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Fun Things to Do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island When it Rains

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Captiva Island and its big sister, Sanibel Island, are best known for their shell-filled beaches and Southern Florida sunshine. But what is there to do when your beach getaway gets doused with rain? There's no need to feel gloomy on these colorful and friendly islands just because the weather is a little wet. Here are five fun things to do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island when it rains.

Things to Do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island When it Rains

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Go Shell Peeping Indoors

Shells were probably what drew you to the islands, and a rainy day provides the perfect excuse to go learn about those beauties from the sea. At the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum you'll see thousands of seashells from around the world, with an exhibit dedicated to the shells from Sanibel and Captiva. Serious collectors will drool over the world-record sized seashells on display. Kids will appreciate the Children's Learning Lab with its interactive displays, shell games, and live shell tank. My favorite section of the museum focused on shells in architecture, art and human history – with fascinating seashell artwork on display. The only shell museum in the U.S. also offers daily beach walks and mollusk tank talks to educate visitors about the creatures that make and inhabit the pretty seashells.

Beautiful shell art at Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum in Sanibel, Florida ~ Things to Do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island

Beautiful shell art at Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum in Sanibel, Florida (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Escape the Rain with a Spa Day

The weather outside may be frightful but a spa day is always delightful! The Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa provided the perfect retreat from the rain for my friend and me on our girlfriend getaway. The upscale spa is decorated with clean lines and has a pastel, beachy vibe. We were greeted with smiles and offered a glass of complimentary champagne or wine before our oceanview pedicures.

A rainy day is the perfect excuse to indulge in a pedicure at Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa ~ Fun Things to Do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island When it Rains

A rainy day is the perfect excuse to indulge in a pedicure at Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa (Photo credit: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa)

In addition to nail services, you can choose from an array of skincare treatments, massages, and hair services. Be sure to take a positive affirmation from the bowl before you go!

Simplify with a spa day at Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa ~ Things to Do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island When it Rains

Simplify with a spa day (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Eat, Drink and Be Merry

What better way to while away a drizzly day than with delicious food and drinks? For tropical drinkies and Caribbean infusion cuisine, get thee to Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille. Obviously rum drinks rule the roost here, especially mojitos. The Yucatan Shrimp with butter, Columbian chilies, fresh cilantro and key lime were finger-licking delicious. You'll also find soups (like conch chowder), salads, sandwiches, and entrees (like mahi mahi with a prickly pear ginger vinaigrette). There's a Doc Ford's on both Captiva and Sanibel Islands to choose from.

Finger-licking delicious Yucatan Shrimp with butter, Columbian chilies, fresh cilantro and key lime at Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille ~ Fun Things to Do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island When it Rains

Finger-licking delicious Yucatan Shrimp with butter, Columbian chilies, fresh cilantro and key lime at Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

When your sweet tooth starts calling, make a beeline for the Keylime Bistro on Captiva Island. Its lime green and purple interior are sure to brighten up the dreariest of days. The bistro offers a full menu (think seafood, pastas, sandwiches and salads), but the desserts are the real lure. The namesake keylime pie is a creamy and tangy work of art. Even when raining, there was a small live band playing rock classics under an outdoor palapa.

The key lime pie at Key Lime Bistro is a sweet, creamy work of art ~ Fun Things to Do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island When it Rains

The key lime pie at Key Lime Bistro is a creamy and tangy work of art (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Seabreeze Cafe at Sundial Resort & Spa has an old school South Florida vibe that beckons you to pull up a barstool and sip a margarita or two. The rain looks lovely falling into the hotel pool off the patio, and onto the beach beyond that. Get your vitamins while on vacation with their generous seasonal fruit plate with berry yogurt for breakfast. For dinner, their juicy, flavorful steaks can't be beat.

Breakfast at Seabreeze Cafe at Sundial Resort ~ Fun Things to Do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island When it Rains

Breakfast at Seabreeze Cafe at Sundial Resort (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Brave the Beach on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island When it Rains

Keep a close eye on the weather (a weather app on your smart phone helps!). Then take advantage of any breaks from the rain, no matter how brief, to hit the beaches and collect some of those beautiful seashells. If its just drizzling, bundle up and head out anyway! Bring a beach bag and do the “Sanibel stoop” – the local nickname for the bent body position used when collecting shells from the shores.

