Tuesday

Florida Family Vacations: Adventuring on Captiva Island - Flyby Update August 2016 Trip Part 1

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Flyby Update Part 1 - Captiva Island


We made it to Florida! How has it been so far? In a nutshell ... a mix of fabulous, whirlwind and wet. We've just said good-bye to our first stop and thought we'd take a minute to quickly update you on highlights from our journey so far!

For starters, we took a red-eye down (our flight was great, thanks JetBlue) and then drove 4 hours from the airport to our resort--'Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa--in a rental. Why? Because sometimes the most economical flight isn't the most convenient flight, but when you travel frequently (or you have a strict budget) you make the sacrifice and bite that bullet--hard! 


Our heads didn't hit the pillow until about 7 am on Sunday morning (our first day in Florida technically speaking since we departed on the 27th, but landed in Florida just after midnight on the 28th). This was after we checked in to our resort at 5 am, showered the plane germs off, took some quick videos of our suite (gotta get those videos and pics in before we really settle in!) and crawled our way into our pajamas. I'd like to say this was the first time we've had such a crazy arrival. It wasn't! Again, sometimes you suffer a little in transit to benefit during your trip a little more.

After about 5 hours of sleep we woke up, groggily got dressed and fed the kids some pop-tarts we'd packed with us. 

FamilyADHD tried and true tip: Always pack dry food with you for "emergencies" or between meal snacks to hold you over. You just never know when you'll have to wait longer than expected (never good with kids) before you find food that works for your family. This is also key for us with our dietary needs (gluten-free for me, type 2 diabetic-friendly for Patrick).

The boys ate their breakfast on the balcony of our suite enjoying this view...

Captiva Island Family Travel Guide Tween Waters Inn Resort & Spa
Our balcony overlooked this neat little pier

Captiva Island Family Travel Guide Tween Waters Inn Resort & Spa
Worth the red-eye flight, right?

After Patrick and I threw back a few bottles of water in an attempt to wake up and re-hydrate, our first task of the day (if you count this moment as the start of our day ... we did sleep for 5 hours that morning after all lol) was to head to the grocery store and stock up our kitchenette. Thank goodness for resorts with kitchenettes (or full-size kitchens in some cases)

We did a quick combo google/yelp search for local grocery stores and found that while there were a couple nextdoor on Sanibel, they were (as to be expected) more expensive than grocery stores close by on the mainland. We chose to drive to what we thought was a Winn Dixie (we don't have these up north and are still curious to shop in one), but ended up at a Walmart Superstore with a supermarket instead. How? We still have no idea, but thankfully we were able to get the majority of what we needed for our time at 'Tween Waters Inn, minus some fresh produce (theirs was looking mighty sad). Not too many gluten-free options for me, but we made it work.

We made a quick stop at Jerry's Foods to grab some (happier looking) fresh produce and then made it back to the resort. 

Oh! We also made a quick stop at Bennett's Fresh Roast (famous for their donuts) on the way to Walmart Supercenter (aka what we thought was going to be a Winn Dixie) and ended up getting free donuts with our drink purchases because we arrived 40 minutes before closing--how cool! Yes, I tried some. Yes, they made me sick (wheat allergy). But I regret nothing! Try the almond coconut or key lime if ever there. 

Anyway, after putting away the groceries and making a quick meal, we got into our bathing suits and headed to our favorite beach on Sanibel--Bowman's Beach! If you've followed us for some time you know we were just at this beach this past spring and we fell in love. The shelling was stupendous last time and while it wasn't quite as mind-blowing this time (despite the fact we were hit with storm after storm, which usually helps), it wasn't bad by any means. 

The rest of our time on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island looked a little something like this between thunderstorms (a tropical storm hit the area the day after we arrived)...

