As I adjust into my daily routine post vacation, it is nice to sit down and write this blog and remember all the fun that was had. John and I vowed to plan yearly vacations for our family. Not only because we love to travel, but also to provide our boys with memories and experiences they can’t get at home. Some of my most fond memories are trips near and far with my family.
This vacation, we traveled to Captiva Island, FL. It was so special because we were able to enjoy it with my parents and sister, Rachel. The boys loved having them with us and it helped us to enjoy it more as well. Scout had a bunch of first, and so did Sawyer. All of us got to relax and check items off our bucket list. The location is a great destination for families, but would also make a very romantic getaway. We saw a wedding on the resort and it was gorgeous! We honestly had ZERO issues (which is a first for me) until our way home when Scout got sick. So overall, I say that is pretty darn successful.
Below are some of our favorite photos from the trip, but you can see them all here: https://karitravels.shutterfly.com/4697
A little about Captiva Island
Located near Fort Myers off Florida’s Gulf Coast, Captiva Island is often associated with the neighboring island of Sanibel to the south. Both are all about the outdoors – biking, sailing, birding, and water activities abound. A sliver of land nestled against the state’s southwest coast, Captiva Island has a slightly off-kilter and almost magical feel, with only a little over 350 residents. You might discover a giant frog there, a restaurant where it’s Christmas all year long (Bubble Room), or even a tiny starfish.
A little about our resort: South Seas Island Resort
South Seas Island Resort and Yacht Harbor, located on the tip of Captiva, boasts 2.5 miles of beaches and a menu of children’s programs tailored to the sea – from sailing school and mermaid- and pirate-play sessions to on-the-beach day camps and a popular catch-and-release fishing program.
The 330-acre wildlife preserve spans two and a half miles of pristine white-sand beaches framing the tranquil waters of the Gulf of Mexico. As a quiet retreat, the resort is a destination rich in recreation and wondrous natural beauty. It has a variety of accommodations, ranging from hotel rooms, condominiums and cottages, to private homes and villas. A Top 10 Beach Resort for Families by Parents Magazine.
Arrival Day: Wednesday
Poor John looked like a camel with the amount of items we had to bring with two small kids. Our friends, the Weavers, let us borrow their big carseat cargo bag for the plane, it was a so helpful! We flew Allegiant (special shout out to them for letting Sawyer hang out in the cockpit!) into Punta Gorda, so we had about an hour and a half drive to our resort at South Seas. We were starving when we arrived so we enjoyed an early dinner at the resort restaurant by the pool, The Point. While we waited for our food, John and Sawyer were able to take a quick swim since the balcony overlooked the pool. After dinner, we walked around the marina at the resort, which is known for manatees and dolphin sightings. We were able to see a few manatees that would come up every few minutes to say hi.
After the marina, we visited one of the private beaches on the resort, Sunset Beach, for Scout’s first time seeing the ocean and putting his toes in the sand.
We started the day with breakfast at RC Otters, it is very “island” with bright-colored tables on the patio with a ring toss game, a local favorite that John and I first played on our trip to Tortola BVIs (learn more here). I ordered the Island granola with fresh fruit, a must-try! John and I stopped next door for some coffee from Latte Da before heading back to Sunset beach.We played in the ocean/sand for a few hours before heading to the main resort pool for the rest of the afternoon. The resort has a few pools, but the main pool has waterslides, a tiki bar, restaurant, organized pool activities, and much more. Sawyer loved the water slide, so we camped out there often. That night we decided to check out one of Captiva’s most well-known restaurants, The Bubble Room. The Bubble Room was built on Captiva Island in 1979. It is a multi-themed restaurant featuring old toys from the 1930s and 40s. It is said the Bubble Room was one of the first establishments on Captiva Island to originate the bright pastel colors now widely used there. They are known for their dessert and their Bubble bread, which is so addicting and amazing!
After dinner, we headed back to Sunset Beach for their nightly sunset Shell-abration, where visitors get a shell and make a wish before throwing them in the ocean as the sun disappears into the horizon. The sunset was breathtaking!
We had an early morning Friday. We drove into Naples (about 1.5 hours) to meet Captain Mike with Cuda Fishing Charters for a half-day of deep-sea fishing. My dad set up the trip because he had previously fished with Captain Mike with his dad a few years prior. My mom was kind enough to stay back with Scout, so I could join my dad, sister, John, and Sawyer. We caught a bunch of fish including snapper, grouper, a puffer fish, devilfish, sand perch, and the biggest catch of the day was a gag grouper that I actually was fortunate enough to reeled in. A shark swam around our boat and a barracuda camped out for a while following all the bait we brought in. Sawyer loved every minute. He reeled in and touched almost every fish for us. He loved the puffer fish! We were able to bring back a bag of filleted fish to cook up back at the condo. Captain Mike was great and so helpful. Definitely check him out if you are in the area.
