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Vacation Upgrades Worth Springing For

Whenever I’m planning our family vacations, I try to find a few things we can do to make them extra special. You know, those added little things that make the difference between ordinary and extraordinary. At ‘Tween Waters Inn, here are my top picks of extras and upgrades worth springing for:

Beach Cabanas

Sure, you can hang out on the beach and just sit on your towel, but imagine having your own beach cabana. It’s the ideal place for sitting, reading, relaxing, lounging, or napping. Rent one for the entire day for $15.

Souvenir Tervis Tumblers

Tervis tumblers keep your cold drinks cold, and your hot drinks hot. They’re also indestructible, making them the perfect souvenir. While onsite, purchase a customized ‘Tween Waters Inn Tervis for $19.95 +tax. As a bonus, each comes with a coupon for a free piña colada. (Innsider tip: avoid getting sunscreen on your Tervis; it will leave a cloudy mark.)

Upgraded WiFi

Yes, you get free WiFi when you stay at ‘Tween Waters Inn, which is great for browsing. But, if you’re a screen junkie, or you have kids with smart devices, you’ll want to upgrade. High speed Internet packages start at $7.95 a day. Multi-day packages are available.

Larger Accommodations

If you love extra space, a room upgrade is worth it. The suites are so roomy; they’re perfect for families. And, because they have a kitchen, you can actually save money. As a mom, I can tell you that having a separate living area and multiple bedrooms is priceless.

What’s your favorite extra worth springing for on vacation? Tell us on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

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Babymoons are Legendary at ‘Tween Waters Inn

If you’re a parent-to-be, have you thought about going on a babymoon? It’s more than a trend, it’s your last chance for a romantic getaway with your spouse before baby makes three!

‘Tween Waters Inn is the ideal destination to celebrate your upcoming bundle of joy and bask in the glow…of your pregnancy. For starters, treat yourself to a pre-natal massage at The Spa at ‘Tween Waters. It’s nearly one hour of pure bliss and it’s safe for baby. Walks on the beach are made for the two of you, and while it might be near impossible to sit in the sand, you can surely relax in a chaise lounger (with your swollen ankles up), sip a virgin daiquiri, and witness a famous Captiva sunset.

When it’s time to indulge your cravings, make reservations at Captiva House for the most romantic meal on the island. While sushi and alcohol may be on your list of things to avoid, there’s an entire menu of gourmet cuisine to please your palate. Or, if you’re hankering for a great burger, walk over to the casual and fun Crow’s Nest. (For dessert, you can’t go wrong with locally made Queenie’s Ice Cream, so rich and creamy!)

I’d also suggest making an appointment with local photographer, Milissa Sprecher for a baby bump photography session, because while you may feel like you’re carrying around a 30-pound basketball, you’ve never looked more beautiful.

It’s true, babymoons and ‘Tween Waters Inn go hand-in-hand, like peas and carrots (which you’ll soon be serving a lot of, from baby food jars). Congratulations to both of you! (And thank you to my fellow blogger friend, Kara Franker and her husband Jeremy for letting me share a photo of their pregnancy announcement. Lola is expected to arrive in January 2017.)

 

 

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Nighttime Fun at ‘Tween Waters

My boys tend to be more night owls than early birds, so we’re always looking for things to do in the evening. Luckily, there are several activities (even on a barrier island) to keep your crew happy after the sun goes down.

Karaoke at Crow’s Nest

Got a Lady Gaga in the making, or a Bruno Mars wanna-be? Every Wednesday, from 8:30pm till 11:30pm, you and your kids can take the stage and belt out your favorite tunes. A prompter displays the words and the crowd will cheer you on. This is fun for all ages.

Meteor Showers

Being on a barrier island has its advantages, especially during meteor showers. Bring a blanket, plop yourself on the sand, and look up. Several are scheduled from August 25 to December 24, 2016.

Moon Set

Just as the sun sets, so does the moon – and it is quite a sight. Click the attached link for a schedule, then head to the beach to watch the magic.

Big Arts Theater

‘Tween Waters Inn is a proud sponsor of this 414-seat performing arts center on Sanibel, and their lineup this fall and winter includes Monday Movie Nights. Plus, A Christmas Carol begins in December. www.bigarts.org

Astronomy Cruise

What will you see? The Big Dipper? The Seven Sisters? Jupiter and Mars? Budding astronomers will love this nighttime astronomy cruise from Captiva Cruises. Prices are currently $45 for adults and $35 for kids 2-12.

