Just how many pictures of the ocean can I cram into one post? Going through our photos from our babymoon to Sanibel Island was like watching the waves again in a flipbook: just hundreds of images of the beach and that gorgeous turquoise water. But just being at the ocean is really what a beach trip is all about for us. And actually, the colors of the water are why going to the Gulf is worth the extra effort to me (as opposed to the nearby Atlantic). Soo beautiful!
As I’ve mentioned, we had the absolute best trip to Sanibel. It was the most relaxing week and exactly what we needed. We did get out and ride our bikes, do some kayaking and sailing, and obviously ate a lot of good food, but mostly we were parked on the beach at the Casa Ybel Resort! I’ll post my Sanibel guide to what we did and where we ate another day, but today is all about where we stayed.
Our primary criteria for lodging for a beach trip is that it:
- Be on the beach: My philosophy is that I’m willing to go somewhere else entirely if I can’t be on the water, because I am at the beach to see and hear the ocean.
- Preferably have some sort of balcony facing the water: We like to be able to eat in for breakfast and lunch and still enjoy the view and sounds.
- Have chairs and umbrellas set up and reserved for us each day: Call me high maintenance on this one, but I really don’t want to haul that stuff around on vacation, and an umbrella is not optional for my UVA/UVB-challenged skin!
For this trip, that was pretty much it, and everything else was fine with me, including location! I was willing to be on pretty much any beach if I could have those three criteria met. We like to go to a bike-friendly beach community, but that’s not vital. Of course, Casa Ybel in Sanibel Island hit all four points!
The beach at Casa Ybel was very quiet and secluded, and of course we had our chairs and umbrella! The other great part was that it was about forty feet from our condo. There was a delicious outdoor lunch cabana by the pool which we could just hop over to, and as promised, there were so many shells!
More water, but really.
28 weeks here!
Sanibel is known for its shelling and lack of high-rises (nothing is allowed to be taller than the palm trees), and it did not disappoint on either count! These are the shells that are now in our hurricane lanterns. We had fun walking up and down the beach finding the specific ones we wanted. We also have some of our best conversations on the beach. So much uninterrupted time!
There are so many shells it’s like gravel! The only downside is that you definitely want to wear water shoes. I bought my first pair of Chacos for the occasion, and I’m not sorry!
Casa Ybel is the oldest resort on the Island, dating back to the 1880s! I loved that there was so much history here. Thomas Edison and Henry Ford were both guests! They’ve managed to preserve the heart of that history and also include very updated amenities.
The whole thing was kind of like a campground, but we never had to walk too far. It’s definitely kid-friendly, but since each condo has its own entrance, we were never in very close proximity to other guests. We’re not really pool people, except that we ate lunch there, but there were kids at the pool! We had a parking spot and a bike rack at our place, both of which were also super convenient. The whole set up was really perfect. Just secluded and quiet enough, but with all the amenities we needed.
The Flowers and Wildlife
One thing we were definitely not expecting was how much wildlife we saw! Sanibel is two-thirds a nature preserve, and it’s so secluded that you see a lot of wildlife everywhere. Almost every day we would see stingrays splashing around in the water and coming right up to the beach. Luckily the water is so clear that you could see them, but I don’t typically go too far out into the water anyway. It was so cute to watch them dart around! Will would be reading, and every five minutes I would say, “Look at the stingrays!!”
There were also these cute turtles we would see heading for the water most evenings when we were heading in to get ready for dinner.
We weren’t quite sure why all these pelicans spent their mornings in the trees, but we loved to watch them dive for fish in the afternoons!
That’s probably enough photo overload for one evening, but I’ll be back with my guide to what we did around the Island (and on Captiva!) soon!