Shells, shells everywhere on Sanibel Island after a rain storm ~ Fun Things to Do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island When it Rains

Shells, shells everywhere on Sanibel Island after a rain storm (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

When you picture a beach day, images of sunshine, water sports and sun bathing probably spring to mind. But I truly love a beach landscape on a rainy or cold day. There are less people to contend with, making the beach a beautiful and quiet place for reflection. Plus, rain storms tend to churn up the ocean, sprinkling the beaches with even more seashell treasures than usual.

Hitting the beach at Sundial Resort during a break from the rain ~ Fun Things to Do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island When it Rains

Heading to the beach at Sundial Resort during a break from the rain (Photo credit: Colleen Lanin)

Relax at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Vacations are all about making deeper connections, not only with the world around you but also with your travel mates. Make the most of the rainy weather by huddling up indoors. This is when a spacious hotel suite makes all the difference. Choose from a studio, one-bedroom, two-bedroom or three-bedroom suite at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa. An equipped kitchen, living area and covered patio with beach or ocean view make hanging out indoors a pleasant way to spend your rainy vacation day. With our busy, always connected lives, the rain may be telling you to slow down and read a book, play card games, or chat with your travel partners. Read more about this hotel on TripAdvisor.

Escape the rain in a spacious suite at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa

Escape the rain in a spacious suite at Sundial Beach Resort & Spa (Photo credit: Sundial Beach Resort)

With an indoor location right at Sundial Beach Resort, Sanibel Sea School is a great way to spend a rainy Sanibel day. This non-profit organization offers hands-on curriculum of half-day and full-day ocean life courses for kids where every day is a field trip, as well as customized sessions for private family groups.

A sunny day at Sanibel Sea School

Sanibel Sea School classes are available, rain or shine (Photo credit: Sundial Beach Resort & Spa)

Too wet to exercise outdoors? Hit the fitness center at Sundial Beach Resort to burn off that key lime pie. When the sun comes out, you can stroll along the beach, take a dip in the pool, explore the islands by bicycle (complimentary rentals for guests), play tennis on their clay courts, or hit the links at the Sanibel Island Golf Course.

The rain certainly didn't ruin my Captiva Island and Sanibel Island girlfriend getaway, but I do hope to see some of that glorious South Florida sunshine when I return to these isles someday with my family!

Do you have any questions, or suggestions for things to do on Captiva Island and Sanibel Island when it rains? Let us know in the comments below!

A Note from The Travel Mama: Thank you to Sundial Beach Resort & Spa for hosting my stay. All opinions are mine, as always.

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of TravelMamas.com. As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show, NBCNews.com, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

Comments

  1. Amy Whitley says:

    That seashell mosaic is amazing! And I love all the soft pastels throughout…I don’t even think I’d mind the rain!

  2. Lisa Goodmurphy says:

    I have always wanted to visit Sanibel and Captiva to go shelling – I don’t think that I would even mind that it was raining! And that key lime pie looks delicious – it wouldn’t have to be raining to enjoy that!!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Lisa – I am still daydreaming about that key lime pie! I need to find a recipe and try to make one to bring the flavors of South Florida home!

  3. I was thinking exactly what Lisa said. Maybe we should plan a girlfriend getaway to Sanibel and Captiva!

  4. I enjoyed watching your posts from this trip because Sanibel Island has been on my bucket list for a long time. Something about all of the shells brings me back to fond childhood memories!

  5. Love the seashells!

  6. Keryn @ Walking On Travels says:

    Was dying to go there this fall when you and A went. Wish I could have made it. Looks amazing!

    • Colleen Lanin, The Travel Mama says:

      Keryn – Sanibel and Captiva Islands would make a great destination for a family vacation. Hope you can make it there sometime soon!

  7. Fahy Bygate says:

    You must go to the Bubble Room on Captiva. No trip to these islands is complete without the craziness and amazing desserts of the Bubble Room!

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