With its fine sand and colorful seashells, Captiva Island is one of the most popular attractions near Cape Coral. Whether you want to take romantic walks, explore the coast by boat or collect Sand Dollars in the surf – Captiva Beach has something to offer for everybody. It only takes one hour to drive here from Cape Coral. But of course, you can always rent your private boat and moor directly at the beach. And if you want to stay longer, why not treat yourself to a stay at one of the island’s luxurious beach resorts?
CAPTIVA BEACH IN A NUTSHELL
Captiva Beach makes up almost the entire west coast of Captiva Island – 5 miles of pristine beauty, perfect for taking endless walks on the white sand and splashing around in the crystal-clear water. High-rises and big hotels are non existent, just like noise pollution and party guests. Captiva Island is still one of the lesser-known vacation spots in Florida, so you will have to share the beach with only a handful of visitors.
Swimming fans will love to hear that water temperatures range around pleasant 24 degrees Celsius all year round. If you want to explore the coast, you can rent banana boats and kayaks, thrill-seekers view the island from above while parasailing, and on guided jet-ski tours you can watch playful dolphins off-shore. Yolo Watersports and Sunny Island Adventures should be your first choice for all water-based activities and tours. Surfing is another popular pastime at Captiva Beach. You can even check the waves online via webcam before grabbing your board and heading for the beach.
Captiva Beach would not be the same without its countless seashells. And guests who think that “Sand Dollars” are some sort of island currency will be surprised. Instead, Sand Dollars are little crustaceans who got their name from their shiny coin-like shell. If the shell is empty, you can take it with you – a perfect souvenir for your loved ones at home.
In addition to its private resort beaches, Captiva Island features two public entrances to the beach: North End Beach, also known as Alison Hagerup Beach Park, is located next to the South Seas Resort. Here, public toilets and showers are available, as well as picnic tables. Lush palms and pine trees provide the perfect backdrop for swimming and sunbathing.
Turner Beach stretches on the island’s southern end, where Captiva is connected with Sanibel Island by bridge. Toilets and showers are available, and the beach is very popular with shell collectors: Nowhere on Captiva do you find more colorful ocean treasures than here. Children will love to climb on the rocks, while fishing fans can cast their rod near the bridge where the water is teeming with bass and snappers. The beautiful sunset is another reason to come here. If you want to swim, please note that the currents become stronger the farther you get from Blind Pass.
PARKING AT CAPTIVA BEACH
Arriving by car can be a bit tricky, as parking spots are in short supply on Captiva Island. The best option for motorists who did not book a hotel or condo is Turner Beach and North End / Alison Hagerup Beach. At Turner Beach, you can park your car for 2 USD per hour, while parking spots at North End Beach start at 5 USD per hour. It is a good idea to come here before 11 am. If there is no parking available, you can try your luck at McCarthy´s Marina, 437 yards away from Captiva Beach.
RESTAURANTS NEAR CAPTIVA BEACH
Spending the whole day outdoors might make you hungry. Luckily, Captiva Island features many restaurants in walking distance to the beach.
The Mucky Duck is not only known for its cutlets, steaks and seafood specialties. The restaurant also has a huge parking lot directly at the beach – perfect if you want to go for a swim after your meal.
330 yards inland the Keylime Bistro attracts guests with its delicious desserts – most popular, of course, Florida’s Key Lime Pie. Hearty dishes like burgers and fried fish are on the menu as well. Next door, fans of Italian food can get their fill at Captiva Island Pizza.
For fine dining on Captiva´s east coast, you should have a seat at the Green Flash. Here, fresh, seasonal seafood dishes are accompanied by tender steaks and a wine menu that leaves nothing to be desired.
Mexican specialties are available at the Cantina Captiva, and for your daily dose of caffeine you can visit the Starbucks at North End Beach. However, no restaurant on Captiva can compare with the Bubble Room – an aesthetic mix between American Diner and festive Christmas Village.
Feeling too lazy to leave your sun bed? No problem. Joey´s Snack Boat sells hot dogs and ice-cream directly from the shore.
ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS NEAR CAPTIVA BEACH
Captiva´s public beaches are a good choice for nature lovers. But if amenities like sun beds and umbrellas rank high on your wish list, you should check out the following accommodation options:
The South Seas Island Resort to the north is Captiva´s biggest resort and features 6 restaurants, 3 pools, 7 tennis courts, and a private beach. On-site childcare is available, and guests can unwind at the extensive wellness center with its saunas and massages.
Looking for a more budget-friendly option? Then you should check out the Captiva Island Inn near the beach. Here, you can choose between colorful one and two bedroom cottages. Miles of unspoilt sand await you at the Tween Waters Inn – once a favorite vacation spot of Theodore Roosevelt. The hotel has its own marina, as well as a spa, a pool bar, 2 restaurants, a water sports rental and many other amenities.
