It feels like yesterday I was flying home from Florida with shells on my mind and sand in my shoes. Now, a year after my first trip to one of the most beautiful beach destinations in the country, National Seashell Day is almost here once more (tomorrow, June 21)! I’m taking a walk down memory lane today, sharing some favorite moments from Fort Myers & Sanibel that made it such a unforgettable summer destination. Here are the top 5 best memories from my trip to southwest Florida!
5. Edison & Ford Winter Estates in Ft. Myers.
I have always been somewhat of a history nerd, so I was pumped that one of our activities on the last day of our trip was visiting Thomas Edison and Henry Ford's winter estates in Fort Myers. Apparently, these two were great friends, which is adorable since Edison was Ford's childhood hero! One of my favorite views on the property was looking out across the historical botanical garden and seeing a brand-new high rise framed perfectly between the trees. It was a really interesting angle blending history and modern construction.
4. Kayaking at the J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge.
Although I was hoping for an alligator, we spotted one dolphin, a ton of jumping fish, and some beautiful white herons. I've also developed a serious love of flamingos in the last year, so these days, I'd flip if I had the opportunity to see one...which is all the more reason I'm itching to go back to Sanibel!
3. Sunrise and sunset at South Seas Island Resort.
Some of my best shelling finds were made before most of the guests at the resort were awake. There's nothing like seeing the first gleams of sunlight in the morning, and the last of the pink and purple evening rays. I felt like I had walked into a Nicholas Sparks movie in Florida's white sands, surrounded by beautiful reeds and beach grass.
2. "Shelling" on Sanibel Island!
As soon as we had finished breakfast, we were off on a boat to Cayo Costa, one of the best places to spot beautiful and unique shells. Jingle shells were my favorite variety, along with lightning whelks, alphabet cones, and Florida prickly cockles. The best part is you can bring them home, and hold on to your treasures for the rest of your life.
1. Seeing dolphins for the first time in my life.
Seeing these cuties prance and dance in the wake of the boat behind us wasn't just the highlight of this trip, it was one of the highlights of my entire year and most of my travels! There's something so special about seeing wildlife in their home and natural habitat, and dolphins are about as magical as underwater creatures get. I was squealing more than the dolphins. Even those in the group that had seen dolphins before were completely captivated, since the dolphins were putting on such a spectacular show for us. I'd go back just to relive this moment again, and here's hoping I get to sometime soon. Maybe next year's National Seashell Day!
Thank you to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel for sponsoring this post.