Valentine’s Day on Sanibel Island

Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year and you will have no end of things to choose from on this day on Sanibel Island. Our natural world beckons with many great things to do on the 14th so get ready to be amazed by the island’s wild side.  From early morning nature walks to dolphin cruise to romantic evening dining, Sanibel delivers for Valentine’s Day 2017.

With so much to choose from on Valentine’s Day here’s a breakdown on some of your activities for an exciting day of discovery and fun!

Start your day with a free bird tour at Ding Darling at 8:30 a.m. Meet at the main flagpole and be guided by a trained naturalist identifying our vast birdlife through the nature park.

Join the Ding Darling crew for yet another birding tour with the Free Shorebirds of the Refuge Program from 10 to 10:30 a.m. at the park. You see them all over the beach and wonder what they’re called, well wonder no more, take the tour and learn all about their magical world.

Who doesn’t love Alligators and Crocodiles?  Well, even if you don’t you will at appreciate them by attending the Free Gators & Crocs Program from 1- 1:30 p.m. Join another fascinating part of island life with the experts at Ding Darling!  

Wander back in time with the free Calusa/Shell Mound Trail Tour from 12 to 2 p.m.

The first inhabitants of our island paradise will be the focus of this fascinating tour led by naturists who teach you about the plant life and history that you will not soon forget.

Artistically inclined? BIG Arts offers up the  “The Itty Bitty Art Exhibit Miniature Art” Juried Exhibit from 9- 4 p.m. Explore the world of tiny art with this gorgeous display of highly detailed art work will certainly capture your attention and fantasy.

BIG Arts also hosts the  “The Petticoat Painters of Sarasota” from 1 to 4 p.m.. Enjoy the oldest continuously exhibited women’s art groups in the U.S. Women’s art is showcased and what a wonder it is to behold!

End your day with a fantastic Valentine’s Day Sunset Dolphin Cruise!  Start time is 5:30 and runs to 7:30 p.m.  Adventures in Paradise serves up a beautiful evening on the water with complimentary soft drinks, bottled water and cupcakes on their 45. ft catamaran in search of frolicking Dolphins.

Sanibel In January: Join us!

The cold winter sting of Jack Frost has arrived to most of the country. We’re here to provide you and your family with a little bit of relief—island style.

This month, we’re offering some great specials and deals that won’t break the bank, and will also warm your toes.  At Gulf Breeze Cottages, we are your favorite kind of winter wonderland. Soak up the Sanibel sun as the warm Gulf breeze picks up any of your post holiday stress or wintertime worries and whisks them far away.

Now is the time to plan for 2017. Make this your year and treat yourself, your family or your sweetie to an unforgettable island escape. On Sanibel Island, the possibilities for fun are endless all year long! Go shelling, paddle boarding, hiking, biking, shopping and more— from January to December. Remember, our island paradise is truly home to the “eternal summer”

Sanibel in January, or any other time of the year is the escape you deserve and we’re here to make your dreams become a reality. Join us on the beach in your very own Old Florida style condo that will make you feel a million miles away from those chilly wintertime blues.

Feeling spontaneous? Book a stay with us before the end of the month (January 2017) and enjoy 10% off! On top of that, our January rates start at just $213 a night.  Remember, the memories you make in the tropics are priceless!

Can’t make it this month? We know it’s not always easy to get away at a moment’s notice. Don’t fret. Plan to visit us later in 2017 and still save! Book your private bungalow between May 1 and December 22, 2017 with rates starting at just $155.

We can’t wait to see you in 2017!

View all of our specials here. If you would like to speak with one of our reservation specialists, please call 1-800-388-2842.

Sanibel Island Day Cruises

Credit: useppa.com

As you may know, Sanibel Island is one of many islands located off what is known as “Florida’s Island Coast”. We know you enjoy exploring Sanibel Island, but have you ever considered taking a day cruise to one of our neighboring islands? Hop aboard a number of day cruises departing from Sanibel and spend the day exploring brand new historical, dining and shelling locations. The best part? You’ll be back to your cottage in time for sunset. Learn a little more about our surrounding islands below:

Useppa Island

Useppa is a truly private Island Club dedicated to the pure art of relaxation and recreation of our members, owners and guests. Useppa Island is situated within the famous tropical isles of the Southwest coast of Florida. Useppa is only a fifteen-minute boat ride from the of the mainland while the world seems a million miles away. On Useppa, There are no bridges, no traffic, no crowds and no stress. Barron Collier, a wealthy publisher, built a beautiful, large home on Useppa in the 1920’s. His wealthy friends loved Tarpon fishing and his home served as home base for their fishing passion. He was host to the Rockefellers, Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Duponts, as well as Hollywood celebrities and political bigwigs.

