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Celebrating Summer on Sanibel and Captiva Island

Of course winter and spring constitute high season in Southwest Florida, and Sanibel and Captiva island fall into that mold. Yet there’s something about summer on the islands. Something more intimate and personal. Something more authentically Floridian.

So why plan a summer trip to Sanibel and Captiva islands? For one thing, the most practical thing, rates at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa and Castaways  Beach & Bay Cottages on Captiva Island; and West Wind Inn and Beachview Cottages on Sanibel dip drastically from high season, plus other incentives make it an especially attractive time of year budget-wise.

For instance, right now, all four resorts are giving away a free night when you book three. They are sweetening the deal with $100 in reward coupons and, in the case of ‘Tween Waters and West Wind, dining credits. PLUS, if you book by June 30, you score two free logo Tervis tumblers (call-in reservations only, mention “tumblers”).

The newly remastered Old Captiva House

Speaking of dining, summer means no lines, no crowds, no waiting at your favorite resort restaurants, such as Old Captiva House at ‘Tween Waters and Normandie Seaside Cafe at West Wind Inn. Likewise, on the beach, it’s easy to find a spot  you won’t be sharing with anyone but the birds of summer.

Watch for manatees in the summer.

Bayside, watch for manatees, who mate this time of year close to shore. They favor the little cove on the south end of ‘Tween Waters’ bay shoreline. Get out on a paddleboard or kayak to see more of the islands’ wildlife come alive. Baby birds are hatching. Gigantic sea turtles are laying eggs, and adorable gator hatchlings are crawling out from their nests.

Not only fauna, but flora gets showy in summer. It’s that time of year when mangoes blush with serious, ponderous sweetness. Poinicianas, oleanders, crape myrtles, bougainvillea, and hibiscus blossom. Late afternoon rains bring the islands to their lushest.

Summer: It’s a season ripe for taking life easy, waterside, with a cold drink and a good novel. The Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts have your lounge chair and cocktail ready. Just add sunscreen.




Mark Your Calendar For Fun, Fun and More Fun at ‘Tween Waters Captiva.

It’s only August, but it’s time to start marking your calendar for all of the good times, family fun and (yes) occasional case of the sillies at the legendary ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, the Official Beach Resort of Captiva Island.
Got your Google Calendar ready? Here we go:
  • Saturday, August 18: 100,000 Facebook Followers Party. There’s still time to get in on all the fun this coming weekend, as we celebrate our 100,000 (and counting) Facebook followers by hosting a pool-and-beach party topped off with fireworks and $100 room nights! You’ll enjoy CJ the DJ rocking the pool deck all afternoon and into the evening, with mighty beverage specials and an over-the-top beach fireworks display at 9 PM. Call 800.223.5865 now to book your night (or even better, weekend!).
  • Friday-Monday, August 31- September 3: Labor Day Weekend. Most parts of the country call Labor Day the “unofficial end of summer.” Here at the Official Beach Resort of Captiva Island, we call Labor Day the official kickoff of four months of special events and fun! This is a weekend the whole family can enjoy, from pools and beach, to parasail and jetskis, to standup paddleboards of just relaxing poolside (either Family Pool or Serenity Pool). Plus, we’ll have our September Songwriter Jo Smith poolside on September 1. Book it at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Friday-Sunday, September 21-23: Island Hopper Songwriter Fest. It’s the Fifth Annual Songwriter Festival, and that means another chance for you to get up close and personal with a host of talented Nashville singer-songwriters, playing intimate settings throughout ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa. If you love music and hanging with the artists, book the weekend now at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Saturday, October 6: Songwriter Saturday at the Pool. This monthly, singer-songwriter Brinley Addington brings his chart-topping Nashville sounds to the poolside relaxation here on Captiva Island. Make it a weekend at 800.223.5865 or book online here.
  • Saturday, October 27: Hallo’Tween. Don’t be afraid, because this all-time classic party brings out the very best in our guests — be they locals or visitors. You’ll partake of an evening of fun with live music, DJ tunes, beverages specials and big-time, cash prizes for the best costumes. Book the weekend now at 800.223.5865!
  • Thursday-Friday, November 22-23: Thanksgiving Day Buffet and Annual Tree Lighting Celebration. Here come the holidays! Be sure to book your weekend stay now, so you can enjoy all that makes the holidays so very special on Captiva and at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa. Thursday’s Thanksgiving Buffet is a must-do, then relax and recharge Friday during the day — because come sunset Friday night, it’s the Annual Tree Lighting Celebration with live music, DJ tunes, hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights, a spectacular fireworks on the beach celebration and yes!, the only snowstorm in Southwest Florida. Hurry, only a few reservations remain so book the weekend now at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Tuesday, December 25: Christmas Day Buffet. Here’s one present you’ll want to find under your palm tree — a holiday vacation to ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa, including the always delicious Christmas Day Buffet. Wow, this one’s got your name on it. Book it now at 800.223.5865 or online here.
  • Monday, December 31: New Year’s Eve Party. Ring in the new year in style, at the one and only Official Beach Resort of Captiva Island. This is the party to start all parties and kick off the new year with live music, laughter, fun and a beautiful sunset. Make it a weekend by booking now at 800.223.5865.
Remember: When you Book Direct you save with No Resort Fees plus a host of exclusive, VIP freebies and discounts no other travel site offers. So call our friendly on-site reservationists today at (what’s that number?) 800.223.5865 or online here. See you soon and, hopefully, see you often!

