side- it's because there are so many shells.

The east end of the island is more built up. The west end is less crowded. Mid-island is in between.

How concerned you should be about no-see-ums depends on how much bugs love you and your daughters. They bother a lot of people, but you can find out about effective repellants on this forum.

Naples, Florida
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2. Re: First Time Visitor with Questions

The closest airport is Ft. Myers (RSW -- Regional South West).

Highlands Ranch...
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3. Re: First Time Visitor with Questions

I always wear my flip flops on the beach in Sanibel. No problems walking over & among the shells. You'll see all kinds of footwear. Going barefoot not a good idea.

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4. Re: First Time Visitor with Questions

No-seeums are common in most tropical areas. I find them heaviest at dusk. Their annoying little buggers.

I often go barefoot on the beach and into the water. If anything, I wear inexpensive water shoes.

Periwinkle Place is a good place for shopping and souvenirs.

Our last 2 trips were in early May. Great weather and no crowds or traffic. You and the girls will have a blast.

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5. Re: First Time Visitor with Questions

I always beach walk barefoot .. no problems walking around the areas with lots of shells.

Noseuums have never bitten me in my 9 visits to the island .. but I avoid dusk and dawn in off beach areas.

I don't consider any part of Sanibel to be 'built up' .. east gulf end is my fav.

btw - there are no buildings allowed higher than the palm trees .. a bylaw I'd assume (limits to 4 stories).

As far as where to stay .. if there ever was a 'no brainer' vacation spot in the world .. Sanibel and Captiva must be it. You could stay pretty much anywhere along the 12 miles of gulf side beaches and be a happy camper I'd bet ((-:

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6. Re: First Time Visitor with Questions

I was a first time visitor this summer so I can offer a little bit of help on your questions

No-seeums were something I was really worried about based on this forum and other research. I came prepared with off deep woods and cactus juice. Off worked, cactus juice, not so much. I was pretty fortunate to only get 3-4 bites total over the week. If bugs tend to love you, I would be sure to bring off.

I did not bring crocs or water shoes for the beach, but I would recommend them. There are a lot of shells and I stepped on sharp pieces of shell multiple times. Save your feet, bring some water shoes!

Ft. Myers is the closest airport.

We stayed towards the mid island area, which was a pretty central location for us for restaurants and shopping.

Hope this helps, and enjoy your trip. Sanibel is an absolutely wonderful place to visit. Like I said I was a first time visitor last month and we are planning our next trip to Sanibel already.

Ithaca, New York
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7. Re: First Time Visitor with Questions

Not sure that I'm adding anything but here's my advice.

1. Noseeums--seem to live in the areas of vegetation, seaweed areas on beach. Supposedly can't fly very high or in wind, but can fit through screening (except special small-holed type). My takeaway is fans on lanai, condo on upper level & be wary of dinner outdoors. Also (per a contributor on this forum) Preparation H is our post bite relief.

2. Shoes-- I either go barefoot or use flipflops depending on the condition of the beach. I did wear crocs the first year or two. I find it easier to shake the sand from the ff's. You may want to wear something on your feet to get to the beach (some complexes have boardwalks that can be rough on the feet). Also another note of caution: try to remember to use a "shuffle" walk in the water. You don't want to step on a ray by mistake.

3. Lucky you. Direct flights to RSW. Incredibly easy airport. I either rent a car at RSW or get a pickup with Sanibel Taxi and rent a car through Hertz on Sanibel (less expensive then & save myself the hassle of car return for an early am flight).

4. I prefer the West Gulf end where I am now an owner, but stayed stayed for years at Island Beach Club and also tried Point Santo and Sundial a few years; as well as a house on the west end & one near Oceans Reach. I've never stayed on the East end, but when I'm alone bike everywhere. I've walked the beach from IBC to the Lighthouse & most everything seems nice just a little more busy. I guess it all depends on what you want to be near or far from.

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8. Re: First Time Visitor with Questions

I've only worn flip flops on the beach. Never felt the need for water shoes but that's just me.

In my 5 trips to Sanibel I've never had a problem with the noseeums. They must not like me, but they did like my husband :-)

Definitely fly into Ft. Meyers.. It's one of my favorite airports.

Hope you decide to make a trip to Sanibel. I was hooked after my first trip.

United States
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9. Re: First Time Visitor with Questions

You've gotten a lot of good advice so I will only add that, whether or not you need shoes on the sand seems to depend on how tough your feet are. I can go barefoot, but my husband screams with pain if he steps on a shell! If you are a barefoot walking person at home, won't be much of a problem.

Oh, and don't let the noseeums scare you. We talk about worse case scenarios sometimes on this forum. Usually they are a minor problem.

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: First Time Visitor with Questions

Noseeums what to use to keep them away?

What the best remedy is for the itching tips. Do noseeums ever leave? YES, they are killed off by the cold, so we don't have them much in winter…..also mostly dawn and dusk they are around.

Island Pharmacy makes a special treatment for the bites.

Preparation-H. And or cold packs

Calamine lotion

In the future....dusk brings them out....I can't believe how well skin so soft works.

Throw two cups of Epsom salts in a bath and soak. Do this daily for a couple days.

Rub the inside of a banana peal on them!

A hot blow dryer on them and benadryl oral and topical.

 sounds really crazy but it works!!! mine didn't come out for 2 days after getting bit!!! It was so bad that I had to call into work but I covered each of mine with a dab of clear nail polish ... problem solved... that was years ago!!! but it worked

 I got eaten alive last September.... I tried everything ..... Used tubes of anti itch creams and the spray on stuff worked well... Took three weeks to stop itching !!!! But, I read that you do build up an immunity to the little monsters!!!

 Lavender essential o or tea tee o works too!

Benadryl gel.

Try toothpaste. Don't laugh it works.

Use a credit card and 'raked' it up their legs to get the tiny stinger out and then applied whatever they chose to use for the bites. I'm one that coats myself heavily with Deep Woods Off...haven't had a problem. Good luck...I know it can be miserable for a while!

hydrocortozone cream.

The Dr told us to find a product with 30% DEET and wear long sleeves and long pants. As for treating the bites, there is a great product, IF you can find it, called After Bite it (I think it is just white vinegar)

 If worse comes to worse, go see the Doc and he can give you a steroid injection and some potent cream. 

Cortisone cream

Tips gathered from the Sanibel Island FB page