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The Dude
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I'm flying into Fort Myers on Tuesday with my special lady friend to pick up a new-to-me car. I figure I can make this trip a mini vacation since I don't have to be at work until Saturday night. What should we do? I was thinking about spending the 1st night on Sanibel Island. Any opinions on the Fort Myers area?

Requirements:
-quiet non-touristy places. Although I don't mind staying in a big city like Tampa or Miami for a night
-I'm trying to stay a different place each of the three nights I'm there.
-I'd like to make my way north throughout the trip so I can reduce the drive time on Friday. It looks like I can either go through Tampa then make my way across the state to I-95 or go across the state on I-75 and hook up with I-95 in Miami.

5/28/2011 12:26:18 PM

NCSUWolfy
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definitely go to sanibel island

i was at captiva island for a wedding last weekend and it was beautiful and relaxing

and you can collect some bomb ass seashells because of the way the island is oriented, tons of them wash up

5/28/2011 12:55:17 PM

stategrad100
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You can literally find anything you want in Fort Myers.

I recommend a cheap beach rental on Fort Myers Beach - avoid the Lani Kai unless you want to go to a NASCAR party where everyone is pretending to be at a luau (but that might be your thing)

The Sanibel Harbor Resort and Spa is awesome - for like $200/day you can get everything except the room.

If you're just staying for a wknd - I would recommend booking there, but if you're staying longer then go for a weekly at Lani Kai.

Captiva has always been my favorite spot, but that is way more residential but you should eat at the Bubble Room there because it's a token landmark. The Cheeseburger Factory is the equivalent for Sanibel.

And if you want to go high dollar in Fort Myers, the Veranda is where you should try - they have the piano bar and all kinds of great food. You might be surprised about downtown. I stayed for a week at the Hotel Indigo for like 200 bucks because it's in foreclosure, and it's within walking distance to EVERYTHING - the Cigar Bar, City Tavern, .... it's all pretty good.

5/28/2011 1:35:55 PM

Kickstand
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Naples downtown is pretty sweet. Go there if you want to do some shopping. It's only 15 mins. S of Fort Myers.
You might want to go to Siesta beach.
http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2011/05/27/floridas_siesta_beach_is_nations_top_beach/

5/28/2011 4:42:31 PM

The Dude
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^looks cool and it's on the way north to Tampa. Here's a possible schedule so far.

Day #1 - Get Car and Sanibel Island beach
Night #1 - Downtown Fort Myers and stay on sanibel island
Day #2 - Siesta Beach
Night #2 - Tampa, maybe?
Day #3 - ?
Night #3 - ?

5/28/2011 5:57:32 PM

ncsuallday
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go to Orlando and hit up Seaworld and Disney

5/28/2011 6:54:10 PM

The Dude
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no

5/28/2011 7:40:28 PM

iheartkisses
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You can take a ferry from Ft. Myers to Key West. Another neat option. Siesta Key is pretty and relaxing. Key West is pretty and lively. There's something for every taste.

5/28/2011 9:22:08 PM

A Tanzarian
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If you go to Key West, go to Fort Jefferson.

5/28/2011 9:35:09 PM

ncsuallday
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I was only half serious.

5/28/2011 10:53:13 PM

The Dude
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I'd like to check out Siesta Key the 2nd day. I might stay there that night or in Tampa.

What's there to do in Tampa? I've heard from many people that it's a fun city.

5/29/2011 6:30:28 AM

occamsrezr
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Quote :
"Captiva has always been my favorite spot, but that is way more residential but you should eat at the Bubble Room"


This. Get their red velvet cake, it's awesome.

5/29/2011 7:23:37 AM

JSteen
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While at Siesta Beach, head to Sarasota (city right next door) to St. Armand's Circle. Awesome outdoor shopping area. Must eat at the Columbia Restaurant.....awesome spanish food!!!! Their Cuban is fantastic!