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year Here Is January!

During the winter season on Sanibel and Captiva Islands in Southwest Florida life is simply cool and as easy as a breeze.
Aside from the temps and the weather we enjoy every year at this time, life around the Islands also gets a little busier and a lot more fun. Because of the beautiful environment found from one end of the islands to the other, in January the last of our winter residents and neighbors that call the area home each year, arrive and settle into their homes and condos. The grocery stores get active, traffic increases for cars, bicycles and pedestrians, and the most popular restaurants are serving full houses during the winter season.
People are out and meeting each other. Outdoor eating is popular day or night while the temps are cooler. Talk to a fisherman or boat captain and you can learn about the fresh fish and seafood they are catching in season and how they love to have it prepared to eat.
This time of year we are seldom hot or over heated and therefore everyone seems more relaxed and comfortable in the midst of day-to-day activities and special outings. There are lots of people, families and couples here for shorter holiday visits. Smiles are up, and car windows are down. Locals are wearing light jackets and maybe socks. Visitors are enjoying the beach and the Gulf of Mexico, and likely getting an easy tan while the sun is not so strong.
The breeze picks up in winter, so trips around the islands and walks on the beach are not sweltering but cool and don’t require a hat except to keep your head warm sometimes. This means a long sleeved, cotton coverup with or without a hood is all you need to stay comfortable outside. Cardigans are the best because they are easier to take off or put back on as needed.
409660_480695841987647_698914864_nDon’t let the heightened activity fool you. The area is a paradise especially during the winter. Plus there are a lot of community events and activities to take in and things to do this time of year. Browse a couple of the local papers that are published weekly and you can get a quick idea of when and where things are happening. Art and artists, nature activities galore, great music, pubs, cafes, fine dining, premier shopping, local theater, clubs, and groups get active. Most weekends there is an annual event or a unique gathering planned and ready to add to your calendar.
Unique flowers and foliage bloom in the winter season here and many people find them interesting to learn more about. Animals get active early in the day and are spotted more often while they are seeking the sun to warm up. The golf courses get busy, as well. At night places like the Crow’s nest at ‘Tween Waters Inn feature music and entertainment along with dancing more nights each week.
When the days are cooler remember the temp outside is usually around the temperature of your air conditioning turned low after the day warms up. Find a place in the sun and out of the breeze to stay the warmest. Winter is a dry season for Florida and it seldom rains but if it does then go shopping. You won’t be disappointed by the kind of things that are available in the shops around town.
The very worst case scenario will be that it gets really chilly… or ‘burr it’s cold’ in island terms for just a little while and never for too long. So remember no matter what the exact temp is during your stay, everything is going to be alright.
It’s January here and it’s time to get outside and enjoy!

