A romantic beach stroll on Sanibel/Captiva — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
The beaches and islands of Fort Myers are not only hot spots for family vacations, but they are also good for turning up the heat with your significant other. Sun kissed during the day, soft kisses at sunset - the islands of Sanibel and Captiva are bursting with options for a fun-filled day of discovery and romance.
Begin your day by welcoming the sunrise on the Sanibel Causeway, where you can pull your car right up to the water. Snuggle under a blanket if the weather is cool, or spread it out for a breakfast picnic. If it’s too early for a picnic, then continue on to the Island and Bennett’s Fresh Roast. Pull your car right up to the water on the Sanibel Causeway for an easy picnic — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
This wildly popular downtown Fort Myers coffeehouse opened on Sanibel just in time for 2014. Grab a famous, made-from-scratch donut and a freshly roasted, bold brew. Enjoy the garden around the outside patio, while waiting for Billy’s Bike Rental to open at 8:30 a.m. Any guilt over that donut will soon be gone when you jump on your tandem bicycle or, even better: a surrey for two. Book online to save money.
Pick from one of two leisurely cycling options. Either head south to the scenic Sanibel Lighthouse - where you can enjoy the beach, some history and find beautiful spots for romantic photos among driftwood and mangroves - or pedal north to the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge to spot rare birds and even alligators in the well preserved island habitat.
Next, circle around to Middle Gulf Drive and have lunch at the newly remodeled Sundial Beach Resort. Venture upstairs to the terrace, where you have a view of both the pool and the beach. Or grab a seat at the Tiki bar, where you can also take a dip in the pool while your food is being prepared.
After your beachside lunch, return the rented wheels and continue on to the enchanting Captiva Island. Book the honeymoon suite at the charming Captiva Island Inn; it takes up the top floor of the main guesthouse and has a private deck and a kitchenette. Or stay in the famous Orchid Cottage; Charles Lindburg and his family vacationed here.
Either way, your room is about 360 steps from a spectacular beach full of beautiful white sand, lots of shells and clear blue water that dolphins frequent. If time permits, then grab a cocktail at the Mucky Duck or browse the eclectic galleries along the short stretch of road. Depending on the time of year, you might even be able to squeeze in a couple’s massage before sunset. A romantic sunset on Sanibel Island — Photo courtesy of Gina Birch
Bid adieu to the day from the water rather than the beach, aboard Captiva Cruises' Sunset Serenade Cruise. Enjoy music and cocktails while watching the sun slip into the water and the sky turn into a brilliant canvas of colors. The boat sets sail from McCarthy’s Marina which is, again, 360 steps away, but in the opposite direction; it’s a narrow island.
You’ll walk by the famous Bubble Room, so pick up a decadent piece of award-winning cake and save it for the privacy of your terrace later. Dine under the stars at the Keylime Bistro, where you can linger over live music before retiring.
The music is also audible from the deck of your suite, so if you’re ready for some alone time, then grab a bottle of bubbly and dinner to go. Breath in the fresh salt air, admire the starry sky and lose yourself in your lover's arms after a dreamy day on the islands.