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Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

Milwaukee, WI
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Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

Need advice on best place to visit and good accommodations in the above area with the following needs/preferences in mind. 1) we have have 2 toddlers, so need a 2 bedroom set up. 2) would like to be close (if possible walking distance) to a few eateries 3) want beachfront accommodations 4) would like a pool area that's spacious and kid friendly. Our main goals are just to relax, find shells, swim, and play. One problem we've come across at seaside places on occasion has been mildew/mold issues; since 2 of us have severe allergies, we're nervous to try some place new to us without any personal recommendations. Any advice you can give would be GREAT!

The Bakery
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1. Re: Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

I can suggest a couple of option:

On Sanibel - the condos at Sanibel Inn, Loggerhead Cay or Tortuga Beach. They are east end and you can walk to a few spots, but not many.

Sanibel ARns and Sanibel Arms West would also be good choices. If you don't mind going up a flight of stairs, look at E7 in Sanibel Arms West. It rents thru their office.

Casa Ybel is very kid friendly and has places to eat on site.

On Captiva - there are 8 Gulf Front homes in SUnset Captiva. They are units 1-8. Royal SHell has 3 and ResortQuest has 2 of them. Don't know about the others. They are freestanding houses, but they share a community pool and tennis. There are many others in the complex, but you'd walk to the beach. You can walk to 7 restaurants and a few shops from there.

I have found ResortQuest Gold and Platinum properties are very, very clean. RoyalShell I've never used. The beach on Sanibel is a bit more kid friendly because it has a very shallow water along the beach. It's deeper on Captiva, but the water is clearer. SUnset Captiva is very popular with families.

There is also South Seas Resort. It's sprawling and you do need the trolley to get around. The beach is on one side and the restaurants on the other. If you stay in the buildings near the south end, you can walk to the restaurants in the village using the beach. South Seas has everything, but reviews are still mixed. If you do stay there and want all resort facilities, including the main pool, trolley service and restaurants, then book thru the resort.

Of the three choices, Captiva will be the most expensive, FBM the least expensive [check out Edison House] and Sanibel in between. The problem with Sanibel is the restaurants are mostly clustered mid-island and not walking distance to most condos - especially beach front ones. Captiva is the quietest of them all, but will cost the most, especially beachfront.

Be sure and ask

Milwaukee, WI
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2. Re: Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

Thank you so much for your input - that's a huge help. So far I had been looking into Pink Shells Resort on FMB, and then wondering about condos, cottages, etc. on Sanibel/Capitva - so your info on those is helpful. South Seas looks nice, but rather pricey. We were hoping to stay a bit under the $500/night range for a 2 BR set up (this is for 5 days in early Feb.) Do you think FMB is nice, too? I realize the other islands would be more peaceful, etc... but what are your general thoughts on FMB, also? Do you know anything about Waterside Inn or Sundial Resorts on Sanibel, also? THANK YOU!

Amy

The Bakery
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3. Re: Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

I stayed at the Sundial a number of times. It's the largest resort on Sanibel, which is still a lot smaller than the condo places on FMB due to building restrictions.

The Sundial rents their 2 bedroom units and 2 bedroom plus den units. I've stayed in both types and the 2 bed+den are very nice. The regular 2 bedroom units are smaller but still more than adequate for 5 nights. Buildings A, E and K are all but on the beach. Avoid building L if you can. The last section of units R,S and T are the furtherest from the main pool and clubhouse. About the only place to eat that would be near - other than the poolside bar and grill for lunch is Beachview Steakhouse - maybe Courtney's at the Holiday Inn. Everything else would be a drive. The problem with renting thru the resort is the condos are not always spotlessly clean - even when the resort is warned in advance. Unfortunately the management there [LXR] doesn't have the best guest service attitude.

Casa Ybel is very family friendly and even has a kiddy pool. Sanibel Inn offers Family Suites and 2 bedroom condos, but the condos might not be available for less than 1 weeks.

