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South Seas Island Resort a perfect family getaway

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South Seas Island Resort a perfect family getaway

South Seas Island Resort has tranquil beaches and 20 pools for a relaxing vacation

My three-year-old son waded in to the zero-entry pool. “Hi, mermaid,” he said to me. “Let’s swim.” Then he would walk — not yet swim — to the steps, get out of the pool midway, walk around the flowering bushes and wade into the pool toward me all over again. For an hour. That he had gained enough confidence to put his face in the water and move around the shallow pool on his own was fantastic. That he was calling me a mermaid was just magical, and I’m sure it was partly the influence of being at South Seas Island Resort.

Kids love the zero-entry pool with dual water slides at South Seas Island Resort

Kids love the zero-entry pool with dual water slides at South Seas Island Resort

Florida has some fantastic family-friendly beach resorts. One of the best is South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island, in southwestern Florida. It’s a family destination that really has everything families could want: a range of room or vacation home rental choices, beautiful beaches, pools, on-site restaurants and shops, activities and programs for kids, a nine-hole golf course, water sports, transportation options, a spa and laid-back island ambience in spades.

The South Seas Island Resort lobby gives you a taste of the atmosphere and history you'll encounter during your stay

The South Seas Island Resort lobby gives you a taste of the atmosphere and history you'll encounter during your stay

South Seas Island Resort in Captiva balcony view

South Seas Island Resort balcony view

For nature lovers like my family, though, South Seas has the bonus of being tuned in to its environment and surroundings in the barrier islands in the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches are kept dark during sea turtle nesting season so turtles can find their way to the beach and not get turned the wrong way by bright lights. Ospreys are invited to build nests on platforms high on tall poles throughout the resort’s property. Dolphins and manatees frequent the marinas and water surrounding the the island. And children’s programs focus on ocean ecology.

You can see dolphins in South Seas resort's marinas and offshore

You can see dolphins in the resort

So not surprisingly, South Seas Island Resort is not too crowded, not too commercial, and very relaxing.

Redfish Pass separates Captiva Island, where South Seas Island Resort lies at the northern end, from North Captiva Island, which is reached only by boat or small aircraft

Looking across Redfish Pass near the resort

However, it still has everything a family would want in a vacation destination. Here are the highlights.

Activities

For many people, relaxing on a warm beach or by the pool is plenty for a vacation to-do list — and South Seas definitely has that covered.

At South Seas Island Resort, you can do everything -- or nothing at all and rest in a hammock

At South Seas Island Resort, you can do everything -- or nothing at all and rest in a hammock

Getting out on the water in some form is a good idea for any visit to the southwestern Florida barrier islands, though. At South Seas, you can take your pick: boat tour, sailing school, personal watercraft rental, kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding, even parasailing.

Want to learn to sail? Take lessons in South Seas' sailing school.

Want to learn to sail? Take lessons at South Seas.

Go fishing. Play tennis or golf. Bike around the island. (You can rent bicycles and golf carts to get around the resort’s 330 acres. You can also take the trolley from South Seas’ North Pointe to South Village and back again.)

Look for scheduled activities at Skully’s Family Interactive Center, where children can play arcade games or mini golf, make crafts, read, color and more.

Skully the parrot is on hand to inspire kids who visit Skully's, the home base for everything fun for kids at South Seas Island Resort

Skully the parrot is on hand to inspire kids who visit Skully's, the home base for everything fun for kids at South Seas Island Resort

At Skully's, kids can color, do puzzles, read books, make crafts, play arcade games and more

At Skully's, kids can color, do puzzles, read books, make crafts, play arcade games and more

Check with Skully's for scheduled programs for kids or sign up for a program so parents can enjoy time to themselves

Check with Skully's for scheduled programs for kids or sign up for a program so parents can enjoy time to themselves

Children 6-12 years old can join in the fun at Sanibel Sea School, a nonprofit that teaches kids about ocean ecology while they have fun.

Kids 6-12 years old will have fun at Sea School, a nonprofit organization on resort property that teaches ocean ecology with hands-on activities

Kids 6-12 years old will have fun at Sea School, a nonprofit organization on resort property that teaches ocean ecology with hands-on activities

When you want to really relax and be pampered, head to Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa & Boutique in the resort’s Chadwick’s Square.

Kay Casperson Spa at South Seas Island Resort's Chadwick's Square offers a range of services, beauty products and accessories

Kay Casperson Spa at South Seas Island Resort's Chadwick's Square offers a range of services, beauty products and accessories

A full menu of spa services is available, from salon treatments to massages, facials and wraps.

The Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa & Boutique is a serene place to relax

The Kay Casperson Lifestyle Spa & Boutique is a serene place to relax

South Seas is an excellent wedding destination as well. The resort has a beautiful stretch of beach just for picturesque weddings right on the Gulf of Mexico. (I am thinking vow renewal!)

Dining and Shopping

Let’s talk food — as much a part of a family vacation as anything else! South Seas Island Resort offers everything from fine dining where you can order locally caught fresh fish to a walk-up deli where you can get a sandwich. There’s even a Starbucks coffee shop.

Coming this summer will be an additional location of the popular Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, currently already on Sanibel Island and Fort Myers Beach. Doc Ford’s was founded by local fisherman-turned-author Randy Wayne White.

