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Good Place for older teens?

CT
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Good Place for older teens?

Hi we are planning a family vacation first week in Aug. I am on the fencebetween Sanibel and Key West. I have two older teen girls, 17 and 19 and on 13 y/o boy. Reading some of the reviews on Sanibel, it seems the island is very laid back. I am concerned that the older girls may become bored. Suggestions on things to do? And places to stay, Looking at Loggerhead Cay, Compass Pointe and Sundial. Thanks.

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Sanibel
Sanibel Island, FL
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Florida Keys, FL
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Loggerhead Cay
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Sanibel Island, FL
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1. Re: Good Place for older teens?

I'd definitely suggest Sanibel over Key West. The kids can spend time on the beach or bicycling (rental bikes are plentiful) on the bike trails that cover the island. You could drive them to Ft. Myers Beach (very close) and let them loose to discover that island (Estero Island) via the trolley system. I think it costs .25 every time you board. There are lots of shops/food vendors and a public beach & fishing pier. There's more "action" that would interest them on Ft. Myers Beach than on Sanibel.

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Sanibel Island, FL
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Orlando, FL
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2. Re: Good Place for older teens?

I second the suggestion for Sanibel as it's more family oriented. Key West is more of an 'adult playground'...

FYI - The Florida Hurricane Season starts June 1st and runs until Nov. 30th with August through mid October being the peak frequency period for tropical storms and hurricanes.

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Sanibel
Sanibel Island, FL
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Florida Keys, FL
dad
St. Louis
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3. Re: Good Place for older teens?

We are staying with three girls 18, 16 and 10. The older ones sleep late, sun on the beach and at the pool, ride bikes, shop, play tennis, jog, go out for fantastic dinners and watch movies later at night. They have very hectic schedules in the real world and love the complete down time at Sanibel. Not much night life on Sanibel but that is a big part of the charm. You come home really refreshed.

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Sanibel Island, FL
CT
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4. Re: Good Place for older teens?

love florida, Endeavor 105 and dad thanks for the feedback. I know that we are risking hurricane weather, but current school schedules, (don't get out until June 24), work schedules (both girkls are lifeguards at same lake with swim lessons til the end of July) and back to college schedules (third week in Aug for both girls, PA and DE) we are so limited! This is probably the last family vacation we will have, and is really a grad gift for second daughter. Two years ago we went to San Diego for first Daughters grad. Requirement for this trip were someplace with nice beaches, somewhere we had not been before and not north of where we are now (CT).

I had always heard Sanibel was a great place to go, so that is what I am investigating. Dad, we too, lead very hectic lives and I don't want to schedule the heck out of a vacation; ie; got to go here, here and here. Looking for relaxation and low key activities, but not so low key that they are bored. We had planned on at least one trip to Ft Myers, maybe we will go more often if they want. I am completely fluid on planning. I know the girls will sleep late and sun, really only have to find activities for 13 y/o son. Thinking of fishing and maybe some sort of sailing or boating event.

Thanks, and anymore info or advice would be appreciated.

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5. Re: Good Place for older teens?

The entire family may enjoy an outing to Lovers Key State Park (www.floridastateparks.org). It's at the very South end of Estero Island. It is an incredibly beautiful park with natural, ungroomed beaches and backwaters where you can rent canoes or kayaks and paddle among the mangroves. There are many manatee sightings there.

nowhere
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6. Re: Good Place for older teens?

I'd say Sanibel in a heartbeat. Much prefer it to Key West, but if you want to try Key West for a day, or overnight, a very fast boat service is available out of Naples. Reminds me of the hydrofoil to Macau. Check sunnyday.com

Having spent lots of time on Sanibel, the to-do list is basically outdoor activites, like bike riding on the miles of bike paths, 'Ding' Darling Wildlife Refuge - with a naturalist the first time to help identify birds and learn about mangrove estuarys, and shelling, shelling, and shelling. Highly addictive.

Bad weather - short of a hurricane (last year was the first time in decades that the island saw any serious storms and it cost me my Oct vacation as it damaged my rental) is actually GOOD for bringing up more shells to the beach.

Sundial has a bit more by way of resort activities and is the largest condo resort on the island. I stayed there a number of times before starting renting houses up on Captiva instead. Loggerhead abd Compass Point are nice, but I think the facilities at the Sundial (and its prime shelling location) may give it an edge. The units in all 3 facilities are privately owned and furnishing and overall unit quality can vary a lot..

