We live quite close to a “Tourist Destination.” Central Florida is the vacation spot of many (many) visitors.  So, it is nice to get away and see how the remainder of the state lives during non-tourist times. And we found a great place to escape the crowds, close to home and in an amazingly beautiful locale.

Sanibel Island is in the Gulf of Mexico and just west of Fort Myers. Tourist season there is generally December through March with lots of opportunity for all types of water sports, fishing, bicycling, shopping, and wild life encounters.

Being a local, accustomed to Florida summer weather and having a few free days, we spent some time there this August. The beauty and ample “relaxation factor” of the environment surprised us!  Furthermore, Airbnb provided us with information on a well appointed, comfortable, and affordable condominium on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico.

Coming highly recommended from our brief off-season visit:

  • The Bubble Room for some strangely nostalgic fun and interesting, albeit good food on nearby Captiva Island.
  • Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum.
  • Spend a few hours driving or bicycling the  J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge – bring your camera!
  • Appreciate the genius and friendships at the nearby Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers.
  • Make some delightful shell craft with lessons in the Sanibel Community House.
  • Play super sleuth on Murder Mystery Dinner Train in Fort Myers.
  • Bring a bag (or four!) for shelling. Endless (and somewhat addictive!) shelling. The beach is the perfect place to watch a magnificent sunrise, the stunning sunset, take a swim in the warm gentle water, or an inspiring walk to admire nature in all its glory.

The short story is – off season can be the ideal time to “off-load” stress in Sanibel. Avoid the crowds and non-available parking – and escape to the wonders Florida has to offer at your own pace.

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