We are in Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico area, a casket that once opened reveals all its beauties. We have already visited Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach and now we are leaving Sanibel Island to reach our destination, the little one Captiva Island connected to it by the Sanibel-Captiva Road and the Sanibel Causeway bridge.
Tranquility, relaxation, ideal spaces for sports activities, good cuisine in fun clubs, beautiful white sand beaches and enchanting sunsets (terrific, as they call them here); this is Captiva Island, our destination often considered an excursion from Sanibel Island, Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach. We have dedicated more time to her and we are sure we have made the right choice because she deserves it. Enjoy Captiva!
- A bit of history
- The beaches of Captiva Island
- Turner Beach
- Captiva Beach
- Captiva Village
- Where to eat
- Where sleeping on Captiva Island
- How to reach it
A bit of history
This strip of land (less than nine kilometers long and 800 meters wide at the highest point) is accessible only by car. The islands of Captiva and Sanibel were once one and the same until in 1926 a terrible hurricane divided them creating a channel in the gulf called Blind Pass. A part of the island, rich in mangroves and sabal palms (a native species of Florida and symbol of the state), is privately owned.
The story goes that pirates wandered around here, that i Spanish conquistadors they explored it and that the Calusa Indians inhabited it until the 700th century. Old legends tell that the name of the island derives from the fact that the pirate Gasparilla brought here, in a sort of prison, the women he captured. Another of its inhabitants, much quieter, was the pop art artist Roy Lichtenstein. Before him, in the 800th century, a certain Mr. Binder from Austria was reaching New Orleans by boat and was shipwrecked on this island. For ten years he was the only inhabitant and is now buried in the Chapel by the Sea cemetery.
Captiva is a small island with a history of particular characters. Then the turning point between the end of the 800th and the beginning of the 900th century when the great fish potential, the on-site studies by President Roosevelt and the scientist Coles on shark and manta ray meat, as well as the arrival of the post office , kicked off the development of the island and its economic growth. Over the years, the face of Captiva has changed, hotels have sprung up, restaurants and activities have been launched that have not, however, changed the natural beauty of the island.
The beaches of Captiva Island
The island is known for its transparent waters, beaches of white and soft sand where a few colored umbrellas create a chromatic contrast worthy of a photographic shot, shells in all pastel shades, suggestive sunsets, splendid boat tours, fishing and aquatic entertainment. Those who come here are looking for peace, tranquility, warm climate, relaxation, beaches but also many sports activities related to the sea.
As soon as I got off the bridge that connects Capitva to Sanibel, Turner Beach (17200 Captiva Dr.) with its rocky pier welcomes us to the island. It is a very popular place among shell collectors and not only: for all those who love to observe sunsets (including us) this is one of the ideal places from which to observe them. A tip for those who intend to swim: it is important to stay away from the deck area where the waters get deep quickly and a strong surf can form. This coastline is accessible 7 days a week from sunrise to sunset.
At the end of Captiva Drive, at number 14790, you enter Captiva Beach, another “remarkable” beach. Observing the jumping dolphins, the birds taking flight, the sun setting and turning red this beautiful corner of nature creates an indelible memory and for this reason many define it as romantic. The coast with calm waters is suitable for families who can have pleasant picnics in the dedicated area. Access to this beach is also allowed from sunrise to sunset.
We find nearby The Chapel by the Sea (11580 Chapin Ln.), A pretty white church that welcomes people of all religions, open from the second week of November until April. The religious function takes place on Sundays at 11 and the thing we like is that at the end of the service the faithful do not leave the church immediately but stop to chat, spend a convivial moment sipping a drink and enjoying some sweets; in short, it becomes a community.
Unsurprisingly, there is a named area Millionaire's Row (Captiva Rd.) In which luxury residences have sprung up, villas facing the Gulf of Mexico and even the bay, each with its own private dock. We agree with the choice of those who have decided to take a home in this location.
For a bit of outdoor adventure we turn to Captiva Watersports (15951 Captiva Dr.) where boats, jet skis, rods and fishing lures can be hired. The company has water taxis (by reservation) that make round-trip services to Cayo Costa, Boca Grand, Useppa Island and Cabbage Key.
In Captiva it is also possible to try paddle boarding, the thrill of jet skiing, kate surfing and parasailing. It should be borne in mind that sometimes the sea is flat while on other occasions it is lively and then, depending on the water conditions, the ideal activity is chosen.
In various locations on the island, theIsland Hopper Singer Songwriter Festival, an appointment that sees famous songwriters perform. In 2017 the event also took place in nearby Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach.
