By: Lindsey Rawson-Lin
You don’t always have to go far to find paradise. Sanibel Island, off the coast of Fort Myers, Florida, offers many of the experiences of an exotic island getaway, and it won’t cost you the stress, cash, or headaches of an international vacation.
Rolling waves caressing white sandy shores, the smell of the ocean in the air, and quiet…much needed quiet is what you will find in this lazy tranquil Southwestern Florida vacation spot. The treasures that Sanibel Island offers are endless; colorful restaurants, sandy streets, pleasant inhabitants. The beaches are quiet, the sunsets are indescribable, and you can’t help but put your diet on hiatus, because the food is fantastic.
Crossing the causeway from Fort Myers, Florida onto Sanibel you are transported into another world. A world that artists dream up and writers pen, of pink houses, white sandy beaches, and warm gulf waters. A place that is special, that many people come back to year after year. You won’t find chain restaurants except for a Dairy Queen, and you won’t find high-rises dotting the beaches like most of present day Florida. What you will find is a special haven in this chaotic world of over commercialization and technology.
A week is a must on the Island. Anything less and you are teasing yourself and your loved ones. It is the ideal family trip, the place for making castles out of sand and dreaming and experiencing a world where peace and harmony commune with nature.
The beaches and sunsets are only a few of the highlights. Bowman’s Beach offers the milkiest beach and best sunset views on the island. Blind Pass offers the best shelling. Just about anywhere on the Island, whether it be the main drag of Periwinkle or the secluded areas of Captiva, you can find wonderful fresh food and fare. If you have never been to Sanibel try the Mucky Duck (and ask for a window seat) or McT’s, famous for its’ all you can eat crab and shrimp.
For activities besides beach bumming, bike paths are located all throughout the island. There are many nature preserves that are a part of J.N. Ding Darling Nature Preserve where you can visit the local Florida wildlife in its true essence. If you feel like leaving your chaise lounge chair, try the canoe trips at Tarpon Bay, a fun and exciting journey through Sanibel’s backwaters. You might see alligators, you might see sea turtles, you will definitely see plenty of pelicans and exotic birds.
There are many resorts on the Island catering to all. If you want a condo with hotel amenities, try the Sundial Resort, it’s wonderfully luxurious and has restaurants, activities, and a bar on-site. If you like it quieter go for one of the condo communities, like Sand Pointe. Most places will offer up close and personal ocean views so you can fall asleep to the calming waves or rest on your screened porch in the afternoon, close your eyes, and take a much needed siesta.
If you’re looking to escape a hectic life, or just looking to spend some time on a little piece of heaven that isn’t too far away, check out Sanibel Island. It is a place where even the most cynical of souls will lighten up, relax, and have a good time.