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101 USA Holidays

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Mike Gerrard Donna Dailey
Award-winning travel writers Mike Gerrard and Donna Dailey.
 

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Florida’s Gulf Coast

Mike & Donna's verdict:

Florida's Gulf Coast is idyllic - leave behind the bustle of the mainland and chill out in style at this lovely island resort. Beachcombing on the shell-covered shore is fascinating, plus there's golf, tennis and watersports. Don't miss the nature tours, and the chance to see loveable manatees and dolphins.

Recommended tour operator: American Sky

American Sky says

We think we’ve found the perfect resort for couples, families and friends who want to relax together in the sunshine with all the comforts of a luxury hotel but with no stuffy formality – and the option to stay in a villa.

South Sea Islands Resort, on Captiva Island, is spread discreetly along two miles of white sand beach on 330 acres of coastline overlooking the Gulf of Mexico, off Florida’s west coast.

There are more than 600 luxurious rooms, suites and villas but this resort never feels crowded.

Choose from harbourside, bayside or beach rooms and villas (each sleeping up to four) – there are also two-bedroom villas sleeping up to six with fully-equipped kitchens. The decor is reminiscent of the Caribbean with light colours, bamboo and teak furniture and generous bathrooms.

It’s tempting to do little more than go shelling on the beach (Captiva’s beaches are renowned for the 400+ species of seashells) or relax by one of the 18 pools. If you want to do more, however, there’s a new nine-hole golf course on site, 19 tennis courts, a fitness centre, a wide array of water sports and Captiva Kids Club.

There’s amazing wildlife on Captiva – chances are you will see bottlenosed dolphins, West Indian manatees, great egrets, white ibis, Cuban anole lizards and, on some occasions even a bald-headed American eagle. The hotel lays on guided nature tours, kayaking trips in the Bayou, cruises and fishing trips for guests. Bicycles are also available for hire.

Relax in the spa, which offers yoga, Pilates and Zumba classes as well as pampering treatments.

Dining options include the Holy Smoke Barbecue, fine dining at The Pointe, a harbourside grill, ice cream and pizza parlour and coffee shops.

South Seas Island Resort is 35 miles from Fort Myers Airport and less than three hours drive from either Miami or Orlando.

Our expert team can add on stays elsewhere in Florida as well as transatlantic flights and car hire or private airport transfers.

Find out more about South Seas Island Resort.

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