I have been vacationing in Captiva since I was in high school. My best friend’s family came back from a trip to Sanibel Island and loved it so much that I told my mom we needed to go, too. She discovered Captiva, and specifically the South Seas Island Resort, which was the next island out, and booked us a family trip. Flash forward almost two decades later, and my parents, brother, and I are all still heading to Captiva on a (mostly) annual basis. My parents go at least twice a year because they love it so much!
We always stay at South Seas Island Resort at the tip of the island. My parents love staying here so much that they bought a few weeks of time shares, which has worked out really well for our little family! I get a lot of questions about Captiva and South Seas specifically, so I wanted to dedicate a post to this. It is hands down one of the best places to travel with kids (besides Disney, obviously) and I want everyone to visit and love it as much as we do!
To get to Captiva, you fly into Fort Myers Airport. This is one of the friendliest airports and is so easy to deal with. It’s small, clean, and sells Lilly Pulitzer. Every time we travel through here, I notice how happy, relaxed and friendly the staff are throughout the airport. This has no bearing on where to travel, but it just adds to the experience. This is usually a much less expensive airport to travel to and if you’re coming from the East Coast it is an easy flight. From here, I recommend renting a car and driving to the resort. It is a little over an hour drive from the airport and only has a few turns along the route.
Stop at Target or Publix on your way out to the island and stock up on food, snacks, water, and anything you may need. Most of the resort rooms have kitchens in them and it is much less expensive to shop before you get on island!
South Seas Island Resort
This post is in no way sponsored by the South Seas Island Resort. It is however, the only place I have ever stayed on Captiva, and I’m fairly positive I have figured it all out by now. The resort is a former Key Lime Plantation with the Gulf of Mexico surrounding it. You can stand in the middle of the main road and see it on either side! Not only is it a resort, but it is also a wildlife sanctuary, and we see birds and other animals that we have never seen before on each trip. There are rooms with multiple bedrooms, cottages and condominium style spaces. Almost every room has a small kitchen, which is key when traveling with kids (they are constantly hungry!)
What To Do With Kids
I’m not sure where to even begin with this, because there are so many options. My kids’ absolute favorite activity is the resort wide scavenger hunt. Pick up a map at check in and track down bands scattered throughout the resort grounds, and learn about each location’s item of interest as you go. When you are done, turn the bands in for a keepsake bracelet. There is an arcade and a dedicated kids space with baby toys galore. We bring the kids over each night after dinner to burn off some energy! There are poolside arts and crafts and games, daily, as well daily camps where you can drop your kids off. Greyson went to a Science Explorer Camp and Avery took a Mermaid Class on our most recent trip. Some of our favorite arts and crafts over the year include tie dying shirts, making shell picture frames, wooden sign making and coconut painting! You can rent fishing poles and fish through the resort property, as well as rent three wheeler cars to drive around in! We were there over the 4th of July and there was a golf cart parade, carnival for the kids, and awesome fire works!
Where To Eat
There are a few restaurants on property and we have tried them all. The poolside restaurant and bar serves a casual lunch and dinner. I love the Mediteranean plate! Doc Ford’s is an island style restaurant with live music many nights. The shrimp and grits are so good, and so is their made in-house mango hot sauce! For takeout, we get pizza from Scoops and Slices, as well as frozen yogurt for the kids. Harborside is a buffet brunch and dinner spot, with a frequently changing menu.
There are a bunch of restaurants off the resort property, but still nearby. The Bubble Room is the most popular by far for its whimsical decor, breadbasket made up of cheesy bread and cinnamon rolls, and insane cakes for dessert. The food isn’t the best, but the atmosphere is just on another level and will keep kids amused the entire meal. Try their spike blueberry lemonade! The Mucky Duck is another popular spot, on the beach with a webcam! The food isn’t my favorite because it is on the heavier side, but I love the outdoor bar area!
What To Do
Relax at the pool is on the top of my personal list. There are three main pools, plus a hot tub and waterslides to keep the kids happy. You can sit facing the ocean, while being at the pool or rent a cabana and watch TV with a fan blowing on you. The resort includes a giant golf course if you play, and tons of fishing and boat charters on their dock. There is also a spa, tennis courts, walking trails and nightly music on the beach for sunset.
- If you like to work out, there is a yoga studio with daily classes and a gym. The gym overlooks the bay and you can sometimes spot a dolphin who came inland while you’re on the treadmill!
- Stroll the docks to find manatees. They’re almost always there, and if not, you can spot tons of fish, sea horses and starfish!
- If you like to shop, there are several stores on the resort and you can snag everything from locally made items to collectibles to Lilly Pulitzer and Vineyard Vines.
- If you forget something, don’t worry! There are two small general stores that sell virtually everything you could need from swim diapers to floss.
I’m sure many of you have already visited Captiva or South Seas, so I apologize if this is repetitive or if I missed something! We plan on traveling to Captiva yearly to keep our family tradition alive. If you have any questions or I missed anything, please shoot me an email!