shells on the beach on Captiva Island
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Kid Friendly Captiva Island

Greetings from heavenly Captiva Island! We’ve been here for a week, and it has been an outstanding vacation for everyone. We’re staying at South Seas Island Resort, a family-friendly property at the tip of Captiva that boasts some 330 acres. It’s sprawling, but it’s easy to get around by the trolley provided by the hotel—and I love going from one end to the other because it’s so scenic. Every day, we pass by ospreys nesting in trees. We’ve spotted bald eagles, too.

Captiva is adjacent to Sanibel Island; they are considered two of the best spots in the world for shelling, and they deliver! I have never seen such an amazing selection of shells in my life. I even found a sand dollar, a prized treasure here. Check my blog for shots of a shell-strewn beach and a still-life portrait of one morning’s gatherings.

There are pools all over the resort but we’ve spent a lot of time in the nice-size kid pool in the new lagoon pool complex, complete with water slide. We’ve also taken advantage of the Tiva Kids Club, which has programs daily from 9:30 to 1 for kids 4 to 12 (there’s a per-child fee). Next door is the Nature Center. The parrots are very chatty, and my son has become BFF’s with Amy the Turtle.

Other things the kids have enjoyed: a one-hour boat trip on Captiva Cruises to spot dolphins (so playful!); exploring the gorgeous J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge (we saw these gorgeous wading birds called Roseate Spoonbills, they look like a combination of flamingos—but with shorter legs—and ducks); and a visit to the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens (small but perfect for young children). One day, my husband rented something called a Scoot Coupe from Jim’s Rentals (it’s a two-seater mini-mini car that goes up to 35 mph) and I think my son could have happily spent the entire vacation seated in that thing.

We’re staying in The Marina Villas, in a two bedroom/two bath unit with a kitchen, so great when you have kids. That said, we’ve enjoyed eating out at local, kid-friendly places like Holy Smoke Heavenly Barbecue (at South Seas resort),  Island Cow,  The Lazy Flamingo (we tried the one in Captiva), The Timbers and Lighthouse Café (for an outstanding breakfast—call ahead to get your name on the waiting list).  The homemade ice-cream at Pinnochio’s in Sanibel is a must! The vibe here is very casual, so you can go to dinner almost anywhere in shorts. The most bling you’ll find is in the sky at night, it’s sprinkled with glitter. The stars, the shells—top to bottom, Captiva is beautiful.

Ok, it’s low tide and I’m off to go shelling.
—Ellen
shells on the beach on Captiva Island
shells on the beach on Captiva Island

This guest post is by Ellen of To The Max, a blog about her boy, Max, who has mild cerebral palsy (he had a stroke at birth and has defied the odds).  She loves taking him and his little sis on trips.

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