Sanibel & Captiva Travel Guide

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As I shared last week, I spent the first week in June in my old hometown of Fort Myers, FL and Sanibel/Captiva. I really loved going back as a tourist and actually experiencing the town in a new way. While I had been to the resort we stayed at before, I had never been to the iconic Edison & Ford Estates. I also got to explore Sanibel and Captiva like never before. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to partner with Lee County for this blogger trip so I can share all the fun with you! Let me know in the comments below if you plan to visit the area. I’d love an excuse to chat about my trip some more! Here is what I did and what I would recommend:

Where to Stay
When it comes to where to stay in southwest Florida, South Seas Island Resort is the way to go. The enormous resort offers over 450 rooms, condos and private waterfront homes, 9 restaurants & bars (including Starbucks!) and tons of activities right on site. Most places will accept your room card as payment too so you don’t have to worry about bringing too much with you as you’re having fun and relaxing!

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Where to Eat
My favorite restaurant on the grounds of South Seas was Harbourside Grill. The walk to the restaurant is gorgeous as it sits on the marina with views of beautiful boats. One night after dinner, we actually saw some friendly manatees having some fun in water. Seeing animals in nature is so soothing – we all loved it!

If you venture down to downtown Fort Myers (about a 45 minute drive from South Seas), I strongly suggest The Twisted Vine. As the name suggests, they specialize in wine, but the food is incredibly tasty. I got the truffle fries and Brie BLT. Yum! Other faves included Cheeseburger Paradise on Cabbage Key, which is accessible only by boat, Doc Ford’s, and Gramma Dot’s.

What to Do
for adventure
I finally went parasailing! I am so surprised that I was actually brave enough to do it, but it was actually quite calm and peaceful when I was up there. We didn’t see any animals in the water, so I guess I’ll just have to do it again. We went through Sunny Island Adventures, which is located at South Seas. Super convenient! They also offer waverunner adventures, bike rentals, boat rentals, paddle boards, kayaks and more!

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to learn
One of my favorite parts about this trip was really surprising: I loved learning about all kinds of shells and marine life. We went to The National Seashell Museum and learned so much about the lives of the animals that live inside the shells. Some of them actually eat each other! Crazy!

Another cool learning stop was the Edison & Ford Estates. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were total BFFs and neighbors when they lived in Fort Myers during the winters. In addition to the museum, there’s actually a botanical garden and research lab on site, which was my favorite part. I love flowers and plants, so it was really cool to be able to tour the facilities. I even found the cutest, tiniest little pineapple.

to relax
If you’re looking to relax, I definitely recommend Captiva Cruises. We did the Cayo Costa State Park shelling cruise and the Cabbage Key lunch & dolphin cruise. There’s booze on the boat and you can either sit in the sun or in the shade. What else do you need for a perfectly relaxing afternoon? Nada.

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I actually ended up having even more fun than I expected to have. Isn’t is funny how much a place can change based on your perspective? I loved living in Florida as a teenage, but going back now, I have so much more appreciation for the island life offered on Sanibel and Captiva. Almost everything is locally owned and everyone is just so friendly – my two favorite things about traveling!

Have you ever been to Sanibel or Captiva?