Island Hopper Songwriter Festival Returns to Sanibel-Captiva

Get ready, this month, all your favorite songwriters are hitting the beach right here in Southwest Florida! The fifth annual Island Hopper Songwriter Fest is returning to Captiva Island on September 21- September 23. Enjoy live, free performances at your favorite beach establishments by 60 of your favorite songwriters.

Selected as one of the Southeast Tourism Society’s Top 20 Events for 2018, the 2018 Island Hopper Songwriter Fest comes to the Fort Myers area September 21 – 30 with performances on Captiva Island, in Downtown Fort Myers and on Fort Myers Beach.

With performances at Cantina Captiva, Doc Ford’s, RC Otters and other beachside establishments, this one of a kind event provides attendees with world-class performances in the heart of one of Florida’s top vacation destinations..

Some of the 2018 Island Hopper singer/songwriters include Earl Bud Lee (“Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks), Dylan Altman (“Barefoot Blue Jean Night” by Jake Owen), Lee Thomas Miller (“Whiskey and You” by Chris Stapleton), Wendell Mobley (“There Goes My Life” by Kenny Chesney) and many more.

This year, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel are rolling out the Island Hopper app designed to help Island Hopper fans plan their trips, find resort and hotel deals, learn about songwriters and venues, locate in-app maps, customize schedules and more. Also, iHeart Radio is launching Island Hopper Radio, a channel that includes music written by artists featured at the music festival.

At this moment, our Sanibel Island cottages are offering great rates during the Island Hopper Songwriter Festival with rates starting at just $145 per night for our efficiency units.

View all our specials and packages here.

For additional information, including scheduling and ticket sales for select concerts, visit islandhopperfest.com.

August Activities on Sanibel: Sanibel Library

Great news for August visitors on Sanibel! The Sanibel Public Library has reopened after extensive renovations and improvements.

The island hub for indoor learning and fun reopened on August 1st and is officially open to visitors and residents. The library closed temporarily to complete phase two of the “Your Library Reimagined” project. Phase one kicked off in May 2017 and was completed in January.

New to the library is the introduction of more natural lighting and updated, modern décor, an improved open concept, and shelving to improve the flow of traffic inside the library.

The kids area is tucked away in a corner and is jam packed with puzzles, games and youth storybooks for the little ones to enjoy. Adjacent to the kids area is a brand new sitting area with new furniture, reading material and computer stations.

Other improved features are not as visible and include electrical improvements to enhance online experiences and a suped-up A/C system that will keep patrons cool during the dog days of summer.

The project is not one-hundred percent complete, as the old circulation area is still under wraps. The work is expected to completely done by mid-September 2018.

Still, all of your local favorites and classics are available to read. Get lost in the Doc Ford series, based right here on Sanibel Island. Delve deep into the action-adventure series penned by local author Randy Wayne White, the author of nearly two dozen thrillers starring Doc Ford. Don’t forget to stop by the famous Doc Ford’s Restaurant located on Tarpon Bay Road to sample local favorites like Yucatan Shrimp and the delicious Doc Ford mojito!

Explore our surrounding areas in Gift from the Sea, Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s classic believed to have been inspired and written directly from our sands.

For more information, call 239-472-2483 or visit www.sanlib.org.

The Sanibel Public Library is located at 770 Dunlop Road.

Live Music on Sanibel

Beat the heat this summer and kick up your feet at one of many of the island’s hotspots for live music. Experience the best local sounds from several of Sanibel Island’s most popular restaurants. From classically trained pianists to rocking acoustic guitar performances, there is always something fun to listen to on Sanibel Island.

Kick the night off with the soothing sounds of Scott McDonald every day (except Mondays) at Il Cielo. Scott is a professionally trained musician and former Keyboardist for The Andy Williams Orchestra. Additionally, the skilled pianist is also the Director of Music for St. Isabel Catholic Church on Sanibel Island and has received Open Table’s “Diner’s Choice Award” for Best Ambiance in Southwest Florida.

Next, head on over to the legendary island eatery, The Island Cow, for live entertainment by Dan Confrey on Friday and Sunday evenings Peter Redpath performs every Saturday night. Dan Confrey has toured both nationally and internationally. He is a Multi-instrumentalist playing Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals, Tenor Sax, and Steel Pans. Peter Redpath has been playing music since the late 1960’s, up and down the East Coast, in bands, duos and solo acts. His influences include country, folk and rock with strong focus on melody and storytelling.

The Sea Breeze Café hosts live music that changes weekly on Mondays from 5:30 p.m. through 8:30 p.m. Home to Margarita Mondays, enjoy the music and $5 margaritas from 4 p.m.- 10 p.m.

