Many of our Island Inn resort guests say that staying on Sanibel or Captiva Island has ruined all of the other beach spots for them. At Island Inn, we’re happy that’s true. We love reading guests’ comments on travel sites after they return home and begin dreaming of their next visit. Often, they say Sanibel/Captiva is a special place, with much less development than the rest of the Gulf Coast. Even so, there are many places even more remote and sparsely populated than the islands. So, what is it that visitors love the most – that keeps drawing them back year after year?
In the supermarket, “fresh” means the seafood has not been frozen. When you are on Sanibel and Captiva Island, “fresh” often means the seafood was caught, prepared and served all in the same day. You can taste the difference. Whether you dine in a resort restaurant like Island Inn’s Traditions on the Beach or purchase a few fillets from a dockside fish market and cook them yourself, your perception of the taste of seafood will change for the better. The waters of the Gulf of Mexico and estuaries near Sanibel and Captiva are teeming with a full menu of the most desirable varieties, including shrimp, mussels, snapper, flounder, grouper, oysters, redfish and more.
There is no other way to put it – Sanibel and Captiva Island have built a reputation as one of the top destinations for conchophiles – people who love seashells! Every day, these beautiful and unusual natural creations wash ashore in great numbers, representing hundreds of varieties. Shell collectors and enthusiasts come from all over the world to stroll the beaches near Island Inn resort in the cool dawn, stooping every few feet to examine another find. Don’t worry – even if you know nothing about seashells you’ll find plenty – especially after an offshore storm or a windy day. The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum (shellmuseum.org) showcases shells from around the world and, of course, from Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
For such a quiet little island, guests are continually surprised by the many shopping choices Sanibel and Captiva afford. From swanky designer shops to funky and artsy galleries, strolling Periwinkle Way is a stimulating diversion after days spent relaxing on the beach. Whether you are looking for a new outfit or an affordable souvenir, the shops of Captiva and Sanibel aim to please.
Not crowded but not deserted. Casual but not junky. Relaxed but not sleepy. No high-rise sprawl but plenty to do – Sanibel and Captiva are renowned for generations of travelers seeking the perfect balance of the good things – the “old Florida” way of life.