Our Team

The Island Vacations’ staff are all locals who live & work on or near the island. Our goal is to make you feel right at home so you can experience Sanibel & the surrounding area like a native. We’re here to help make your stay a truly immersive experience. Let us know what you like to do, things you’d like to experience, & ask us what we suggest you discover based on your interests. We’re here to make you feel like a local, not a tourist.

Meet Beth

Originally from Long Island, Beth has lived on Sanibel and in the area since 1974

Area of Expertise: 

A long-time resident, Beth is an excellent resource for just about anything you need or want to know!

Dining Recommendations:

The Thistle Lodge – Casa Ybel Road – Romantic feel, building is a replica of a Victorian Mansion & the dining area looks over the Gulf of Mexico.

Traders – Periwinkle Way – Wonderful menu of seafood & steaks. It’s upscale, casual feel with entertainment 3 nights a week. Great Happy Hour too!

Breakfast or Lunch options:

Sanibel Deli – Palm Ridge Road

Over Easy Café – Tarpon Bay Road

Local Tip:

The Sanibel Library – Dunlop Road – is one of the nicest libraries anywhere. Great book & movie selection plus a large computer area for guest use. My favorite sections are the little patios with rocking chairs & tucked away corners where you can sink into the comfy chairs, relax & read.

Places to Go & Things to Do:

Couples or family: Take a lunch cruise to Cabbage Key or Useppa Island on the Lady Chadwick with Captiva Cruises. You’ll learn about the local history, flora, & wildlife, & best of all, the dolphins will be jumping in the boat’s wake!

Bicycle the Island – Learn all the little side streets, bike ‘Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, and find the old cemetery near Algiers Park – not accessible by car. Stop along the way at all the shops and restaurants.

Meet Paige

On Island for over 40 years but originally from Maryland…

Area of Expertise: 

Versatile – Paige has worked in a variety of industries on Island ranging from banking, business ownership (Unpressured Cooker), restaurant management, construction and accommodations.

Dining Recommendations:

Lazy Flamingo – Paige loves this famous spot for their family-friendly atmosphere & Sanibel chicken wings!

Traders on Periwinkle Way – a good place for a more formal lunch or dinner

Sanibel Cafe – her go-to Sanibel breakfast spot for anyone visiting

Paper Fig – ‘They have the best take-out menu’

Local Tip: Rent bicycles prior to arrival and explore the Islands via bike to get the most out of your time with us.

Places to Go, Things to Do:

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum – San-Cap Road – to learn about the shells you’ll find everywhere on the beaches

Book a day cruise with Adventures In Paradise and see the dolphins & manatees; experience the islands from the water

Rent paddle boards from Billy’s Rentals or tour the island by bicycle (we have 25 miles of bike paths)

Meet Samori

A New York native that found the warmth of Florida about 28 years ago!

Area of Expertise: 

Samori likes the natural setting of the island and will be a good resource for outdoor suggestions. He also has some dining recommendations for you!

Local Tip:

Visit Periwinkle Park – right next to Island Vacations. They have lots of birds and lemurs that you can see. Ask the ladies at the front desk about times and how to see these exotic animals.

And as Samori says, “Island Vacations offers the personal, intimate service of a small “Mom & Pop” business. We are a staff of six, including Fran, the owner of Island Vacations. We operate like a family, not a large conglomerate. Whether you have been here before, or you are a first-time guest, Island Vacations looks forward to welcoming you and making you feel right at home.”

Dining Recommendations:

Traders – Periwinkle Way – Is one of her favorite places to eat. She really likes their food, atmosphere & service.

The Mad Hatter – near Blind Pass – is her choice for a romantic dinner. Watch the sun set over the Gulf as you enjoy the fabulous food.

Doc Ford’s –Tarpon Bay Road, near Periwinkle – You might rub shoulders with local celebrity, Randy Wayne White, author of the “Doc Ford” series. He often has lunch or dinner at the restaurant. Please respect his privacy. You can purchase his books at the restaurant.

Dining Recommendations: Families

Tutti Pazi –Periwinkle Way – Pizza, Italian dishes, a large menu serving beer & wine. Fun, relaxed family atmosphere.

Lazy Flamingo – Periwinkle Way –Good choice for salads & seafood sandwiches. Relaxed atmosphere & serves beer & wine.

Places to Go & Things to Do: Couples or families

Be sure to explore ‘Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Named after J. N. ‘Ding Darling, the originator of the duck stamp, this is a must see location for birdwatchers & those that love the out of doors. The refuge is closed to cars on Fridays but you can bike the refuge all week.

Places to Go & Things to Do: Couples

Samori suggests kayaking at Tarpon Bay Explorers (bay end of Tarpon Bay Road)

Go up to Captiva and watch the sunset from the Mucky Duck at the end of Andy Rosse Lane

Or watch the sunset from the beach near yore Island Vacation rental. It’s a magnificent was to end the day

Places to Go & Things to Do: Family Activities

 Visit The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum on San-Cap Road. Learn about all the shells you’ll find on your beach walks & interact with sea life in their touch tanks.

Meet Susan

Originally from Ohio, Susan grew up on Sanibel & has lived in the area since 1978.

Area of Expertise: 

Susan grew up on Sanibel and likes to share her favorite beach locations, has good suggestions on the best places to go, and where to go boating and fishing. She also likes to share her favorite food selections at island restaurants.

Local Tip:

Depending on what time of year it is, I let them know the best times to travel the island or any special activities going on, like fireworks or parades.

As Susan says, “Island Vacations has such a fun group of people in the office and if we don’t make you feel like family then you will definitely feel like one of our best friends!”

Dining Recommendations:

George and Wendy’s Seafood Grill – Tarpon Bay Road & Periwinkle Way – They just have unique dishes and different specials every day!

Island Cow – Periwinkle Way – Great family restaurant.  Their menu is so huge! They have something for everyone, even the picky little eaters.

The Mad Hatter – San-Cap Road, near Blind Pass – is a good spot for a formal dinner.

Thistle Lodge – is her favorite spot for a romantic dinner because it is where she got engaged!

Sunset Grill – San-Cap Rd. near Blind Pass, for breakfast

Loveboat Ice Cream – Jerry’s Plaza on Periwinkle – for dessert. Just let her know what you like to eat, and she’ll be happy to suggest options based on your preferences.

Places to Go & Things to Do:  Couples

Sunset at Bowman’s Beach

Sunset cruise on Captiva Cruises    

Places to Go & Things to Do:  Families

Bike ride or tour ‘Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge by car or take the trolley tour through Tarpon Bay Explorers

Sanibel Thriller  a thrill you don’t want to miss! Circumnavigate the islands on their high speed tour boat.