Hidden away off the mini concrete jungle of Fort Myers sits an island known for its Southwest Florida charm and probably one the most beautiful places to go shelling in the continental United States: Welcome to Captiva Island. The offices of Three Best Beaches is not far from this enchanted island so we know and visit this sandy shore a few times a year – just to take a break from our gems here in Naples, a few miles south.
The weather is what brings the snowbirds down to south Florida, and Captiva Island boasts a wonderful subtropical delights the entire year. But let’s be clear – it can get hot and humid from May through September. When it’s cold up north, our weather dries out and becomes so pleasant!
There are two parts to Captiva. There’s the big island to the south which you can get to by bridge from Sanibel Island (and Sanibel is connected to the mainland by another bridge.) Oh, there’s a small toll to get out to Sanibel. A few dollars. But if you want to visit North Captiva, well – that’s only accessible by boat (ferry), or small plane. And the residents want to keep it that way: remote!
Does Captiva Island have one of the best beaches in the world? That’s debatable. The beach is excellent and is fairly wide. The sand is a mix of coral and shell and you’ll find washes of shell where the gentle waves of the Gulf of Mexico have deposited their treasure. Because of the nice beach and the undeveloped feel of the island, there are many bed and breakfasts, small hotels and rooms that you can find beach side. It’s really cool. Imagine waking up and walking out of your room right onto the beach! A few places are that special. Mix in some very beautiful mangrove trees and you’re in our paradise.
In recent years, Captiva Island has been a getaway for Spring Break! Granted, there isn’t much of a nightlife here, but you can always make your way into Fort Myers. Just know there are a few bridges to navigate should you go over your limit. Yes, we do have taxis here in Florida…and plenty of beautiful beaches.
Captiva and North Captiva Island have that village feel. But we’re talking upscale here. It will cost you a bit to get something amazing, yet there are people who come back here every year. You can find less expensive accommodations down in Fort Myers Beach, then rent a car and bring the tribe here. Either way, you’ll enjoy this fun beach that is perfect for small children to elderly and everyone in between.
And I know we talked village feel, but there are many places to eat here. You’ll fall in love with your favorite and keep going back. The island is about a mile wide at the widest point and only four miles long, so it won’t take long to make a dining decision (you’ll be able to walk to most places.) I know we didn’t discuss shopping yet, either. There are some very elegant boutiques along with the small and fun shell shops. And a travel tip – before you get to the toll booth at the bridge to Sanibel on your way to Captiva Island, there is a Tangier Outlet store on the north side of the road. Plan to spend some time there as the bargains are impressive.
A lot of us guys like to fish and I don’t want to leave out probably the most fun part of your stay if you love fishing at all. There is a fishing pier along the Sanibel Causeway. You’ll see it on the bayside near the lighthouse – if you miss it, just ask. We love to help out fellow fishermen – even if you’ve only fished a couple of times.
Who should plan a vacation here? Need a romantic weekend? How about taking the family on an awesome, long-overdue adventure right on the sea? Or, if you’re into nature and want to walk or bike right in the essence of primitive Florida, then Captiva Island is your place.
Plan to visit here now and remember, you can come at any time during the year, but we think the best times are from October through April. If you can’t make it then – the beach and surroundings at Captiva Island are the same, it’s just the weather that changes to more hot and humid. It’s up to you; we’d really love to have you here to visit us.
Captiva Island, Florida – Beach Index:
- Medium coarse sand
- Lots of shells to find due to the angle of the beach to the Gulf
- Limited facilities
- Quiet, sort of private feel, a lot of nature