Sanibel Island Vacation

Charlotte, Lee and I just got back from a very sunny and warm vacation to the lovely Sanibel Island on the gulf coast of Florida. The trip has become something of an annual tradition to visit Lee's parents, they know how to pick a good spot (they've been escaping to Sanibel for decades). This visit was full of eating, swimming, tennis, biking, birding, shelling and napping. Lee and I took advantage of the built-in babysitters and ate out a lot! We had three excellent meals at three very different restaurants on the island. The first night we chose to eat at Traders. We were both a little apprehensive since it had a gift shop attached but we were blown away by the great food and excellent service--the key lime pie is not to be missed! If you are looking for a tasty breakfast head to the Lighthouse Cafe, they boast "The World's Best Breakfast" and it's a great breakfast, just skip the grits and opt for the potatoes instead (they seem to have forgotten how to make grits in this neck of the woods). We saved the best for last, Il Cielo. It is truly an outstanding fine dining experience just be prepared for a bit of sticker shock when the check arrives! Other highlights that are not to be missed are the birds at J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, the awesome shelling (literally every beach offers amazing finds), the tropical bird show at the aviaries at Periwinkle Trailer Park, a beach sunrise, and set out to watch the wildlife and fisherman at the Point Ybel Lighthouse fishing pier.

 Leaves of the trees cover the sun at Sanibel Island Vacation

Leaves of the trees cover the sun at Sanibel Island Vacation

 The sun sets on the horizon at Sanibel Island Vacation

The sun sets on the horizon at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Girl sticks out her tongue while swimming at Sanibel Island Vacation

Girl sticks out her tongue while swimming at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Colorful flowers in the garden at Sanibel Island Vacation

Colorful flowers in the garden at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Lighthouse towers above the trees and close up shot of heron at Sanibel Island Vacation

Lighthouse towers above the trees and close up shot of heron at Sanibel Island Vacation

Get up close and personal with dozens of birds at the aviaries at Periwinkle Trailer Park...

 Man finds a new friend in the garden at Sanibel Island Vacation

Man finds a new friend in the garden at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Close up shot of flower in the garden at Sanibel Island Vacation

Close up shot of flower in the garden at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Sea creature on the beach at Sanibel Island Vacation

Sea creature on the beach at Sanibel Island Vacation

This year Charlotte was less interested in seeing the birds and more interested in collecting hibiscus and handing them out to the folks watching the show at the aviaries at Periwinkle Trailer Park...

 Girl picks and gives flowers to people in the aviary at Sanibel Island Vacation

Girl picks and gives flowers to people in the aviary at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Waves take on a golden color as the sun sets on the beach at Sanibel Island Vacation

Waves take on a golden color as the sun sets on the beach at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Pink flowers in the garden at Sanibel Island Vacation

Pink flowers in the garden at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Long beak white birds perch on trees at Sanibel Island Vacation

Long beak white birds perch on trees at Sanibel Island Vacation

Warming up with water grandma after a late afternoon swim...

 Girl shares blanket with her grandma at Sanibel Island Vacation

Girl shares blanket with her grandma at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Bird prepares to leave the water at Sanibel Island Vacation

Bird prepares to leave the water at Sanibel Island Vacation

Charlotte the alligator hunter...

 Girl plays with her alligator float in the pool at Sanibel Island Vacation

Girl plays with her alligator float in the pool at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Close up shot of heron's feet in the water at Sanibel Island Vacation

Close up shot of heron's feet in the water at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Alligator in the lake at Sanibel Island Vacation

Alligator in the lake at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Fruit dangles from a tree and plants in the garden at Sanibel Island Vacation

Fruit dangles from a tree and plants in the garden at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Close up of seashell on the beach at Sanibel Island Vacation

Close up of seashell on the beach at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Heron takes a dip in the water at Sanibel Island Vacation

Heron takes a dip in the water at Sanibel Island Vacation

A Roseate Spoonbill in the J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge...

 Birds enjoying the lake at Sanibel Island Vacation

Birds enjoying the lake at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Man leaves footprints in the sand and close up shot of bird at Sanibel Island Vacation

Man leaves footprints in the sand and close up shot of bird at Sanibel Island Vacation

We spent most of our time getting around Sanibel by bike, it was great to be free of the car!

 Girl rides in stroller at Sanibel Island Vacation

Girl rides in stroller at Sanibel Island Vacation

 Birds in the sky at Sanibel Island Vacation

Birds in the sky at Sanibel Island Vacation

Thanks to water grandma and pop-pop, we're coming for two weeks next year!

 Couple and girl relax in the pool at Sanibel Island Vacation

Couple and girl relax in the pool at Sanibel Island Vacation