Monday, September 19, 2011

Sanibel and Captiva Islands rank in Trip Advisors Top 25 Beaches

SANIBEL  and Captiva ISLANDS, FL (Money Magazine) - Suggesting Florida for the family's winter getaway probably won't garner you a reputation as a discriminating traveler -- until, that is, you mention the islands of Sanibel and Captiva.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands rank in Trip Advisors Top 25 Beaches

Located on the Gulf Coast, just 45 minutes from Fort Myers airport via a narrow three-mile causeway, Sanibel and its smaller sister Captiva are not unknown -- the islands have long been considered one of the best places in the world for shelling -- but news of their tranquil beauty, pristine white sand beaches and laid-back charm has spread primarily by word of mouth.
Sanibel and Captiva are a beach lover's paradise. And thanks to visionary land-use regulations -- no building along Sanibel's coast can be taller than a palm tree, and half of the land is a federal wildlife reserve -- it might just stay that way. Together the islands offer 17 miles of public beaches and an endless array of activities. Among the most popular: cruising Sanibel's 26 miles of paved bike paths and J.N. "Ding" Darlings' Wildlife Drive ($1 per bike, $5 per car), a five-mile loop that winds through the refuge's 7,000 acres of mangrove forest. You can see more than 50 species of birds in the winter. And there's a new $3.3 million wildlife education center with interactive exhibits that all but ensures your kids will enjoy learning about what they see.
The islands are also dotted with art galleries and studios that lend themselves to browsing. If you're more interested in trying a new sport, go windsurfing atCauseway Beach, where plenty of shops will rent you a board and provide a quick lesson. Or go deep-sea fishing. Given the variety of packages (available from half-day to whole day, from snapper to tarpon) we recommend you check with the chamber of commerce for a list of operators that will best suit your needs.
If you rent a place from VIP, as most visitors do, stop at Bailey's or Jerrys, just over the causeway on Sanibel. Folks in the know say they are the best places to stock up on groceries and all of your island needs.  

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