Mojitos are a specialty drink at Doc Ford's Rum Bar and Grill, set to open this summer at South Seas

Mojitos are a specialty drink at Doc Ford's Rum Bar & Grille, set to open this summer at South Seas

Doc Ford's salmon dish is cooked on a wood plank and is served with delicious sides

Doc Ford

Harbourside Bar & Grill in South Seas’ North Pointe faces the marina and offers fantastic service and local fare for breakfast and dinner.

South Seas' Harbourside Bar & Grill is now offering a superb cheese plate, served with dragon fruit and gelee

South Seas' Harbourside Bar & Grill is now offering a superb cheese plate, served with dragon fruit and gelee

Harbourside Bar & Grill gives families options -- regular kids' fare, or this healthy kids' menu option

Harbourside Bar & Grill gives families options -- regular kids' fare, or this healthy kids' menu option

When in Rome, do as the Roman do. When in Captiva, order seafood! Harbourside Bar & Grill's mahi is fresh and served with buttery vegetables

When in Rome, do as the Romans do; when in Captiva, order seafood! Harbourside Bar & Grill's mahi is fresh and served with buttery vegetables

Harbourside Bar & Grill at South Seas Island Resort offers dining inside, or outside near the marina

Harbourside Bar & Grill at South Seas Island Resort offers dining inside, or outside near the marina

The Pointe, overlooking the pool complex and Pine Island Sound, is a place to find standard dishes at outdoor tables.

The Garden and Grain Salad at The Pointe is full of healthy vegetables -- and can be ordered without the grains

The Garden and Grain Salad at The Pointe is full of healthy vegetables -- and can be ordered without the grains

Request a peach tea punch at The Pointe overlooking one of the pools at South Seas Island Resort

Request a peach tea punch at The Pointe overlooking one of the pools at South Seas Island Resort

Also check out Scoops & Slices, where a wall of candy decorates this pizza and ice cream shop, as well as the Sunset Beach Bar, Ship’s Store and Captiva Provision Company, all on resort property.

Most of the shopping is at Chadwick’s Square, near the resort’s entrance. Find beach gear, shoes, clothes and fun accessories here. South Seas Island Outfitters in the resort’s North Pointe is another place to find beach items and sundries.

Nature

Everywhere you look at South Seas, Captiva Island’s natural beauty is presented. Not just the beautiful green-blue of the water or the pink-orange of the sunsets — flowering trees, mangroves, beach grasses and palms are the backdrop of every visit.

South Seas Island Resort offers natural, beautiful views everywhere you look, like this fountain pond near the entrance

South Seas Island Resort offers natural, beautiful views everywhere you look, like this fountain pond near the entrance

A variety of wildlife make the resort their home, and guests like watching them.

A box turtle lives in the brush near the shore

A box turtle lives in the brush near the shore

Shore birds of all kinds frequent the beach at South Seas Island Resort

Shore birds of all kinds frequent the beach

Ospreys are welcome and easily spotted residents at South Seas Island Resort. Look for their nests on platforms on top of tall poles.

Ospreys are welcome and easily spotted residents at South Seas Island Resort. Look for their nests on platforms on top of tall poles

Dolphins live in groups called pods, and you can see them at South Seas and other areas of Florida's southwestern barrier islands

Dolphins live in groups called pods, and you can see them at South Seas and other areas of Florida's southwestern barrier islands

In fact, a South Seas Island Resort program, ScoutAbout, leads kids on a scavenger hunt throughout the resort’s 330 acres to find kiosks that highlight facts about the surrounding natural environment. Kids can pick up a ScoutAbout map at Skully’s Family Interactive Center or at the front desk. When kids find a ScoutAbout kiosk, they collect a color-coded wrist band. Collect all 15 wrist bands, return to Skully’s, and become an official ScoutAbout member with a place on the Wall of Fame.

Kids pick up wrist bands while learning about nature in South Seas Island Resort's ScoutAbout program

Kids pick up wrist bands while learning about nature in South Seas Island Resort's ScoutAbout program

Excursions

Around the corner from South Seas’ entrance — within walking, biking or golf cart-ing distance — is a small shopping and dining area separate from the resort. This is where you’ll find the famous Bubble Room restaurant so popular with kids, as well as McCarthy’s Marina where Captiva Cruises offers boat tours and day trips to the nearby barrier islands.

Just around the corner from South Seas Island Resort is McCarthy's Marina, where Captiva Cruises offers tours and day trips to other southwestern Florida barrier islands

Just around the corner from South Seas Island Resort is McCarthy's Marina, where Captiva Cruises offers tours and day trips to other southwestern Florida barrier islands

Cayo Costa State Park, a barrier island reached only by boat, is a short trip from South Seas resort

Cayo Costa State Park, on a barrier island reached only by boat, is a short trip from South Seas resort

And if all this poking around the barrier islands has you dreaming of a vacation home, check in to the real estate options available at South Seas Island Resort.

What a suite view! South Seas Island Resort does good R&R.

What a suite view! South Seas Island Resort does good R&R

I want to go back to South Seas and play mermaid with my son again, and recapture that island magic.

Kids enjoy the beach at South Seas resort

Kids enjoy the beach at South Seas resort

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South Seas Island Resort provided a group of bloggers and I with a two-night stay and some meals. All opinions expressed are my own.

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