'Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa Captiva, FLThe Gulf Coast of Florida is one of our favorite east coast destinations--shells galore, beautiful beaches and a peacefulness you can't experience in many other parts of Florida. Don't get me wrong, we absolutely love Orlando and all of the parks (looking at you Hogwarts and Magic Kingdom), but when we need some family downtime, the Gulf Coast is near the top of our list!
If you follow our blog you may have seen our general updates on our trip to Florida, but now that we're back we want to go into detail on some of the places we stayed and things we did! I'm sure you'll be able to tell by our video (some of which was taken by our oldest starting at 2:31 and then 3:48) that we had a great time on Captiva. Ready to learn more about our stay at our first destination, 'Tween Waters Inn, on Captiva?
Located on beautiful Captiva Island just north of Sanibel, 'Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa offered a slow-paced, calm, Gulf island vibe that we as a family had the privilege of enjoying just a few weeks ago!
'Tween Waters Inn offered a variety of accommodation styles ranging from guest rooms to suites; cottages to studios. Units such as the Queen Bayside Suite we stayed in had kitchenettes, while cottages sported full-size kitchens. Overall, we'd describe the resort and suite as having a homey, beachy feel. While not brand new, nothing was super worn and things were pretty well kept.
'Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Space at a Glance:
- Located on Captiva Island just north of Sanibel (right over the line between the two)
- 13 acres
- Private Gulf Coast beach
- Bordered by both the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound
- 137 total units
- Units consist of guest rooms, suites, studios and cottages
- Complimentary continental breakfast for guests (discussed below)
- Rustic island decor
- Tennis courts
- Heat outdoor pool
- Multiple dining options - Oasis Pool Bar, Crow's Nest Beach Bar & Grille, Captiva House, Canoe & Kayak Club
- Crab racing activity for guests
You can book your stay at 'Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa or learn more about the resort on their site.
Quick Tips:There is a $6 toll (at the time of our visit) to take the bridge to get onto Sanibel Island to get to Captiva, so make sure you have cash in hand! Also, grab a case of water from a grocery store on the mainland on your way to Captiva as it'll likely be cheaper at a chain grocery store than on the island based on prices we saw.
|View of marina from our balcony|
|View of Pine Island Sound from balcony|
As you may have guessed, 'Tween Waters Inn was literally between two bodies of water--the Gulf of Mexico and Pine Island Sound. As a result, some rooms had beautiful views such as the one above, while others were only a few steps away. And while it was amazing to watch the manatees play in Pine Island Sound, we also loved the gorgeous, private Gulf Coast beach across the street that we had access to as guests.
For those unfamiliar with Captiva, in our opinions it's Sanibel's even more peaceful sister. Sanibel isn't bursting with busyness and it's not hyper commercial (which is awesome), but it can get a bit busier during peak season (we visited earlier this year during the busy season). Captiva, on the other hand, is so incredibly calm and quiet it's the perfect setting for a family that truly wants to be away from it all. If Sanibel was yoga, Captiva would be pure meditation!
There were a few shops and stores nearby, especially on Sanibel, that made it possible to stay on the islands without having to cross the bridge back onto the mainland and pay the toll on the way back. We'll be discussing a few spots we tried out for you guys in a later post!
Resort Layout'Tween Waters Inn had a nice little complex that was convenient and easy to navigate. Like many resorts and hotels in the area, parking was beneath guest room and suite structures, which helped to keep things more compact and conveniently situated. We walked around the entire resort a couple times with ease!
We liked that the lobby and pool were centrally located and it was nice that Crow's Nest (where we had our continental breakfast) was actually off to the side--it felt very cozy there!
Overall, it was very easy to find our way around the resort with the boys.
Queen Bayside Suite First ImpressionWe had the pleasure of staying in a Queen Bayside Suite during our stay at 'Tween Waters Inn. We had a gorgeous view of the water, which we shared above, and a decent amount of room to sprawl out in. We found that we struggled a little with finding enough outlets to charge all of our electronics/camera batteriess and plug in Patrick's CPAP (a growing concern for many established resorts we visit as many travelers are toting more electronics than ever), but we travel with a bit more than the average family due to the equipment we bring for filming/snapping pics and working while traveling. This may not be an issue for other families.
With 2 boys, the Queen Bayside Suite offered enough room that we didn't feel cramped or crowded during the time we spent in our suite.
Queen Bayside Suite LayoutOur suite had a separate bedroom with 2 queen beds, kitchenette, family room, full bathroom and a screened-in balcony with chairs and a table.
The BedroomThe bedroom had 2 queen beds, dresser and side table decorated in an island motif. The beds were true queens (not cramped doubles) and quite comfortable! Linens were reasonably soft and the right weight for the climate-controlled temperature we kept it at.
We did found that the bedroom stayed a bit warmer than the rest of the unit when the door was closed, but was perfectly comfortable if we turned the a.c. up a bit before going to bed.
The KitchenetteAs we mentioned above, our suite had an open-concept kitchenette connected to the family room. It had a full-sized sink, cabinets, two-burner stove top, apartment-sized fridge, microwave and a coffee maker. While I'm not the biggest fan of washing dishes by hand (me = serious germaphobe!), we managed just fine and found that we were easily able to cook meals using the stove top. A larger family might have a harder time preparing a full meal on the stove top given its size (burners were a bit on the smaller side), however, so you may want to consider upgrading to a cottage with a full-size kitchen if you have more than 2 adults and 2 children in your party. The fridge, while not quite full-size, was not a mini-fridge and fit our groceries for our stay nicely.