Identifying The Prize Shells In Your Bucket

When a shell is unbroken and naturally colorful, it’s considered a prize shell in my book.
The private beach at ‘Tween Waters Inn offers guests a beautiful stretch of shelling coastline on one of the most famous beaches in the world. You will find all kinds of shell species recognized as native to the Southwest Florida, Gulf of Mexico area. Best of all, shelling on Captiva, Sanibel, and other barrier islands in the area is as simple as walking along on a nearby beach or as adventurous as boating to an uninhabited island.
When the day is done, the bucket of shells you collect will include more or less of many common shells. While some are more prized than others, all of them may become your favorites. The Junonia shell with it’s bold, brown spotted pattern on a white shell with a distinctive spiral shape, once housed a live mollusk or sea snail creature inside. It has a reputation for being the Prize shell to find on local beaches. The Junonia is ‘the’ shell you just have to hold or pose with to capture a keepsake photo for all time.
My shell favorites like the Banded Tulip or the Lightening Welk found around the islands, are the ones I can count on finding most often. There’s also the Cat’s Paw, Turkey Wing, Auger, Cockle, Conch and Scallop. The Shark’s Eye Moon shell, Apple Murex and Olive. These are all the shells we can generally find without a doubt. My husband, Eric is enthusiastic about helping me find the beauties that come in all sizes and colors. The feature photo for this post includes many of the shells I named.
For lots more information visit the popular, world-famous website that was created by island resident, Pam Rambo. Here you can find photos and descriptions for the shells named above and so many more you are likely to find. Check with the Front Desk and the staff can guide you to exciting shelling boat trips, the Shell Museum and of course lots of stores. And remember, most importantly be sure to enjoy!
Photo of a live Fighting Conk shell temporarily on the beach and destined to go back into the water. 

Plan To Stay Cool When The Sunshine Is The Brightest!


Staying cool’ around the resort when the sunshine is bright — is a vital skill or perhaps, even an art.  

Many ‘Tween Waters Inn guests on Captiva Island visiting Southwest Florida have ‘sunshine’ at the top of their list for ‘why’ they travel here to spend their spare time. With so many things to do outdoors my husband, Eric and I know first-hand how easy it is to get too much sun, too fast and find ourselves looking for places and things to do while we cool down a little bit.

Consider some of these good ideas offered from my own personal experience, for staying cooler around the resort from morning until sunset:

  • Walk through the lush vegetation areas to get around the resort and stay cool under shady trees and roof lines.
  • Visit the pool early morning or late afternoon when temps are the coolest all day and it’s the perfect time to start a tan.
  • Pack and wear your stylish hats, or pick up a new ones in the Pelican’s Roost Boutique near the dock entrance of the Marina.
  • Umbrella spots beside the pool are more likely to be open when the pool deck is less busy and the sun is lower in the sky.
  • Morning is the time to reserve a shady chaise on the beach and to simply take it easy hanging out beside the sand and surf.
  • Wear shorts, skirts, light fabrics, t-shirts and sandals anytime, anywhere and dress up only if it suits your beachwear fancy.
  • Remember that the Oasis Pool Bar offers a shady spot all day where you can chill, sip cold drinks, make friends and sit beside the pool.
  • It’s also the place to enjoy lunch or order it ‘to go’ and take lunch back to your air-conditioned room, suite or cottage you call home.
  • Early afternoon is a favorite time to relax on your private lanai where the temps are cooler when the sun is high in the sky.
  • Schedule favorite Spa appointments dedicated to your complete comfort and relaxation after you’ve been outside in the morning.
  • Afternoons are traditionally the tropical time for a brief siesta or nap when the temps are always the hottest outdoors all day.
  • Later in the day take your time exploring the quiet back bay waters paddling a rented canoe or kayak through the mangroves.
  • Make a reservation at the Captiva House restaurant first thing and look forward all day to a memorable dinner right around sunset.
  • After dinner share a night cap or even an impromptu fiesta at the Crow’s Nest Beach Bar & Grille next door where having fun is popular.
  • Make it a habit in the evening to take a stroll down to the beach before bed when it’s cool, breezy and the sand is lit by the moon.

At ‘Tween Waters Inn when you get over heated you have the Gulf of Mexico waters and the resort pool to cool down in anytime. Then you can take it easy while you make a decision about what to do next.

Most importantly, stay cool and enjoy!


sombreros-women-summer-font-b-hat-b-font-girls-colorful-striped-font-b-big-b-fontThe Oasis Bar at 'Tween Waters Innspacropped20911_552152571504000_765373925_n


Sittin’ On The Dock On The Bay…


TWI-Sunrise Tower_1222-sm“Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun, I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes.”

Most of us remember the lyrics of this popular song from the late 60’s. When it’s the dock at ‘Tween Waters Inn there is a lot to see just sitting quietly on the dock near the bay.

The best vantage we found sits high on the upper level observatory deck on the dock at the resort’s Marina. It’s a big bench so you can sit with a friend. Bring light refreshments and you can sit there as long as you like. The view is an expanse of breathtaking back bay waterway framed by sky and landscape as far as the eye can see from Captiva Island. The sun rises over the bay taking center stage, travels over head, and sets behind on the nearby Gulf of Mexico beach at the very end of the day.