Sanibel Island Family Travel Guide Bowman's Beach
This was our first trip EVER to any beach where Liam actually wanted to go shelling and boy, did he shell! Usually he has too much anxiety and sensory issues with sorting through shells and being in the waves, but travel = gradual growth in our opinions. :)

Sanibel Island Family Travel Guide Bowman's Beach

Then there was some excitement during our last full day when a major storm came barreling down on us and these guys came out to play right below our balcony...

Captiva Island Family Travel Guide Tween Waters Inn Resort & Spa
Manatees playing and feeding in the storm by the beach below our balcony!

There was even some pool time before we were slammed by more storms.

Captiva Island Family Travel Guide Tween Waters Inn Resort & Spa

Then our final night gifted us a perfect moment that looked a little something like this...

Captiva Island Family Travel Guide Tween Waters Inn Resort & Spa
The boys shelling on the private beach across from 'Tween Waters Inn at sunset.

This morning we had breakfast at the resort restaurant (unfortunately, not too many gluten-free options, but I'll get into that in our full review later) and said good-bye to Captiva and Sanibel as the sky opened up and poured down on us in sheets. 

It's not always easy to say good-bye to a place we enjoy, but the storm helped a bit!

We left Captiva and 'Tween Waters Inn with some fun memories, 2 SD cards full of great pictures/videos and enough shells to make us wonder whether or not we'll get busted by our airline for having too much heft to our carry-ons on our return flight. Eh ... we'll make it work!

I think that's all I have time to jot down for now! I've got some dinner to help make and some movies to watch with my boys (it's raining for the rest of the evening). Don't worry, we have a much more in-depth look to share with you once we return in our official full-length reviews from out trip.  Boy, do I have notes upon notes already. ;)

We're enjoying Naples for most of the rest of the week, followed by a surprise trip to Disney World for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (the boys have NO idea and thought we weren't going again this year!) and then on to our last destination. 

Until our next flyby update, think dry thoughts for us! 

A few thoughts so far:
  • Captiva is beautiful and quieter than Sanibel, though we love both
  • 'Tween Waters Inn has an amazing location
  • Marina access at 'Tween Waters would be fantastic for anyone planning to head out in a small boat
  • Hurricane season on the east coast is as unpredictable in Florida as it is back home in New England
  • Bennett's Fresh Roast didn't wow us with their coffee (you guys know we take our coffee seriously), but their donuts were pretty tasty
  • We much prefer Bailey's over Jerry's (stay tuned for our full-length review later to understand what we mean and why--so cryptic!)
  • Jerry's knows how to brew some decent coffee AND they had my beloved almond milk
  • Weather reports are predictably inaccurate during this season--it will rain when it wants, how it wants, for as long or short as it wants 
  • Our oldest has only been in time-out once and had to do some multiplication/division flashcards once as a consequence of some poor choices--not too shabby! lol


Note: Our stay was hosted. All opinions expressed above are our own based on our personal experience.

18 comments:

  1. What a gorgeous vacation spot! Looks like you all had a blast!

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    1. We had such a fun time!

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  2. Sounds fab! Love the details and antecdotes you share, feel like I was there right along with you!

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  3. Oh my goodness, what a fabulous spot to visit and relax!

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    1. Totally! Lots of shopping as well, but we actually didn't shop much (ironic given it's one of my favorite sports! lol).

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  4. This looks so amazing! What a gorgeous place to vacation.

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    1. Captiva is really fabulous!

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  5. This looks and sounds like a great area! I would love to visit here!

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    1. You should definitely hit up Captiva if you haven't been! :)

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  6. My husband and I were looking at going to Sanibel Island this fall :)

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    1. Definitely do it! Sanibel is one of our family's favorite east coast spots :)

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  7. What a great view! It looks like a beautiful area to visit.

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  8. Oh my goodness! That view is so stunning. It looks like I'm adding another place on my travel bucket list!

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  9. Great recap! Good to hear the shelling went well :)

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    1. Oh yes, Sanibel and Captiva are known for their out-of-this-world shelling! And since shelling is one of our family's favorite hobbies (aka obsessions) it's one of our favorite places to visit :)

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