Situated in a quiet residential neighborhood, with spacious, clean comfortable rooms, tastefully decorated in nautical themes with shells everywhere, comfortable beds and modern appliances, the West-End Paradise feels more like a second vacation home than a resort destination. Screened in porches, local wildlife (birds, turtles, frogs, snakes & alligators), kind hosts, a shell washing facility, decks overlooking the on-site ponds and a short distance to the beach put this over-the-top on the rating scale.
The beach is privately owned by an association with free access via your reservation. The pure white sand buffers a wide beach with tons and tons of shells, more than you could ever hope to sort through. Did I mention the solitude? Often times, this stretch of beach, which appears to be about 3-4 miles north to south, was completely barren. I was surprised to see a group of six people a mile away at sunset one night. The water was warm and clear and dolphins are a common sight.
The island is quiet, with a slow speed limit, tons of eating establishments, gasoline, two grocery's, a multitude of bike paths, lots of souvenir shops, a few upscale clothery's, a light beacon (not a lighthouse!) with boardwalks, a few public beaches and of, course, the Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge whose entrance is but a stone's throw from West-End.
I'd be surprised if the West-End Paradise isn't a huge hit with birders/photographers. On site are nesting Green, Yellow-crowned Night and Little-blue Herons, Common Moorhens, Eastern Screech Owls and visitors including White Ibis, Pileated Woodpecker and Anhinga. I caught the tail end of the warbler migration with Blackpoll, Black and White, Black-throated Blue, Cape May and Prairie Warblers, American Redstart, Ovenbird and Gray Catbird. Overhead, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Red-shouldered Hawks, Osprey and Swallow-tailed Kites rule the skies and give way to Common Nighthawks in the evening.
The beach featured Snowy, Black-bellied and Lesser Golden Plovers, Ruddy Turnstone, Least, Forster's and Royal Terns, Sanderling, Brown Pelican, Osprey, Snowy Egret and others. Ding Darling coughed up a Roseate Spoonbill, Wilson's Plover, Reddish Egrets and a host of warblers. The light beacon boardwalk and the causeway to Ft Myers are also good birding areas.
In all, a fabulous vacation, a quiet and relaxing time was had and I was able to enjoy and photograph wildlife during a family vacation. Oh, and my 4-year old loved the day Jennifer let him run through the sprinkler for over an hour!
- Also Known As:
- West-End Paradise Hotel Sanibel Island
- West-End Paradise Sanibel Island, Florida