North Captiva Island | Florida | Vacation Trip | 2020

We were lucky enough to get out of Cold Chicago and head to sunny North Captiva, Florida right before all the COVID craze began in February 2020.

We have traveled to Florida many times and as it is a great getaway we were traveling with a group and had a couple specifications. We were not looking for the hotel vibe and as close to the beach as possible. This was the first time any of us had been to the island, although when Colin was very young his family visited the nearby Sanibel Island which is a little further south. We had no preconceived ideas of how this part of the Gulf was like. Being from Northern Illinois we were so happy to see palm trees and smell the salty ocean air.

North Captiva Florida Roads

After doing researching, reading reviews and listening to what the Airbnb host said we prepared to stay on North Captiva Island for five days. We found out we had to book ferry tickets to get from, James City from the North Captiva Island Club. There are specific times the ferries run and you must book in advance. The staff was very helpful through the process.


We read that there was one little general store but not a grocery store or anywhere to really get supplies at a reasonable cost on the island. There were a couple nice restaurants but beware you must make reservations in advance if you are interested in dining. We stopped at Costco, shopped for five people with our luggage bags and had an Uber pick us up. We also used Publix‘s {In Store Pick Up} which had many of our supplies read for pick up and also frozen and refrigerated items were packaged appropriately for the Ferry ride AND to be distributed to your rental once you arrive.

We split up into two groups and had one go to Costco and the other to Publix. Once our shopping was done, we arrived at the staging area to get on a bus that takes you to the boat which then takes you to North Captiva.  The company who operates the busses and boats was very helpful in getting you and your luggage and supplies loaded up and ready to go. They supply large plastic bins for groceries and everything ran very smoothly. After a short bus ride, you are dropped off at the boat and load up. As we got onto the boat we saw beautiful pelicans and other sea birds dotting the mangroves and welcoming us to our tropical adventure. The 15-minute boat ride was exhilarating and an awesome way to kick off our fun in the sun.


Colin Safety Harbor - North Captiva Island

We pulled into Safety Harbor on the east side of the island and taxied towards the dock. If you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of the resident manatee which had a baby with her at the time we were there. An amazing animal to see! Once on the island we walk the couple steps to the North Captiva Island Club. We had rented a house for our stay through Airbnb and basically North Captiva Island Rentals manages all guest coming on the island. Renters gain access to the Island Club’s pool and beach bar which are beautiful and a great time, but more on that later.

Once we checked in and got our room keys and piled on the golf cart that came with the property rental. No cars are allowed to be driven around the island which adds to the fun so golf carts get everyone around the island. We were staying at Sunset Beach House which is the most Southwest place to stay on the island, further south of this is natural areas, beaches, hiking and preserved beauty on this island.

When I think of Florida beaches and water most of my experience has been on the East coast and the Atlantic Ocean. Which is nice don’t get me wrong, but I am a sucker for white sand and clear aqua blue water. I had the idea you had to go the Caribbean to experience such things but man was I wrong! The beach was visible from the Sunset Beach House and only a 2-minute sandy walk and the view was breathtaking! Beautiful soft white sand leads you down to the warm clear waters of the Gulf of Mexico. There are areas with shells, so some beach shoes can be nice but also plenty of soft sand as well.  There was a large sand bar just off the beach where we stayed which was a blast to hang out on.

The house we stayed in was called Sunset Beach House and for a good reason! This was the BEST Spot on the island to watch the Sun go down. Sunset Beach House was a three bedroom ranch with large windows and sliding glass doors that opened to an amazing seaside deck which ran the entire length of the house and was the main hangout throughout our trip. One of the bedrooms also had a private deck attached to it and waking up and walking right out to see and smell the Gulf was a real treat. We had five people in our group and the house was a perfect size for us. There were two couples so the three bedrooms worked out great. There were also two good sized couches and the place could definitely have comfortably slept more guests.

There are several excellent places to eat on North Captiva, and get some wonderful seafood dishes. We ate at The Boathouse which is located above the North Captiva Island Club on Safety Harbor where we first landed to begin our trip. This was the nicest of the restaurants we dined at and had many delicious seafood options. We also had a drink and an appetizer at Mainstay North Captiva and chatted with the owner and bartender there for quite a bit.

More about where to swim with Dolphins, find the best shells and the crazy adventure in Key West we continued on after our stay in North Captiva, coming soon!

Colin & Mandy

North Captiva Beach

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