Adult Fun

Crow’s Nest Beach Bar and Grille is THEE place for late night dancing. Stop by and enjoy the live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Have a great evening – and may you see lots of shooting stars!

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I Spy Wildlife on Captiva and Sanibel

Do your kids love animals? You just won’t believe all the wildlife you can see on Captiva and Sanibel, even right onsite at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Here are some of my family’s favorites along with a few tips on where you’re likely to see them:

Snowy Egrets

These snowy, white birds have bright yellow feet and love to walk the shoreline. You’ll also see them on fishing piers, docks, or anywhere they can steal a quick meal.

Manatees

Look for perfect swirls in the water from their wide, paddle tails, or spy their whiskered noses breathing above the waterline. Spy them at the onsite marina or while kayaking. In winter, hundreds gather at Manatee Park.

Ospreys

See that big bunch of sticks, high above the wooden pathway near the ‘Tween Waters front desk? It’s an osprey nest! Look for them along San-Cap Road, too. These birds of prey are skilled fisherman and carry off their catch in their talons. A pair lives at Sanibel Lighthouse, listen for their screechy chirps.

Gopher Tortoises

In Florida, gopher tortoises are a threatened species, so spotting one is exciting. They love walking near the road, so be alert. You can help one cross the street if you see that it’s in danger. Watch this video to learn more.

Marsh Rabbits

Believe it or not, these brown, cotton tail bunnies are good swimmers. Do the four-mile Wildlife Drive at J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge (by car or bike) in the morning or at sunset and you’ll see them roadside.

Alligators

Head to Wildlife Drive at Ding Darling to see this Florida must-see. Look for a dark snout (and some of their back) sticking out of the water, and swimming slowly. Gators love sunning themselves on the water’s edge; rangers will rope off this area with yellow tape. Keep your distance.

Dolphins

Frolicking and jumping, these mammals are magical! Look for them at the onsite marina or swimming right off the beach. Or, take a dolphin tour and see them up close.

Sea Turtles

Loggerheads are most common, and late spring to October, they come here to nest. Females crawl up the beach at night, lay eggs, cover them, and return to sea. In 60-75 days, hatchlings emerge. If you see a big turtle at night, observe from a distance and don’t shine a light. You can also spy tracks in the morning (see photo)! So far this year, 163 nests on Captiva and 504 on Sanibel have been recorded. Nests are marked with sticks and yellow tape. Please do not approach (but you can take photos)!

 

I hope you get to see all of these island favorites, and more. Oh, and look for bright pink Roseate Spoonbills while you’re here, too. (They hang out on Wildlife Drive at low tide.)

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Boys to Men, This One’s for You

Whether you’re in need of a mancation or seeking some quality time with your family, ‘Tween Waters Inn has just what you need.

We’ve Got Your Back

How does a Deep Tissue Massage sound? (The answer is AHHHHH.) There is nothing better to relieve soreness, and the trained masseuses at ‘Tween Waters Spa work magic. And, have you ever had a massage of your feet and calves, and some buffing and trimming on those manly toes? It’s called a pedicure, but no one has to know. My brother says that pedicures are the best kept secret – he loves them, and he’s 6’5” and 285lbs. You want to tell him he’s wrong?

For the Golfer

Tee it up at the 18-hole championship Sanibel Island Golf Club. You’ll even receive a 10% discount when you show your room key from ‘Tween Waters Inn.

Reel Fun

If you love fishing (and who doesn’t?), ‘Tween Waters Inn can hook you up. You can rent your own boat or book a trip with a captain who knows where the fish like to hang out.

Hot Tubs

It may not be a time machine but it can take you back to stress-free times. Ease on in and bubble your cares away. There are two hot tubs to choose from on the pool deck.

Game On

If there’s a game on TV, you can catch it at the Crow’s Nest, along with your favorite cold beverage.

Sharp Dressed Man

Clean shirt, new shoes…you know the song, but did you know The Pelican’s Roost is filled with top quality clothing? This onsite shop has all kinds of nautical clothes and accessories.

Pump You Up

You won’t have to miss a single workout, if that’s your thing. You’ll find your favorite equipment in the Fitness Center. Or, just chill by the pool (oh wait, that’s my thing)!

