The Perfect Captiva Island Family Vacation

The Perfect Captiva Island Family Vacationv

With so many family-friendly activities and amenities, Captiva Island is the perfect spot for a family vacation.

By Randy Hauck | July 20, 2021

There are few places in the U.S. that can compete with the beautiful sandy beaches and near perfect weather that you’re going to find on Captiva Island. But when you’re planning a family vacation, you need to be sure there’s more than gorgeous beaches and amazing weather. Luckily, Captiva Island is far more than that which makes it easy to plan the perfect Captiva Island family vacation.  But what makes the island a great vacation spot for families?

With so many family-friendly activities and amenities, Captiva Island is the perfect spot for a family vacation. Family-friendly activities here reach beyond the beach, so you can enjoy nature, biking, dining, and more. Whether you have older kids that will want to relax and unwind on the beach or younger ones that want to experience adventures, there’s something for everyone.

From nature cruises to sea school and more, you won’t struggle to find things to do for your family on Captiva Island.  Our comprehensive guide below gives you everything you need to plan and take the perfect Captiva Island family vacation.

Is Captiva Island a Good Place For a Family Vacation?

The short answer to this very open question is, yes, Captiva Island is one place you WANT to bring your family at least once. It’s the bucket list island addition that slips through the gaps in favor of places like Disneyworld! If you’re still on the fence about whether your family will thrive while you’re indulging in family vacation planning, read on for some of the best reasons to head to Captiva Island.

  1. First, this is an island to which you can drive. If you’re a US native, you won’t even need your passport. There are many islands worth visiting that require additional travel and planning to get to. Captiva Island isn’t one of them. Add Captiva Island to your bucket list to add to your next road trip, and you’ll be choosing a family-friendly location for the whole crew.
  2. Next, we’re talking beaches when we think of vacations, and Captiva Island goes for exclusivity. With limited beach access, there are two long stretches of coastline that you and your family can access. Despite the exclusivity, the beaches are still never overcrowded!
  3. For those among the family who love to watch the birds and gather seashells, Captiva Island is the place to book. The leisurely outdoor activities are fun for everyone, with water sports and bike rentals, kayaking and paddleboarding aplenty. Bars and spas are a must for the grown-ups, but don’t forget to take note of the time for those breathtaking sunsets!

Captiva Island Family Activities

Captiva Island Family Activities

From the best nature preserve for a picnic to the Captiva cruises that take you out to sea, there is a lot that a family can do to relax here. The vibe is laid-back, with plenty of seashells to collect. The children and grown-ups alike will be taken in by the terrific restaurants, new shopping facilities and beaches to die for. The long walks, epic bike rides and water sports are what draws people to Captiva Island, and while you won’t find theme parks or anything Disney-related here, you’ll still keep the whole family entertained. So, let’s look at the activities you’ll find on Captiva Island.

Boat Tours

Boat tours are popular on Captiva Island, but there are some companies that you can choose from to book your family an excursion to remember. These include:

  • Captiva Cruises. There are plenty of places in Captiva Island to choose boat tours with, and for over thirty years, Captiva Cruises has been doing the job right! Whether you’re looking to watch for dolphins, hop the islands or watch the sunset from the ocean surface, you’ll love your experience with Captiva Cruises. You can explore the Boca Grande and Cabbage Key islands here, but you can head to Cayo Costa State Park for more adventures than you can imagine! You can also arrange for a private charter for a more private experience.
  • Tarpon Bay Explorers. Take the family to Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge for kayak rentals, canoe rentals and even a family pontoon boat! You can go on guided tours to see the sea life, embrace the manatees and dolphins and even head out for a breakfast cruise to enjoy a bite to eat on the water.

Go on an Outdoor Adventure

Captiva Island is less about indoor museums and galleries, and more about the outdoors in all their glory. You can’t get enough of the fresh air, the bright sunshine and the warm weather. This means you need to head out and find adventures.

  1. Start with a family kayaking adventure through a mangrove swamp or two! It’s a must if you're on this Florida island and with so many choices of canoe and kayak adventures, you won’t go wrong! You can take on guided tours and up-close experiences with alligators, otters and even manatees if you’re fortunate. Show the kids the sea cows and watch their faces light up in wonder!
  2. You can ditch the car at your rental and get out on foot in Captiva Island. The opportunities for hiking are perfect, and if you don’t want to walk the walking trails, go to the beach and follow it for 2.5 miles of white sand and warm ocean water.
  3. Don’t want to walk? The numerous biking trails and bike hire stands are going to give you what you need to get moving! Hire tandem bikes and helmets and go and explore!

Collect Shells

Many children love to collect buckets of shells when they head to the beach, and Captiva Island is a dream for a child who loves to immerse themselves in the treasure hunt. The beach is the perfect retreat for the whole family, but when you can find everything from conch shells to cockle shells, you’re going to bring half the beach home!

If you want to head somewhere a little more educational, the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum will give you everything that you need for the children to learn something fun and exciting. They have an incredible learning lab so the kids can get stuck in and play games, watch videos and play with the shells!

Unwind on the Beach

Do we really need to introduce you to exclusive beaches and then tell you to spend time on them? Of course!

We cannot tell you enough about how beautiful the beaches are on Captiva Island. The sunsets are something else, and all year around you’re going to be able to enjoy the water and the sand. Sure, it may rain a little more in the summer months, but as long as you're paying attention to the warning signs on the ocean, you’re good to go!

