There are few things in life better than a trip to sunny Florida with your toes in the sand, seashells in your bag, and the sun in your eyes with a group of girls you’ve known for more than 10 years.
I was lucky enough to travel on a mini getaway last week to Florida with Syema, Virginia, Maham, Priya, and Christie — some of my best friends from high school. We had a great time — and we all agreed that we wouldn’t change a thing about our trip.
If you’re in need of a weekend away from the cold, away from the stresses of life, read all about our trip and then start booking your plane ticket.
We chose to stay in Fort Myers because Google told us it was one of the warmest places in the country in February. We also liked its proximity to Sanibel/Captiva Island and Naples.
For four days, we called Sandpiper Gulf Resort our home-away-from-home, waking up every morning to this view from our balcony:
Our suite came with two full beds and a pullout couch, as well as a kitchenette complete with pots, pans, and dishes, making our stay comfortable. We enjoyed the heated pool and the easy beach access — though next time, maybe we should splurge on the $12 to rent a beach chair.
SANIBEL ISLAND and CAPTIVA ISLAND
As a kid, my family’s trip to Sanibel and Captiva was one of my all-time favorite vacations, so I was excited to show my friends how beautiful these islands are. Sanibel is known for its vast array of seashells, so we had a great time picking our favorites. We got to the beach around 11:30 a.m., knowing that the “good” shells would be long gone by then but still respecting our need to sleep somewhat late on our vacation.
After “shelling” and lunch, we went kayaking on Tarpon Bay — a beautiful (and doable!) trail.
Apparently the sunset on Captiva Island is one of the best in the world. To me, all sunsets are beautiful, but this was indeed truly amazing. A large crowd gathered to watch the sunset on the beach at the tip of the tiny island — and my favorite part was that after the sun disappeared into the horizon, everyone applauded. As if they had just watched a show. Guess what, friends? You can get an encore tomorrow evening!
When you come up with a great product idea, sell it, and make billions of dollars, chances are you’ll buy a multimillion dollar house in Naples and only live in it one to two weeks out of the year — it’s true, we learned this on our sightseeing cruise in Naples. If this happens, please do not forget how good of a friend I was to you, and how much my weekly blogs brightened your life.
Also, there were dolphins.
NORTH FORT MYERS
If you blindly trust Groupon as much as we did, you might find yourself at the Shell Factory and Nature Park. It’s farther than you originally realized, but then you decide that it was worth it. The “shell factory” is the largest souvenir shop I have ever seen (9-year-old Lia would have LOVED it), and it’s paired with the nature park (a zoo) and a “fun park” (paddle boating and mini golf).
Just watch out for any birds that may land on your head.
SEE YOU THERE!
With so many fun places to go and things to do, the combination of Fort Myers, Sanibel/Captiva Island, and Naples makes a great vacation, especially for a girlfriend getaway (though I imagine this itinerary would also have been good for couples or families). Top off the sightseeing with beach relaxation, cooking together, watching movies, gossiping, and laughing, and you’ll be all set.
So, girls — when are we going back?