On one trip we made the journey along Florida’s Forgotten Coast, starting at Mexico Beach and working our way east and around and down to Sanibel Island. We stopped off for the night in the tiny little town of Cedar Key, Florida to break up the trip. A storm was rolling in that afternoon, as you can see from my photo. We had the dogs with us, so a pet-friendly motel was required. The Gulf Side Motel was handy and right on the water so I took the dogs for a walk through the little residential streets to see a bit of the town. Nothing like having to walk dogs to make you get out and explore! The few streets in the central area of the town had some neat-looking shops but sadly for me it was after 5 and they were all closed. As we left out early in the morning I didn’t get to see them then either. Maybe another time! Find out more at: visitcedarkey.com/
We headed out of town, south to our final destination for this trip, Sanibel Island, the shell mecca of Florida. I found a pet-friendly motel on Sanibel Island on the side close to Captiva that was just perfect for the dogs. Tropical Winds has an enclosed porch and was nice and roomy inside so was perfect for me, Wally, Bart and Tasha. You had to walk down a path to get to the water a little ways and I would highly recommend shoes as there is some kind of plant that has sharp spiny little burrs that HURT!
The dogs and I had fun walking the beach looking for interesting shells and there was lots of turtle activity while we were there. The turtle patrol jeep was out daily, marking the nests. A few days into our stay Wally realized that the new family that moved in next door was a childhood friend from Murfreesboro! They had been visiting Sanibel and staying at the Tropical Winds for years. They brought their fishing gear with them and had pretty good luck fishing from shore right out from the motel. Small world, once again!
Two of the restaurants we ate at that I remember were Grandma Dot’s Seaside Saloon, located at the Sanibel Marina. This was a really neat restaurant loaded with history and great Sanibel memorabilia. It was crowded and I would recommend you be patient when you go. It’s not a big restaurant so you may have to wait a while to get a seat but it was worth it for the good food and ambiance. It was fun to wander through the marina admiring all the nice boats and dreaming of having one. www.sanibelmarina.com/gramma.html
We had a late-night dinner at the Island Cow, which seems like a popular restaurant at all meals judging by the full parking lot and crowds. We enjoyed our dinner outside on the patio but I don’t remember what we ordered. www.sanibelislandcow.com/
If you are going to Sanibel, I recommend taking your bikes and walking shoes. There are paved bike trails all over the island and this is a great way to explore. For more information on Sanibel and Captiva Islands, visit their website at: www.sanibel-captiva.org/