A vacation to Captiva Island in southwest Florida off of the Gulf of Mexico is just what you need to relax. This locale is north of Sanibel Island and popular folklore suggests Captiva got its name from a pirate captain named Jose Gaspar who would hold female prisoners there for ransom.
The island's first inhabitant was an Austrian named William Herbert Binder who crashed offshore near Upper Captiva in 1921. He eventually made his way to Pine Island after building a makeshift raft but returned to Captiva to build a homestead where he was the only resident for 10 years.
Captiva Island Attractions
Turner Beach is the perfect place to go fishing while vacationing in Captiva Island. The beach stretches for 5 miles and has plenty of colorful seashells. Captiva Island is considered one of the best in the world for shelling, a popular activity due to the abundance of them washing up from the gulf. When you're spending a day at Turner Beach, you can lay out in the sun, swim in the clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico or build a sand castle with the kids. Before the sun sets and you head back to your rental for the night, venture down Captiva Drive for a scenic view of giant cactus and tropical flora that thrive in the city's downtown district.
A trip to Captiva Island wouldn't be complete without a stop at The Bubble Room. This world famous, multi-theme restaurant was established 1979 and features decor from the 1930s and 1940s. You can still find many of the original toys that were put in the restaurant when it was founded and the kids will love the Christmas decorations and lights hanging year-round in the front room. The eatery was also the first on the island to use bright pastel colors that are still popular today and menu favorites include Socra cheese, Bubble Bread, Carolina Moons, Tarzan and Eddie Fisherman.
Things to Do on Captiva Island
Water sports: Snorkeling and scuba diving are the perfect activities for a vacation in Captiva Island. There's more than a dozen artificial reefs within 15 miles of Sanibel and Captiva islands, one of the largest being the Edison Reef. You can also check out Belton Johnson and the Pegasus, Charlie's reefs. Other water sports in Captiva Island include kayaking, canoeing, parasailing and boat tours to see dolphins and manatees.
Dining: Fresh seafood is obviously a must while staying in Captiva Island. Local eateries are the perfect place to sit down and enjoy a meal with the family. There's a wide selection of ethnic foods in the area as well as fine dining for a night out on the town. Some of the restaurants in Captiva Sanibel islands include Keylime Bistro, McT's Shrimp House and Tavern, Holy Smoke and Thistle Lodge.
Shopping: No vacation is complete without a little shopping and there's plenty of it in Captiva Island. You'll find many of the town's shops at the northern end of Captiva Drive and Andy Rosse Lane. There are village paths that lead you to each storefront, many of them selling items such as antiques, casual fashions, pottery, furniture and unique gifts.