You don’t need a passport for a family-friendly island vacation — just a car to take you over the Causeway Bridge in Ft. Myers to Sanibel and Captiva islands in Florida. South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island offers sugar white-sand beaches, 20 swimming pools, watersports, golf and more than a dozen dining options.
Originally a Key lime plantation, this 330-acre property stretches from its gatehouse across the street from Chadwick’s Square past the main lobby to North Pointe Village. A trolley connects the entrance and lobby to the main pool area, marina and several dining options, stopping along the way so guests can easily access their accommodations.
If you want to be close to the three main pools and Skully’s Family Center with its kids’ activities and Camp Skullywags, you may want to stay in the 475-square-foot Harborside guestrooms, but I recommend opting for a condominium instead. With sizes ranging 850–3,400 square feet, the condos have bedrooms, living rooms and full kitchens, including range tops, ovens and full-sized refrigerators.
South Seas also offers Homes of Distinction, private homes and specialty condominiums ranging from two- to six-bedrooms. All come complete with a full kitchen, daily housekeeping service and other amenities. Some even have private pools. Consider renting one if you are traveling with another family or for multigenerational vacations.
Things to Do
Collecting seashells is one of the most popular activities on Captiva Island, right up there with lounging on the beach or by the pool. The resort’s 2.5 miles of white-sand beaches are dotted with more than 250 types of seashells, and while you can’t find as many as you would on neighboring Sanibel Island, you’ll still get an impressive haul. Download the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum app to identify what you find.
On-site provider Sunny Island Adventures offers watersport adventures including sailing, parasailing, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and wave runner excursions while Sanibel Sea School provides sea-based programs for kids, teens and adults, including Guided Birdwatching and Discover Shelling. The resort also boasts a tennis academy, nine-hole golf course and spa.
South Seas Island Resort makes a great base for exploring Sanibel Island and other nearby islands. Captiva Cruises sail to Cayo Costa State Park for world-class shelling and Cabbage Key for the ultimate “cheeseburger in paradise.” On Sanibel Island, don’t miss Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, which pays tribute not only to seashells but sea creatures at its new aquarium. Nearby, J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is home to more than 245 bird species.
Where to Eat
The resort offers several dining options. For a breakfast or an upscale meal, head to Harbourside Bar & Grill, which overlooks the marina. Poolside, The Pointe serves sandwiches, burgers and vegetarian-friendly options for lunch while Scoops & Slices caters to pizza and ice cream lovers. Head to Crooked Snook Tiki Bar for a frozen tropical drink or Starbucks at Chadwick’s Square for a coffee.
For a taste of Southwest Florida’s best, don’t miss Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grill. A local favorite chain, Doc Ford’s is known for dishes like Yucatan Shrimp — steamed peel-and-eat shrimp dripping with butter, spices and Key lime juice — and, of course, its rum drinks.
Half a mile from the resort, downtown Captiva is home to the Bubble Room, a local icon known for its kitsch and mammoth cake slices — try the orange crunch cake! Just around the corner, Keylime Bistro is known for its Key lime pie.
Saint Lucia invites travelers to experience the island’s beautiful beaches with incredible Cyber Monday deals. The Saint Lucia Tourism Authority makes it easy for travelers to score the best lodging and tour deals with a dedicated Cyber Monday website.
The Peninsula Beverly Hills makes staying in a suite even sweeter! Guests who book one of the hotel’s elegant suites are offered complimentary use of a luxury BMW for the length of their stay. While Beverly Hills has so much to offer, having a car gives you the freedom to see even more of Southern California, whether it is driving up the Pacific Coast Highway to Malibu, or continuing on, past Santa Barbara, to Santa Ynez wine country.
There is no better place to celebrate the holidays this year than Wailea, Hawai’i. Look to Wailea Beach to witness Santa and his elves emerge from the ocean in a decorated Hawai’ian outrigger canoe stocked full of candy canes, ready to kick off the festivities. Some of Santa’s elves will even surf Hawai’i’s great waves to make their way to shore. The entrance will be nothing short of special as they land on pristine Wailea Beach in front of the Grand Wailea Resort. Kids can meet Santa and take photos with him before he makes his way toward the resort.