We’re proud of our community, and not without good reason. The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel are consistently named among top vacation destinations in the United States, thanks to the beautiful locale and the welcoming residents. Here are the awards and accolades to prove it.
BOCA GRANDE, Fla. - (October 19, 2016) - For the first time ever, The Gasparilla Inn & Club has been voted in the same year the #1 Resort in Florida by the two most esteemed consumer travel magazines. The historic resort, located in Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island, is honored as the #1 Resort in Florida (Gulf) in Condé Nast Traveler's 2016 Readers' Choice Awards. Additionally, The Inn was named the #1 Florida Resort, #14 in the United States, and #49 in the World in Travel + Leisure's 2016 World's Best Awards.
Top Resorts in Florida (Gulf): Readers’ Choice Awards 2016 – Conde Nast Traveler readers rate the top resorts on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The Gasparill Inn & Club #1, Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina #2, and South Seas Island Resort #6.
With its columned façade, croquet lawns, and championship golf course, The Gasparilla Inn offers guests a taste of a forgotten Florida — all on an island by the state’s Gulf coast. You won’t want to be caught in flip-flops and a tank top, as there is an explicit dress code in the property's dining room, lobbies, and clubs. In addition to the golf course, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in activities throughout your stay. Take a lesson at the tennis club, sip sparkling wine at the beach, or snag a tarpon from one of the resort’s fishing boats.
"At a bustling roadside market on Pine Island, Florida, four impassioned farmers share a mission: to produce a vast selection of exotic fruits, plants and homemade goods for a hungry, happy public…In the summer, customers from all over the world come to sample up to 30 different kinds on mangoes at a time. It's a cultural destination."
Captiva Beach isn't for those seeking a go-go-go vacation -- it's for families who truly want to disconnect and unwind at the beach. In fact, the most popular thing to do is walk the beach and collect shells, including conch and sand dollars. The island offers shelling tours, with one hotel (South Seas Island Resort) even featuring a designated shelling concierge!
Families also enjoy boat tours and water sports at the beach, which has public restrooms, showers and picnic tables for convenience. The island has several restaurants -- specializing in fresh fish, of course -- along with a few hotels and plenty of vacation rentals, some of them just steps from the sand.
Insider Tip: The Captiva Kayak Company offers boat rentals and kayak expeditions into local waterways to explore Captiva's beaches and bayous.
Winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients. Hyatt Regency Coconut Point has won this award for the past three years consecutively and was recently distinguished with Hyatt Corporation's Events Team of the Year award.
January 6, 2016 – WeddingWire, the leading global online wedding marketplace, named Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016 for Best Wedding and Reception Venue in Southwest Florida!
The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2016 recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The esteemed awards are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding florists, based on their professional achievements from the previous year.
Sanibel epitomizes Old Florida. You won’t find a single traffic light on the island and its dark sky ordinances—meant to safeguard the turtles that nest here from May 1 through October 31—means that there are minimal streetlights. With its unique east to west orientation (most barrier islands are situated in a north/south pattern), the island is able to maintain beautiful sandy beaches that are prime spots for shelling. In fact, you can scoop up 250 different types of seashells on Sanibel’s shores. J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge is the place to go to spy roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, cormorants, and other birds as well as alligators, bobcats, river otters, and manatees. Vacations here are all about swimming, walking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and boating.
Insider Tip: Beachfront cottages, vintage motels, and inns are mainstays here. The Island Inn is the oldest such establishment on Sanibel, dating back to 1895.
Captiva is connected to Sanibel’s West End by a bridge over Blind Pass at Turner Beach, a terrific spot for shelling and fishing. Despite its proximity to Sanibel, Captiva’s vibe is decidedly more artsy with a variety of quirky restaurants, shops, and art galleries lining its few streets. Unlike Sanibel, which only allows monthly house rentals, you can rent a home for a week on Captiva and that’s made it a haven for family reunions and destination weddings. For the quintessential sunset experience, visit Captiva Beach at South Seas Island Resort or at the end of Andy Rosse Lane, Whitman Lane, or Laika Lane. It’s common for dolphins to put on quite a show offshore as the sun goes down.
Insider Tip: Captiva Cruises offers a nice mix of dolphin and wildlife cruises, sunset voyages, and beach and shelling excursions to secluded Cayo Costa State Park and out islands like Cabbage Key, Useppa, and Boca Grande.
Daily Telegraph, a U.K.-based publication, listed Norman Love Confections as one of the “10 most amazing shops in the world for chocolate.” Norman Love Confections is one of only two U.S. chocolate salons featured on this list. For more information on the company’s Fort Myers, Estero and Naples chocolate salons, visit www.normanloveconfections.com.
The American Bus Association (ABA) has designated the Edison Ford’s Holiday Nights (to be held from Nov. 27 to Jan. 3), as one of the Top 100 Events in North America for 2016. Edison Ford Holiday Nights was recently featured in Destinations magazine, which noted its holiday nights as an excellent entertainment venue for tour groups and individual travelers. For more information, visit www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.