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Sanibel vs Marco Island

Richmond, VA
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3 posts
6 reviews
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Sanibel vs Marco Island

I posted the same question under Marco Island Forums; My wife and I staying at the Ritz Carlton Naples for a work trip May 22-25 and are looking to extend our stay two nights (Thurs and Fri) by exploring either sanibel or Marco Island. Which would you choose, and where would you stay on that respective island? We love the beach (we would prefer soft white sand to all the shells), and want relaxation, but not to be surrounded solely by senior adults (we are in our early 30's) as we have heard Marco tends to be. We don't want to pay for another Ritz Carlton, but something clean and nice. Thanks for any advice!

New York
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340 posts
8 reviews
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1. Re: Sanibel vs Marco Island

I'd personally go to Sanibel. Much quieter and laid-back. Marco is too buit up for my liking.

Chicago, Illinois
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2,185 posts
11 reviews
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2. Re: Sanibel vs Marco Island

Sanibel would afford you a nice contrast to Naples / Marco Island. The beaches are not soft, white sand, but strolling along and finding beautiful shells can be an enjoyable way to unwind and pass time. Nobody would think twice if the two of you even decided to try your hand at building a sand castle or sculpture! In contrast to a period of "work" (assuming this to be lots of thinking), one can also "relax" the mind on Sanibel by touring the island on bicycles (26 miles of flat bike paths) or kayaking in Tarpon Bay. Much of Sanibel is nature preserve so you get a sense of really being in Florida sans overbuilt commercialism.

We always stay in a condo and most of those rent by the week or longer, but there are some locals who participate here who will undoubtedly have some good suggestions for your two night stay in one of the hotels or resorts. Stay tuned!

The Bakery
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9,526 posts
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3. Re: Sanibel vs Marco Island

Naples and Marco Island have much in common. Like Jake, Marco is too built up for me. It is upscale and the beach has been lined with with midrise hotels and condos that remind me of Bal Harbor section of Maimi Beach. Marriott Marco Island would be a good choice. Weekend rates will be high even in May. Marco, like Naples, is a prime, very upscale retirement area.

Sanibel is more of a family island with no big hotels, expect South Seas on Captiva which is scheduled for a staged re-opening starting March 17. Sanibel beaches are very shelly.

See www.sanibel-captiva.org for accommodations.

You might want to stay in Ft Myers Beach and go to Lovers Key State Park. The beach there is excellent - or it was pre-Charlie. Ft Myers Beach is also a bit more lively, but too congested for me.

http://www.fortmyersbeachonline.com/

Philadelphia
2 posts
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4. Re: Sanibel vs Marco Island

I definately recommend Sanibel. Marco is going to be very similar to Naples. Sanibel has a much different feel, with its nature preserves, miles and miles of bike paths, canoing in Tarpon Bay, etc. There are lots of great hotels...For a 2 night stay, I would recommend the Sanibel Inn.

Richmond, VA
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3 posts
6 reviews
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5. Re: Sanibel vs Marco Island

Thanks to each of you for your feedback. That really helped us make our decision. Sanibel it is!

Dauphin Pa.
1 post
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6. Re: Sanibel vs Marco Island

Sanibel for sure! the wife and I stayed in Marco Island and spent our week driving to Sanibel every day. It is very laid-back a nice quiet tropical island,if you enjoy wildlife. We used to go driving at night to find alligators walking about.Sanibel is family oriented with lots of GREAT resturants the only fast food place on the island is Dairy Queen. And they have a bald eagles nest behind the place.But that is just me, we've been going to Sanibel for 14 years. And I'm 45, if you've never been there you wont regret going.

Charlotte, NC
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8 posts
27 reviews
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7. Re: Sanibel vs Marco Island

Don't overlook Captiva ("connected" to Sanibel by an area called Blind Pass). Both Sanibel and Captiva are wonderful places to relax, with great places to eat and stay. I prefer Captiva - it's slightly more remote and laid back than Sanibel in my opinion.

No matter which one you chose, you'll have a great time.