Sand, seafood restaurants, rest, and relaxation. Sanibel, Captiva, and Pine Islands are popular vacation destinations along the southern Gulf Coast. Here are some of my favorite spots, what are yours?
+Looking for a wild time? [1 Wildlife Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957] is the place to be. There is a four mile wildlife drive perfect for cruising, biking, or hiking. It has many overlooks which expose a plethora of birds (245 different species in the park!),
and many other creatures. The most exciting moment we had in the park was when an otter crossed the road, it was so sudden and unexpected I barely caught it on camera! It’s the blurry dot on the edge of the grass, right side of the road.
It is the first (and only!) one I have ever seen. The Indigo Trail is a solid four mile hike you can take, off the road. There are some shorter walks you including Shellmound and Wulfert Keys trails. On the water, there are kayak trails and this is a popular fishing spot. The complex is free if you have America the Beautiful pass, $5 per car ($1 bike/pedestrian), and closed on FRIDAYS! Another free option is hiking the nearby Bailey Tract wetland.
+If the holiday season is your favorite time of year, you don’t have to wait. It’s always Christmas in Captiva at The Bubble Room [15001 Captiva Dr, Captiva, FL 33924].
Seriously, the music is playing, the waitress are dressed up as elves, it’s obscene and I love it. More so than simply Christmas, the décor here is eclectic and nostalgic.
No matter where you get seated, make sure to walk around and take a look. There are mixed reactions about the food, but everyone agrees on one thing – the house made cake is phenomenal. Check out this platter for yourself! The slices are seriously huge, for some insane gluttonous reason we didn’t split a piece – you certainly can and get your fill. I’m not upset though, we got to try to incredible pieces. The orange crunch cake is one of a kind and wonderful. It’s a yellow cake with an almond brown sugar crunch and orange cream cheese icing! The very moist chocolate cake is as advertised, with the fudge toffee pecan crunch icing. It was one of the best chocolate cakes I have ever encountered.
We had such a sweet experience between the atmosphere and dessert!
+The village of Matlacha is dotted with colorful galleries projecting a truly unique island vibe. A great place to start is the popular Leoma Lovegrove [4637 Pine Island Rd, Matlacha, FL 33993] inside there are no pictures, but a rainbow of delightful psychedelic sea creatures line the walls. This was the perfect spot to pick up gifts and home décor, prices are very reasonable. Outside enjoy the garden and take all the snapshots you’d like.
Here is an example of the artwork inside for purchase.
If you’re lucky, you can find a sleepy muse.
On certain days, there are paint your own events. Another fantastic nearby spot is Wildchild Art Gallery [4625 Pine Island Rd, Matlacha, FL 33993],
no pictures inside – but you won’t want to miss it!