< title>Captiva Island, Florida - The perfect Florida Island Vacation, from beaches to boating to sunbathing.



What is it About

Captiva Island?

It's attached to the end of Sanibel Island, like a pendant jewel on a golden necklace.
It is reached via Sanibel after crossing the three-mile long causeway from
the Southwest Florida mainland.
A small 'blind' pass, crossed by a short bridge, separates the two islands.
It is called "Blind Pass' because Mother Nature regularly closes it and then opens it, and then closes it, as she has from the beginning of these barrier islands.

Once on Captiva, you notice that few buildings impose their presence on the main street, Captiva Drive. A Family Fun VacationAt one time they were even more obscured from public view. But since Hurricane Charley passed by, much of the old growth foilage has fallen to the wind or the chainsaws of clean-up crews.

Today, the island has been totally restored. As the greenery has grown back Captivais again as it was, with shell driveways and romantic names on the entry signs, suggesting the Xanaduvian palaces that sit at the water's edge. These are luxury properties, some with four, five or six bedrooms and an equal number of bathrooms. Yet many of these private homes and estates are open for vacation rental.

Captiva's broad beaches serve as locations for many of these homes. Guests can walk out their beach-front doors and stroll to the the gentle, shell-bearing surf. While the beaches are open to the public by state law, no one has more convenient access than those who rent on the beach. (Please note: Beaches above the mean high tide line are private property. It is only between the surf and the MHT line that is public.)

Other homes have deeded beach access but sit on the back bay, with decks and docks available to those who rent the properties. Availabilities range from cottages to estates, with multiple buildings and pools.

By the way, you may have heard at one point that Hurricane Charley "split" Captiva in half. NOT TRUE. In fact, the storm opened up a shallow channel on a neighboring island with a similar name, UPPER Captiva. That island is sparsely populated and reachable only by boat, so hardly anyone was inconvenienced by that act of nature.

Still, when you consider that Captiva and its sister island, Sanibel, are separate islands, a visit here is like getting "two islands for the price of one".

If you fish, you can drop your line from a dock while you enjoy a cold beverage. Or boat rentals are available at Jensen's Marina or Tween Waters. Whether you are a sailor or a power boater, you are just yards from the open waters of Pine Island Sound, San Carlos Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. You can also bring your own boat as do many visitors who arrive on Captiva at South Seas Resort.

For other excursions, world famous J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge is just down San-Cap Road. You would have passed it on your drive to Captiva. Its 5,000 acres of undisturbed nature can be toured by car or by kayak, or you can ride the tram around its five-mile nature drive. To learn more about "Ding" Darling, visit dingdarling.org.

Restaurants on Captiva include the funky Bubble Room and friendly beachfront setting of the Mucky Duck, with some of Southwest Florida's most spectacular sunsets. South Seas Resort offers some fine dining spots also. Andy Rosse Lane is home to the Key Lime Bistro, R. J. Otter's and a collection of galleries and shops, all in easy walking distance. The Green Flash restaurant sits on the bay side of Captiva, while the Old Captiva House at 'Tween Waters splits the difference as it faces the Gulf and backs up to the bay - hence the name.

Some must-dos include a cruise with Captiva Cruises. They ride the bay where the dolphins play. We have seen as many as 15 surf the wake on one trip. Or go for a sail on the yacht New Moon. If you'd like to rent some snorkeling gear or a golf cart to navigate the island, stop by Yolo's.

Staying on Captiva is as easy as getting here. Many condominium and private home owners have registered their places with one of the island's most accommodating vacation rental management companies.

Royal Shell Vacations offers more than 450 one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom privately owned and luxuriously furnished condominium suites and private beach palaces on Captiva and Sanibel. Multiple bedrooms mean families and groups of friends can vacation in homes they otherwise might not be able to afford. To preview Royal Shell's complete inventory of properties, including some South Seas Resort condominiums, visit RoyalShell.com.

Oh yes, Royal Shell also represents an extensive range of privately owned condominiums on Sanibel Island, even some houses that are centrally located outside of tourist areas and rent by the monthor longer. For information about Sanibel, go to About Sanibel.com.

When things get too hot and a great first-run film appeals to you, click here for a link to Island Cinema schedules.

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