Sanibel Beach Trip Wrap Up | All the Details You’ve Been Asking For!

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
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couple on the beach at sunset on sanibel island

We’re headed home from our beach trip today! We had an awesome time with our son and daughter-in-law. It was such a privilege to have them all to ourselves at a place we all love so much! I really made an effort to relax, and only uploaded one blog post (Click HERE if you missed my recipe for Suzy’s Southwestern Shrimp—it’s a summer fave, for sure!) I managed to post on Instagram & Facebook twice a day, and I posted to my Stories a bunch. If you’re not following me on one or both of those sites, please click HERE for Instagram and HERE for Facebook. I don’t want you to miss a thing next time!

I got lots of DMs (direct messages) on social media about where we stayed, what we did, and what I was wearing, so I thought I’d put it all into a post for you guys so you’d have everything all in one place!

Where We Were

When I was growing up, my family moved every two or three years. Even though I had to adjust to a new school, new friends, and a new home every few years, one thing remained the same: summers on Sanibel Island. It’s an island in southwest Florida that’s easy to access via direct flights on major airlines right to Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers. One of our favorite things about it is the fact that more than half of the island is made up of wildlife refuges, the largest being J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. The island is 12 miles long and three miles wide at the widest point, and it features 22-miles of paved bike trails! (For more about Sanibel Island, click HERE.)

My parents eventually retired there, blessing us with a beautiful place to take our kids when they were growing up. Once my parents moved off the island to a retirement community, Bob and I decided that we absolutely had to keep a presence on the island. So we saved and eventually bought in Casa Ybel Resort, which is the place that I grew up going before my parents retired to the island and built their house. It’s a pretty special resort, with every unit facing the beautiful turquoise Gulf of Mexico. (For a live beach cam, click HERE.)

We get there every chance we can, and this time we took our son and daughter-in-law with us. Bob and our son like to fish, and my daughter-in-law and I like to read on the beach, so we’re good traveling buddies. 

What We Did

Even though I’ve been coming to the island since I was little, every time we’re there Bob and I try to do something that we’ve never done before! This time we let the kids pick what it would be, and they chose a sunset cruise! So we booked one on Captiva Cruises. Captiva Island is the island that abuts Sanibel, so it’s just a short car ride away. It was such a great experience, and a sweet reminder that God paints the sky for those He loves every night, whether we pause to appreciate it or not. (And I need to pause and enjoy it more often.) 

A while ago, I wrote an entire blog post about all of our favorite things to do and places to eat in Sanibel. Click HERE to see it. Here’s a rundown of some of the things we did this time:

  • Bob and our son usually go fishing with their favorite fishing guide—Joey, from Captain Joe’s Charters, but he had a family commitment, so this time they went fishing with Joe with Barefoot Charters. They had a great time and caught blacktip shark, bluefish, pompano, jack, ladyfish, and spotted sea trout.
  • The guys also went fishing multiple times in sea kayaks in Tarpon Bay. They caught redfish, jack, ladyfish, and snapper.
  • Casa Ybel faces the Gulf of Mexico, but sometimes we like to head over to the bay side of the island, for crystal clear water that’s kind of like a bathtub! The men were hooking tarpon, but sadly, didn’t bring any in this trip.
  • My daughter-in-law and I went to the historic Sanibel Lighthouse and the Sanibel Fishing Pier, on the eastern tip of Sanibel.
  • We also went to the historic Chapel by the Sea and cemetery on Captiva Island.
  • As I  mentioned before, we took a sunset cruise on the Lady Chadwick with Captiva Cruises.

Where We Ate

As I ‘fessed up in my blog post earlier this week, when we’re here, we eat in for breakfast and lunch, but we almost always go out for dinner. Here’s where we ate this trip:

What I Wore

For details on what I always pack for our beach trips, click HERE.
For my recommendations on buying bathing suits when you’re over fifty, click HERE.

