Happy Friday everyone! Anyone celebrating St Pat’s this weekend? I’m hooking up with one of my good friends from college, Jess, tomorrow to celebrate the holiday. Jess and I actually spent St Pat’s together in Galway, Ireland 6 years ago when studying abroad so we’re excited to “relive” the holiday together (with less alcohol involved! lol!).
Since we got back from our Sanibel vacation a week ago, I knew I wanted to do a round-up of all of my outfit posts. These are outfits that are perfect for any beach vacation or spring break you have coming up! I also took an Instagram poll this week to see who would be interested in a Sanibel Travel Guide as well. It looks like the majority of people do want a travel guide so I’ll be incorporating that into this post as well!
**A TON of my sandals are from DSW. Be sure to use code LUCKY for 20% off thru 3/18!**
**For any pieces from LOFT use code JACKPOT for 40% off thru 3/18!**
Somehow didn’t get a good shot of this suit other than this one!
What to Do in Sanibel Island Florida
As previously mentioned, Kev & I traveled to Sanibel for my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary along with my sister and her fam. My parents as well as sister + fam have gone for the last few years, and we were happy to be able to join this time! If there’s one thing I’ll say about Sanibel Island, it’s that it’s a very family oriented travel destination. Most restaurants close by 9PM and the busiest times of day are from 12:00-3:00 PM. However, it’s a place that’s perfect to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There are no traffic lights on the island, it’s not very commercialized and at night you can see ALL of the stars. It truly feels like an escape! Read below for my recommendations on places to Stay, Eat and What to Do!
Where to Stay:
There’s really no bad place to stay in Sanibel because the island is pretty tiny. However, I would suggest staying in Sanibel v. Captiva. Captiva is an island connected by a bridge directly north of Sanibel. It’s even smaller and has less commodities so would make it difficult to stay there more than a few days! Anywhere on W Gulf Drive in Sanibel is the perfect location. You’ll have beach access but can easily access the rest of the island via bike or car! Make sure your hotel has a pool as Sanibel has a shell beach, not a sandy beach. Although you can sit out on the beach in a chair, you likely won’t be laying out on a towel like you would in other areas of Florida!
We stayed at the West Wind Inn, which is a smaller resort with a pool/bar in the center that opens out onto the beach. Every room has a screened in porch, which is perfect for leaving your hotel room door open and having it feel like you’re outside! The pool is heated so even on the cooler days there were still a lot of people in it. The bar at the pool does serve drinks, but they are on the pricier end ($10+), which is to be expected. Even though we weren’t supposed to, we did sneak in our own drinks and food to the pool area so it can be done! 😋 The resort is undergoing renovations so our room was recently updated but still had the coastal charm!
Another perk of the West Wind is that they rent out paddle boards free for 2 hours and bike rentals for 24 hours per room. We actually kept our bikes for 48 hours and were never charged extra! There’s also a restaurant on site in case you want an easy meal. It’s reasonably priced, and I had one of the best burgers there the last night of our stay!
Where to Eat:
If you’re like me and live 1000+ miles from the nearest ocean, you eat ALL the seafood when you’re near the coast! Here are a few of the places we tried and LOVED in Sanibel
Island Cow: I kid you not, we went here 4 times (lol). We may be biased because the place is owned by Wisconsinites. But that aside, they have a crazy huge menu with so many good options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We came twice with the whole fam (including my sister’s little ones who are 7, 4 and 1) and twice on our own. It’s very family friendly but also good for just couples. And, with a front and back patio, as well as yard games like bags, this is just a fun place to hang out during the afternoon! Plus, they serve super good muffins with every meal! However, be prepared to wait. This place is super popular and almost always has a 20-40 minute wait.
The one downside of Island Cow was their tap beer selection. I felt it was pretty limited. They also had a few mixed drinks that were pretty pricy ($12+). But overall would highly recommend this spot!
George & Wendy’s Sanibel Seafood Grille: We went here for dinner one night with the whole fam and had speedy service + super good food! My sister and I both got their Coconut Shrimp (a house speciality), and it was AMAZING! They also have great kid options and non-seafood options as well. We did make a reservation ahead of time; however, it wasn’t too busy when we got there around 7:00 PM.
Il Cielo: If you’re looking for upscale dining on the island – this is it. We went here for a double date with my sister and her husband. They’ve been going for the last 3 years so we knew it was gonna be good! I had the scallops and stole some of my sister’s lobster ravioli. Although their scallops are award-winning, their lobster ravioli was to die for! We also had their calamari appetizer, another award winner of theirs, which was equally amazing! We made reservations ahead of time because this place does get pretty busy! They have options for both outdoor and indoor seating.
Matzaluna: Kevin and I did not go here; however, the rest of my family did. The night they went, Kevin and I had a date night, which I’ll talk about here in a second. However, my mom and sister raved about this place as having amazing Italian food. This was their first time going, and they went on a suggestion from another islander! If you’re looking for a break from your traditional seafood, this seems like a good option!
The Mucky Duck (on Captiva): Kev and I started our date night out here. We did not eat but picked up some beers from their bar and took them to the beach to watch the sunset. A LOT of people do this, but The Mucky Duck has it down to a science! We ordered and were out in 5 minutes tops. My one suggestion is to get there at least an hour before sunset or else you’ll have to park pretty far away! Getting a brew and going to the beach next door is super popular! We saw THE BEST sunset on our vacation from this spot. It was gorgeous!
Bubble Room (on Captiva): This is a very well known restaurant on Captiva. It’s very eclectic. It’s made up of a ton of little separate dining rooms all decorated with memorabilia from old hollywood. Each room and table have a separate theme. We got an appetizer here and drinks. Both were super good! Like I’ve said before, even at home, Kev and I tend to get apps at one restaurant and head to another for dinner so we can hit multiple spots. Bubble Room is perfect for a family dinner because there are so many things for kids to look at and do!
The Mad Hatter: We intended to end our date night here but got to the restaurant around 8:15PM, and they had a 40 minute wait. We really wanted to head back to the room early to eat dessert and binge HGTV together (lol) and decided to head back and just get pizza (from this place). The Mad Hatter has phenomenal reviews but be sure to make a reservation ahead of time!
Here are some other places we ate at or heard were amazing:
Cantina Captiva (such good Mexican food and a great spot in Captiva that wasn’t super packed!)
Sanibel Cafe (BEST chicken salad ever!)
Sunset Grille (Captiva)
What To Do:
Sanibel is definitely a place to go for relaxation! We did a lot of biking around and laying by the pool (no complaints here!). As I said earlier, it’s a shell beach so be prepared to lay by the pool v. on the beach. My sister and I also took several walks because there are SO many trails on the island! Watch out for alligators though! 🙊
Here are some great things to do around the island!
Billy’s Bike Rental (great alternative if your hotel doesn’t rent them out!)
National Shell Museum (great place for kids!)
Day trip to Fort Myers
Given most of the island closes around 9:00PM, Sanibel is a VERY family friendly travel destination! On our last night there, our waiter mentioned heading to Fort Myers for the night because they have a great night life. If you’re in your 20’s and kid free, definitely plan to head there for a night out!
All in all Sanibel was a great destination for a spring getaway! I think the island is best suited for families with small children because of the times things are open and how many activities there are to do!
So I think that about covers it! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
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