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Summer Bucket List

Summer is here! If you’re like me, you’ve got a list of things you want to accomplish in the next few months, some for yourself, some for your family.  Luckily, ‘Tween Waters Inn can help, and what could be better than accomplishing goals while on vacation?

Try Something New

Rent a jet-ski and race across the water. Be brave and sing karaoke at Crow’s Nest. Ever tried yoga on the beach? You can here. Expand your horizons and get out of your comfort zone!

 

Be One with Nature

Set off on an eco-adventure by renting a kayak and paddling through the mangroves. Look for dolphins, manatees, beautiful birds…who knows what you’ll see! Maybe even an otter.

 

Expand Your Palate

Sushi? Scallops? Anything other than a chicken nugget? Try new foods at Captiva House Sushi. While younger ones may not want to try tuna sashimi (although it is SO good!), maybe a Dragon Roll could pique their interest. And, eating with chopsticks falls under the category, “Learn Something New!”

 

Be Adventurous

Get a bird’s eye view of Captiva when you try parasailing. Talk about an adrenaline rush! Or, how about sailing? It’s a bit lower key but still exciting as you cut through the waves with the wind in your hair.

 

Be Still

Take time to just do nothing and re-center yourself. I recommend spending a few hours at the brand new adult-only Serenity Pool with private cabanas (you’ll find it by the tennis courts). Of course, a visit to the Spa at ‘Tween Waters is always good for the soul.

 

Learn Something New

Just down the road is the J.N. Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge. Their Welcome Center is not only air-conditioned but has fantastic interactive displays about animals found on the island. It’s not only educational, it’s fun.  

 Enjoy your summer!

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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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Mysterious Sand Sculptures and a Championship Festival

You never know what you’re going to find when you wander down the beaches of Sanibel and Captiva. Case in point, while out looking for seashells, I have stumbled upon some amazing sand sculptures (see photos). I have found them all over the island, every month of the year, from the tip of Captiva to the Sanibel lighthouse.

I don’t know who builds them, or why, or what their motivation is, but I do know that these creations create quite a stir among beachgoers. After all, who wouldn’t want to just happen upon a smiling dragon? Or an octopus where every little suction cup on every leg has been created by the placement of a perfectly shaped seashell? Whoever you are, thank you for leaving these treasures!

While these sculptures are exciting to find when you find them, if you want to be guaranteed the chance the see sand art, plan to visit the Annual American Sand Sculpting Championship that’s held each November on Fort Myers Beach. (This year it’s Nov 20-29.) Talk about jaw-dropping. It’s the largest sand sculpting competition in the state and it draws hundreds of amateurs (and 25 master sculptors) from all over. In fact, USA Today and CNN Travel have named this is a ‘must see’ and one of the 10 best sand sculpting competitions in the world. And, ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort is a short ride away from all the excitement. Here’s a You Tube video that my friend Lauren and fellow VISIT FLORIDA insider made about her visit.

I hope these photos encourage you to come build your own sandcastles and other fun creatures. All you need is your imagination – we’ll supply the sand and water. If you do get creative, post your pics to our Facebook page. Build on!

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Rainy Day Guide to Captiva and Sanibel

You’re on a beach vacation – so what happens when it rains? Thunderstorms usually blow in fast and leave just as quickly on these barrier islands, but if the rain continues to fall, you can still have a great time with your kids. Here’s your Rainy Day Guide to Fun on Captiva and Sanibel:

In-room Movies

At ‘Tween Waters Inn, you can watch Pay-Per-View movies right in your room. You’ll find a variety of titles including new releases.

 

Island Cinema

First-run movies are shown in two theaters using state-of-the-art projection. Seats are super comfy but the space is small so they frequently sell out. Movies start late afternoon and early evening. Go early.

 

J.N. Ding Darling Visitor & Education Center

This is a family favorite. Many exhibits are hands-on (create an animal rubbing, press buttons and make things light up, touch bones, solve a mystery, and much more). Best of all, it’s FREE. Open every day at 9 am.

 

Wildlife Drive

For $5 per vehicle, explore a 4-mile winding road through the J.N. Ding Darling Refuge. (For $12 cash, buy a yearly pass.) You may see alligators, spoonbills, and manatees…from the comfort of your car. Closed on Fridays. Download the Ding Darling app for educational fun.

 

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

With live tank talks at 11:30 am and 3:30 pm, and activities like a shell scavenger hunt, arts & crafts and Shell Bingo, this is a must-do, rain or shine. Don’t miss the life-size giant squid model (like you could miss that). Open every day.

Be Puzzled

Here are 1,000 reasons to stay inside. There’s a rather infamous jigsaw puzzle of “Sanibel & Captiva Islands” that you can purchase in the Osprey Gift Shop.

 

Public Library

Captiva has a public library around the corner from ‘Tween Waters Inn, but the one on Sanibel has a large children’s area complete with a rowboat (the S.L. Readmore). There is something for every age, including toddler time and craft day.

I hope your vacation is filled with sunshine and seashells, but if the skies open up and shower you with ‘liquid sunshine’, I hope you’ll enjoy some of my favorite rainy day island activities.

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