Florida, Sanibel

Our fantastic long weekend in Sanibel, Florida with the kids


Sanibel Island is famous for it seashell beaches. The island lays horizontal along the western coast of Florida catching all of the shells that are washed up. They even have a trademarked ‘Sanibel Stoop’ to describe how people bend over to pick up shells. The beaches are gorgeous and the water is perfect.


I was torn between and hotel room or a condo for this leg of our 2 week Florida trip. We were leaning toward the condo, but I couldn’t find anything that I liked. I searched daily in Home Away and finally, I found one! It was beachy, nicely decorated and clean.

Adorable living room with 2 pullout couches. The owners also left a large selection of books and board games. There was a large sliding glass sore leading to a screened in porch

The kitchen was gorgeously updated with high-end everything. Not necessary for us, but we did love it!

The kid’s bathroom. Loved the color!

The kid’s bedroom, it has 2 single beds and a large closet.

The master bedroom. It had a king sized bed and large dresser. Jim was not on board with me decorating our bedroom at home the same! Attached to this bedroom was a very large master bath with a huge shower, double sink, and large linen closet.

The condo was on the ground level and came equipped with everything but food. The condo complex also offered the use of kayaks for free (more on that later!). Check-in was flawless and they called the following morning to make sure everything was ok.

The Island

We went out exploring immediately. There is so much to do we didn’t know where to start. The island is very bike friendly and we saw families on bikes out everywhere. We stopped at several local shops including the best ice cream shop ever, Pinocchio’s Italian Ice Cream on Periwinkle Way. They have the best flavors and the scoops are HUGE!

We explored for a while then hit the beach after all that’s what we were there for. There were gorgeous white sand beaches with, to our dismay, practically no shells! Say what? After talking to some locals, the shells are best found after a heavy rain or storm and there had been neither for a good 2 weeks. Ok, we are good at adapting.

When you step into the water, your feet hit something very strange. I reached down and picked up a handful of sand dollars! Live sand dollars! I had two emotions at that moment, awe and horrified! The sand dollars were live, beautiful and plentiful, but it was impossible not to step on them. I tried asking my kids to walk on water and the comments began.😂  We were super careful and swam as much as possible.

It’s against the law on Sanibel to take any living animal being a shell, sand dollar or anything else living in the ocean. We did find a few dead ones on the beach to take and we ended up finding a few really cool shells.

Kayaking adventure

Remember how I said this trip started out great and fell apart toward the end? Here’s how.

On our last full day there, we decided to borrow the kayaks and go for a ride. We got our brief and got 2 doubles and a single. After instructions to stay in the canals, we were off; no kayaking in the ocean or bay.

We explored for a while before we came along a white sand beach in between the ocean in the bay. We pulled our kayaks over and decided to look for shells. The white sand was so soft my kids asked if they could take off their water shoes. I said sure, why not.

Paradise Lost

After about 15 minutes of finding some sea stars and starfish, my daughter finds the only broken shell on the entire beach, slices her foot open and starts bleeding pretty badly. We quickly gather everybody up, doubled up on the kayaks and headed back to the house. Poor Jim had to haul Madi and me while Zack took Holly and pulled the other kayak behind.

We called the front office as soon as we got back to find some sort of hospital or an urgent care center on the island and they quickly directed us. I made my way the five minutes down to the urgent care center and they treated us immediately. They washed out her foot, wrapped it up and sent us on our way. We were leaving the next morning however, they told us that we needed to have it x-rayed and looked at again once we got home to make sure that there are no pieces of shell it. She was given some crutches and out the door, we went.

The area outside our condo was very tropical.

The canal behind our unit at sunset.  Pictures don’t do it justice.

The pool and lounge area. There were also laundry facilities here.

Headed Home

We left the following morning after being checked on by the front office again. What we thought was going to be a quick 19-20 hour ride home ended up turning into two days, two flat tires and two hotels stays just to get back to Pennsylvania in one piece. Ugh!

Despite all of that, we loved our trip to Florida; to this day even after being to Mexico my kids still rank it as one of their top five vacations.


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