Close your eyes and the sounds are pure and natural, aside from a boat motor softly going by from here and there. The wind, the birds, the sunshine and much more can be heard and felt without seeing anything. When you open your eyes and you’ll find the view on of the bay is colorful, peaceful, reflective and grand.

The sights from the dock on the ‘Tween Waters bay are always right there for guests to enjoy. While this bench may not be as popular as the pool, restaurants, bar or beach it offers the bay gazer all that a nature lover on a Southwest Florida island could ever ask.

This is the perfect place to start or end your day while you visit ‘Tween Waters Inn. It’s where you can go to relax after lunch, before or after a special outing or a trip to the Spa. The ‘Tween Waters dock on the bay is a place to reward your senses or to day dream. The  area underside of the upper deck is perfect for yoga or meditation… during the most quiet times of the day.

We visited first thing in the morning. My husband, Eric and I were all by ourselves until the fisherman woke up. From up top, the spot is perfect for conversation or silence. It offers another tropical paradise memory you will remember about your visit to the resort. Most importantly, it’s there for you to enjoy!






Sweating it Out on the Tour de Captiva

OK, I’ve finally conceded that I’ll never be mistaken for Lance Armstrong.

But while a month on a bicycle in France isn’t viable for a 45-year-old who breaks a sweat taking out garbage, it’s lucky that Southwest Florida is not without more suitable two-wheeled options.

And if you’re seeking to get your pedal on, why not enjoy a little scenery along the way?

Some natural roadside scenery
Some natural roadside scenery

The quest for mild exertion amid world-class visuals begins conveniently at the Tween Waters Inn’s bayside marina, where a full complement of non-geared bikes are available for rental by resort guests. Rates start at $15 for the first two-and-a-half hours and $5 per hour thereafter, an outlay which provides instant access to a fleet of ready-to-roll machines stationed a turn or two from Captiva Drive.

From there, the options are only limited by the spring in your legs and the air in your lungs.

My Saturday adventure (rentals are available starting at 9 a.m. sharp) began alongside good friend and colleague Michael Korb, who joined me in the mid-morning scorch as we hung a left out of the parking lot with visions of a full 28-mile trek from resort to Sanibel lighthouse and back.

It only took a trickle of middle-aged perspiration – which arrived after barely 60 seconds – to get us rethinking those objectives. And by the time we’d rolled two miles to picturesque Blind Pass, we were content with the idea that a 15-mile ride with higher aspirations would substitute nicely for a nearly 30-mile version that was 50/50 to end with a next-of-kin notification.

Fortunately, there was enough eye candy in our midst to distract any battered 40-plus ego.

Picture break at Blind Pass
Picture break at Blind Pass

Our leisurely tour brought us past the familiar cadre of fishermen on the bridge, alongside the occasional white egret strolling the fence line of the sprawling “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge and face to face with a vagabond gopher tortoise happily munching grass in the linked video while cars whizzed past just feet away.

We used the refuge’s parking lot as a pit stop prior to a thankfully tail-winded return trip to the resort, and the jaunt was capped by a visit to the pristine beach across the street before the bikes were re-racked alongside the marina steps just a few minutes before noon.

It’s far more sand than Champs Elysees, but as finish lines go it’s pretty tough to beat.

The perfect finish line
The perfect finish line

‘Tween Waters Inn Hosts a Roast and First Annual Funtastic Fourth Fishing Derby

Fishing at 'Tween Waters InnSpend Independence Day honoring tradition and starting a few new traditions of your own at ‘Tween Waters Inn Island Resort.  Fourth of July at ‘Tween Waters Inn is a fun-filled day, starting with the First Annual Funtastic Fourth Fishing Derby — a half-day tournament free to all guests with Fourth of July reservations for three or more nights. After a fish-filled day with your family, enjoy a mouth-watering Island Tradition: a Captiva Island Luau Roast, replete with slow roasted pig.

The fishing tournament will begin at 8 a.m., and is free and fun for all ages, with a three-day reservation or more. Complete the Fourth of July evening with the all-you-can-eat Captiva Island Luau Roast, from 5 to 9 p.m. Both the fishing tournament and luau are free to guests staying three or more nights (limit of 2, children under 12 eat free). Visitors are encouraged to dig in, despite staying the night or three, for only $17.95 per person.

The recently renovated Crow’s Nest at ‘Tween Waters Inn will “host the roast” so join in the fun and sample the delicious menu items including: slow roasted suckling pig, coleslaw, corn on the cob, baked beans, a basket of swamp cabbage fritters, and Key lime tarts. These tasty items partner perfect with “two for one” draft beer.  The regular menu will also be available.