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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.

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

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 Beth

Area of Expertise: 

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

Dining Recommendations:

Blue Coyote – Par View Road – Best steak dinner in an upscale environment, she also recommends this location for a formal dining atmosphere. The management & staff treat everyone like royalty.

Matzaluna Italian Restaurant – Periwinkle Way – Fun family atmosphere, kids get pizza & spaghetti; parents get a beautiful seafood or steak entrée with a cocktail or local craft beer.

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

Totally Baked (new on the island) – Periwinkle near Palm Ridge 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.

Crystal, Island Vacations Team

A Florida native…

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 Crystal

Area of expertise:

Sanibel Condo complexes – she is a good person to chat with when you are making your decision on where to stay

Dining Recommendations With Young Families:

Sanibel Deli on Palm Ridge Road – Crystal recommends their soups & sandwiches – her favorite is the Turkey Club

The Great White Grill on Palm Ridge Road – Relaxed restaurant/sport bar with a casual feel. It’s a fun place for adults & kids or to just hang out. A local favorite

She also recommends:

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

Traditions on the Beach – for a romantic dinner – located inside “The Island Inn” on W. Gulf Drive, get a window seat and look out at the beach and Gulf of Mexico

Grandma Dot’s – E. Periwinkle Way (the other side of the stop sign) – for lunch. Eat in the screened in porch and watch the boats in the marina

The Bubble Room – Captiva (Andy Rosse Lane & Captiva Dr.) You can get cake “to go” even if you don’t stay for dinner. One slice can easily feed two people, or make it your meal! The Bubble Room is decorated in old time Christmas décor, movie memorabilia & model trains. Enjoy lunch, dinner or beyond or stop in for a piece of cake!

Aimee, Island Vacations Team

Aimee is our monthly rental specialist. Originally from Ohio, she moved to Florida in the 90’s & has been working at Island Vacations for the past 12 years

She invites you to come and stay with Island Vacations where you will meet a “Friendly and personal staff who provide the best customer service on the island!”

Meet Aimee

Area of Expertise:

She is a great resource for family activities. She has two children of her own and when her family comes to town (and there are a lot of kids) Aimee is the designated activity director.

Places to Go & Things to Do: Couples

Captiva CruisesAndy Rosse Lane, Captiva . Enjoy a lunch cruise to Cabbage Key. The dolphins will swim in the wake of the boat as you make your way to this location where rumour has it Jimmy Buffet wrote “Cheeseburger In Paradise”. It’s a unique getaway

Captiva Beaches – Find one of the public beach access points on Captiva. Bring a blanket & bottle of wine and watch the sunset over the Gulf. Very romantic.

Places to Go & Things to Do: Family Activities

Visit the Historical Village –  Dunlap Road –  for a look back at the way island life used to be. Step into some of the actual buildings, where islanders shopped & went to school.

‘Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge – San-Cap Road – bike the refuge to get a close look at the variety of birds and animals that vacation on Sanibel, just like you are! Many are permanent residents, but they have “snowbirds” by the thousands visiting annually.

Tarpon Bay Explorers – End of Tarpon Bay Road (bay end). Kayak and explore the back bay.

Kelly Island Vacations Team

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

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 Kelly 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.”

Meet Kelly

Area of Expertise:

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

Dining Recommendations:

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

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

Doc Ford’sTarpon 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

Matzaluna Italian RestaurantPeriwinkle Way – Pizza, Italian dishes, a large menu serving beer & wine. Fun, relaxed family atmosphere.

Lazy FlamingoPeriwinkle 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

Kelly 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 you’re 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

Susan Island Vacations Team Member

Originally from Ohio, Susan grew up on Sanibel & has lived in the area for 39 years.

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!”

Meet Susan

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.

Dining Recommendations:

George and Wendy’s Seafood GrillTarpon 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

 

 

Fran Island Vacations owner & president

Fran came to Florida with her family when she was five months old, so we consider her a true Florida native!

She has been exploring Southwest Florida and combing the beaches for shells for over 50 years. She did leave the islands for a few years, but the lure of the Gulf and island life called her home.

Local Tip:

Go to the Shell Museum and then go shelling. It makes shelling more interesting when you know what you’re finding! You might find one of the special shells people spend a lifetime searching for; a visit to the Shell Museum will help you identify your finds.

Island Vacations can help guests with any of their needs.  The Sealife Encounter trip with Adventures in Paradise is exceptionally fun – you can see and touch the things you catch.  It’s a learning time and much, much, more!  And the trolley will pick you up!  Makes for a great time.

Meet Fran, the Owner of Island Vacations

Area of Expertise:

Fran loves to comb the beaches searching for shells and to fish. She is very proud of her Tarpon catch a few years ago (165 lbs!).

Dining Recommendations:

Traders – Periwinkle Way – best crab cakes

Matzaluna’s – Periwinkle Way – Great place for a family dinner, they have wonderful pizza

Traditions – West Gulf Drive – serves wonderful steak dinners and is a nice place for a formal dinner. Traditions gets Fran’s vote for a romantic dinner as well.

Jerry’s – Periwinkle Way – has great wraps

Places to Go & Things to Do:

For couples, she recommends watching the sunset and then go inside for dinner at Traditions – West Gulf Dr.

Or take the Sunset Cruise with Adventures in Paradise – they pick you up.

Take the Family to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum – San-Cap Road, or

Stop at the Historical Village – Dunlop Road, and get a first hand idea of what life was like for the early residents of Sanibel

Experience a Sea life Encounter with Adventures in Paradise – yes, they pick you up for all their cruise adventures.

One of the best ways to tour the island is by bicycle. You can rent bikes, surreys, or take a Segway tour of the island at Billy’s Rentals. Biking is a great way to get around.

 

 

OUR LOCATION

1101 Periwinkle Way, Suite 108,
Sanibel, Florida 33957

Hours of Operation:
Mon - Thur: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Fri - Sat: 8:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Call: 239-472-7277 or 888-451-7277

E Mail:
reservations@sanibelislandvacations.com

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