Cabbage Key

Take the ferry across Pine Island Sound to Cabbage Key. There, you will discover secluded natural beaches that are perfect for relaxation and a romantic getaway. Cabbage Key encompasses 100 acres of under-developed paradise. Visitors can reach the island only by boat, seaplane or water taxi. The island features Old Florida style and a rustic feel that will appeal to nature lovers. The main attraction is The Cabbage Key Restaurant.

Located in the Old House, the “Open-Air” restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner 365 days a year. You’ll notice that there are thousands of dollar bills covering the walls and roof of the restaurant. Previous visitors have taped thousands of one-dollar bills to every surface. Ask your server for a black marker and tape to add yours to the collection.

Cayo Costa

With nine miles of beautiful beaches and acres of pine forests, oak-palm hammocks and mangrove swamps, this barrier island park is a Gulf Coast paradise. Cayo Costa is accessible only by private boat or ferry. Visitors may see manatees and pods of dolphins in the waters around the 2,426 acre park, as well as a spectacular assortment of birds. On the island, visitors can swim or snorkel in the surf, enjoy the sun and picnic in the shade. Keep your eyes peeled as you stroll along the beach, especially during the winter months. The nature trails that crisscross the island provide opportunities for hiking and off-road bicycling. Saltwater anglers can fish from their boats or throw a line out into the surf. An amphitheater provides educational programs about the island’s ecology and history.

The best way to reach any of these islands is with Captiva Cruises, take a peek at their website and decide where your next adventure may be!

Stand up Paddling Boarding on Sanibel!

Why not try out one of the most fun sports and outdoor activities available on the island during your time at Gulf Breeze Cottages?  

Certainly you’ve spend time on the water, but why not try out the sport of Paddleboarding?  Now, you may have some reservations about how difficult it may be to actually get on the board and go– but don’t worry, paddleboarding is easy for both the young and elderly, skilled and novice! Just rent a board from a Sanibel Island paddle board rental shop like Finnemores. After you get up on the waves, you will no doubt find your new favorite Sanibel activity! Family owned and operated since 1985 Finnimores also rents bicycles and other services.  

As a sport it has a long history but only recently has it taken off in the United States, but we are not losing any time making it truly one of the most popular activities we have seen in years.  Finnemores serves up a wide variety of board sizes for every age and skill level.  You are actually standing up on what looks like a traditional surf board and paddling with a canoe type paddle.

You glide along the water quietly and without chasing off the nature that abounds in the waters around our island. And should you wish to capture this for your friends and families or share on your favorite social media outlet they offer up GoPro cameras as well.

Enjoy a Sunset Lesson and Tour on the Sanibel Causeway on Wednesdays. Taken in groups of 5 you will enjoy the quiet and peace of this fantastic sport.  Call 239-472-5577 to for pricing and to schedule.

December Fishing On Sanibel Island

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Sanibel Island offers an array of year round attractions, from its diversity of flora and fauna to an abundance of water activities, including one of our all time favorites that you can do from our shores the next time you visit (with a license, of course)- fishing!

Our pristine waters provide ample and diverse opportunities for fishing, regardless if it is your first time or you are a seasoned angler.  We have offshore, inshore, back bay, pier and beach fishing and all fishing ventures reel in the excitement.

If you are planning a visit and want to fish, you may need to plan on getting a fishing license. You can purchase a license at any of our marinas or bait and tackle shops, such as:  The Bait Box on Periwinkle Way; Bailey’ Center at the corner of Tarpon Bay Road and Periwinkle Way; Tarpon Bay Recreation; Jensen’s Marina; or Adventures in Paradise among others. You’ll want to plan this if you are going to fish from the shoreline or from the pier.

