How are you planning your trip to the Florida Gulf Coast? We’re always interested to hear how our guests end up making their decisions. For many, the process begins with hours of online research of Sanibel Island hotels or accommodations in southwest Florida. Some people take a chance and make their choice based on a quick impression of the property’s website. Others dissect the information from numerous travel sites, making their own analysis of the pros and cons of each location.

Whether you enjoy this activity or not, throughout your planning process you will build up a set of expectations for your destination – how it will look and how you will feel when you are there. Anticipating your vacation is a big part of the fun of vacationing. Of course, you hope that the picture you paint in your mind doesn’t eclipse the actual experience once you get there!

First, you have to decide on a location. There are more than 2,000 miles of shoreline in Florida – so “going to the beach” is a really wide starting point. Maybe you’d like the water to be warm and the surf to be calm? This describes Florida’s southwest Gulf coast, with its tranquil aqua marine water that is swimmable for most days of the year.

Another level of choice comes down to style. Do you want a bustling, party atmosphere, chain restaurants with big parking lots, beach vendors and a view from your 12th-floor condo? Or, would you really rather have private access to a quiet stretch of beach, and a quaint downtown business district you can stroll at your leisure? If the second option appeals to you, you just crossed over to Sanibel Island. Natural landscapes on Sanibel are the norm, since the island has controlled development carefully since the Florida building boom threatened in the early 1960s. In fact, a majority of the island’s land area is protected by the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

Once you’ve decided on Sanibel, choosing a place to rest your head can still be an overwhelming chore. Go back to the picture you imagined. If your preferences have led you to Sanibel so far, wouldn’t you want to choose lodging that embodies the Sanibel way of life? Of course, we’re partial. But since 1895, people have chosen the Island Inn as their Sanibel retreat. The historic Island Inn beachfront resort has worked hard ever since to make sure the vacation you imagined and looked forward to, turns into a sandy, sunny reality. Let us know how we’re doing!