Guests looking for maximum privacy will find a wide range of vacation houses and luxurious villas near Captiva Beach. Here, you can enjoy magnificent ocean views and splash around in your own private pool.
Captiva Island Information & Travel Tipps – learn what makes Captiva Island the ideal place for your next vacation.
Captiva Island in a Nutshell
Captiva is a small island in the Gulf of Mexico that attracts vacationers with its laid-back atmosphere and Caribbean vibes. Instead of big hotels, visitors find charming little huts, colorful flowers, lush palm trees and a soothing tropical breeze. No wonder that Captiva Island has long been a holiday destination for wealthy Americans. Some film stars have even bought their own private island in the north. Despite its secluded location, Captiva Island can be reached from Cape Coral in one hour via the Sanibel-Captiva-Road.
While mangroves dominate Captiva’s eastern parts, the west coast consists of tropical beaches with fine, white sand. Thanks to warm water temperatures, these beaches are perfect for swimming. They are also ideal places to collect beautiful sea shells and sand dollars. The beach extends for 5 miles, so you will have no problem finding a quiet spot to relax. And humans are not the only visitors. Dolphins and stingrays can be seen off the coast, and manatees migrate to South Florida’s warm waters during the winter months.
Captiva Beach is not the only attraction. The island is small enough to be discovered by bicycle, and different types of watersports such as kayaking, sailing and paddleboarding are available. Strong waves make the coast ideal for surfers, and Captiva´s waters are teeming with tarpons. This big, silvery fish has played an important role in the history of the island, as Captiva´s first hotels were built exclusively for fishing tourists.
The South Seas Golf Course in North Captiva is perfect if you want to lower your handicap, and hobby skippers are shown the ropes in Captiva´s sailing school. Looking for skillfully crafted souvenirs? Then, you should visit the 2 Island Gallery with its fine glassware and handmade jewelry. Beautiful sunsets await you in the evening. Afterwards it is time to gaze at the night sky. With such few artificial lights, the stars come out brilliantly on Captiva Island.
Sights and Attractions
Thanks to the Sanibel Causeway, you do not need a boat to visit Captiva´s neighboring island Sanibel. Bowman´s Beach on Sanibel’s southern coast is known for its fine sand, as well as its many colorful shells, so you better bring a bucket to store your souvenirs. Still more ocean treasures are displayed at the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. Following the Causeway, you will reach Fort Myers, a small town with family-friendly beaches, fascinating museums and a world of shopping opportunities.
Cabbage Key to the north is a popular destination for boat trips. Only 12 houses grace this tiny island, among them Cabbage Key’s only restaurant. Here, it is tradition for the guests to stick one-dollar bills to the wall – a remarkable collection worth more than 70.000 Dollars now. From the water tower, guests enjoy magnificent views over the mangrove forests. Not far from Cabbage Key lie Cayo Costa and Gasparilla Island with their sandy beaches, scenic nature and crystal clear waters.
Despite its small size, Captiva Island has no shortage of accommodation options. The biggest among them is the South Seas Island Resort at the heart of the island. This extensive resort features 3 swimming pools, 6 restaurants and 7 tennis courts. From the balcony of their room, guests enjoy beautiful views of the turquoise ocean. A big plus for families: The Island Resort offers on-site childcare with fun activities for the little guests. Meanwhile, their parents can unwind at the spa.
Situated further south is the Captiva Island Inn, a 3-star hotel whose charming “Love Shack” attracts many couples. The beach is only 300 meters away, and the hotel provides beach chairs and umbrellas for free. Guests who want to visit Captiva Island with their own boat or rent one should check out Jensen’s Twin Palm Cottages & Marina Resort. Here you can also book spacious bungalows – perfect if you want to have your own kitchen.
Of course, there is no real need for you to cook, as you can always enjoy delicious South Florida cuisine at the island’s restaurants. For excellent seafood, you should stop by at the Sunshine Seafood Café. The Keylime Bistro is not only known for South Florida’s most famous dessert made with refreshing lime juice, but also for its house margaritas. Among the island’s restaurants, the Bubble Room is by far the most remarkable. Thanks to the festive decoration complete with Santa Claus and his elves, there is always Christmas Season at this charming Captiva original. Other culinary options include Starbucks, a Mexican restaurant and a pizza place. Whether you want to enjoy local or international cuisine – Captiva’s restaurants will not let you go hungry.
Climate and Weather
Thanks to the warm, pleasant weather, spring is considered the best travel time for Captiva Island. The summer months see temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius, as well as high levels of humidity. Most rain falls between June and September.