“One thing the pandemic has taught us—beyond how much we hate Zoom—is that nature is not a luxury. It is essential for human survival. And while many of us city folk have gained a new appreciation for the outdoors, you don’t have to commit to some epic cross-country camping trip just to get some fresh air.
With that in mind, we scoured the country for the best outdoor getaways—national parks, monuments, forests, state parks, and the like—to find 12 iconic destinations within easy driving distance of 30 US cities. Whether you’re an experienced camper or a devout Airbnb user, hardcore hiker or an amateur stargaze-by-the-fire type, these spots offer natural beauty and invigorating adventure in spades. Now hit the road already.”Read Now
“On The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel, vacations have always offered seclusion in the outdoors. Sometimes that means kayaking alongside manatees, other times finding your own private stretch of beach. But in this particular instance, we’re talking food. Yep, here in Southwest Florida, dining can be a secluded outdoor pursuit, too.”
“Fort Myers has been named the top warm-weather destination for 2021 by Frontier Airlines customers in a recent vote that pitted the city against Phoenix, Miami, Sarasota, Florida and Tampa, Florida. Known for its world-class beaches, friendly community and wide range of activities, Fort Myers took top honors in an online vote conducted over a two-week period earlier this month.”Read Now
“I love my family. But every now and then, we all need an escape. And while visiting family in South Florida over the holidays for the past decade-plus, I found just the spot.”
“Located on Florida’s Gulf Coast and north of Sanibel, Captiva Island is characterized by its secluded and private location and beautiful beaches. The island is a hidden gem (I have been living in Florida for over 4 years now and didn’t know it existed until I went exploring), that is well worth visiting.”Read Now
Travel is not canceled for summer; however, it might be different than what you had planned. Many cruises have been canceled, European trips postponed, Hawaii is still closed — yet, Florida is open. Southwest Florida families may want to consider a “nearcation” for their summer getaway and embrace the offerings of local resorts.
“At its own pace everywhere, the world is slowly reopening its doors to travelers. And Florida—with its authentic beach towns and enticing white sands—leads the list as the nation’s top travel destination for those in search of much-needed weekend trips right now. “This comes as no surprise,” says Brett Holzhauer, a travel and credit card expert with ValuePenguin by Lending Tree. “Between being able to visit elderly family members, beaches, theme parks like Disney World reopening, favorable weather, and affordability, it makes it a perfect destination for all travelers.”
If you’re stumped on where to go—after all, the Sunshine State has more than 1,300 miles of coastline, and almost all of it is back open to beachgoers—we’ve got you covered on the best weekend getaways to take right now (or plan for later) across Florida.”
“You don’t need a passport for a family-friendly island vacation — just a car to take you over the Causeway Bridge in Ft. Myers to Sanibel and Captiva islands in Florida. South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island offers sugar white-sand beaches, 20 swimming pools, watersports, golf, and more than a dozen dining options.”
“Who says “island living” is only in the tropics? Check out these American islands in surprising destinations like Wisconsin and Iowa. Through the simple act of hopping on a ferry, crossing a bridge, or boarding a very short flight, these islands off of the U.S. shoreline—also off the well-trodden paths of island seekers who flock to destinations like Cape Cod and Catalina Island—transport you to what feels like a different world. And although the food and physical settings may vary on each, one thing they all have in common is a leisurely approach to living. Get ready to slow down, engage the senses, and savor the spirit of each of these under-the-radar islands.”
“The beach never gets old. It might change as the climate does, but the joy and tranquility that the beach brings doesn’t ever erode. The same goes for staying at wonderful beachfront hotels. Whether they’re located on paradisaical islands or romantic, windswept coastlines, lodgings that overlook the waves act like surgical glue for the soul. When we leave, we feel healed.”
Plan your next hassle-free getaway for fun in the sun at one of these top Florida resorts. Florida’s sunny days, balmy temperatures and almost 1,200 miles of coastline are just a few of the state’s main draws. When booking your vacation to the Sunshine State, consider an all-inclusive resort or hotel that offers packages with added benefits or discounts. When the accommodations and some of the meals, beverages, amenities and activities are included in the room rate, it can minimize the stress of planning a trip. These top resorts across the state offer everything from all-inclusive adults-only luxury to life-changing wellness programs to family-friendly offerings that will keep the kids busy all day long.