We have momentarily left the beaches and now we are at Captiva Village, in the city core at the intersection of Captiva Drive and Andy Rosse Lane where we are shops e outdoor; this is the heart of local life. In addition to the shopping possibilities, we find restaurants, cafes, hotels and a small library, all in a colorful and friendly atmosphere. We feel good here, we like it.
Where to eat
We report some restaurants serving good and "generous" dishes. We enjoy Mexican and American Southwest food from Winery Captiva (14970 Captiva Dr.) in an indoor and outdoor location. The venue has a casual vibe with colorful tropical-style furnishings and the ceiling is particular to the dollar bills that hang around it.
We must then leave room for an excellent dessert from The Bubble Room (15001 Capiva Dr.), a local institution, easily identifiable for its colorful building. Among some of his most popular desserts we have chosen Key Lime Pie, Red Velvet and Cheesecake. The delicacies are not the only attractions of this very famous place, with an adjoining gift shop, opened in 1979. One room is Christmas-themed all year round and in the other rooms the collection of objects (games, decorations and various oddities) continues to to grow up. Some dishes on the menu have particular names like: Napoleon Bonapart, An American in Paris and The Louis Armstrong. You shouldn't leave Captiva without visiting this particular venue.Are you planning a Florida tour?
I recommend these articles:
- How to organize a Florida tour on your own?
- Car rental Miami and Florida: low cost practical tips
- Florida climate: when to go and what temperatures to expect
- Miami Travel Guide: Useful Tips for Planning a Vacation
- Low Cost USA flights: how to save money for your flight to the United States
- America health insurance: how to choose the best policy
The next three restaurants are located within two hotels. All 'Old Captiva House (15951 Captiva Dr. at the Tween Waters Inn) experience a casual atmosphere while gazing out over the Gulf of Mexico. The menu features fresh fish and sushi. From Harbourside Bar & Grill (5400 S. Seas Plantation Rd. At the South Seas Island Resort) the vibe is casual and nautical-inspired. The restaurant, overlooking a beautiful marina, serves fish cuisine but also dishes based on meat and pasta. From the veranda you have a beautiful view of the sunset but you can also eat inside.
Da Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille (5400 S. Seas Plantation Rd. At the South Seas Plantation Resort) you can enjoy delicacies that combine many flavors with those of Caribbean cuisine. The menu ranges from seafood paella, quinoa salad, Maine lobster rolls, chicken tacos and delicious shrimp with pasta that can be enjoyed inside or outside the venue. In addition to food, live music is appreciated.
We point out a well-known restaurant even more carpeted with dollars than the aforementioned Captiva Winery; and the Cabbage Key Restaurant Dollar Bills where, among the various options, excellent and large cheeseburgers are served. The banknotes are everywhere, on the walls and in the ceiling, they say more than 70.000, many are autographed by well-known personalities. The restaurant can be reached by water taxi that takes you east of Captiva to the islet of Cabbage Key along the Intercoastal Waterway (the internal canal); it's a little hike worth the time investment.
Where sleeping on Captiva Island
The offer of structures receptive it is good, however proportionate to the size of the island and to its desire to be an environment in which nature prevails, a place where the lights are few in the evening and the sky shows off with its stellar light. Here, as on other occasions, a "wild" construction did not take place.
Il Captiva Island Inn (11508 Andy Rosse Ln.), In the heart of Captiva Village, is within walking distance of Captiva Beach. The structure consists of 16 units including cottages, suites and rooms that meet all needs. The South Seas Island Resort (5400 Plantation Rd.) Where you can breathe the atmosphere defined as "genuine old Florida". The structure, made up of villas and rooms, has a spa, fitness center, golf courses, tennis courts, a marina and a shopping area.
Il Jensen’s on the Gulf Beach Resort (15300 Captiva Dr.) is a casual style accommodation with suites, directly on a beautiful beach a short distance from the town. At Jensen’s Twin Palm Cottages & Marina Resort (15107 Captiva Dr.), which has its own marina, sleeps in casual and comfortable cottages in a nautical yet historic atmosphere. The hotel is within walking distance of the village and within easy reach of everything.
Look for hotels on Captiva Island
How to reach it
- airports which we recommend are Miami international (2100 NW 42nd Ave.) which has direct flights to spain and european hubs, or Fort Myers (11000 Terminal Access Rd.) With domestic stops in the United States. The first is three hours from Captiva Island and the second one hour.