Weddings, family portraits and everything Sanibel and Captiva. If I had to sum up this blog that would pretty much be it. The wedding pictures have taken me all over the country, throughout the Caribbean and to some pretty spectacular beaches in Mexico too, but the more I travel the more I really appreciate my own backyard. I've lived minutes from Sanibel Island and worked on the islands for 20 years and I'm definitely proud to call beautiful Southwest Florida my home.
Over the years I've offered vacation recommendations to hundreds of my wedding and family portrait clients while they were planning their own trip to Sanibel or Captiva. I'm always asked about favorite restaurants, fun activities and must see things on the islands. I love offering my tips and suggestions for things that have stood out to me and decided I should put that list in writing!
The Best of Sanibel and Captiva Islands List
Kayaking with Tarpon Bay Explorers
Ding Darling is a neat nature preserve and it's interesting to drive or walk through, but by Kayak it's just magical! I love Sanibel Island nature and seeing it on a guided safari makes it even better. Last time I went we saw manatee, a shark and tons of birds. It's really a neat experience. The afternoon tour with Tarpon Bay Explorers is fascinating and the guides are very knowledgeable on all things Sanibel nature. After you are guided through the mangroves you can cruise around on your own and explore. I love that it is super easy, shallow, hardly a current water and I find the experience actually relaxing. Tarpon Bay Explorers offers different tours as well as kayak rental without a guide. Either way, it's a fun way to spend an afternoon.
Listen to Danny Morgan Play at Traders
A bit of an island legend, Danny has been entertaining island goers since long before I arrived in SWFL. He wrote the original island soundtrack with hits like "Oh Captiva" and he plays them every week when he has his regular gig at Traders. To really complete the experience, hit Danny up during his break. Ask him about the big name acts he has worked with or what the island looked like years back. He is just as entertaining to talk to as he is with his funky painted guitar in hand. Catch him every Tuesday and Thursday at Traders and check out his website for a complete list of where you can find him around the island other nights.
Margarita Monday at the Sundial
$5 Margarita's from 4pm till 10pm at Sea Breeze Cafe in the Sundial. A stunning water view, cheap Margarita's and live music. Need I say more.
Crab Races at Tween Waters
It's pretty much that simple. You pick a hermit crab, they race, you win a prize. But somehow that is loads of fun. My husband and I actually did this activity on one of our first dates and still talk about it. It's funny, quirky, entertaining and a very Captiva activity. They do two sets of races on Monday and Thursday nights. Get there early, (an hour ahead in season) the crabs sell out fast and it draws a big crowd.
Grab a Bite at Pecking Order
Sanibel has no shortage of great food, but this one is a gem for when you're on the go. A quick and easy meal or catering for an entire family reunion, Pecking Order is the place. There is no big fancy sit down area but there is some of the best fried chicken and a labrador retriever for a host.
Port Sanibel Marina Boat Rentals
This quaint marina is perfectly located to take advantage some of the best boating in Florida. Their inventory of rental boats isn't the newest fleet I've seen, but their reasonable prices, super helpful staff and fabulous location will make it easy to look past that. A half day rental can get you to Picnic Island, Cayo Costa and allow plenty of time to stop for dolphins too. With beaches and shelling that you can only get to by boat and even a floating pontoon restaurant, a boat is a must if you want to see every corner of the islands.
Calusa Fishing Adventures
If you aren't ready to captain the boat yourself, Mark Yimin with Calusa Fishing Adventures is the guy to call. Mark is a fishing guide who knows his way around the SWFL waters. He offers private charters taking his guests to some of the best fishing spots in the area. Super easy going, fun to spend time with and a great boat captain too, Mark is definitely the guy to call to get you on the water and get your fish in the boat. And, bonus, if you are getting married, Mark also happens to be an amazing wedding DJ. Check out A DJ with Class to find out more about his DJ skills too!!
Magic Wind Adventure Sailing
Catch some amazing views of Fort Myers Beach and Sanibel Island from this very comfortable 38' sailing yacht. Captain Dan and his wife Dianne are the perfect hosts. The two are kind, witty and extremely welcoming. The boat is immaculate and the trip is relaxing. They take 6 guests at a time. If you don't have 6 people in your group you can opt for a private tour or share an excursion during their scheduled times. The boat is so spacious that you can easily carve out your own corner however getting to know the other passengers is part of the fun. Captain Dan has also hosted intimate wedding groups on his sailboat. It definitely would be a fun post wedding excursion too. The boat docks at Fort Myers Beach, but if you are staying on Sanibel, it is definitely worth the short trip off island.
Have a Family Portrait Taken on the Beach
You didn't think I would leave this Sanibel Island must do off the list?!! Not only is it nice to get the holiday card photo checked off the list early, it's also a lot of fun to have pictures taken with the Impressions Photography team. So much so, I have clients who have made Sanibel beach portraits an annual tradition. It's not limited to families who are on vacation though. Destination wedding groups who have come to the islands have hired us to join their group before their actual wedding day to capture family and group portraits for their guests. Professional photographs is definitely a unique and memorable souvenir and a great reminder of time spent in Southwest Florida.
If you are planning a Sanibel Island vacation or destination wedding and would like to add a professional beach portrait to your own list of must-do's get in touch with Impressions Photography today! I would love to join you for a great sunset or afternoon photo shoot and capture some photo memories of your time on the islands!
There you have it. A few of my favorite things to do in SWFL and on Sanibel and Captiva Islands. Do you have a favorite that I left off the list?! Comment with your Sanibel and Captiva must do adventure and let us know what you do to make your time on the islands extra special!
Catch me by email email@example.com
or give me a ring
to set up your appointment time
Photographer Krista Kowalczyk has been photographing weddings and families on Sanibel and Captiva Island since 1998. She has photographed over 1,000 family portraits on the islands and continues to maintain a long list of repeat clients who have made their time with Krista part of their annual vacation tradition.