I’ll try to give you sizing guidance on each outfit. Note that when I say something fits TTS, that means “true to size.” 

woman carrying pink bag in garden setting on sanibel beach trip travel outfit

LILLY PULITZER “Be the Sunshine” V-Neck Tee | NYDJ White Ankle Jeans | TORY BURCH White Miller Sandals | BARRINGTON St. Anne Tote | APPLE Pink Watch | NORDSTROM Faux Pearl Stud Earrings

 

This was my travel outfit the day we left for our Sanibel beach trip! Don’t you love the message on the tee?It fits nice and loose, so if you want it to be more fitted, you might consider ordering a size down. Of course, it was freezing on the plane, so I was glad to have this pretty white cardigan I picked up a few weeks ago with me! My favorite thing about this outfit, however, has to be my Barrington St. Anne Tote. It holds everything from my laptop and my Kindle to the pair of white denim shorts I changed into when we arrived in toasty Florida!

woman in garden setting on sanibel beach trip

LILLY PULITZER Skinny Pant | LILLY PULITZER Reversible V-Neck Top | LILLY PULITZER Pearl-Embellished Sandals | WHBM White Woven Back Cardigan with Faux Pearl Buttons | APPLE Pink Watch | NORDSTROM Faux Pearl Stud Earrings

 

I wore this outfit to dinner one night and took my white cardigan with me for warmth like I do every time we go out to eat! (Do you do that too?) These skinny pants have a matching top, but in this case, I paired it with this clever, reversible v-neck sleeveless top I keep mentioning to you all. It’s the best travel top because if you’re a little messy with the ketchup, ????‍♀️ you can reverse it for the next wearing! It comes in a bunch of color and pattern combos, but I went with white for maximum versatility. Both of these fit TTS.

 

woman in bikini on sanibel island beach trip

SPANX Swim Convertible Bra | SPANX Adjustable High-Rise Swim Brief | TORY BURCH Sunglasses | APPLE Pink Watch (It’s waterproof!)

 

My bikini top and bottom are from SPANX, and lemme tell ya’ straight up: they do everything you’d expect a bathing suit made by SPANX would do! I appreciated the fact that the straps on the top were adjustable just like a bra top, and the ruching on the sides of the bottom was adjustable so I could customize how much leg I wanted to show. (Er, not very much! ????) For ordering, use the sizing guidelines on the SPANX website. I’m wearing my normal size, but could easily have sized up.

woman in one-shoulder dress posing in front of a plane on sanibel island

VINEYARD VINES One-Shoulder Gingham Dress | TORY BURCH White Miller Sandals | TORY BURCH Sunglasses | APPLE Pink Watch | NORDSTROM Faux Pearl Stud Earrings

 

I wore this the night we ate at Gramma Dots. It’s located at the beautiful Sanibel Marina, and it’s always fun to walk around and look at the yachts (and the plane!) before dinner. We usually eat outside, so I dressed for the heat in this darling seersucker gingham one-shoulder dress. It traveled so well! (Read that: No wrinkles!) I thought it fit a little big up top, but I ended up in my normal size.

woman walking in shallow water on the beach in sanibel island wearing black coverup and sunglasses

MARLEY LILLY Pom Pom Coverup | TORY BURCH Sunglasses | APPLE Pink Watch

 

The next day Bob and our son wanted to go and fish for tarpon on the bay side of the island, so we headed over to enjoy the calm, turquoise water and shell. Sanibel Island is home to the National Shell Museum and ranks among the top shelling locations in the world because of geography. ???? The east-west torque of Sanibel’s south end acts kind of like a shovel that scoops up all the shells that the Gulf of Mexico imports from The Caribbean and other southern seas. If you love shells, a Sanibel beach trip is the trip for you!