So, take a break from the bbq, the honey-do lists, and car repairs, and get yourself over here. And to all the dads out there, Happy Father’s Day.

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Summer’s Here, Get Packing!

Wondering what to pack for your summer vacation to ‘Tween Waters Inn & Resort? Here is a list of must-have beach essentials when visiting Captiva and Sanibel. You’ll also find ‘innsider’ advice as to what items you can buy/borrow/rent while you’re here, so you can lighten your load.

No matter if you’re packing for yourself or your entire family, here are the beach essentials:

  • Swimsuits
  • Sunscreen
  • Beach shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Bug spray
  • Shelling bag

If you’re traveling by plane and can only carry 3 ounces of liquids, I’d suggest getting your sunscreen once you arrive, same for the bug spray. If they don’t sell shelling bags where you are, any plastic bag will do, or you can get a good mesh one while you’re here.

Things you don’t need to pack:

  • Beach towels. ‘Tween Waters Inn has super plush pool towels for guests’ use. Just present your room key.
  • Beach equipment. Things like umbrellas and chairs can be rented onsite, plus volleyballs can be checked out at the front desk. Tennis equipment, too.
  • Books. Purchase a $5 annual membership to the Captiva Memorial Library and you can check out the latest beach reads.

Things you can purchase onsite:

If you forget any of your beach essentials, no worries! You can purchase most anything at ‘Tween Waters Inn. The onsite boutique, The Pelican’s Roost, has a fantastic array of swimwear, beach shoes, resort wear, cover ups, hats and more…for men, women and children. (I purchased my all-time favorite beach shoes here, called Fit Kicks!)

Poolside at ‘Tween’s Beans, you can purchase useful items including googlesswim diaperskids toys and sunscreen – all just steps from your chaise lounger.

Need an all-terrain wheelchair? You can borrow one at no charge, for up to four hours, from the Sanibel Police Department by calling 239-472-3111.

Now, get packing, and I’ll see you on the beach!

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Spoil Mom Every Day at ‘Tween Waters Inn

Hey moms! This blog’s for you. We all know you deserve to be celebrated more than one day a year, so I’d like to tell you all the ways you can be spoiled, every day, at ‘Tween Waters Inn.

For moms looking for true pampering, The Spa at ‘Tween Waters is the place to be. They’re open seven days a week and their menu of services has something for every body. Manicures, pedicures, amazing hair styling, body treatments, facials, massages…you deserve it all. One of my favorite services to recommend is an aromatherapy massage. Choose your essential oil and let the relaxation begin.

For moms looking to score incredible seashells, treat yourself to a private charter with one of the captains at the onsite marina. They can take you to one of the remote barrier islands where you can snorkel or beach-walk for shells, or just out for fun on the water. You can even do lunch at a unique off-island restaurant – it’s really a fun experience.

Take a break from cooking and let the chefs at ‘Tween Waters Inn fulfill your food fantasies. On Mother’s Day, you can enjoy a Surf & Turf Special, complete with a glass of bubbly for $39 (per mom) at Captiva House. Of course, any evening is special at this romantic restaurant, known for its sunset views. The live piano music is an added bonus.

Attention mommy shoppers, did you know you don’t have to leave the property to find that perfect outfit, adorable sandals, the hottest swimsuit, or even the coolest island jewelry? It’s all here – and more. Stroll over to Pelican’s Roost or the T.H. Osprey Gift Shop. While they have something for everyone, try to focus on yourself, for once!

I wish you all a Happy Mother’s Day.

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Irish and Easter Fun at ‘Tween Waters Inn

March is a magical time at ‘Tween Waters Inn. In addition to a St. Patrick’s Day party at Crow’s Nest on the 17th, and a spectacular Easter buffet at Captiva House on the 27th, there are lots of ways to celebrate spring and ‘get lucky’ with fun happenings around the island all month long.

The Lions Club of Sanibel and Captiva has its annual arts and craft festival the weekend of March 17, 18 and 19. It takes place from 9am to 5pm at the island’s Community Center and the suggested entry donation is $5.

See the Easter Bunny and hunt for eggs at the Children’s Spring Festival, Saturday, March 26, 2016. Egg hunts, a giant slide, pony rides, games, crafts, face painting…all the things a kid would love. Hours are 10am to 1pm at the Community Park on Periwinkle. Activity armbands are $10.