If you're renting from owners or thorugh agents, be sure you get the space you want. There are small 2 bedrooms units. The largest units in SUndial are end units with 2bed/2bath+den and wrap around porchs. Best locations are the older buliding almost on the beach. These building have ground floor units where you can walk out and be on the beach in about 20 steps. Newer buildings don't, in compliace with new building codes and have a much deaper setback. Loggerhead has ground flood as well, but i don't know about Compass Point. The problem I had with Compass Point uints were the long, narrow design and small porches. I like lots of room to sit and watch the waves.

There is an outlet mall just over the causeway on the Ft Myers side. Also there are several good boat trips, including one up to Boca Grande, a nantucket south kind of place where you can tool around ingoldcarts. Take a private charter to Cayo Costa and enjoy vacant beaches and great shelling - the way Sanibel was in the 50's. And Lovers Key does have very nice beachs.

Bring binoculars - for birding and dolphins. Also, bring or buy Deep Woods Off and Skintastic. Mosquitos and no-see-ums are very hungry and love visitors. Imported tastes better than domestic. Hope this helps.

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Sanibel
Sanibel Island, FL
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Key West
Florida Keys, FL
Naples
Naples
Southwest Gulf Coast, FL
Macau
Macau
China
Boca Grande
Boca Grande
Southwest Gulf Coast, FL
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Cayo Costa
Southwest Gulf Coast, FL
CT
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7. Re: Good Place for older teens?

love florida and earlybrass, thanks for the info. Lovers key looks like a great optionand so does the outlet mall for the girls. We are so looking forward to a vacation. It is long overdue and it has been so cool here in CT, we want sun and warm weather!

nowhere
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8. Re: Good Place for older teens?

If I may suggest - try the Bubble Room Resturant on Captiva. It's a little tacky, a little fun and most people I've taken there get a real kick out of it. It's decorated year round for Christmas and has walls full of back-and-white photos of movie stars from the 30's, 40's, and 50's. Try it for lunch and do get dessrt and bring it back to the condo for noshing. Grandma Dot's is a favorite too. Try her Key Lime Pie.

Avoid Morgan's Forest. The food isn't very good and the place always smells of chemical cleaners used in airplane bathrooms.

Do stop at the Chamber of Commerce ifno center - second building after the causeway on right (it's well marked) before STOP sign. They'll have tons of info and tide charts for shelling and very helpful folks. Pay attention to causeway closings for the new fixed bridge construction as it may limit your coming and going from Sanibel.

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Sanibel Island, FL
Sanibel Island, FL
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9. Re: Good Place for older teens?

I have never seen teens get bored at Sundial on Sanibel. It's the meeting place where they hook up - even local kids go to the pool area. :-)

Key West is definitely more debauchery-oriented; Sanibel is a family island. Sanibel also has 17 miles of bike paths and is very safe, so just get your girls some bikes, give them plenty of bottled water and sunscreen, and cut them loose. They'll have a blast.

I would be sure to stay on E Gulf or Middle Gulf, though, and preferably at Sundial, if I had teens. West Gulf Drive and Captiva are more remote.

You can check availability for Sundial at www.sanibel-island-hotels.com. They have volleyball, a huge pool, lots of beach chairs, tennis courts and clinics, and a large property to roam. It's also right on the bike path.

There's a movie theater on SAnibel that shows first-run films.

Your girls would also like the Captiva Cruises lunch cruise to Cabbage Key. It's about 20 minutes to Captiva to drop them off, then they'll be gone for 4 hours or so. When they come back to Captiva, they could explore it up there - Andy Rosse lane has lots of shops and galleries. You could pick them up later.

P.S. Parasails and waverunners at the end of Andy Rosse Lane if you want them to love you forever! For more info on the islands, see www.bestofsanibelcaptiva.com

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Sanibel Island, FL
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CT
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10. Re: Good Place for older teens?

early brass and Libby thanks so much for info. I have spent a lot of time online looking at places to stay and things to do, and it makes me feel like I succeded when others validate my choices! We are booked at Sundial in the E building the first week of Aug and have our airline reservations. Got $79 one way from Providence to Ft Myers! When booking for 5 people any savings helps! Now on to the car rental. Debating whether to get the oldest daughter on the contract just so they can have an option to drive. Will have to see how much more that is, I have heard getting an under 25 driver on a contract can be very costly. But I told them there are scooter rentals and they seemed intrigued by that. My son wants to try some fishing. I just want to relax and enjoy the beach and the peace and quiet. I am so excited to go, even though many people are telling us it is going to be too hot and the risk of hurricanes is high. But I am an optimist, it is going to be great!