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Times of the Islands Magazine

Tourist in Your Own Backyard: Wonderful getaway choices in Southwest Florida

Oct 25, 2017 06:11PM ● By Mandy Carter

Take the kids to play in the beautiful clear and calm water on Sanibel. Photo by Mandy Carter

Sometimes you just need to get away―but then realize you can’t. Luckily we live in a popular tourist destination making for a wonderful local vacation!     
Here is a great 3-day itinerary for being a tourist in your hometown.



Check into your quiet retreat at the South Seas Island Resort on Captiva for a peaceful stay in the middle of a beautiful wildlife sanctuary.

After settling into the resort, take a drive around the bend to The Mucky Duck for cocktails and a wonderful sunset view before heading to dinner at Keylime Bistro. But hold off on dessert here, because you will want to walk across the street to indulge in a huge slice of cake and a walk-around at the super fun Bubble Room.



Start the morning with a coffee, tea or smoothie from The Coffee Bar at Bailey’s on Sanibel before renting bikes for everyone at one of two Billy’s Rentals. From there bike over to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, then to the J.N. DingDarling National Wildlife Refuge.


Pinnochios handcrafted ice cream with their signature topping.
Time for lunch. There are so many great restaurants from which to choose, but since you are on your way to hang out at the beach, stop in at Schnapper’s Hots on Sanibel for a quick and super tasty meal. Then spend an hour or two searching for shells (Sanibel stoop) and relaxing on one of the island’s beautiful beaches.   

As you head back to the hotel to get ready for dinner, stop at Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream to cool off with a yummy serving of homemade ice cream that is always topped with an animal cookie!

Enjoy a fine-dining experience while overlooking the gently breaking waves of the Gulf of Mexico at Thistle Lodge at Casa Ybel Resort.



Head to the Island Cow on Sanibel for a cowa-bunga breakfast, a cool spot listed in the Top 5 Breakfast Spots in Florida in trade magazines. From Pigs in a Pancake to the Loaded Seafood Omelet, you will not have trouble finding a unique dish to try.

Then enjoy a relaxing midday at the hotel pool before time to check out. On your way home, be sure to stop at Periwinkle Place on Sanibel to browse all the shops to commemorate your islands’ staycation.

At a Glance

South Seas island Resort, Captiva


The Mucky Duck, Captiva


Keylime Bistro, Captiva


The Bubble Room, Captiva


The Coffee Bar at Bailey’s, Sanibel


Billy’s Rentals, Sanibel


Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, Sanibel


J.N.DingDarling National Wildlife Refuge, Sanibel


Schnapper’s Hots, Sanibel


Pinocchio’s Original Italian Ice Cream, Sanibel


Thistle Lodge Beachfront Restaurant, Sanibel


Island Cow, Sanibel


Periwinkle Place, Sanibel

Mandy Carter is a local mom with a passion for family travel, a popular travel blogger including her own family blog at and the Digital Content & Engagement Editor for TOTI Media.