[Edited on May 29, 2011 at 7:47 PM. Reason : blah]

5/29/2011 7:46:37 PM

adaptiveopti
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I recently stayed here:

http://www.tropicalsunresort.com/sand_piper.html

The room was nice, next to one of the two hotel pools, and a 2-3 minute walk to the beach. You can drink on the beach at Siesta Key (I took advantage of that) and walk to restaurants close by for dinner. The wife and I also rented a boat for 1 day to see Sarasota Bay which was a nice experience.

By the way...I would recommend removing love bugs from your car ASAP as I've been told they can destroy your paint.

[Edited on May 30, 2011 at 8:26 PM. Reason : love bugs]

5/30/2011 8:23:31 PM

Meg
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go to sebastian on the east coast. it is small, not touristy, and it is beautiful.

5/30/2011 11:29:46 PM

AntiMnifesto
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+1 for the Naples beaches. The downtown was kinda geared toward old retired people, but the beaches had white sand and the water was clear. We collected some cool seashells and sand dollars, and even saw fish swimming in the waves. And, the water is pretty calm and amenable to swimming in.

5/31/2011 12:27:26 AM

mofopaack
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I lived in Tampa for 3 years and traveled around the area to various beaches.

IMO Fort Myers kindof sucks compared to the rest of the area. I think there are two good options, but they send you in different directions so it depends on how much time you have.

Option A) go to siesta key and stay the night there. Sand is 99% quartz so is like powder. They have a bar/grill called the Daiquiri Deck which is good for lunch, then like another poster said St Armands is good to go for dinner and shopping around. The Columbia is overrated IMO but still a good spot to eat with outdoor seating. Could hit up Sanibel next morning and hit the beach for the day. From there, go up to St Pete Beach, which although is a more popular beach its still nice and has great beach bars and hotels near by. Would be more touristy for sure. If you go there hit up the Undertow beach bar, best bar ive been to. Bar tenders in bikinis, little river runs through the bar, has volleyball, etc. From there you could drive through Tampa and pick up I-4 and go through Orlando over to Coco Beach on the east coast. This will give you a different flavor vs the gulf and has the best surfing/waves on the east coast. Cool little beach town and you can take 95 back up.

Option B) head south. Siesta is still close enough to stay for the first night, then head south past venice to the Everglades. Tons of places to stay and you can do the wind boats, feed gators, etc. Or you could do the glades during day and stay in Miami/South Beach that night. I wasnt in love with Miami as its expensive as shit and crowded. You are close to 95 and could head up. If you want to extend the trip, head to the keys. Its a haul though, prob 6 hrs from Ft Myers. Thing about the keys is the beach kindof suck as they are more rocky, but more secluded in some places.

If you go to the keys, take a ferry to the Dry Tortugas National Park and camp there overnight

5/31/2011 10:09:51 AM

ShawnaC123
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I think Florida vacation is an oxymoron.

5/31/2011 10:11:37 AM

The Dude
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Our last Florida vacation was unfortunately cut short and I was only able to go to Sanibel and Captiva island before I had to drive home We've decided to try the Florida vacation again since I'll have way more time.

Here's the new itinerary for our mid-July vacation.

Night #1 - Savannah, Ga
Night #2 - Savannah, Ga
Night #3 - Somewhere on the Florida atlantic side.
Night #4 - Siesta Key
Night #5 - Siesta Key
Night #6 - St. Pete Beach/Pass-a-Grille/Fort-de-Soto National Park
Night #7 - Somewhere on the Florida atlantic side.

As you can see, I'm trying to split up the drive as much as possible. I would like my longest drive to be the 1st and last days with minimal driving in between. Savannah, Siesta Key and St. Pete/Pass-a-Grille/Fort-de-soto are a lock but the atlantic side is up in the air.

Any input on where to go and/or stay on the Atlantic side? I'm looking for some place no further south than I-4 so we are heading in right direction home. Night #7 will be on a Saturday night so it would be nice to stay at a place with nightlife. I've never been to Neptune, Atlantic or St Augistine beach but I've heard good things.