Learn a New Water Skill

You’re on an island, the kids are itching to go for a swim. Swimming is one thing to do off the coast, but what else could you all be doing as a family to get involved in the activities available to you? Well, let’s take a look!

To Sea School!

Kids need to be stimulated, but imagine the education they’ll receive at the Sanibel Sea School. There are programs either a day or a week long, and you’ll be able to introduce your kids to themed activities and experiences that they will never forget. From age 6 to 13, your children can enjoy learning to surf, art classes and activities with their peers. In this, they’ll learn about sea turtles and crustaceans, wading birds and living creatures in the ocean. What a way to spend their time!

Family Friendly Dining Options

What’s a vacation without delicious food? It’s not a vacation, of course. However, fresh food is the way to go on Captiva Island, and we’ve got a range of places for you to eat on your vacation.

Sanibel Fish House, Inc.

You can’t go to Captiva Island without trying out the fresh seafood; even if you’re not usually a fan! The freshest seafood and impeccable service at Sanibel Fish House, Inc is well known, and as a guest, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the super casual and laid back environment here.

Keylime Bistro

With excellent entertainment and a full bar every day of the week, you can enjoy all meals and snacks at Keylime Bistro in style. Dine to live music and bands, and you’ll be eating somewhere that was awarded News Press 1st Place Island Dining.

Doc Ford's Sanibel Rum Bar & Grille

Something different for the family, head to this sports bar. Don’t expect Sloppy Joe’s, though, not when this is a gourmet place with plenty to offer. You can meet world travelers, fishing legends and sports heroes here, which is why the kids will love it!

George & Wendy's Sanibel Seafood Grille

Family Friendly Dining Options

Kids menus are on offer at George & Wendy’s, with their space open for lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch! Steaks, salads and wings are just the tip of the delicious food iceberg, so add in live entertainment and a high quality dining experience, and you’ll be coming back again and again.

RC Otter's Island Eats

Lastly, choosing an award-winning restaurant the whole family can eat in is not always easy. However, right in the heart of Old Captiva Village, you’ll find RC Otter’s Island Eats. There are plenty of options for food and shopping, and the kids will love the games room!

Things to do Near Captiva

Now that you’ve read a ton of information about how you and your family can enjoy Captiva Island, let’s talk about the things to do nearby. These options are for the whole family to enjoy.

Bowman’s Beach

You want a tropical paradise, and this is what this national treasure gets you. You can park for $4, and you can spend the entire day relaxing as a family here. Bring a cooler and a picnic along with some excellent beach games, and you’ve got your whole day sorted!

J. N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge

Education and fun go hand in hand at this amazing national wildlife refuge. It’s open 7-7 every day, and you can see alligators, manatees, and a range of birds on Sanibel Island alongside dolphins. Hop on a boat for an epic boat touring adventure, and the kids will be amazed.

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum

Children - and adults - love seashells. They come in swirly patterns, a range of colors and they offer a glimpse into the depths of the oceans! The museum is open daily and the parking is free. You can learn tons about seashells here, so all who want to learn will thrive

Where Should We Stay on Captiva Island?

As a family, it can be hard to find the perfect accommodation to house you all. Luckily, there are plenty of great options on Captiva Island. There are certainly resorts that you can choose from, but many families opt for a vacation rental. These are more customizable and can suit your family’s unique needs. A small room in a crowded resort might not be suitable for your family.

You can tailor a vacation rental to your family size and needs, and you can find the amenities you need directly on the island itself. It’s always worth doing the research here - you could find an utter gem of a vacation rental for the whole family!

Family Vacation Rentals on Captiva Island

what you need to know about florida boat rentals

There are many places for a family to stay on Captiva Island. You’ll find hotels, extended-stay options, bed and breakfasts, resorts, and more. But the best option for a Captiva Island family vacation might be a vacation rental.

Vacation rentals on Captiva Islands give you all the comforts of home and all the room you need to spread out. There are many types of vacation rentals on Captiva Island. From downtown villas to waterfront houses complete with boat docks, you are sure to find the Captiva Island rental you need. You’ll find plenty of places to stay on Captiva and Sanibel Island for families.

Vacation rental terms are flexible. You can choose a rental for a week-long family vacation or you can spend an entire season on the island with your family. Additionally, rental sizes vary. You’ll find that Royal Shell offers access to vacation homes with 8-bedrooms that sleep 20, as well as 1 bedroom condos perfect for just the two of you. The flexibility means there is truly something for everyone and will let you customize your family’s experience.

The benefits of opting for a rental for your Captiva Island family vacation abound. You are likely to enjoy perks like:

  • More privacy than a hotel room
  • Instant access to the luxuries of home
  • Room for everyone to spread out
  • Full kitchen to eat healthier and save money

With so many benefits, it is easy to see why a vacation rental might be a good idea for your family’s trip to Captiva or Sanibel Island.

Plan Your Captiva Island Family Vacation at Jensen’s Marina

Now that you have everything you need for the perfect family vacation, it’s time to plan your boating and cottage needs on Captiva Island. Rent a boat at Jensen’s marina and even come stay awhile and rent a Captiva cottage just steps from the beautiful marina. Captiva Island is waiting for you! Make a marina reservation today.

Jensen’s Twin Palm Marina and Cottages™

15107 Captiva Drive
Captiva, FL 33924

(833) 668-7768
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