A local favorite, Traders Gulf Coast Grill and Gifts has live entertainment on Tuesday and Thursday with the Danny Morgan Band. Chris Workman plays on Wednesday nights. The Danny Morgan band has received the Best of Islands award for “Best Local Entertainment” over 15 years in a row. Chris Workman is a highly talented singer songwriter delivering original music with a refreshing blend of Pop/Americana with influences spanning several decades of popular music.

Last, hit the sand at Traditions on the Beach for live music and stunning ocean views! Woody Brubaker and Maravilla Marzan perform on Friday, Dean Winkelmann performs on Wednesday. Woody Brubaker has spent an astounding and productive fifty-eight years in the music business. An accomplished musician on saxophone, clarinet, flute, piano and vocals, Woody was also a composer for U.S. Air Force Bands. Maravilla Marzan is a singer songwriter and is one of the most sought out acts in Southwest Florida. Dean Winklemann performs an astounding variety of classic jazz, pop, and rock music—all in a lighthearted and fun atmosphere!

Get out there and tap your toes to the tunes of Sanibel’s most skilled artists and musicians!

Doc Ford on Sanibel Island in New Novel “Caribbean Rim”

Credit: Penguin Random House

Doc Ford, our very own fictitious local hero, is back in an all new adventure in the New York Times-bestselling series by award-winning writer, Randy Wayne White.

In Caribbean Rim, Marine biologist Doc Ford is once again on a journey help his friends out of jams, but he’s never faced a situation such as the one he encounters on this new adventure.

His old pal Carl Fitzpatrick has been chasing sunken wrecks most of his life, but now he’s run afoul of the Florida Division of Historical Resources. Its director, Leonard Nickelby, despises amateur archaeologists, which is bad enough, but now he and his young “assistant” have disappeared—along with Fitzpatrick’s impounded cache of rare Spanish coins and the list of uncharted wreck sites Fitz spent decades putting together. Some of Fitz’s own explorations have been a little…dicey, so he can’t go to the authorities. Doc is his only hope.

But greed makes people do terrible things: rob, cheat, even kill. With stakes this high, there’s no way the thieves will go quietly—and Doc’s just put himself in their crosshairs.

Randy Wayne White has written nearly two dozen thrillers starring Doc Ford, but the beloved series is showing no signs of slowing down. His 25th Doc Ford book, Caribbean Rim, is White’s and most heart racing novel yet.

White has been awarded the Conch Republic Prize for Literature, as well as the John D. Macdonald Award for Literary Excellency. He is one of only four writers named as an Editor At Large by prestigious Outside magazine (Jon Krakauer, Hampton Sides and Tim Cahill are the others). In 2011, White was named a Florida Literary Legend by the Florida Heritage Society

He lives on Sanibel Island, Florida, where he was a light-tackle fishing guide for many years, and spends much of his free time windsurfing, playing baseball, and hanging out at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille.

Delve into Doc Ford’s world at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, located a short drive from the Gulf Breeze Cottages property. Enjoy all your favorites including Yucatan Shrimp and world class mojitos. If you’re hoping to run into Randy Wayne White, then this is the place to do it as he can be found writing here on many nights. With 2 dining rooms and an outdoor patio, where you decide to enjoy the ambiance is up to you! Visit the brand new Doc Fords location at 2500 Island Inn Rd.

Sanibel Island Named as Leading Underrated U.S. Beach Town

Cheetsheet.com has named Sanibel Island as one of the most underrated beach towns in the USA. Sanibel was listed at number 17, ahead of other desirable beach destinations including Siesta Key and Tybee Island.

“The northern half of this island is almost entirely protected by the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. You can enjoy the beach on the southern part of the island, famous for its gorgeous seashells.”

CheatSheet.com provides audiences the information they want in an approachable, entertaining way. The website closely follows, researches, and writes about topics to bring audiences the most up-to-date guides, reviews, lists, and advice. The lifestyle and travel websites aims to save readers time with the purpose of living more.

This summer, we invite you to experience Sanibel Island at its most serene during the underrated time of year for island enjoyment. With the seasonal crowds long gone, the only others on island that might disrupt your island day are local flocks of pelicans or even a manatee lazily enjoying the warm waters of the Gulf.

Celebrate “National Lazy Day” throughout the month of August right here with us. Enjoy 10% off on all of our available units. The longest days of the year deserve some extra lazy down time, so why not spend it on our famous shelling beach?

As we ease into Fall, consider taking advantage of our special rates starting during the month of October. Call today is today for your stay dates from October 24 to November 3, 2018 and enjoy rates from only $165 per night on select units.

We would love to speak with you about your next vacation. Please give us a call at 1.800.388.2842 or  239.472.1626 to discuss your upcoming Sanibel Island Vacation.