The Family RoomThe weather was dodgy during our entire trip with Hermine looming over us, so we actually did spend some time hanging out in the family room together and Patrick and I watched a couple movies at night while the boys were in bed. It was comfortable and actually fairly spacious!
The BalconyWe love that so many resorts along the Gulf Coast have screened-in balconies off their rooms. It really makes it easy to enjoy the gorgeous views no matter what the weather is like without getting eaten alive!
We enjoyed a couple meals out on the balcony and got to watch manatees both from here and the shore one stormy evening.
We also kept our shells out here to dry a bit, which you can see if you look closely at the table.
Spoiler alert: We brought back a lot of shells with us from our trip to Florida.
The BathroomThe bathroom was your standard hotel bathroom with a combo shower/tub, toilet and sink. The water pressure was decent and we had plenty of towels (we shower frequently so that's a must for us).
The ViewWe had an amazing view, as you saw above, of the marina and Pine Island Sound. It was beautiful during the day and particularly stunning at night!
|The marina at 'Tween Waters Inn|
The ManateesAs we mentioned above, the manatees came out to play now and again in Pine Island Sound (especially at night!), but they were particularly active during one storm, much to our delight! I was able to watch them playing in the rain from the balcony while cooking dinner. Patrick and the boys went down to the shore to see them up close with some other resort guests--they were right next to the beach. It was such a cool experience!
|Hey there, guys!|
The PoolSince we were there right after the end of peak season, the pool was very quiet. I'd imagine it probably gets a bit busier during peak season, but even then I'd assume it's never crammed full of other guests. The boys really enjoyed their time in the pool and while we didn't get anything from the poolside bar, we saw a handful of other guests enjoying their drinks.
The Continental BreakfastWe always appreciate when resorts offer complimentary continental breakfast! Granted, we don't always make it in time to enjoy them (sometimes we have to head to other places and sometimes we get in at 5 am and simply sleep right through it--true story!), but we try to when we can. The continental breakfast at 'Tween Waters Inn was typical of what you find at most resorts--fresh fruit, cereal, oatmeal, pastries/danishes, coffee and yogurt. Unfortunately, there weren't many gluten-free options, however, Crow's Nest allowed you to order from the menu (not part of the complimentary breakfast) and prices were on par with what you'd expect from a resort on the Gulf Coast. I ordered an omelette, which came with potatoes on the side. The omelette itself was actually pretty good, but the potatoes were very soggy and oddly similar to the frozen potato/pepper/onion mixes you can buy at the grocery store. I can't be sure that's what they were, but if I had to guess...
Anyway, while I think the addition of a continental breakfast is absolutely fabulous (especially for families that don't want to have to drag sleepy kids off the resort first thing in the morning), I'd love to see some gluten-free options aside from yogurt offered.
All things considered, a great little perk for guests.
The SunsetsGuys, I'm a total sucker for a good sunset! While Hermine really tried to keep those glorious, flaming skies from peaking through her thick clouds, we managed to catch a couple sunsets and one in particular made quite the impression. Despite getting some seriously horrific bug bites (I'm super allergic and had to stand still to snap shots), it was worth it to bring home these beautiful memories! The boys didn't get a single bite by the way, probably mostly because they were moving around so much.
We all wore bug spray during our trip to Florida--Zika is still a factor. Mosquitos always seem to find me no matter what though and they got a few nips at Patrick as well. Oh well, all in a day's work as a travel blogger!
|If you look closely you can see Patrick and the boys sitting on wooden beach recliners watching the sunset.|
|A view of the path to the private beach at sunset.|
|The boys shelling with the sunset behind them.|
'Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa Final ThoughtsOverall, we had a really relaxing time at 'Tween Waters Inn, despite the stormy weather that kept toying with us on and off during our stay. We loved the proximity to our favorite shelling beaches (we'll share these in a later post) on Captiva and Sanibel and found that even with the poor weather, we were able to enjoy our time in our suite as well as out and about.
Our room was comfortable and large enough for us to spread out. We did find that there was a bit of noise transference from the balcony (we could hear the guests next to us from our bedroom if they were on their balcony, which was directly adjacent), but it was really only an issue super early in the morning as our neighbors were early risers and we slept in a bit due to the pace of our schedule.
We did find that housekeeping finished super early during the day in the off-season, so keep that in mind if you're not early risers and plan to sleep in.
The heated pool was great and we loved that we had access to the private beach across the street! There was some okay shelling and the most stunning sunsets of our entire trip.
I think that while the highlight of our time at 'Tween Waters Inn for me was capturing the sunset I showed you above, the boys would probably say it was watching those giant manatees right in front of our building play in the stormy water. The manatees were out there for over an hour and put on quite the show! It was a really unique experience for us as we'd never gotten to see so many, so close during a trip down to Florida before. Patrick's favorite moment would probably be shelling at Blind Pass in a storm, but more on that later!
Overall, 'Tween Waters Inn offered a great experience with some great perks. In our opinions, the location would be ideal for anyone that wanted to stay in the area, but not necessarily deal with some of the slow-moving traffic on Sanibel during peak season. We enjoyed our suite and loved the view! The continental breakfast was probably the only real downside for me and only because of my allergies--it wouldn't be a problem for someone without food restrictions. The boys loved the pool, loved the beach and definitely loved those manatees!
Check it out if your family wants to head down to the Gulf Coast of Florida for some serious R&R.
You can book your stay at 'Tween Waters Inn Island Resort & Spa or learn more about the resort on their site.
Note: Our stay at 'Tween Waters Inn was hosted. All opinions are our own based on our experience.