Walking through the shaded residential streets of Captiva feels more like a Costa Rican adventure than a jaunt through the average Florida beach town. With its big, overarching trees and the relaxing sounds of nature always nearby, the island is the perfect place for a peaceful getaway. During a recent week on Captiva, each evening included a cinematic vision of dolphins frolicking in the ocean against the rosy sunset.

As summer draws to a close, there’s just enough time to squeeze in a last-minute trip to Florida’s west coast. Read on for a crash course on what Captiva has to offer.


A rental house: Rent one of Royal Shell Vacations’ private homes, many of which are just a short walk from the beach. There are more than 70 properties on the island that can accommodate between four and 20 people. (800/656-9111)

South Seas Island Resort: Located directly on the Gulf of Mexico, South Seas offers a variety of housing accommodations to choose from, including cottages, private homes, condos and comfortable hotel rooms. The resort also serves as a wildlife preserve and has its own golf course and on-site dining. (239/472-5111)


Go fishing: Captiva’s pristine waters provide the opportunity to fish year-round. New fisherman and veteran anglers alike can charter a boat for offshore fishing (try Snook Stamp Fishing Charters at 239/313-1764), or cast their bait right along the beaches. Popular spots in the area include Tarpon Bay and the Sanibel Fishing Pier, located bayside of the Sanibel Lighthouse.

Rent water toys: At YOLO Watersports (239/472-9656) you can keep the whole family entertained with parasailing, WaveRunners, banana boats, paddleboards and more.


Mucky Duck: Located in a renovated beach house right on the water, The Mucky Duck is a crowd favorite on the island. Patrons can sit outside and enjoy dinner while watching the sunset. Make sure to try an order of its famous duck fingers! (239/472-3434)

The Bubble Room: Celebrate Christmas year-round at The Bubble Room, a multi-themed restaurant down the street from the beach. It’s impossible not to smile in the quirky setting, filled with trains, Christmas lights and waiters dressed in Boy Scout uniforms. (239/472-5558)