The Summer of 2020 has definitely presented some challenges for vacations and trips, as my family will not be flying anywhere just yet. Thankfully, living in Miami allows us the flexibility to drive over to the Southwest coast of Florida often. We love all of the towns in that area, Naples, Marco Island, Ft. Meyers, Sanibel and Captiva. But by far, Sanibel has always been our favorite. Given the current situation, we took advantage and recently spent a few weekends in Sanibel, as it is also a great place to escape the crowds. A few years ago I posted some of my favorite Sanibel shops. Sadly, a few of those have since closed but I did find some more new shops and restaurants when we visited recently. We also stayed at the Sundial Beach Resort & Spa for the first time, which was really nice as well. There is lots to do on this tiny island, something for everyone, great restaurants, awesome little shops, bike-riding, shelling (some of the best in the world), swimming, kayaking, you name it. And one of the things I love most is the laid back, cozy (almost bohemian) lifestyle of the island.
Sundial Beach Resort & Spa
Most of the accommodations that you will find in Sanibel are typical 2-3 story motel type properties. Many of them are in need of some major upgrades or remodeling as they are quite old. But then one doesn’t come here for the luxurious high rise hotels. However, this summer we stayed a few times at the Sundial Beach Resort, which we really liked. We reserved a one-bedroom suite with a pullout couch. The room was very clean and comfortable. We didn’t use the kitchenette (I do not cook on vacation), but it can come in very handy if you are traveling with young kids and are staying for a week.
Entrance to the hotel (photo courtesy of Sundial Resort)
Pool/cabana area (photo courtesy of Sundial Resort)
The comfortable king size bedroom.
Our daughter kayaking, one of the many complimentary activities provided by the resort.
We finally got around to having dinner at Traders. I have to say it’s now one of my favorite places on the island for a nice meal. They offer a variety of great starters and many yummy seafood dishes. I had the scallops and ravioli and my husband had the macadamia encrusted grouper with mango sauce and yellow rice. Our daughter opted for a parmesan encrusted chicken breast. Everything was delicious and we also loved the decor of the place. Make sure you also check out the amazingly beautiful gift shop on the way out, selling everything from stuffed animals to sea salt scrubs. Definitely one of our favorite stores in Sanibel.
Traders Restaurant (photo courtesy of Traders)
All so yummy!
The gift shop
Synergy is located in Tahitian Gardens, one of the small shopping centers on the island. Synergy is a “Life is Good genuine neighborhood shop.” They carry a large selection of men’s, women’s and kid’s Life is Good clothing, apparel, and accessories. Synergy is also Sanibel’s only authorized Alex & Ani retailer.
Life is Good stickers
Great selection of t-shirts
The Blue Giraffe
We had heard of this place many times but had never tried it. We decided to have lunch here one day after a morning at the beach. The food was really good. I especially loved the Mexican street corn, charbroiled corn on the cob, topped with queso fresco, avocado cream, cilantro and blacked spice. As with all places in Sanibel, the decor was also very cute. The menu offers many different items to choose from.
Club sandwich, Mexican street corn and shredded pork sliders
The interior dining room
Outdoor dining area
Tucked away in the corner of the Bailey’s shopping center, you will find Whims. Whims sells unique clothing and accessories, as well as some decorative home items, along with some distinctive Sanibel keepsakes. The saleslady (possibly owner?) is also a sweetheart. My daughter found some beautiful little bracelets for her baby cousin and she also purchased a very pretty small leather purse.
Lots of items to choose from.
Sea Glass Lane
We stumbled upon this gorgeous (and a bit pricey) shop while browsing through Periwinkle Place. The store sells beautiful resort style women’s clothing and accessories. The decor is also beautiful, very beachy.
Sea Glass Lane
Bailey’s General Store
And last but certainly not least, Bailey’s is amazing! Not only do they sell anything you may need in terms of food, sundries, liquor and gifts but they also have a coffee bar at the entrance (many consider this the best coffee on the island) and the bakery makes all of the donuts, pastries, muffins, cookies and fudge (yes fudge) fresh daily! You can also order amazing cakes and pies for special occasions. We bought some amazingly yummy key lime cookies on our last visit.
The coffee bar
Variety of fudge flavors made fresh daily.
Here are a few more photos from our various trips this summer:
We love Sanibel and visit every summer. Have you been to Sanibel? I would love to hear what you enjoyed most.