Easter Sunday, you’ll find a bountiful buffet at Captiva House from 11:30am to 6pm. The displays are a feast for the eyes and the carving station and buffet will please even the pickiest eaters.  Call for reservations, 239-472-5161, ext. 421.

The Sanibel Farmers Market happens every Sunday through April, but it’s far from typical. In addition to fruits and veggies, you’ll find a plethora of culinary delights, from brick-oven pizzas and BBQ to lobster rolls and German bratwurst. Hours are 8am to 1pm.

Consider yourself lucky? Here are two things even the locals wish for:

See the elusive green flash. Just as a rainbow is created under certain conditions, a green flash is an atmospheric event. It is caused when light refracts, usually in a cloudless and cool sky. It will only last a second or two so don’t blink as the sun’s last rays are setting into the water, right in front of the resort.

Find a Junonia. You’ll make everyone green with envy if you find one. This gorgeous seashell is on every sheller’s bucket list. You can even get your picture in the local paper if you find one.

I wish you the luck of the Irish this month and every month, and Easter blessings.

 

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Top 5 Reasons I Love ‘Tween Waters Inn

Since celebrating Valentine’s Day, I’ve been thinking about love. More specifically, how much I love spending time at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Sure, the miles of uncrowded beach (and gorgeous seashells) would top anyone’s list. But here are the Top 5 Things I Love About ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort.

The sunsets

It’s a nightly sunset celebration. Fellow guests gather on the shore and watch as the sun sinks into the Gulf. Sunsets here are spectacular! We bring towels and sit right by the water – front row. We always look for the famous green flash (we’ve yet to see it)!

 

Heated pool year-round

The pool at ‘Tween Waters Inn is thermo-heated so it’s the ideal temperature – winter, spring, summer or fall. While I enjoy just floating around on a pool noodle, I love watching enthusiastic families from places like New York and Chicago – they’re so happy to be swimming in the winter!

 

Hot stone massage

I love being pampered at The Spa at ‘Tween Waters and their hot stone massage is my absolute favorite treatment. It feels so darn good. It’s hard tell the difference between the hot stones and the masseuse’s hands. Ahhh.

 

Walk to dinner

I love being able to walk to the onsite restaurants. I especially love the shrimp and grits at Crow’s Nest for dinner. I order it every time we visit. The grits are so creamy and the chef piles on the shrimp and chorizo. Comfort food at its best.

 

The wildlife

Being able to walk over to the docks and see dolphins and manatees in the marina is amazing! The dolphins even chase fish and splash around like crazy. The pelicans, osprey, egrets and herons always make me happy, too. Listen for the osprey calling for their mates.

What do you love best about ‘Tween Waters Inn? Tweet us! And, register to win one of 85 vacations!

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Keeping Resolutions, Captiva Island-Style

I really don’t like making resolutions because I’m not very good at keeping them. This year however, I have a fool-proof plan. Yes, I want to lose a few pounds and be more active. I also want my kids to spend more time outdoors and less time in front of a screen. And alone-time with my spouse would be a miracle. I need a family vacation to fit with my New Year goals. The answer is ‘Tween Waters Inn.

A family vacation to ‘Tween Waters Inn makes keeping resolutions easy. For exercise, there is a fitness center with state-of-the-art equipment. The view is inspiring because it overlooks the pool (bikini bod encouragement?). But think outside of the box, and get your exercise in along the shore. Walk to the left and in two miles you’ll be at Blind Pass, where Sanibel and Captiva meet. It’s also a popular shelling spot. Round trip takes about 90 minutes. (Sometimes I call for a ride back!) Walk right, and you’ll end up at Redfish Pass. This is where Captiva and North Captiva go their separate ways. Again, 90 minutes round trip…and what a peaceful journey.

For the more active, there are tennis courts; rent a one- or two-person kayak and paddle the scenic back bay mangroves in search of wildlife like manatees or dolphin; the pool is heated so you can swim year-round in comfort; yoga on the beach is always a nice treat; and you can rent bikes onsite. I’d better make a reservation at The Spa at ‘Tween Waters to soothe my rarely used muscles. A couples’ massage would check off the last item on my list. Yes, I definitely resolve to vacation at ‘Tween Waters Inn. Come and join me, the weather is perfect.

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