With some pending free flights with Southwest Airlines and an exasperation with our cold, cloudy weather, Mo & I put together a pre-anniversary vacation trip to Florida. Since the Twins play their Spring Training games in Ft. Myers, it made for a nice destination for someone who hasn’t stepped outside of Orlando when in Florida.
Because our travel options were limited by the time we were able to nail down our reservations, we decide to fly in and out of Ft. Lauderdale, since we needed to rent a car anyway, and that would allowed us to travel Alligator Alley and to drop by a beach on the Atlantic side as well.
Monday, we made a nice leisurely drive in our Nissan Versa rental car from the Ft. Lauderdale airport to our hotel in Ft. Myers. We saw glades that seemed to go on forever! We made Hyatt Place Ft. Myers/at The Forum our “home” for the week. Working off of a recommendation, we went to The Prawnbroker Restaurant for a delicious seafood supper.
you get an idea of the water temperature from the expression on Mo’s face
From Bowditch Point Park beach we watched the sun set over the Sanibel Island. Even as daylight fell, it was easy to see why Ft. Myers is a mecca for seashell collectors. We returned to our hotel room refreshed, and in plenty of time for LOST.
Wednesday morning we worked our way to Sanibel Island and first stopped at the Sanibel Island Lighthouse beach. We enjoyed picking shells, reading about the lighthouse (it was once a submarine watch tower), checking out the fishing pier, and watching the wildlife.
Sanibel Island Lighthouse – – ->
<- – – this male osprey enjoys his catch at the top of a tree, while the female osprey and the kid(s) called at him from nearby
Next, we went for a drive along the western side of the island and stopped for cozy little lunch at the Twilight Café. We decided then to return to the main road and wander our way north to Captiva Island and the far northern tip. On the return drive we stopped at Bowman’s Beach, and managed to find a parking spot in the nearly-full lot. We spent half of our time there just meandering southwards on the beach, people-watching, collecting shells, and admiring the wildlife – including jellyfish as large as half a basketball that would wash onto shore. We turned around, and the other half of our time we used to meander back to our waiting car.
Bowman’s Beach facing south
Traffic continued to be heavy on our way off of Sanibel Island. Since Ft. Myers has also had been experiencing cooler than usual weather, the near 80F temperature had brought a larger crowd than usual to the beaches.
Thursday weather had the threat of rain, increasing during the afternoon, so we chose a low-key option and went to nearby Calusa Nature Center and Planetarium. The nature center had trails through 103 acres of cypress forest and swamp, and while wildlife was pretty sparse, we certainly enjoyed the quiet saunter while we read about the flora and local ecology. After lunch, David returned to watch the planetarium show about the local skies there (in optimal conditions, you can see three of the four stars of the Southern Cross from Ft. Myers!) and check out the snakes and lizards on display in the museum. Our evening was spent in Cape Coral at Geo’s Italian Restaurant.
Friday plans were to return to Ft. Lauderdale and spend some time at a beach on the Atlantic side of Florida, but increasingly inclement weather thwarted those plans. We did see the ocean, but only from the car through a pouring rain. Our afternoon flight home started with a long weather delay, and then was capped with a mechanical delay (with a security breach, we could have had the trifecta!), but we finally were airborne. By the time we’d made it to home sweet home, it was minutes after midnight on Saturday.
We’d love to show some pictures of the last couple days of our vacation trip, but we’re waiting for the package from Dollar Rent a Car with our camera and case that was left on the floor of our rental car…