If you are taking a charter trip, you will not need a personal fishing license as you are fishing with a charter captain.  Adventures in Paradise has a backwater fishing cruise that takes you into San Carlos Bay and offers private fishing charters.  Castabout Charters offers a variety of charters, including inshore fishing and and evening shark fishing.  

Some of the best catches for December in Sanibel include: amberjack, cobia, king mackerel, ladyfish, black drum, black grouper, flounder, mangrove snapper and pompano.  

We’ll see you on the sand, on the pier and on the water!

December Events on Sanibel Island: Lighting up the Holidays, Sanibel Style

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With the warm waves of the Gulf of Mexico lapping at our shores year round, it’s no wonder Sanibel Island was recently named in the top 25 on VacationIdea’s list of Best Family Beach Vacation Ideas in Florida.

We especially enjoy our tranquil bit of paradise during the holiday season, which comes to life on Sanibel with the Annual Luminary Holiday Festival. This year marks the 32nd for the event that brings together locals, visitors and the community businesses and organizations for two evenings of merriment.  

Friday, December 2, 2016, the festival begins across Sanibel Island, as the streets are lined with luminaries, holiday lights and trimmings. Hop on a bike or wander from shopping plaza to shopping plaza to experience the holiday all evening long. A premier hub of activity for the night is the Shoppes at Periwinkle Place. Stroll through, enjoy refreshments and special offerings from the eclectic shops within offering everything from designer beach attire, gourmet gifts, original pieces of art, unique toys and so much more.  

With places like Fantasea that has a wide range of unique goods all carefully selected for handcraftsmanship and natural elements, and Magnolia where you can shop designer handbags and accessories, you’re sure to find that perfect item for giving (or keeping!). For Santa’s list, check out the variety of toys and collectibles at Toys Ahoy or Tiki Jim’s for fun and collectible gifts with a sense of humor.

We look forward to seeing you and Happy Holidays from all of us.

Fall Activities On Sanibel Island

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The start of Fall is one of the most desireable times of the year to visit Sanibel Island. Cooler temperatures, smaller crowds and fun community activities are never in short supply. We know you come to the island for the sun, sand, shells and surf but we do encourage you to dip your toes into the Sanibel cultural scene, and where better to begin than with a trip through the past…

The Sanibel Historical Museum and Village is one of the nicest Fall day attractions on our island.  Locals and visitor alike are welcomed to take a break from our gorgeous beaches (I know, how can you?) to walk into another world for a while.  Journey to the past by walking through the quiet collection of homes and businesses that make up the village, listen to the interesting stories and lore. Learn how the Calusa Indians lived on the island on up to the Spanish Conquistadors to the American Settlers to today’s locals and tourists.

Tour all 7 buildings from a school house, Miss Charlotta’s Tea Room, the original Bailey grocery store, a vegetable packing house, private residences (one with a ghost! and one prefabricated home from Sears and Roebuck, shipped here in 30,000 pieces)  and a post office.   

Visit the Sanibel Historical Museum and Village, located just minutes away from Gulf Breeze Cottages at  950 Dunlop Road right off Periwinkle Way.  Admission is $10 for adults and free to those under 18.  

In the mood for something a little more tasty? Visitors in November will be glad to hear that the Taste of the Islands is returning to Sanibel Community Park for the 35th year on November 13, 2016 between 12 p.m. and 5 p.m. This highly anticipated event allows the public to sample the signature dishes of some of the finest eateries from both the islands.

Come on down to feast and know that the proceeds will be going to CROW. This wonderful organization works to ensure that the island wildlife is cared for in it’s beautiful facility located at 3883 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957.

Gulf Breeze Cottages Receives 2016 White Glove Award

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We are thrilled to announce that Gulf Breeze Cottages has received the distinguished White Glove Award. The White Glove Award was created to distinguish hotels and resorts whose housekeeping standards are rated beyond exceptional by the Superior Small Lodging Association (an association for boutique hotels).

The Florida Superior Small Lodging Association (SSLA) recently announced 14 Lee County hoteliers have successfully qualified for the distinguished SSLA designation.  The SSLA certification is a statewide hospitality recognition program.  

In addition, 10 of the 14 total SSL properties inspected by the Property Review Program (PRP) qualified to receive the coveted Donal A. Dermody White Glove Award for best practices in housekeeping.  Properties must receive a score of 100 percent for all components of the housekeeping inspection to be eligible to receive the White Glove Award.  