“Recognized as a destination for both tourism and business, Fort Myers and the surrounding Gulf Coast Islands offer a wide range of hotels to meet the varied standards and desires of discerning tourists. If you looking to unplug and unwind in a tranquil island atmosphere try South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, a historic property that offers tennis, golf, private beaches, boating and excellent dining.”
“At more than 3.7 million square miles and containing no less than 38,000 distinct cities and towns, the United States has more first-rate attractions than most people can possibly comprehend, let alone experience in a single lifetime. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that there are tons of amazing travel destinations right here at home that you probably never knew about.”Read Now
“Procrastinators, rejoice: There may still plenty of space left at these warm-weather resorts with rad family pools, organized kid hangouts—and plenty of fun for you too. Get booking!”
Perhaps I had never heard of Captiva Island on the western coast of Florida because I spent the last 12 years of my life in California, but it’s a well-known escape for many in the Northeast. Located on the Gulf of Mexico west of Ft. Myers in Southwest Florida, South Seas Island Resort on Captiva was once a Key Lime Plantation before opening to guests in 1946 as a fishing resort.
Today the 330-acre destination beach resort on Captiva Island (near sister island Sanibel – a result of the 1921 hurricane dividing the land) feels Caribbean-like with miles of natural soft pristine white sand cascading full of seashells and numerous bird species. Bottle-nosed dolphins quickly become a common site so close to shore while “snowbirds” or older retirees wade in the ocean with a Sand Dipper known as the Beachcomber Scooper collecting pearly perfectly shaped shells – some 250 types found here.
“Just when I thought this year’s winter wasn’t so bad after all, the freezing temperatures we’ve experienced this past week have set me straight and then some! Needless to say, I’ve been doing more than a little bit of daydreaming about my recent visit to South Seas Island Resort, situated on beautiful (and warm!) Captiva Island off the Gulf Coast of Florida. Talk about the perfect escape from the chilly concrete jungle! Located about an hour’s drive from the Fort Myers airport, which itself is a quick three hour flight from NYC, South Seas Island Resort offers traveling families 2.5 miles of exclusive white-sand beaches, an array of spacious accommodations, recreation activities and children’s programming galore, and a variety of dining venues sure to please kids and adults alike. Couple all of this with the world-famous sunsets for which the Gulf Coast deservedly is renowned, and you’ve got the makings of a dreamy family vacation.”
“There’s never a wrong time to daydream about your next beach vacation, but our wanderlust tends to grow even stronger during the winter months. ‘Tis the season for warm-weather escapes—jetting off to tropical islands and Mediterranean ports, and getting a little extra thrill from leaving our cold coworkers behind. And while the idea of traveling abroad every weekend is wonderful, it’s not exactly feasible. Luckily for those in the U.S., you don’t necessarily have to go far to enjoy some of the world’s best stretches of sand. America’s seashores—from New England to Hawaii—offer enough beautiful sand and surf to keep us warm and satisfied all year long. Here are 14 of the best beaches in the U.S., all just an easy plane ride away.”
“Capt. Nick Fischer nodded at a boat dock ahead. “There should be a good one under there,” he said. “We had a couple there this morning but saw a real solid fish just before we left.”
It didn’t take long to confirm a nice snook was home. I hooked it and, after wrestling it from between the pilings, it turned toward open water. As I felt the battle shift in my favor, the line parted, likely from earlier contact with the pilings.”
On Captiva Island, Florida, the lots are pricey and the homes even more so, but you’d never know it’s such an expensive real estate market when staying at the expansive South Seas Island Resort. The original owners snapped up this land long before the boom times came on the Gulf Coast of Florida. So this resort is so big you need a golf cart to get from one area to another, with long beaches to explore plus a marina and short game golf course.
