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The ABCs of a ‘Tween Waters vacation

Congratulations.

You’ve found your way to Southwest Florida, left the mainland behind via the causeway bridge and survived the trek down Captiva Drive to reach your vacation Valhalla – the ‘Tween Waters Inn.

Still, if you’re thinking the most challenging part of the voyage is done… think again.

Now that the suitcase is unpacked and the shoes have been exchanged for sandals, you’re going to have to fill the hours until it’s time to repack, refuel and re-board for the return trip to reality.

It’s surely a daunting task for someone unfamiliar with our sunset-centric way of life.

But fear not, excited traveler. Your TWI INNsider team has got you covered.

In fact, we’ve made it as easy as your ABCs.

Read on for 26 suggestions that’ll help make your humid subtropical stay a memorable one.

Alison Hagerup Beach Park — Directly behind South Seas Plantation at the end of San-Cap Road with access to beautiful Captiva Beach.

Bailey Matthews Shell Museum – On Sanibel, the only museum in the United States solely devoted to shells and the mollusks that make them.

Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife (CROW) – Teaching hospital and visitor education center dedicated to saving wildlife through veterinary care, research, education and conservation medicine.

Dolphin watching – Keep an eye out on the Gulf or bay sides of the resort, where dolphins easily find sufficient food and typically travel in pods of two or three or four.

Edison Reef – Artificial reef for snorkeling and scuba diving, in about 40 feet of water, created from the rubble of a former mainland bridge not far from the Sanibel Island lighthouse.

Facial, Mani & Pedi at The Spa – Renourish, revitalize and restore your wonderful face, then treat your hands and feet with Vitamin E, grape seed oil and mineral baths followed by a sea scrub.

Golf at Sanibel Island Golf Club – An incredible natural setting makes it the perfect place to enjoy a round, with the challenge of a fabulous 18-hole layout lush with indigenous wildlife.

Historical museum – A local story is told from the Calusa and Spanish eras to the early pioneer families who settled in the 1800s. Learn about warriors, adventures, fishermen, farmers and proprietors.

Ice cream at Pinocchio’s – Unique handcrafted frozen confections at a little shop on Sanibel’s east end with bright green walls and colorful benches.

J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge – Part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the United States and world famous for its spectacular migratory bird populations.

Kayak – Guests enjoy priority pleasure rental opportunities from the marina, from basic single- and double-kayaks to professional tours through TWI’s rental partners.

Lighthouse – Sanibel’s 98-foot iron skeleton tower was one of the first on Florida’s Gulf coast north of Key West and the Dry Tortugas, built to mark the entrance to San Carlos Bay.

Manatee watching – Look for perfect swirls in the water from their wide, paddle tails, or see their whiskered noses breathing above the waterline. Spy them at the TWI marina or while kayaking.

NASCRAB races at Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille – On your marks, get set and make sure you absolutely go to the hilarious, one-of-a-kind event hosted by the one and only Commissioner Tim.

Osprey Gift Shop – Within TWI’s Captiva House, find beautiful jewelry, books and gifts handcrafted and written by local artists and authors, alongside Brighton jewelry, handbags and throw pillows.

Paddleboard – Explore at your own pace as you glide through exotic mangroves. Rentals are available from the marina ranging from $30 an hour to $150 for a whole week.

Quick game of tennis before hitting the pool – The courts are open free of charge to resort guests from dawn to dusk, and can be reserved via the sign-up sheet that’s tucked away at the front desk.

Rent a boat & go fishing – The marina features quality, licensed and insured boat rental and charter providers of fishing excursions. Contact captains to expertly man your vessel.

Sunsets – Travelocity labeled them the “most romantic sunsets in America,” and USA Today named TWI one of the 10 most romantic coastal destinations in the U.S., citing those same can’t-miss sunsets.

Tween Beans Coffee Shop – Seven days a week, get gourmet coffees, teas, ice cream and more at the poolside walk-up window.

Umbrella drinks at the Oasis Pool Bar – Thirsty? What says “vacation” more than a beverage with an umbrella in it? You’ll find just about anything under the sun with a side of warm, friendly smiles.

Venus clamshell, Lightning whelk, Junonia (oh my!) – The island is literarily made up of shells, created over thousands of years, and its geography allows it to catch abundant sea shells from the Gulf.

Waverunner rental – If you prefer perusing waves at double-digit speeds (and you’re at least 16 years old) the Yamaha water rockets are available for rental in 30- and 60-minute blocks.

X marks the spot, charter a boat to Cayo Costa – Looking to treasure an adventure? Take the helm and head to uninhabited Cayo Costa’s beaches, pine forests, oak-palm hammocks and mangrove swamps.

YOLO Watersports parasailing – An unforgettable memory awaits one, two or three adventurous people, thanks to state-of-the-art equipment and an experienced crew.

Zzzz… get some rest with Gulf breezes – Whew! After all this activity, you probably need a break. Take it all in from an umbrella-shaded beach chair or a sand-anchored cabana, just feet from the Gulf water.

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