Sanibel Siesta, Sanibel Arms, Sanibel Arms West and Sanibel Moorings would be worth checking out.

As for FMB, I don't care for it, but I stay on Captiva to get away from everything 'resort-ish'. The beach is fine, but the crowds are just too much for me and it's just too congested. Pink Shell has a good reputation and is far more 'resort like' than anything on either Sanibel or Captiva and might well be more what you're looking for. It has a far bigger pool than you find anywhere on San-Cap too. I don't know FMB well enough to really comment beyond that. I'm sure you'll get lots of help over on the FMB forum.

I also recommend you ask about kid friendly places on the Sanibel forum. We have a number of posters there with little ones like yours and they should be able to offer lots of help.

Milwaukee, WI
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4. Re: Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

You have been helpful - Thanks! Unfortunately, Casa Ybel appears to be booked for those dates for 2 BRs. We were really starting to lean toward Sundial - we're realizing we may not be able to walk to eateries, but a short drive or maybe bike ride would suffice. But, if you think any of those other spots would be a bit more family friendly AND closer to eateries, we could look into them. I truly think Captiva would be an awesome place for us, but it appears most of those homes rent from sat. to sat. and South Seas seems just a bit too pricey (especially since reviews I've read are mixed.) So, thanks for helping us narrow it down.

I have another question - how bad and frequent are the issues of no-seeums and red tide? Should we be concerned, and how can we prepare?

Milwaukee, WI
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5. Re: Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

Sorry to be a pest - but one more question: what about Jensen's on the gulf homes/cottages in Captiva? I don't even know if there are openings and if they do less than a week, but they look kind of nice. Close to village?

The Bakery
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6. Re: Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

I'd say location is about 6 of one half dozen of the other. The east Gulf location is a bit easier to access several restaurants and shops and 2 delis. Also, the gulf front units are very near the beach. Buildings L to T at Sundial have a pretty deep setback. The condos at Sanibel Inn - while a better walk/bike ride location - are smaller. Sundial has more facilities than just about anyone but Casa Ybel.

As for no-see-ums - well in winter they kind of depend on how much detritus there is on the beach. If the winds blow up and the bed gets a bunch of 'stuff', then the no-see-ums can get bad fast. Best things to try are Skin-So-Soft and Deep Woods OFF!. You can buy both on island of get them and bring them [in check thru of course]. Be sure to bag the Skin-SO-Soft as it tends to leak in flight. Their presence/absence is kind of a crap shoot.

The Bakery
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7. Re: Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

Jensen's are very nice, and have a great location, but there are no facilities at all. No pool, no tennis, no housekeeping - but the location is awesome and the Jensen family really nice. Great spot. I'd normally add Tween Waters Inn, but you must cross the road to the beach and it's about a mile to the main restaurant area of the village. There are no bike paths on Captiva and it is not a great idea to use them in season.

evergreen, colorado
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8. Re: Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

Amy21, we stayed at SSR last June (1st visit to Captiva) and although we had a wonderful vacation w/no SSR horror stories, I since realized that you get SO much more for the money with a private home on Captiva. If your budget is less than $500/night, I would think your choices for a 2 b/rm set up should be good. We are renting a 4 b/rm, 4 bath house w/ beautiful private pool, about a football field walk to the beach or so, and the Village, for $3000 for 7 nights next year the 1st week in June. Try www.captiva-island.com, the website of American Realty of Captiva, a reputable rental agency. So far our experience with them has been fine. Click rentals and enjoy browsing the wonderful selection of homes and condos. www.royalshell.com also has a nice inventory of rentals.

Good luck!

evergreen, colorado
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9. Re: Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

Oh, the Sat to Sat rental thing. If you find a house and it seems to have many available dates, definitely call whichever agency and I'll bet they'd rather have a house rented half a week, as opposed to sitting entirely empty for a whole week. Worth a shot!

10. Re: Ft. Myers Beach vs. Sanibel/Captiva

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