I'm back from a couple of weeks on Sanibel Island. Maybe millions of people come here to Orlando for vacation, but we go somewhere else for our get-aways. It's been a couple of years since I was last on Sanibel Islando, so it seemed like a good time to head down there.
When I say “good time”, I mean that I was burned out and needed a vacation. The July/August time is probably the hottest time of year to visit. Add some sweltering humidity and you may as well plan on spending the day drenched in liquid. Your choice, the Gulf, the pool, or your own pool of sweat. If you're outdoors, you're going to be wet. The only choice you have is where.
The thing I like about Sanibel Island is that there's damn little to do. You don't get wrapped up in running from one place to another, or trying to schedule events. At least I don't. There are plenty of trails for biking or running if you like to get some exercise, but the biggest draw is the ability to do absolutely nothing. Lounge around the pool. Go fishing in the Gulf of Mexico. Look for seashells on the beach. The only interruptions are when it's time to eat, and even that doesn't have to be a rush.
Other than the Dairy Queen, there are no fast food restaurants on Sanibel Island. No McDonald's, Wendy's or Burger Kings. You can go to Cheeburger Cheeburger if like, but they aren't in much of a hurry. No Olive Garden or Don Pablo's, but you can visit Doc Ford's or the Hungry Heron. It's kind of nice to visit some independent restaurants for a change.
Orlando vs Sanibel Island
I enjoy Sanibel Island for a getaway, but I don't think I'd want to live there. For one thing, I you can't even find some underwear on the island (which I discovered due to a packing error). If you have to leave the island to get your necessities, the usual places are available across the causeway in Fort Myers. Unfortunately, there's a $6 toll every time you come back to Sanibel Island. It's best to plan your trips to the real world.
If there's something that I really liked on Sanibel (and Captiva), it was the eclectic sense of the homeowners there. They have a tendency to decorate their homes with a few quirks. One home has a lawn jockey out front. For years, I know this little statue was black. Now that's no longer politically correct, so the owner painted his face white. The hands are still black, but perhaps we're supposed to believe those are gloves. One mailbox looks like a dolphin. Another looks like a flamingo, except you put the mail in the ass-end of the thing. Cute.
Homeowners on Captiva have colorful signs in front of their property to post the street number, and also the name of their homes. Places like Funbar Hall, Zurich by the Sea, Casa SIN Nombre and Mermaid Place. Each one is a custom sign. I may have to do something like this for my house. The tricky part is to come up with a name. If you had to name your home, what would it be?
Orlando has plenty of things that are missing from Sanibel Island. Perhaps that's why we're missing the one thing they have in abundance – peace & quiet.