Saturday, April 23, 2011

Why Sanibel is the Perfect Spot for a Girls Getaway

Imagine you and 3 or 4 of your best friends with the time, money and leisure to go away without the husbands or significant others.

You want a warm spot where you can lay in the sun, have a tropical drink (or two), have a selection of restaurants, maybe rent bikes, take some boat rides and feel safe and secure.

You don't want a hotel room, because all your socializing will have to be at the bar and you want a more private and quiet environment. And a place you can cook. Yes, that sounds very nice. Your own kitchen where you can make what ever you want when ever you want it.

So the optimum setting would be a house where you can share a bedroom and at least a couple of bathrooms.

Or maybe a spacious condominium will do as well.

And, of course, since you are (fill in the blanks) teachers, nurses, administrators, you want to be modest in the expenditure, splitting the rent and leaving you all enough to be able to eat when and where you choose, rent a spiffy convertible for your stay and have some money left over to buy a few nice souvenirs for the folks back home.

OK, you're set. You know what you want, you've asked a few people where the best places for this kind of vacation might be and you're ready to narrow down the options.

You don't want crowds, noise and distractions. A nice, quiet beach where you can swim, shell and read when your voices give out from talking and catching up is the primary objective. Calm water sounds equally enticing.

And then someone suggests Sanibel Island on the Gulf Coast of Mexico.

Yes, a Caribbean like place with an abundance of nature, a laid back tropical feel, a large variety of accommodation options, within 40 minutes of a major airport and not more than 3 hours driving from several other international airports.

And you look up the information on line to find that Sanibel is named consistently on several prestigious best beach lists.

And then you look around at lodging and see that most homes only rent for 28 night minimums, but lovely condos can be had for weekly stays. And split 4 ways, it's significantly less than a hotel room and considerably more comfortable and convenient.

So you make your reservations, plane and condo, and pack your bags...oh, no need to bring very much. The condo comes with most of what you'll need, including a washing machine and dryer so a few pair of shorts, a bathing suit and half a dozen tops will do.

Now you're ready to go.

Wasn't that easy?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sanibel Island Makes Another "A" list

Though Sanibel Island has been lauded as having a great beach by experts, scientists and various publications, it now has another feather in its proverbial cap.

TripAdvisor, considered to be the largest internet site for the traveling public, just launched its first survey on beaches, allowing for respondents to cover the world. The results have been broken down into best beaches in the world and then narrowed to best beaches in the USA.

Sanibel Island, which placed number 5 of best beaches in the USA, was described as a "Quiet, secluded white beach, with its scurrying sandpipers, offer(ing) a respite from the holiday making hordes elsewhere."

"It's that time of year when travelers are dreaming of getaways to warm beach destinations. To provide inspiration on where to go, we've named some amazing hot spots around the world, based on millions of real and unbiased reviews and opinions from TripAdvisor travelers," said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer for TripAdvisor. "In addition to the outstanding beaches, these destinations also feature top-rated options for hotels, vacation rentals, attractions, and restaurants."

And while the cooler northeast coast might appear to attract more beach goers in the summer months, that is not actually the case according to the survey results. Of the fifty four percent of the 2,100 survey respondents who are planning a beach vacation in 2011, 17 percent intend to visit the U.S. Southeast coast while only 13 percent expect to explore the northeast coast, with a full 12 percent planning to go to the gulf coast.

That would seem counter intuitive given the far greater numbers of people with access to the northeast coast and the fact that areas such as SW Florida are thought as hot and humid in summer...well, to be honest they are hot and humid in summer.

But that also means the water is much more pleasant for swimming, calmer for just bobbing around on a float and because our beaches go on and on and on, there are very few crowded beaches in Florida, especially so when it comes to Sanibel beaches which--- even in winter--- are gently used.

But one of the biggest factors we suspect might be at play in driving vacationers to Sanibel this and every summer is the cost factor. A lovely and spacious condo on the Island may run between $900 and $1300 for the week. The alternative up north, especially at the New Jersey and New York beaches, will be double the cost.

The savvy consumer is well aware of the beauty of our beaches and the considerable cost savings and the rush for rooms has begun. Don't get left in the dust and do your research now to see why Sanibel Island has once again been decorated with "best" in show!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Blogging about Sanibel: So many tales to tell

We don't just write about Sanibel Island, we read almost every thing written about Sanibel Island. Just today we read a blog post by Martha Stewart about Sanibel's sea shells. Well, ok, it may have been Martha Stewart's web site and it was not actually Stewart who wrote it, but you get the picture. Mention the words, Sanibel Island, and we are all ears, or all eyes...what ever the case may be!

Blogs are a particularly interesting way to learn about the Island as they are ever growing, ever changing and ever reflective of the times.

The blogs written by the folks at Sanibel Sea School are particularly interesting for any one concerned in the ecology of the Island and the ecology of the world in general. Today's blog explained how windy mornings such as we experienced in the early a.m. today can be bad for the Gulf as it is so easy for debris to be blown into. The Sea School puts things into simple terms and consistently creates blog posts that are provocative and educational. It is one of our favorite blogs on Sanibel.

A very different but interesting blogger is Sanibel Toots. She describes herself as a retired grandmother whose blog was "created to share some of the beauty I see around me each day. This tranquil place is a haven for wildlife and the natural beaches are spectacular." Looking through this blogger's eyes we get an up close and personal view of Sanibel. And though she calls herself a "slacker" she is anything but. SanibelToots is a very active blogger as well as a very observant one.

There are blogs specific to fishing on the island, weddings on the island, commerce on the Island. And blogs written by rental agencies like ourselves who love to keep our guests up to date on what's new.

One of our favorite bloggers is the mysterious Samba whose blog Sanibel Island, Florida is probably the most eclectic of those on the internet. Samba may write a post on a new restaurant, share an island experience, talk about global politics and how that effects Sanibel or just wax poetic about the beauties of nature. One aspect to these posts that work well is that most are accompanied by some awesome photography. We thought perhaps the blogger was a professional shooter, but the posts link back to flick' and were the works of a large variety of photographers, both professional and amateur.

And that is the beauty of a blog. Unlike a website that can be static, a blog allows a look into the present, the past and the future. It does not have to be linear, nor chronological nor categorical. It can roam the shore line, wonder the refuge, seek the inside of a bakery or highlight a home. It's a wondering reporter with no specific domicile and no lack of interest in his or her subject.