Island Inn on Sanibel

    By Jill Martin

    We just returned from our annual trek to Sanibel, but this year, we tried something new. We rented a cottage on the beach at the Island Inn.

    I’d seen their lovely, whitewashed cottages in years past while walking down the beach and always wondered about them. They looked so homey and comfy nestled among the Seagrape trees – and I envied their location just steps from the shore. Well, envy no more because now I know how special these seaside retreats are!

    We rented the Phister Cottage, a two-bedroom with a full kitchen, fireplace and an extra large screened porch that overlooked the Gulf. Nothing particularly fancy but definitely all the comforts of home and more including free WiFi, daily maid service, continental breakfast and your own outside shower.

    The Island Inn offers rentals by the day or week and sits on a whopping ten acres of land. Oh, and their heated pool is right next to the beach so while you’re soaking, you can soak in the sound of the lapping waves. Traditions, their onsite restaurant, is open during season (Dec-April) for exceptional dining. In addition to cottages, they offer many different accommodation options. No wonder they were voted Best Inn on the Island (and they have specials right now from $129 per night)!

    Other new adventures

    In addition to our annual visit to J.N. Ding Darling Nature Reserve, we visited C.R.O.W. (Clinic for the Rehabilitation of Wildlife). My boys thought this place was pretty cool, even though there are no animals to see or hold. They do, however, have several hands-on activities like Vet For A Day along with videos and such. The onsite gift shop has all kinds of plush animals, toys, games, clothing and gifts.

    Flats Fishing

    No shelling charter for us either this year. (Now, that IS shocking!) Instead, we booked Soulmate Charters in Fort Myers Beach for a ½ day of fishing. Captain Rob is great with kids so I even brought Devon (he is six). This is a completely different experience from deep sea fishing – this is backwater fishing, or flats fishing. The boat is smaller and the water is really shallow so you can see all kinds of wildlife – and we did. Manatees were lazily swimming past the boat and pods of dolphin were everywhere. Captain Rob kept us on constant action, catching redfish, trout, catfish, ladyfish, jacks and more. The boys loved it (me too).

    Of course, I managed to get in a few hours of shelling on the beach. Check out the photos of the finds from this year. Seriously, these amazing shells were found either right on the beach or just a few feet from shore. If you love seashells, you must experience Sanibel. Iit’s one of the top shelling beaches on the entire planet, right here in our own backyard. Now go!


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