“Savoring the sunset is almost a religion on Captiva Island, tucked just north of Sanibel on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Every evening, guests gather on Sunset Beach to watch the sun dip under the horizon, wishing upon a shell as they toss it into the sea. Sunset is also a prime time for a luau rehearsal dinner on the sand, or a breezy ceremony at Sunset Pointe, where dolphins sometimes make cameos in the waves behind the wedding canopy. For the reception, the resort’s Sunset Pavilion tent looks over the water from floor-to-ceiling windows. Before and after the main event, keep loved ones busy with kayaking, jet-skiing and parasailing courtesy of Sunny Island Adventures, located onsite.”
“One of the top reasons for travel is romance, whether a honeymoon, celebrating an anniversary or just a grown-up trip away. Imagine a couples’ massage beachside, raising a glass to views of Santorini or a private dining experience. Whether travelers embark to some of the most famous romantic destinations such as Italy and Greece or find romance at resorts here in Southwest Florida, being intentional and planning a few romantic experiences sets the mood.”
“The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel is a natural paradise in Southwest Florida on the Gulf of Mexico, home to unique marine life, over 100 islands and miles of white-sand beaches. The destination enjoys an average high temperature of 85 degrees and low of 65, which makes it a reliably warm and pleasant corner of the U.S.
From resorts with waterfront space and historic offsite venues to dining spots with alfresco seating options, these are some of the best outdoor spaces for groups on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.”
“As we roll into a new decade and a new year, family travel might be one of your resolutions regardless of age of your children. Maybe you always retreat to your favorite Florida destination, or maybe you are looking to explore a new area and resort in the sunshine state. To help you with your travel resolution planning, below are 12 family-friendly resorts located throughout our sunshine state — a few classics and even a new one or two to sample. The best part is that some are in our “backyard,” while others are just a day trip away.”
“…there’s something about returning to the same spot over and over again that works for me. Case in point: about seven years ago, my husband, my then-3-year-old daughter, and I visited the South Seas Island Resort in Captiva, Florida — a charming little spit of land just off the coast near Ft. Meyers. The weather was perfectly warm and breezy, there were dolphins frolicking just within my view every morning, and my daughter ate crispy french fries by the pool every single day (in between some rather epic tantrums).”Read Now
“Practice your “Captiva crouch” before heading onto the shell-strewn beachfront at the South Seas Island Resort. The enormous resort is surrounded by a 330-acre nature preserve, and there are so many activities to enjoy, couples who love to be outdoors can fill their days with kayaking, parasailing, boating, golf, cycling and yoga. They can charter a boat and head to Cabbage Key or to one of the other barrier islands for a picnic or lazy day spent shelling and spotting dolphins. Rates for a one-bedroom villa over Valentine’s Day weekend start at $559 per night.”
“With 250 kinds of shells, 25 miles of bike paths and 15 miles of beaches, Sanibel and Captiva Islands sound like the perfect dreamy escape for a weekend getaway. And if that doesn’t sway you, the fact that it’s cheaper and closer to home than the Caribbean should do it.
Instead of crowded beaches and costly theme park tickets, the two unspoiled islands have an “old Florida” ambiance, with no stoplights, chain restaurants, or buildings higher than a palm tree. Nestled on the tip of Captiva, South Seas Island Resort is a haven for families and nature lovers, situated on 300 acres of protected wildlife with 2 miles of secluded beachfront. Now start hunting for those 250 varieties of shells!”
“Choosing a wedding venue can be overwhelming, which is why we have done the work for you and rounded up 25 of the most romantic wedding locations in Florida.”
“What to expect: In Captiva, a tiny slice of paradise with fewer than 600 residents, Yali Zawafy runs Ambu Yoga, offering rest guests a complete menu of yoga classes, meditation sessions, stretching exercises and more. On weekends, guests enjoy beach yoga, where gentle waves and warm breezes heighten the practice. In the high season, you can sign up for standup paddleboard yoga adventures, featuring manatees, dolphins, and shorebirds.”
“For a quiet getaway, consider sleepy Sanibel Island on the Gulf of Mexico, which is largely untouched by development with no stoplights and buildings taller than a palm tree. Famous for its shelling (though please leave them on the beach), other outdoor activities include kayaking, exploring the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge, and biking around the island and to its lighthouse. The oceanfront Sundial Beach Resort makes a great home base on the island with beach chairs, pools, games, and water rentals, or visit South Seas Island Resort on nearby Captiva Island to join their Labor Day Yacht Rock Festival with live music.”Read Now
“Do you need a little sun, sand and sea in your life? Are you craving a quick weekend getaway, or planning an elaborate family reunion? No matter what type of vacation plans you’re envisioning, the South Seas Island Resort located on the beautiful Captiva Island, Florida is guaranteed to fulfill your every need and desire year-round, right here in the United States.”
