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Friday Five: Vacation Favorites in Southwest Florida

This Friday Five post includes my vacation favorites in southwest Florida {Marco Island, Sanibel Island, Captiva Island, and Naples}.

Vacation Favorites in Southwest Florida | Chicago Jogger

I traveled to southwest Florida for a short vacation last weekend with K and C, visiting his grandparents in Marco Island. Chicago is in the middle of a snowstorm right now {with up to 14 inches expected}. I’m dreaming of 75+ degree weather.

 

Kayak Tour

Vacation Favorites in Southwest Florida | Chicago Jogger

My father-in-law recommended a kayak tour through the local mangroves, so K and I booked a morning tour from Isles of Capri Kayak Tour company. The kayak launch is located just outside of Marco Island, over the bridge {in Naples}. Tom was our tour guide and he was amazing! An extremely knowledgeable and friendly guy, and a former marine biologist. I learned so much about mangroves during our 3.5 hours of kayaking. It ended up being a private tour with just K and I, which was great. The mangroves are quite shallow at some points, especially because we kayaked during low tide. We saw many different types of birds and a small tree crab. Dolphins can often be found in the area, as well as manatees during summer months.

 

Bike Ride from Sanibel Island to Captiva Island

Vacation Favorites in Southwest Florida | Chicago Jogger

I have visited Marco Island every winter for the past four years, and we never miss a bike ride on Sanibel Island. This year the grandparents took C to the beach while K and I finished an 18 mile ride on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island. We rode around Sanibel Island and then made our way to a late lunch on Captiva Island. From the far end of Sanibel Island to Capitva is ~10 miles. The beaches are beautiful and it’s a lovely place to go virtual house hunting, especially on Captiva! I posted a recap of a similar ride in 2016: Biking on Sanibel Island and Captiva Island, Florida.

 

Lunch at RC Otters

Vacation Favorites in Southwest Florida | Chicago Jogger

A long bike ride = needing a delicious lunch ASAP. We found RC Otter’s Eats on Captiva Island a few years ago. It’s a great stopping point for a meal outdoors. This year I tried the blackened grouper over a caesar salad. I LOVE Florida grouper and enjoyed it several times on our short trip. I highly recommend RC Otter’s if you are in the area. They have an excellent beer list as well.

 

South Naples Citrus Grove

Vacation Favorites in Southwest Florida | Chicago Jogger

If you visit southwest Florida, find time for a quick trip to the South Naples Citrus Grove for the smell alone – it’s like hundreds of oranges being zested at the same time. The fruit you have to try from this citrus grove is a Honeybell orange. Honeybells {or Babybells if you go for the smaller version} are super sweet and juicy. The South Naples Citrus Grove is located between Marco Island and Naples. We visited and shipped a box of oranges to ourselves, which should arrive in the next week. I’m excited to snack on them.

 

Sunset Walk on Marco Island

Vacation Favorites in Southwest Florida | Chicago Jogger

Marco Island has the most beautiful beaches I have ever visited in the U.S. Miles of white sand, plenty of seashells to hunt and scenic views. There are several areas in Marco Island with public beach access, including Tigertail Beach. We went on a family sunset walk one night before dinner and the views were stunning.

 

Interested in more Florida travel posts? Check out:

 


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2 thoughts on “Friday Five: Vacation Favorites in Southwest Florida”

  • Awesome review of the area! I live in Houston now but I grew up in SWFL, in North Fort Myers. I’ve done bike rides on Sanibel a few times, but typically stick to Fort Myers Beach because of the tolls onto Sanibel Island. It’s such a gorgeous area and I want to move back there in the next few years!

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