My nephew Charlie and I have been traveling together since he was a small boy, albeit with his mom, my sister. So when we planned to have him come and visit for a week this summer, I wanted to have a getaway planned that we’d both enjoy — an aunt and a 13 year old boy.
A few days after he arrived in Tampa we pointed the car south and drove a couple of hours to the Gulf Coast barrier islands of Sanibel and Captiva, where we had a blast! And now, we want to share with you five fun ways to spend days at South Seas Island Resort.
Hit the beach
If a resort is on an island, chances are that there is a fantastic beach, and that’s absolutely the case at South Seas Island Resort! The warm waves of the Gulf of Mexico slip onto the shoreline and the resort’s two-and-a half mile stretch of beach provides ample space for seashell seeking, splashing in the water and simply lounging in the sun.
We made a day of our time at the beach, snagging a couple of lounge chairs and an umbrella — complimentary with every stay at the resort — so that we had space to rest and recharge before heading back out for more fun.
Plans to hit the beach at sunrise fell short, but that’d be the perfect time for a quiet stroll and for some prime seashell seeking. Next time!
Go for a paddle… or pedal
The calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico make the beach a perfect spot to rent a kayak or stand-up paddleboard (SUP) from Sunny Island Adventures right there on South Seas Island Resort’s beach. Charlie is an experienced kayaker but had never SUP’d, so we were all in for that option when another presented itself: a stand-up pedalboard.
Part paddleboard, part stair-stepper and part bicycle with its handlebar, Charlie and I jumped at the chance to try something new to both of us. After a wobbly start, we made our way over the ripples in the Gulf and headed south towards Sanibel. I was determined to stay on my pedalboard the entire time, but being 13, Charlie “accidentally” fell off his a few times, making quite a splash.
We were determined to make it an hour out on the water with our pedalboards, but after just 30 minutes we were ready to return to the beach… and our lounge chairs and umbrella. I counted our pedalboard adventure as my workout for the day!
Splash in the pools
When we looked at the resort’s website prior to our visit, Charlie and I were both drawn to the pools. South Seas Island Resort spans 330 acres, so it came as no surprise that there would be more than one pool — in fact, there’s three! What really enticed Charlie, though, was the two H2Whoa! water slides, both of which are at the pool nearest the resort’s Harbourside Hotel, where we stayed.
The H2Whoa! water slides are fun for kids and kids at heart, whereas the Crooked Snook Tiki Bar that sits between a pool and waterfront on Pine Island Sound is for adults only. Tropical drink, anyone?
Charlie and I were too busy to spend too much time at the pools, but I do have my sights on a private cabana the next time I visit… how lovely to adjourn into a space all your own with comfy furniture and a fridge stocked with drinks, and a drink from the tiki bar just a hand wave away.
South Seas Island Resort’s location at the end of Captiva Island, surrounded by the Gulf of Mexico and the Pine Island Sound waterway make it a terrific place to spot dolphins. One evening, sitting out on our room’s balcony I spotted dolphin fishing for dinner. One even put on the show, jumping and twisting in the air to gain a better view of the fish just below the water’s surface.
For a better look, Charlie and I boarded the Lady Chadwick for a Dolphin Watch & Wildlife Adventure Cruise through Pine Island Sound. Living in Florida, and Charlie in South Carolina, we are spoiled with chances to see dolphins in the wild, and so we delighted in hearing the shrieks, oohs and ahhh of others who don’t see them as often. Don’t get me wrong — both Charlie and I are still elated each and every time we spot dolphins, and our time aboard the Lady Chadwick was terrific!
Eat and drink
When you have a 13 year old boy visiting, one of the hot topics is food. Fortunately, we didn’t run out of options during our stay at South Seas Island Resort! From grab ’n go breakfasts at the Ship’s Store near the hotel, and Captiva Provision Company at the other end of the resort, to poolside bites for lunch and dinner at The Pointe.
One of our favorite meals was on the beach at Latitudes Food Shack. A quick order at Attitudes Beach Bar — a Hibiscus Margarita and Mahi tacos for me, a Sierra Mist and cheese quesadilla for Charlie, and an order of churros to share — and we were back on our lounge chairs, under the umbrella to enjoy our lunch with a gulf view.
For dinner one night, we both got dressed up and walked over to Harborside Bar and Grill. The menu is filled with fresh-caught fish prepared in a variety of ways, as well as some dishes for those who prefer their meals from the land. Charlie has an adventurous palate and went with the grilled salmon with a white wine lemon butter sauce, while I opted for crab-crusted Mahi; we shared an appetizer of crab cakes and a side of baked lobster mac & cheese — delish!
Though we were always too full from our meals for anything else, we both eyed the ice cream cones we saw come out of Scoops and Slices and vowed to add that to our itinerary for our next visit
More to see and do
Our days at South Seas Island Resort were filled with fun, but there’s still so much more that we didn’t have a chance to experience. The next time we visit we’ll rent bikes to explore more of the island, Charlie may bring his tennis racket to play a match or two on the tennis courts, and I’ll take advantage of the yoga classes and maybe even the spa. If we golfed, the 9-hole, gulfside Captiva Course would be fun to play; it’s been named one of the “Top Short Courses in the World.”
Where to stay
Charlie and I found our room in the newly-renovated Harbourside Hotel to be spacious and very comfortable, with a mini-fridge in which we could chill waters and other goodies to snack on during our stay. In addition to the hotel, South Seas Island Resort has vacation rentals ranging from one to three bedrooms that can easily accommodate different size groups, and Homes of Distinction for even more space, ranging from two to 9 bedrooms, and some have their own private pools
How to get to South Seas Island Resort
How do you get to South Seas Island Resort? Good question! The resort is at the end of Captiva Island; you’ll need to drive through Sanibel Island to get to Captiva. Island time moves at a slower pace, and the same is true of driving on Sanibel and Captiva islands. The two-lane roads meander underneath tree canopies and through villages on the islands, so it’s best to plan ahead and not rush.
From Northwest and Central Florida, travel I-75 South to exit 131, Daniels Parkway and follow to resort on Captiva Island. From Miami and other spots in Southeast Florida and Naples in Southwest Florida, travel I-75 North to exit 128, Alico Road and follow to resort on Captiva Island. The resort is 39 miles from Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) in Fort Myers.
We enjoyed our time in Captiva as guests of South Seas Island Resort. All views and experiences are our own.