“The best family vacations take everybody’s priorities into account: Mom and Dad want to relax, the kids want to swim, everyone wants to spend quality time together, and nobody wants to be bored. With that in mind, your whole family will get behind these family vacation destinations, which are loaded up with scenic hikes, record-breaking water slides,, and (shhh) even a winery for your vacation within the vacation.”
You don’t have to go far to discover paradise this summer. From brand-new resorts to old favorites that only get better with age, we’ve mapped out the best places within driving distance to fit every staycation style.
“When people think Florida, Orlando or Miami often come to mind. But there’s a whole lot more to the Sunshine State. Take for example Southwest Florida. Fly into Fort Myers, and Fort Myers Beach, Sanibel and Captiva Islands await. That trio is a winning combo for a fun-filled vacay.”
There are two kinds of adventures: the ones you wish you weren’t having — locking the keys in the car, gulping down a third cup of coffee to power you through a slammed day at work — and the ones you wish you were, like the ones on The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel.
Here on Florida’s Gulf Coast, you’ll only need that three-cup caffeine rush to tackle a full day of gathering shells, kayaking among manatees, and reeling in silver tarpon. With or without a camera, here are eight adventures you’ll never forget.
“This blog post has been months in the making. Our trip to Captiva was the result of a canceled flight due to the coldest weather in Chicago in decades. Yes, we were those jerks who happened to be in Florida for that whole thing. And instead of flying back we decided to stay an extra week… on Captiva, of all places. It was pretty great, haha….”
“Here you’ll find a quick guide to where we stayed, what we ate, and what we did. I hope to expand upon this guide in the years to come because Captiva is the kind of place I hope to revisit over and over again.”
“Sunny Florida’s most popular destinations, like Orlando and Key West, are mobbed by tourists most months of the year. Instead, escape to one of Florida’s hidden gems that some state residents don’t even know exist.”
“Let’s be honest—family vacations can be a lot of work for parents, and most of the focus is usually on the kids. But parents should be able to enjoy themselves, too. The good news is you don’t need to escape the kids to also have some grown-up fun. There are plenty of vacation destinations that both parents and kids can feel equally excited about visiting. Here are 10 North American destinations where parents can enjoy a dreamy summer getaway while still keeping the kids happy and entertained.”
“If you wake up early for a sunrise walk on the beaches of Captiva Island, don’t expect to have the shoreline all to yourself! You might see parents clutching their coffees while their kids scoop up handfuls of shells, couples enjoying a romantic stroll and friendly locals using shell shovels. This enthusiasm for nature and being outdoors is what keeps drawing families back to Fort Myers, Sanibel and Captiva Island, year after year.”Read Now
“Take advantage of 330-acres of fun in the sun at South Seas Island Resort. Keep it simple by looking for seashells on the resort’s two and a half miles of beach, or get active and fish, bicycle, jet ski, or kayak; you can even hit the tennis courts. Or just curl up with a good book under a beach umbrella. Camp Skullywags entertains and educates 3-11 year-olds. Golfers can play a beachfront course. The Summer Getaway package offers a fourth night free and rates from $209 a night, making the average for a four-night stay $157. Kids 12 and under eat breakfast free. You’ll get a coupon book with more than $250 in savings on resort outlets, from golf, watersports, island cruises, spa services, dining, shopping, and more.”Read Now
“With each passing year, the bar is raised. The competition stiffens. The contenders multiply. It’s nothing short of a tribute to the global landscape of leading hotels, resorts, CVBs, conference centers and destination marketing organizations that our painstaking review of stand-out properties and organizations never gets easier.
Yet we confidently announce this year’s winners of our Platinum Choice Awards as the most distinguished and selective ever.
