Saturday, January 31, 2015

Winter Runaway: North Captiva Island, Florida

Your own private island (and golf cart) awaits


[Editor's Note: Instead of visiting your relatives in Boca, take the advice of Rundown on Chicago and visit this remote location on the Gulf Coast instead.]

Bucket list item #76: Vacation on your own private island sounds pretty good right about now. And it's waiting for you in Florida. 

North Captiva Island (named one of Condé Nast Traveler's top 10 North American islands) is just one hour west of Fort Myers on Florida's laid-back Gulf Coast.

When on your own private island, why not stay in your own private home? Arrive by ferry or private plane to North Captiva Island Club's luxurious Conch House. You'll find huge gulf views on your sunset deck, a private pool with tiki bar/HDTV, and your own personal golf carts (the only mode of transport on the island).
$1,877 per week and up. 4221 Bartlett Pkwy., Pineland (239-395-1001).

Hop aboard Captiva Cruises for a half-hour ride to Cayo Costa State Park, a beautiful remote island that's totally undeveloped. If you're looking for that private beach/palm tree postcard experience, this is it. Sneak a bottle of wine onto the beach and check out dolphins and the sunset on your way back (Bucket List #91).
Cruise $40-$50; park $2 admission. 13921 Waterfront Dr., Pineland (941-764-0375).

Luckily, there's no cause for island fever with the cool little town of Captiva home to several excellent restaurants, including the waterfront Green Flash. Relax on the outdoor patio with grilled swordfish and the “Captiva steam pot” (clams, mussels, shrimp, calamari, scallops, and lobster) as you watch the boats come in.
15183 Captiva Dr., Captiva (239-472-3337).

Let's be honest: you're here for the beaches. Nearby Turner Beach is romantic, quiet, and secluded, and you don't need to commandeer a boat to get there. What this beach lacks in amenities it more than makes up for in its lack of screaming children. Hear that? It's the sound of nothing, a most precious gift indeed.
17200 Captiva Dr., Sanibel (239-472-6397).

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