We were all hot and sweaty so as soon as we made it back to the condo, we changed and headed to the resort pool closer to our room. My mom and Scout had a fun day of lying by the pool, she said Scout was a pretty lazy date and slept most of the time. That evening we went to another local favorite, The Mucky Duck, on the beach. It was a really neat vibe, with live music out on the patio, tiki bar, and of course the ring came for guests to play while they waited. Sawyer really wanted dessert so we drove back to the resort for frozen yogurt at Scoops & Slices, which is not only a ice-cream/pizza parlor, but has a wall of self-serve candy for the kiddos. Then we checked out the resort’s kids’ activity area, Scully’s. It has an arcade and game room for older kids and a discovery center for infant/toddlers. We finished the night with a hilarious game of Cards Against humanity.
In the morning, John and I decide to take a walk with the boys to Starbuck’s and then to Key Lime Bistro for breakfast to meet my parents. On the way, we passed the local fire department and some fire fighters called Sawyer over to see their truck. They were kind enough to let him sit inside and sent us on our way with hats and goody bags. After a yummy breakfast we decided to spend the whole day at the pool. While Scout tried to nap on John, my dad and I visiting Sunny Island Adventures at the resort for paddle boarding. I’ve wanted to try this for some time, and what better way than in the ocean. We ventured into the marina and some dolphins decided to put on a show for us and even went under my dad’s board. This might be one of my new favorite things to do. After, we spent a few more hours at the pool before driving into Sanibel for dinner at the Island Pizza Company. It was delicious and really the only pizza place we could find. We ordered a couple pitchers of beer and spent some time trying to master the ring game, mentioned earlier. That night we played Taboo and Heads Up back at the condo, and my dad even joined in!
While the rest of the group slept, John, the boys, and me decided to take another walk to Starbuck’s and around the resort a little. When we returned everyone was up and we headed to Turner Beach, a short drive to Sanibel, to search for seashells. The water was a little chopper than we anticipated, so after collecting some shells, we went back for another day at the pool. This time we set up our chairs by the main large pool that overlooked the ocean. My mom and dad watched the boys for a bit so John and I could go paddle boarding. I am so glad they did because besides the dolphins coming out to play again (even came close to knocking me off my board), a manatee showed up and was pretty fond of John. At one point, John had to get down on his knees so he wouldn’t fall off. When we returned back, Sawyer had made some friends at the pool and they decided to partake in the games hosted by the resort staff. It involved relays, duck races, and a hoola hoop contest. Sawyer had a blast.
When we returned back to the condo to clean up for dinner, my mom and John fried up the Fish we caught. Holy smokes, was it delicious! Super flaky and buttery. Sawyer and Scout even liked it. We decided to walk to the Doc Fords Rum Bar & Grill, which was right on the resort. We decided to sit out on the patio and we all ordered fancy drinks for our last night. I sampled their Rum Punch, which was a little different than ones I had tried before, but still good. For dinner, I had the Shrimp and Grits and probably my favorite meal of the trip, just the right amount of spice.
We went back to the condo to get all packed up for our early morning flight. Unfortunately, this was about the time Scout starting getting cranky. He ended up not sleeping at all that evening, so it was a very long night for John and me!
Departure Day : Monday
We headed to the airport about 4:30 a.m. after a night of no sleep. Luckily it was a quick flight (2 hours) because Scout cried the entire two hours. As soon as we got back to Springfield, we headed to see his doctor who confirmed he had Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. So glad it happened at the end so he was able to enjoy the majority of the trip!
We really loved everything about the trip, especially where we stayed. Flying into Punta Gorda was easy; picking up our rental car was even easier (I recommend calling the day of to pre-register your car so you don’t have to wait in line). We were in a 3-bed, 2-bath condo that fit our needs perfectly and was clean and well kept. We talked about renting one of their beach houses next time. There is so much to do on the resort; you will never get bored. The staff at the resort was friendly and abundant.
Only downside for us as a group was you have to charge every purchase at any of the resort businesses (food, drinks, activates, etc.) to the room. You can rack up a pretty big bill you will have to settle up for later. It is convenient so you don’t have to carry money, but it is easy to spend a ton!
We went right before busy season, so snagged a great deal but we heard from other guests who had been before that during season it can be double or triple what we paid. Sanibel is a short 15-minute drive if you want more to look into their beaches and activities. Flying out of Punta Gorda was more troublesome as their lines and security are long. I would recommend arriving at least 2 hours prior to departure.
See all our photos here: https://karitravels.shutterfly.com/4697