Sanibel Restaurants with a View

Credit: Traditions on the Beach

As the slow days of summer arrive on Sanibel Island, there is no better way the spend your day than lazing away on the sands of this sanctuary island. From sun up to sun down, expect smaller crowds and less traffic—the perfect setting for the ultimate summertime beach getaway. It is during this time of year that temperatures are at their height, but that alone shouldn’t keep you away from the scenic views of the Gulf of Mexico available across the island. Why not step out of the sun during peak hours and enjoy a delicious meal along with a million dollar view.

There are plenty of Sanibel island dining options with a view. Grab a cocktail, step out of the sun, and indulge in Sanibel Island’s best waterfront dining.

Mad Hatter Restaurant
Located near the historic and beautiful Blind Pass waterway, The Mad Hatter offers new American cuisine serves with a side of stunning scenery.  Inspired and eclectic menu choices evolve depending on the season, and every meal is always fresh and prepared from scratch. Chef Kurt and Michelle Jarvis bring new life to this cozy, romantic restaurant on the beach with its well-deserved reputation and unbeatable sunsets.
6467 Sanibel Captiva Road, Sanibel, FL 33957
239.472.0033

Gramma Dot’s Seaside Saloon
Dine leisurely at the dockside restaurant Gramma Dot’s. Located at the Sanibel Marina, enjoy a full line of “only fresh” seafood, salads, sandwiches and more. Appropriate dress is required. Named for Dorothy Sterns, Dot loved an adventure. As a teenager, she traveled the world by ship with her family. She rode camels in Egypt, rode horses and played billiards in the Wild West. She was an avid sailor who loved the sea and logged many hours exploring Long Island’s Great South Bay. In the late 50’s, her sea explorations brought her to Sanibel. The restaurant was named after Gramma Dot by her son Myton Ireland.
634 N. Yachtsman Drive, Sanibel, FL 33957
239.472.2723

Traditions on the Beach
Located just east of your accommodations at Gulf Breeze Cottages sits Traditions on the Beach, a quaint and contemporary restaurant directly on the sand. With Live music and dancing every night plus contemporary cuisine served Sanibel style and complimentary valet parking. Using only the freshest local ingredients, Traditions, as the locals call it, offers the most delicious dishes found anywhere in Southwest Florida. Award-winning Chef Aziz uses the finest of local ingredients to create dishes with vibrant visual and taste appeal. In true Island style, the restaurant provides its warmest welcome for the many guests who return year after year for memorable cuisine served in a breathtaking surrounding. Fun fact: Traditions on the Beach is Sanibel’s first dining room and has been delighting its guests since 1895.
3111 West Gulf Dr, Sanibel, FL 33957
239-472-4559

Celebrate the Fourth of July on Sanibel Island

Dusk Ocean Sunset Sea Silhouette Sand Beach

Get patriotic on Sanibel Island on Independence Day 2018! Making plans to visit Sanibel Island in July is simple. Join the Sanibel-Captiva Island community as we celebrate The Fourth of July right here on the sand. From sunrise to sunset, join us as we honor the red, white, and blue during Independence Day on Sanibel Island.

On July 4, 2018, Sanibel Island transforms from a beachside getaway to a full-fledged patriotic city by the sea, hosting events all day long so residents and visitors can celebrate America’s special day in a unique island setting.

Fourth of July festivities on Sanibel kick off bright and early at the Free Pancake Breakfast, presented by Sanibel Community Church. After you’ve filled up on your breakfast favorites, set up camp along Periwinkle Way between Tarpon Bay Road and Casa Ybel Road to enjoy the annual Fourth of July Parade on Sanibel Island. The parade begins promptly at 9:30 AM at Bailey’s Grocery and heads east towards Jerry’s Center. Be sure to bring a beach chair or blanket, plenty of sunscreen, and a bag to collect beads, candy, and more!

Following the parade, participate in the annual Sanibel-Captiva Optimist Club Road Rally— Sanibel’s longest-running 4th of July event! Celebrating 38 years of fun for teams and families, join in to puzzle out the clues while following a prescribed driving course around the Island. Prizes will be awarded for time, mileage and for the most correct answers to the quiz about things seen along the route.  A “50/50” raffle will also be available. The Road Rally begins at noon sharp at Timber’s Restaurant, 703 Tarpon Bay Rd, Sanibel, FL 33957.

You must pre-register for the Road Rally event here.

Spend the rest of your day lazily lounging, enjoying beach barbeque, dining at a local restaurant, and of course, watching the sunset dip below the horizon.

The grand finale of the perfect Fourth of July on Sanibel Island includes fireworks over the water at 9 PM. Local Eco tour group hosts a majestic and awe-inspiring boat cruise that provides a one-of-a-kind firework viewing experience from the top of the waves, and underneath the display. For more information, click here.

Join us at Gulf Breeze Cottages for a Sanibel Island Fourth of July experience that is sure to be the cherry on top of your all-American island getaway.