[Edited on July 3, 2011 at 9:28 AM. Reason : yo]

7/3/2011 9:26:41 AM

The E Man
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St. Augustine or Cape Canaveral for night 3.

7/3/2011 10:50:13 AM

adaptiveopti
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Any of the Jax beaches (Jacksonville Beach, Atlantic, and Neptune) are kinda ghetto in my opinion but there is definitely nightlife in that area. My favorite beach in the area is Guana River State Park (between Ponte Vedra Beach/Palm Valley and Villano Beach). There are 3 parking areas ($3/car cash) with beach access.

If you end up staying in the St Augustine area let me know if you want any restaurant suggestions.

7/4/2011 12:19:05 PM

The Dude
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^I'm going to stay in St. Augustine on night #3. I'm still deciding on whether to stay downtown or on the beach though.

Also, how ghetto is jacks/atlantic/neptune beach? Which one is the least ghetto? It looks like most of the nightlife is on atlantic beach.

7/4/2011 6:08:31 PM

adaptiveopti
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In St Augustine I would stay in old town. There is so much to see and do in that area and if your hotel is close enough you can walk almost anywhere.

From my experience Atlantic Beach is least ghetto but most of the night life is in Jacksonville/Neptune Beach (where Beach Blvd ends). The ghetto level may depend on the week you visit and isn't enough to make you feel unsafe, just uncomfortable/annoyed.

7/4/2011 10:19:27 PM

JP
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Bump...how was your trip The Dude?

My gf and I are taking a similar trip on April 16th-23rd and trying to figure out a good touring schedule. So far we are:

April 16th (Wed): Driving to Savannah Wednesday night after work
April 17th (Thurs): Spending all day in Savannah
April 18th (Fri): Depart Savannah and travel to St. Augustine (maybe?)

The rest of the days (April 19th-23rd) are kind of up in the air. We are thinking of going to the Tampa/St. Pete area at some point, just haven't figured out how to fit it in. The gf may also get the 24th and 25th off, so we may be able to travel further south into FL if there is anything to see. Not really wanting to venture to Miami or the keys for this trip. We also have no desire to go to Jacksonville or anywhere too far west into the panhandle.

Anyone have any suggestions on other places to go and/or things to see in the places I've mentioned?



[Edited on January 21, 2014 at 9:44 AM. Reason : ]

1/21/2014 9:42:38 AM

Maverick1024
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If you're going to the Tampa area, might as well drive down to Sarasota and check out Siesta Key Beach (only about 30 minutes from St. Pete).

The thing that makes Siesta Key so unique is that the sand is made out of crystals, so it's pearly white. It's seemingly always at the top of Dr. Beach's annual list of best beaches. There's a little beachside village there too with some good bars and shops.




Also, the Busch Gardens in Tampa has some incredible roller coasters if that's your thing. They've also got a safari ride that puts you up close with hippos, tigers, and all sorts of cool animals. It's one of America's most underrated theme parks IMO.


[Edited on January 24, 2014 at 3:46 PM. Reason : ]

1/24/2014 3:39:29 PM

Jeepin4x4
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BTTT. we were originally planning to go to Siesta Key, but it's been hard to find a dog friendly place and the area beach seems like it's not pet friendly, even in the evenings.

That being said we are now looking into Pass-A-Grille. Can anyone provide any tips or experiences at Pass-A-Grille? This would be a low-key trip, two people and a dog. We would either stay the entire time in PAG or maybe split the trip up and go somewhere else for a few nights.

1/16/2017 9:15:36 AM

PaulISdead
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Pet people do RVs

1/16/2017 7:22:40 PM

UJustWait84
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Not to be a debbie downer, but I wasn't all that impressed with Siesta Key. It was impossible to find parking and crowded with Florida's finest. Sanibel was nice though. I'd go back there for sure.

1/17/2017 12:48:41 PM

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