All 125 statewide members of SSL automatically become members of the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA). Additionally, members with restaurants also become members of the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

Superior Small Lodging Program

Eligibility for participation in the Lee County SSL program is restricted to accommodations with 75 room units or less.  Properties must hold a valid hotel, motel, inn or bed and breakfast license and pay all applicable state and local taxes related to the operations of an accommodation.

The SSLA inspection program and designation is designed to provide travelers with an easily identifiable symbol to demonstrate that the accommodation is clean, safe and a well managed small lodging.  

The passing grade for an unexpected inspection in the program is 82 percent and is based on a comprehensive review of six different property attributes: registration/operations/public places, guest accommodations, bathrooms, bathroom supplies, kitchens, and property exterior.

Take a peek at our Tripadvisor reviews and you’ll see that our guests agree with the SSLA!

Have you stayed with us before? Leave us a review and let us know what you thought!

We are absolutely thrilled to receive this award again and we look forward to continuing the great service our guests know and love for years to come!

New Doc Ford’s Location Opens & The Sanibel Pier Re-opens!

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Doc Ford’s restaurant on Tarpon Bay Road. ASHLEY GOODMAN

As we fall into fall and another season of visitors on Sanibel, we would like to mention that our little island has been hard at work all summer long to bring some new and exciting sights to Sanibel!

Big news for all the angling enthusiasts. This month, the Sanibel Fishing Pier at the Lighthouse officially reopened. There couldn’t be a better time, as the opening coincides  with the return of Snook Season.

Get your reels ready! The Fishing Pier has been closed for three months, since June, undergoing extensive renovations. The components of the old pier were no longer stable, however, the cement pilings were still good to go. The city replaced just about everything else, starting with the decking to the new railings, beautiful new shaded areas and fish cleaning stations.  ADA access was also improved. The pier measures 180 feet and parking just off the pier  costs $4 per hour. The pier is the perfect place to make those dinner catches or just to get in a few hours of quality fishing time.

Snook Season has already started and will run until December 15.  These wiley and aggressive fish are a great sport fish catch. If you snag a snook that measures between 28 and 32 inches,it’s yours to take home and enjoy.  Remember you have to have a saltwater fishing license and snook stamp.

Another reopening of sorts is that of the legendary Doc Ford’s Restaurant which celebrating it’s reopening in a new location on Tarpon Bay Road between Lily & Co. jewelry store and The Olde Sanibel Shops, just across the street for Bailey’s. Introducing a new expanded venue this island favorite serves up some of the best dining on the island in a very laid back casual fun atmosphere. Don’t worry– the mojitos and shrimp haven’t changed one bit!  Go and check them out!  

Sanibel Recreation Center

Sanibel Recreation and Community Center / Sanibel Island / Florida

Mingle with the locals AND maintain your fitness regime during your getaway? You can do both during your time on the island with a guest pass to the state-of-the-art Sanibel Recreation Center.

With a mission to develop and administer safe, well-rounded community programs and facilities, you are sure to find something to love at the rec. They offer a full range of fitness programs from Cardio Sculpt to Zumba—even AquaZumba! In total, there are over 40 available classes! Personal training sessions are also available. For the kids, the Rec center offers the only public waterslide on the island along with fun splash pad for the little ones. If that doesn’t get your kids excited for a trip to Sanibel, we don’t know what will. Your teens might enjoy an afternoon in the game room, a cool hangout for other local and visiting teens.

Hands down, if you are looking for the best gym on the island to maintain your workout routine throughout your trip to paradise, Sanibel Rec Center is the place for you. The Sanibel Rec center updates their schedules weekly, so be sure to view their weekly newsletter found here.

There is a small fee to use these amazing services provided by the Sanibel Rec Center:

Individual

Daily: $16.00

Weekly: $66.00

Six Month: $310.00

Family

Daily: $26.00

Weekly: $139.00

Six Month: $521.00

Located approximately 10 minutes from our property by car at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Rd, The Sanibel Rec Center will introduce you to another side of Sanibel, and likely—also introduce you to new friends.

Gulf Breeze Cottages Insider Tip: HAVE YOUR PHOTO ID READY.

All persons 18 years of age and over must present valid government issued photo identification upon entry into the Sanibel Rec center.