Posted January 14, 2010 by Nicki Krawczyk
South Beach it isn't: Sweet little Sanibel Island mixes southern Florida sand and surf with sleepy vacation village charm. Take advantage of this adorable islet's natural seaborne bounty with a guided porpoise excursion, a mollusk-laden meal, and a stroll through one of nature's very best souvenir shops.
Adventures in Paradise: First, a note: Dolphins aren't absolutely guaranteed. Nature (and all her glory) is unpredictable, after all. That said, there's a more-than-decent chance you'll be treated to multiple sightings aboard Adventures in Paradise's Sunset Dolphin Watch Cruise. Buy a ticket ($25), hop aboard, and your genial captain and first mate will treat you to Champagne and lively banter as you cruise along, undoubtedly neglecting the sunset in favor of the five or six Bottlenoses popping in and out of the wake. One more note: Florida evenings can get nippy; bring a jacket.
Lazy Flamingo: For a little local flavor (literally and figuratively) stop in to dine at the Lazy Flamingo. Uber-casual with a decidedly "sea shanty" vibe, this restaurant is a favorite of both island natives and visitors just in from the beach. Of everything you'll find on the menu, there's at least one must-eat: conch fritters ($5.95), made from the meat of those mollusks with the quintessential spiral shells. They're like hush puppies or crab cakes: fried to decadent perfection.
She Sells Sea Shells: Is it still shopping if it's free? Sure! Sanibel Island is world-renowned for its abundance of seashells, and you won't find a more personal souvenir than what washes up with the waves. Slip on flip-flops to protect yourself from shell shards and bring a mesh bag to make rinsing sand all the easier. Plus, should your haul be less than resplendent, there are always two locations of She Sells Sea Shells shops so you can return home with a gigantic shell and white lies for all your friends.
To search for flights and compare prices to Ft. Myers, which is home to Sanibel Island’s nearest major airport, please use our price-comparison tool.(Photo: Lawrence Phillip)
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