Saturday, May 18, 2024

Local Getaway: Sanibel Island

A two-and-a-half-hour drive straight across the Florida peninsula from Boca Raton is an island safe haven called Sanibel. The island is home to approximately 7,000 residents, and there are no high-rise buildings or chain restaurants in sight. Sanibel gives every person an authentic and tranquil beach town feel. Because Sanibel Island isn’t as touristy as the Bahamas or Key West, the beaches are less occupied, which leaves you in the soothing company of the ocean waves. Sanibel is also known for its spectacular marine and wildlife. Guests and residents of the island routinely see dolphins, sea turtles, birds and Sanibel’s famous abundance of seashells. Sanibel Island is a no-brainer when looking for a local getaway. It’s perfect for a family vacation or a romantic honeymoon.

The best hotels to stay in:

  1. Casa Ybel: This resort’s suites will make you feel like you have your own private vacation. Each suite includes a kitchenette, living room and an outdoor grill. The proximity of each suite to the beach allows you the ability to wake up and take a walk along the sand while drinking your morning coffee.
  2. Island Inn: This inn offers you the choice of either a luxurious hotel room or a spacious yet home-y beach cottage. Each gives you the relaxing inn feel and awe-inspiring nearness to the beautiful ocean. The inn is such a warm and cozy place—couples come from all over the country to have their weddings hosted at the Island Inn.
  3. South Seas Island Resort: This resort (pictured) is the perfect combination between luxurious resort and personal beach getaway. The hotel is your vacation—the secluded resort has 2.5 miles of white-sand beaches, 13 pools, 6 restaurants, a 9-hole golf course, a relaxing spa and a marina that is home to many visible manatees.

The greatest restaurants to dine at:

  1. The Lazy Flamingo is where you’ll see all of Sanibel’s fisherman. Come with your own fish and they will blacken, fry or grill your catch, and they’ll throw in some fries.
  2. Traditions on the Beach is for music and food lovers alike. The restaurant has nightly live music to complement its seafood dishes, especially the Grilled Diver Scallops.
  3. The Bubble Room is famed for its colorful decorations and whimsical décor. While the food is great, it’s the desserts that keep you coming back for more (even on the same day). They have an award-winning cake—the Orange Crunch (pictured)—that is a must-try.
  4. The Island Cow is a family owned restaurant right on the beach. It’s great for young kids and adults because it has live music, outdoor lawn games and daily drink specials and happy hours. You must order the famous Ragin Cajun Bloody—it’s definitely not your average Bloody Mary.

Things to do:

  1. J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is an incredible wild life preserve with a variety of birds, fish and alligators. Don’t forget to bring binoculars with you!
  2. The name Yolo Watersports doesn’t give its amenities justice. From jet skis to bicycles, Yolo Watersports gives you the opportunity to choose from a variety of fun day activities on land or water.
  3. Bait Box is the place to rent inexpensive and great fishing equipment and gear.
  4. Tarpon Bay Explorers has an array of different tours throughout the day, from an early morning kayak tour to a sunset cruise.
  5. Sanibel Thriller (pictured) is the must-do activity on the island. The speedboat takes guests out onto the open water, giving them full coverage to Sanibel’s beautiful jumping dolphins.

From your toes to your head:

You’ll need flip flops for all the walking you’ll be doing either on the beach or on the sandy, paved streets, and boat shoes for the fishing trips and boat outings. Cover yourself with swimsuits and light cover ups; it’s always casual day on the island. Don’t forget sunglasses and sunscreen to protect your eyes and skin from the constant sun exposure. And of course, a big floppy hat.

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About Shellie

Shellie Frai is a sophomore at the University of Florida studying Journalism and Public Relations, who is interning at Boca Magazine this summer. She lives her life according to the three f’s: fashion, food, and family. However, sometimes she might say that fashion feeds her mind more than family and food. You can reach Shellie at shellie@bocamag.com, but if she doesn’t respond, it’s because she’s laying on a beach somewhere.

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