A tropical paradise on the Florida Gulf Coast
One of the best ways to get away from work, kids, and significant others is to do a girls' (or boys') getaway. My best friend Lucille and I try to get away from it all at least once a year (or more if we have it our way). One of our favorite Florida getaways is to Florida’s west coast on Captiva Island, and the South Seas Island Resort, about an hour's drive from Fort Myers Airport. Unspoiled with plenty of natural beauty, Captiva Island is considered one of the world’s best beaches.
South Seas Island Resort is located on the far north end of Captiva Island. As we drove along we couldn’t help but be in awe of the magnificent waterfront mansions that flanked both sides of the street. When we arrived at the gate we were directed to check-in/registration, where we were greeted by name. We felt welcomed indeed!
No matter where your vacation getaway is, accommodations are important. Lucille says I snore, and while I vehemently deny this, the bags under her eyes on our last getaway suggested otherwise. This time we stayed in the South Seas Island Resort's very spacious two-bedroom beach villas, just 50 yards from the Gulf of Mexico. As an early riser, one of my favorite features was the private screened-in balcony overlooking the pool, dunes, and beach beyond. I’m pleased to report a very good night's rest was had by all.
You can rent a golf cart by the day or week and we soon found that it was a great way to navigate the expansive resort. Just how expansive? Well the property has 20 pools! We enjoyed the one behind our villa that was like a private oasis away from the hustle and bustle, making for a great place to relax, unwind, and read a book. The beach is just a few steps further, equipped with beach chairs and towels for guests.
You will find a little more activity at the north end of the resort where we enjoyed lunch and margaritas at The Pointe, which overlooks the resort pool complex that features private cabanas, two lagoon-style swimming pools, and a hot tub, all with a great view of Pine Island Sound.
Try breakfast and/or dinner at the Harbourside Grill. Breakfast is more of an upscale brunch, served buffet-style with eggs, omelets, French toast, and waffles made-to-order. There were so many offerings we could have easily skipped lunch and not felt hungry. For dinner we started with a cheese plate, specifically created for us by Chef Joseph Pittman. We could have stopped there, but of course we didn’t. Lucille had the scallops, and to this day, says they are the best scallops she's ever eaten. I had grouper, which was the fresh catch of the day and was delicious. By now you know we could have stopped there, but we didn’t. Rather than be total gluttons, we shared an apple crisp for dessert and just like everything else, we ate every bite.
A girls' getaway wouldn't be complete without a spa visit. South Seas Island Resort is home to the Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa, a haven of tranquility and relaxation. One of our favorite things about this spa is the product line that has an affirmation on each of its BIO essential products. The cleansing gel states, “I will identify and remove all negative influences from my life;” therefore, simultaneously washing both your face and your soul.
Our last dinner was at Doc Fords’ Rum Bar & Grille. We feasted on fresh seafood, including oysters, mussels, stone crab, and shrimp, washing it all down with their signature mojito. As we toasted our friendship, it was the perfect ending to another memory-filled girls' getaway.
But while you could easily spend your entire time at South Seas Island Resort, there are a few other things to do on Captiva Island that I recommend:
1. Take a beach and shelling cruise to Cayo Costa State Park Island where you will find a gorgeous shell-covered beach. We had a complete stretch of beach to ourselves and as we sat there soaking in sun and solitude, dolphins danced before us. It was our own private show and simply amazing.
Viewfinder Tip: There are no concessions on Cayo Costa. Pack plenty of water, a picnic lunch, and bring your own chair, blanket, or towel.
2. Have lunch, dinner, or just dessert at the world famous Bubble Room restaurant for kitschy, kooky, and delicious fun.
3. Go outdoors. Captiva Island is a great place to explore outdoor activities. You can rent jet skis, motor scooters, stand-up paddleboards, and sailboats. Or for the more adventurous, try parasailing.
4. Charter a fishing boat, captain and all. Try your luck at reeling in snook, redfish, trout, grouper, snapper, catfish, and even sharks.
5. Experience culture on Captiva Island. Jungle Drums Wildlife and Environmental Art Gallery is just steps from the Gulf of Mexico, where serious collectors, as well as casual admirers, can enjoy the works of over 200+ artists who create and capture wildlife in the form of bronze, wood, glass, clay, resin, metal, mixed media, and more.
What is your favorite thing to do on a girls' (or guys') getaway?
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