Florida A1A Trail Leg #5: Sanibel
& St. Pete Beach


Two Contrasting West Coast Havens: Sanibel Island and
St. Pete Beach


Sanibel and Captiva Islands


Located off the coast from Ft. Myers, Sanibel Island is 8
miles long, Captiva is three miles long. 
A friendly server told us locals call Sanibel a playground for
millionaires, Captiva for billionaires. 



A visitor is introduced to Sanibel by means of a long
causeway that is lined with many small beaches, people fishing in the water,
boats cruising across the broad blue green bay.

Upon leaving the causeway, we were immediately impressed by
Sanibel’s lush tropical vegetation and landscape.  The below chart illustrates the amazing variety of local

For tourists like us visiting the island for the first time,
we recommend the very centrally located and comfortable West Wind Inn where we
enjoyed our stay very much. 

A long white beach chock with sea shells lining the Gulf
Coast graces the inn’s grounds.

Many activities are available like a shuffleboard court for
the older set and big pool for the kids. 

For those who enjoy a cocktail, wine or beer to witness a
famous West Coast sunset, an elevated bar and grill is a great place to sit
back and capture it.

After a great dinner in a Captiva Island grille and
breakfast at the inn, we headed north on A1A and headed towards St. Pete Beach,
our last destination.  When staying
in St. Pete Beach, we recommend the Hotel Kimpton Zamora, a virtual Spanish
castle that is well located for beach access and nearby the Don Cesar

The Zamora, across the street from the beach, uses a nearby
private club for beach access and amenities and has a lovely patio bar and
grille on the Intercostals Canal and a rooftop gathering space.  Servers provide food and drink for
patrons to enjoy views of the Gulf and cityscape.

The pink building dominating the skyline in the above photo
is the historic and magnificent Don Cesar Hotel recently restored to original
splendor and once again flourishing. 
Patty and I sensed that we had stumbled upon a cool new section of St.
Pete Beach forming and benefitted greatly from the combined amenities of the
Zamora and Don Cesar.

The above pastoral Mexican scene is a three dimensional
painting on the side of a St. Pete Beach strip Mexican restaurant that I think
is cute. 

The above photo was the third in a series of four descending
shots to symbolize the end of our visit to St. Pete Beach and Florida A1A Trail
Tour.  We urge travelers to stay on
the A1A Trail as much as possible – it will be slower and at times frustrating
but always incredibly rewarding.  Trust
us on this.