Island Vacation Tips From the Locals

Accommodations

•   Sanibel Moorings has 1, 2 and 3 bedroom suites with all the comforts of home. Situated beachfront, you can enjoy shelling just steps from your front door, swimming in the two heated pools – along with a wading pool for the little ones! If boating is in your vacation plans, the Moorings has their own dock in the quiet canal that backs the property. Relax and do as much – or as little – as you wish.

•   Your family will love staying at Sanibel Arms West. Sitting directly on the Gulf of Mexico and boasting a screened pool, clubhouse with sun deck and private tennis courts this is the perfect spot for family fun and relaxation. Bring your boat – there is a boat dock right on the property!

________________________________________

Packing

•   Bring a pair of binoculars – wildlife on the islands is shockingly abundant and you’ll miss out if you don’t have a pair. They also come in handy at the beach.

•   Coming in summer? Pack cotton. Tropical climates are tough in synthetic fabrics.

•   Sunblock: Buy it, Bring it, Use it! Sand and water both reflect the sun’s rays and it is possible to get a bad burn even under an umbrella or on a cloudy day.

•   If you plan to boat, especially in summer, pack a long-sleeve cotton shirt to block sunrays. For fall or autumn visits, bring a windbreaker or light sweater.

•   A visor or cap is a great idea. Buy one when you arrive if you don’t have one at home.

•   Polarized sunglasses will change your entire vacation! If you don’t own a pair, make it a priority to pick up an inexpensive pair when you arrive (Bailey’s Hardware and CVS both sell them for under $20). Polarized lenses cut down tremendously on the glare and allow you to see into the water clearly – a big help with shelling, fishing, boating and sightseeing!

________________________________________

Attire

•   Ladies often carry a light sweater for air conditioned restaurants year round. Jackets are not necessary for men, unless you’re planning a really elegant evening somewhere. No restaurant on the islands requires a jacket. Pants or shorts and a nice short-sleeve shirt are commonly worn to dinner. You’re on vacation, so be casual – BUT not too casual! Bathing suits are for the pools and beach, not restaurants and grocery stores. And please, leave the oversized tank tops at home.

________________________________________

Shelling

•   Great shells don’t always wash up on the beach. Get out there at low tide, in water up to your knees with your polarized glasses. Walk slowly and carry a bag for your finds. Watch our video Seashell Secrets for Hot Tips. And whatever you do, DON’T TAKE LIVE SHELLS, SANDDOLLARS, STARFISH OR SEA URCHINS!! It’s illegal and the fines are hefty. Look inside to see if “someone’s home’ before you take his home out of the sea or off the beach.

________________________________________

Traffic

•   Traffic is only an issue in March and April. In those months, you’ll want to run your errands before noon, keeping in mind that left turns are tough! We HIGHLY recommend planning your trip so you can make all right turns (yes, seriously). In the weeks of high season, plan to be off Periwinkle Way between 3:00 and 6:00pm.

•   Pedistrians and bicyclists have the right of way. Get into the habit of checking the bike paths before pulling out and keep a sharp eye, especially for small children. At the same time – Pedistrians & Bicyclists – Please do NOT assume that because you have the right of way, traffic is paying attention! You are responsible for riding on the paths, not the road and for obeying the traffic instructions on the path.

________________________________________

Photos

•   If you are considering having a family portrait taken on the beach while you’re here, plan to pack coordinating clothes. All white, khaki & white, navy & white or all one color work extremely well outdoors and coordinated casual outfits really enhance the picture. We love this idea and the families/couples who do it cherish their pictures, often repeating every year or so in the same location marking their family’s growth.

________________________________________

Entertainment

•   Coconuts Pool Bar & Grill at Casa Ybel Resort is open to the public – don’t hesitate to walk up from the beach or park on property. You can enjoy a cold drink and a light meal in shaded comfort while overlooking the Gulf. Often, popular live entertainment is featured. Swimsuits welcome!

•   Head to the Crow’s Nest Lounge at ‘Tween Waters Inn for NASCRAB racing. Go early to get a table for dinner with spectacular sunset views and join in on the fun. The family show starts at 6pm, followed by the adult (21 and older only) show at 9pm.