They all deliver brilliant experiences. They all have earned the trust of meetings professionals. They all deserve congratulations for being the best of the best. “Read Now
“Two island events coming up in the next few days will help to kick off the holiday season. ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa will host its 2018 Sunset Tree Lighting Celebration on Nov. 23, while South Seas Island Resort will hold its Annual Tree Lighting on Nov. 24 for the community.”
“Wedding planning can be stressful at times (we get it), so thinking about planning a full-on epic honeymoon could sometimes seem like a daunting task. If you want to wait until after your wedding to start figuring out your honeymoon so you can focus on putting together a trip of a lifetime, we say go for it. (Lots of couples are choosing to honeymoon a few weeks or even months after they’re official.) But on caveat: You still deserve some quality R&R time with your new spouse right after your “I dos” (you’ve earned it!). Enter the Sunshine State. Florida has lots to offer, and is just a quick (and mostly inexpensive) flight away from many US cities. Here are five spots to check out for a minimoon with your one and only.”
“There’s braising to be done. Stuffing, roasting and trimming, too. Not to mention all the baking, chopping and stirring. If you already have a Thanksgiving dinner headache just thinking about it, several chefs in Southwest Florida have come to the rescue. On Nov. 22, restaurants in Collier and Lee counties will offer Thanksgiving meals, specials and buffets. Some are more traditional — think turkey and stuffing and pumpkin pie — while others will give fresh, new takes: jerk turkeys, Key lime Gulf grouper and butternut squash ravioli. Here’s where to get your Thanksgiving Day fix in Southwest Florida”
“South Seas Resort and Captiva Island draw many who could easily afford five-star options but who remain loyal to the low-key, island vibe.”
“South Seas Island Resort employees, along with some immediate family members and friends, volunteered their time over a recent weekend to help remove litter from the property’s beaches. On Oct. 13, over a dozen people took part in the annual International Coastal Cleanup event that focused on the shoreline from South Beach on north to Redfish Pass. Hosted in coordination with Keep Lee County Beautiful, the event has taken place for at least a decade but is not open to the public.”
“If you are ready to escape the chilly weather, take the family to a resort in the sun that celebrates Thanksgiving weekend in style.”
If you’ve always loved travel, there’s no need to check your wanderlust at the nursery room door. Believe it or not, now — while your baby is still, well, a baby — is a great time to get up and go on a getaway. After all, babies and toddlers are lightweight and portable — and it is possible to plan a family vacation with them. Best of all, most airlines and hotels give them a free ride! Not all family vacation spots are created equally, though, if you’ve got young kids in tow. Here, our tips and picks for the best in baby-friendly and kid-friendly destinations.
“The perfect destination for a tranquil beach getaway, Florida’s shores offer a chance to relax and unwind with a tropical cocktail as you dig your toes in the soft white sand and feel the tranquil ocean breeze. You have your pick of beach surroundings, from the party-filled Miami to the quiet shores in North Florida, where you can visit celebrity-filled restaurants or pamper yourself in a luxurious spa. A combination of 5-star amenities with ocean views, these are the most luxurious beachfront hotels in Florida.”
Captiva Island on Florida’s southwest coast is blessed with stunning beaches and the warm, blue-green waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Known for its magnificent sunsets and terrific shelling, the island (accessible by bridge) is just an hour’s drive from the Fort Myers airport, making it a convenient choice for planners seeking a warm-weather destination for their next conference, meeting or event.
“Just off of Florida’s Gulf Coast on Captiva Island, a
45-minute drive from Fort Myers International Airport, is an
ideal setting for meetings and incentives set on 330 acres
of wildlife preserve for planners who want to integrate
water-themed activities and views into their events.”
Trips to Discover: “If the heat and humidity of Florida’s summertime weather have you wanting to hop on a plane for a weekend getaway, consider staying close to home for a laid-back staycation in South Florida. A perfect destination for sleeping in, spending lazy days on the beach, getting pampered at a luxurious spa and sipping on cocktails, these alluring hotels offer the perfect amenities for rest and relaxation without the need of a long flight or road trip. Here is a snapshot of some of the best hotels in South Florida for a staycation.”
Perfect for Summer Fun, This Family-Friendly Package complements the nightly Shellebration and Fire Pits at Sunset Beach.