To view our discounted Sanibel summertime rates and to book your Fourth of July island getaway on Sanibel Island, click here.

Join us on Sanibel In June for World Oceans Day

As we slip into a slower summertime routine here on Sanibel Island, events and activities across the island lessen and leave extra time for simply enjoying the natural gifts this sanctuary island offers to all who visit.  

If you are planning to visit Sanibel Island in June, make a date with the sand and sun, kick back, relax, and enjoy this island paradise.

In addition to total gulf side relaxation, plan to celebrate beach life and everything the ocean has to offer at World Oceans Day with J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge.

On World Oceans Day, people around our blue planet, including the Sanibel Island community celebrate and honor the ocean. Coordinated by The Ocean Project join people from around the world on June 8, 2018 to celebrate our natural world.

Locally, J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge is hosting all of the exciting day-of celebrations. Highlights of the special event include earth-friendly, upcycled crafts to take home and a ranger-led beach walk and clean-up at the refuge’s Perry Tract, accessible from Gulfside City Park. An “anti-plastic film festival” features four free film showings starting at 11 a.m.

Below is the full schedule for ocean-friendly and free fun throughout the day:

9 a.m. – Free Beach Walk & Cleanup at Perry Tract (parking fees apply at Gulfside City Park)

11 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. – Free Make-and-Take Upcycled Crafts in the Visitor & Education Center

11 a.m. – Free showing of the film STRAWS (32 minutes)

12 p.m. – Free showing of the film Addicted to Plastic (53 minutes)

1:15 p.m. – Free showing of the film Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (57 minutes)

2:30 p.m. – Free showing of the film Bag It: Is Your Life Too Plastic? (45 minutes)

To attend the event, park at Gulfside City Park (parking fees apply) on Algiers Lane for the Beach Walk at Perry Tract. Other events at Visitor & Education Center at mile marker 2 on Sanibel-Captiva Road, just a few miles from our front door at Gulf Breeze Cottages!

See you in June!

Sanibel Island Named Top-Rated Vacation Destination

Our beautiful island sanctuary has been recognized by mega-travel site TripAdvisor as one of “20 best places to vacation in Florida!”

TripAdvisor’s Statement:

“On blissful Sanibel, you can spend your days at the beach watching the birds or combing through the thousands of pretty shells that wash up on the sands. There’s also an impressive collection of them at the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum. Don’t miss the wood storks and bright pink spoonbills at J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, one of the area’s most popular attractions.”

Sanibel was listed ahead of the more metropolitan vacation destinations of Miami and Orlando. Our neighboring cities of Fort Myers and Cape Coral also made the list.

As we head into summer, the entire team at Gulf Breeze Cottages invites you and your family to soak up the sun and explore Sanibel Island during your summer vacation.

We are offering several specials that will allow you to take the vacation you deserve at prices you can afford.

Enjoy great discounts starting on May 1 through June 30th with rates starting at only $185 for a 3 night stay!

Can’t make it in June? Enjoy rates from $167 for your stay dates between July 20 and July 25 and enjoy more than the holiday, but sunny skies, miles of shell strewn beaches and our Olde Florida Cottages

If you really want to relax, celebrate “National Lazy Day” with us on August 10th. Take advantage of 10% off all of our available units all month long!

See you on the sand!

Rare Turtle Sighting on Sanibel Island!

As you know, Turtle season has begun! And how better to kick off the 2018 season than with a unique and astonishing rare turtle sighting.

Earlier this month The Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation (SCCF) discovered a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle nesting right here on Sanibel Island.

This sighting is only the third time a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle has nested on Sanibel Island since 1967. These sea turtles are one the most endangered and smallest type of sea turtle in the world.

The Kemp’s ridley sea turtle has often been confused with the larger but similar-looking loggerhead turtle. At adulthood, Kemp’s ridley turtles reach about 2 feet in length and weigh up to 100 pounds. The Kemp’s ridley can be identified by its yellow bottom shell and broad, gray top shell, which is heart-shaped and filled with ridged scales.

A female Kemp’s ridley turtle can lay up 110 eggs at a time. Some females breed annually and nest an average of 2-3 times in a season at intervals of 10 to 28 days. Hatchlings are black on both sides.

Historically, Kemp’s ridley turtle populations declined due oil spills, beach traffic, beach development and predation on nestlings. Boat propellers as well as trash, plastic, and improperly disposed of fishing line and equipment can also injure sea turtles.

Help us keep our turtle visitors safe. After the sun goes down, please turn off or shield all lights that are visible from the beach, including closing window blinds. Do not use flashlights or cell phone lights on the beach.

If you have any questions or concerns about nesting or injured turtles, you’re asked to call the SCCF Sea Turtle Hotline at (978) 728- 3663.