Sanibel Island

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Happy Travel Tuesday! As you already know, travel is one of my favorite things in life, and I am pretty lucky that I get to do it pretty frequently (I wish more!). Today wraps up my series of posts on our family trip to Sanibel Island.

My sister and her family, along with my mom, stayed at a condo in the Sandalfoot condo complex. It was right on the beach, offered a couple of spacious bedrooms with baths, a kitchen, living room, and screened in balcony that kept the bugs out. It offered plenty of room for the kids to play, and we spent the majority of our time there.

Sanibel Island

We actually booked our trip separately, and on the recommendation of my brother-in-law, stayed at the Holiday Inn Sanibel Beach Resort.  The price happened to be right, and as long as the room was cool and clean, we would have been happy. We ended up pleasantly surprised with just how nice the property was and how well we were taken care of by the staff.

The hotel is located on a fairly large property that offers bike rentals and lots of space for wandering. It even has two ponds with small alligators, turtles, birds, and other little creatures.

Sanibel Island alligator

Sanibel Island alligator

Sanibel Island alligator

One of the days we were in Sanibel, my family came over to our beach for the day, and the kids loved the ponds.

Throughout the time we were in Sanibel, we enjoyed our hotel’s beachside location which included a tiki bar and pool. I am not a pool fan, but I can definitely get behind a cold rum drink and lunch on the beach!

tiki bar

tiki bar

Our beach was only a few hundred feet from our room which made it easy to come and go as we pleased. Shady palm trees and hammocks provided some space out of the sun.

Holiday Inn Sanibel

Sanibel vacation

Just like the rest of Sanibel, the Holiday Inn was quiet, laid back, low key, and simple, a little bit of paradise in the very hot Florida sunshine. We enjoyed our stay and plan on staying there again on our next family trip to Sanibel Island.

Sanibel beach

What’s your travel style? Are you laid back or super planned? Are there are must-haves when it comes hotels or other travel arrangements?

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Tags: beaches, Florida, hotels, Sanibel Island, Travel

It seems like our trip to Sanibel Island was ages ago, when it was really just a couple of weeks. So much fun has happened this summer, but the Sanibel trip, because I got to experience it with my family, will stand out always as one of the highlights of 2012. I miss them!

The second we decided to join them in Sanibel, I started doing some research on food and cocktails. . . obviously. One of the places that stood out to me on the island was Doc Fords Rum Bar and Grille. If Sanibel is all about the rum cocktails, who am I to say no?

After looking over lots of menus, my family kindly agreed to go to Doc Ford’s for our last dinner in Sanibel. On a very hot and humid evening after a gorgeous beach day, we arrived for an early dinner that gave us time after to view the Captiva sunset.

Doc Ford's Rum Bar

Doc Ford’s has a tropical themed entry with lots of overgrown trees and plants. We even saw a giant bird on a telephone, eating a freshly caught fish. Not part of the décor, but kind of interesting, nonetheless!

Doc Ford's Rum Bar

I wanted to stick to local food, so I started with a taste of Doc Ford’s hot sauce. We also shared a plate of buffalo shrimp, happily doused in said sauce.  I can not say no to buffalo shrimp.

buffalo shrimp

Mojitos also happen to be a local favorite. I sampled a couple of the mango mojitos and, while they were good, Lin makes them better.

Doc Ford's mojito

Vacation always leaves me feeling a need for veggies, so I started with the tropical salad: fresh baby greens, grape tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, mandarin oranges, sundried cherries, spiced pecans, homemade crispy onions tossed in our very own secret balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I devoured every bite, enjoying the freshness of the salad and the delicious dressing.


I also got my fill of peel and eat Gulf shrimp. This was the night we shared a bunch of plain shrimp with Old Bay and the amazing Yucatan shrimp that I later recreated. I do believe that shrimp are my favorite protein, so I was a happy camper to see them on the menu everywhere in Sanibel with all sorts of preparations.

Gulf shrimp

Our last dinner in Sanibel was delightful, right down to the free ice cream sandwiches for the kids. Doc Ford’s, though a place with a great cocktail menu and local bar scene, is also a fun place for families.

Happy almost Friday!

Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grille - Sanibel on Urbanspoon

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Tags: Food, rum, Sanibel Island, Travel

Our family  trip to Sanibel Island brought us to some great local restaurants. Even before we landed, I knew I would be all about the seafood and the rum, and for each dinner we had out, I sought out the two.

After our morning on the Sanibel Thriller, lunch at The Bubble Room, and hours and hours on the beach in the hot sun, we were hungry. The little ones were also very tired, so my mom offered to stay at the condo with them while my sister, brother-in-law, husband and I got dinner out. We decided to make the short drive back to the marina where the Thriller is docked to check out a little seafood place, Gramma Dot’s Seaside Saloon.

Gramma Dot's, Sanibel

Gramma Dot’s is a down-home kind of place, not at all fancy, just comfortable with good food and amazing views. I know the below is blurry, but I kind of think it looks cool like that.

Gramma Dot's, SanibelGramma Dot's, Sanibel

We decided to share a pitcher of a local-ish beer, Key West Sunset Ale.

Gramma Dot's, Sanibel

We also shared a delightful sampler of crab meatballs, fried oysters, and coconut shrimp. There’s something about fried seafood after a day at the beach. . .

fried seafood platter

The menu was pretty extensive and offered lots of seafood options. My husband went with the curried lobster salad, a cool and refreshing mix of sweet, tender lobster, celery, onion, curry, and mayo. It was incredible.


curried lobster salad

Grouper is a pretty popular option at Sanibel restaurants, and I definitely wanted to have some. I ordered the blackened grouper Caesar salad. It was great to have some crunchy salad, and the grouper was fantastic. The spices gave it a tiny kick, and the salad and dressing cooled it off. The fish itself was meaty, flaky, perfectly cooked. I am a grouper fan!

blackened grouper

We really enjoyed our meals as well as the friendly, relaxed vibe at Gramma Dot’s. It’s definitely not a bad thing when you can see dolphins out the window while you eat!

Sanibel Island

Work this week is sloooooowwwwww, and having a mid-week holiday has thrown me off. Did you do anything fun on the 4th?

Gramma Dot's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Tags: beer, Florida, Food, Restaurants, Sanibel Island, seafood, Travel

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