Sanibel Island Vacation Rental Options

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Visiting Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Because Sanibel is such a large island, it offers all kinds of vacation rental options. It has resort hotels, family owned boutique hotels, private rental condos and beach cottages. And there are plenty of great options for rentals a block or two from the beach if you'd like to get more for your money. I've got my eye on the beach cottages at Blind Pass (pictured below).

Blind Pass beach cottages.

Because of zoning restrictions, building heights on Sanibel and Captiva are limited, so you won't find any mega-resorts here. In fact, the only chain hotels I know of on Sanibel are the Best Western Sanibel Island and the Holiday Inn Sanibel Island.

We enjoyed our stay at Ocean's Reach condo, but were slightly envious of the more stylish Old Florida style accommodations next door at the Casa Ybel Resort. So we ate our wedding night dinner at the Casa Ybel Resort's Thistle Lodge restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ocean's Reach condominium, where we stayed on our honeymoon.

Prices vary greatly on Sanibel by location and by season. Expect the highest rates during January, February, March and April. During the late summer and fall months there are beachfront accommodations to be found for $800 per week.

View of Sanibel Beach on the Gulf of Mexico from our Ocean's Reach condominium.

Blind Pass is a small community at the north tip of Sanibel, next to Captiva Island. There are some cute beach rentals there, like Castaways. The only slightly negative thing we noted about that location is that the units are very close to the road, so there would be some traffic noise. It is also next to a public beach access, so the beach isn't as "private" as in other areas. Nevertheless it is worthy of consideration and is within walking distance of several very good restaurants.

Blind Pass beach cottages.

Something to be aware of when renting a condo is that the rental companies have fees tacked onto the rental rate. If you make a reservation and give a deposit and then change your mind the next day, they will refund your deposit, less a "cancellation" fee, which is often close to $100. Also, although they processed your deposit immediately into their account, they may well take a several weeks or more to refund it. Read the fine print on their web site and in the rental agreement before you reserve.

Casa Ybel Resort is close to Ocean's Reach condominium.

When choosing a vacation rental on Sanibel, keep your planned activities in mind. We enjoyed riding our bikes to breakfast most mornings, so we wanted a location close enough to restaurants to allow for that. We did a lot of exploring on our bikes.

Captiva Island

This is a tidy little island community that truly is "land's end." There's literally no where to go from here except by boat. It's heavy with tropical foliage, fragrant flowers and coconut palms. There is a smattering of eateries, including the long-standing favorites: the Mucky Duck and the Bubble Room. There is one public beach access and a marina, from which you can launch exploratory jaunts to the nearby islands of Cabbage Key, Cayo Costa and Useppa. Excursion cruises are available. You don't need your car to get around; that's how small it is. Captiva is several miles long, but you can walk the width of the island in a couple of hundred steps. Summers are quiet and humid. Winters bring the northern visitors and cooler breezes.

The South Seas Resort occupies much of Captiva, but without a doubt one of the most popular old favorites is the Tween Waters Inn Island Resort. A week or two at Tween Waters is a long standing annual tradition for many families.

Copyright: David McRee,