Skip to main content

Times of the Islands Magazine

Adventures in Paradise Announces New Cruise to Matlacha in 2018

Jan 05, 2018 09:15AM ● By Kevin
Coming up in 2018, Sanibel cruise and tour company Adventures in Paradise will offer a new cruise to Matlacha for lunch and shopping fun. The Southwest Florida-based business is a family owned company that aims to share the island and its neighboring cities with both those who visit and residents, alike.  Adventures in Paradise, co-owner Josh Stewart says, is a lifestyle: adventurous in concept and implementation, and paradise, "‘cause this is paradise!"

Matlacha rests a small island, known as Matlacha Pass, just east of Pine Island in Lee County. It is an "Old Florida" fishing village, home to many brightly colored art galleries, island boutiques, seafood restaurants, and traditional Floridian cottages, according to Tedd C. Lincoln in the 2005-produced guide, "Discover Pine Island."

Stewart also announced the Sanibel retail store, Adventures in Paradise, which resides in Tahitian Gardens Shopping Center recently added its new Children’s Corner. The addition features Peter Millar for kids, Patagonia for kids, and Olu Kai shoes and sandals for kids.

The shop provides travelers from around the world with a wide variety of the island's best clothing, fly equipment and footwear. Popular brands sold at the store include Tommy Bahama, Orvis and Island Company.

Stewart owns the businesses with parents, Craig and Evelyn, and brother, Noah. The brothers also have "superior wife support" from their spouses, Audrey and Nita.

Craig and Evelyn, natives of Oklahoma, had gone to Tahiti on their honeymoon in the early 1980s and completely fell in love with the ocean and the island life, Josh explained. They spent the next several years (and three sons later) searching for somewhere to live that was near the ocean. They ended up in Annapolis, Md., but it was a bit too cold there. 

The family moved to Sanibel in 1986, when Josh was just 8 months old, and they earned their spot on the island before they even got there.

"We literally had to dig ourselves out of the house from the snow the day we left," Josh said. "Yeah... Sanibel... sand, shells and water!"

The idea of Adventures in Paradise was born on the island of Moorea, where Craig and Evelyn met with a young man that rented anything from a jeep, bicycle, outrigger, snorkel masks, and more. They took an excursion to a distant island and were hooked.

"You have to remember, back in the 80s, and coming from Oklahoma, this concept was new, innovative, and very daring!" Josh said.

Fast forward to the day the family's first vessel arrived from the builder, and excitement ensues. Adventures in Paradise brought in the first custom-built powered catamaran to the area. Nowadays, there are quite a few. The Stewarts own four of them.

"Seeing your creation coming down the waterway and praying that this was the best forward move ever!" Josh recalled. This year should prove to be another adventure for this family and its many customers.

For more information, visit