I’m wearing this darling pom pom coverup that comes in both black with white tassels and white with multi-colored tassels! They’re made of a cotton and spandex blend, so they feel like your favorite broken-in tee! Monogramming is free and you can either order in regular or plus, but that’s as specific as the sizes go.

woman posing in front of cheeburger restaurant on sanibel island

CABANA LIFE Tassel Shift Dress | LILLY PULITZER Pearl-Embellished Sandals | APPLE Pink Watch

 

This tassel shift dress was the perfect thing to wear the night we decided to take a break from seafood and stuff our faces with burgers, fries, and shakes! I ate myself silly, but thanks to the shift style of this dress, no one could tell that I looked about five months pregnant when we finished! ???? And did I mention that it’s UPF 50 for sun protection? ???? (For info about the difference between UPF and SPF, click HERE.) Also, it has pockets and y’all know how I feel about that! #welovepockets ???? The fit is TTS.

woman in black and white striped dress on the captiva cruises lady chadwick

MARLEY LILLY Bow Swing Dress | TORY BURCH White Miller Sandals | APPLE Pink Watch | NORDSTROM Faux Pearl Stud Earrings

 

Can I tell you how flattering the cut of this bow swing dress is? It’s a little on the short side (I’m 5’5″.), but it felt just about perfect for a beach trip! I wore it the night we went on our sunset cruise, and honestly, I was so enamored with the gorgeousness (Is that a word?! ????) of the sunset, I plain forgot to snag a picture of the back! (I’m just dying for you to see it, so click HERE if you want to check it out!) It runs TTS and also comes in the cute tropical print I’m wearing below!

woman wearing tropical shirt sitting on railing of colorfully painted restaurant on sanibel island

MARLEY LILLY Monogrammed Pattern Top | OLD NAVY Midrise White Denim Shorts (3″ inseam) | TORY BURCH White Miller Sandals | APPLE Pink Watch

 

Bob took this picture outside the Sunset Grill just following their fishing trip with Barefoot Charters. I made him scrub the mess out of his hands before I would hand over my phone to let him take it because I knew he had fish ???? guts all over himself and I didn’t want it on my phone! Hahaha! This classic top is cut straight for maximum versatility, and I love the woven detailing at the sleeves and neck. It’s cute tucked in, but also works as a tunic. It’s on sale right now for under $15 and also comes in black & white stripes.

woman on the the beach at sunset on sanibel isalnd

CABANA LIFE Santorini Shift Dress | LILLY PULITZER Pearl-Embellished Sandals

 

Am I the only one with a big love for the shift dress? I mean, it really is the greatest style of dress ever invented, amirite?! It covers a multitude of sins, and since this one is from Cabana Life, it’s UPF 50. Also…pockets! #welovepockets If you order, I’d go with your normal size. You will LOVE the fit!

This might surprise you, but these pearl-embellished sandals are my favorite purchase of the summer so far! They are so comfortable and classy. I wore them to our church here last Sunday, and they immediately dress up any outfit! I’ve said it before, but I thought the pearls might have rough edges, but they don’t! If you’re not into heels or wedges, these sandals are seriously dressy enough to wear anywhere from the grocery store to a summer wedding. #love

beach bag from sanibel beach trip

WALMART “Off Duty” Beach Bag

 

This $14 beach bag stood up to the sand and surf, and the message reminded me to relax! You may remember that I collaborated with Walmart on a couple of posts earlier this year, and I was especially taken with their adorable and well-priced beach bags! I’m still thinking about snagging this one before our next trip!

woman in bikini walking on the beach in sanibel island

AMAZON Lashapear Two-Piece High Waist Floral Bikini Set | TORY BURCH Sunglasses | WALMART Pink Float

 

You might want to sit down for this one. I’m serious. This two-piece bikini set is $16.99. I’m not even kidding you. For. Both. Pieces. (Together.) It’s the companion suit of the one below that I wore the last time we were in Sanibel. (Also $16.99 for the set!) Free shipping and returns too, so there’s no harm in trying it! The fit is TTS or a little on the large size. My favorite thing about it is that the waistband is on the loose side, so it doesn’t squeeze you and make that lovely muffin top! We all have that loose skin that we got back in the day when we carried those big ole’ now-adult kids inside us! #takethatkids

woman in two piece bathing suit on a beach

AMAZON Lashapear Two Piece High Waist Bikini Set | TORY BURCH Sunglasses

 

Seriously, $16.99! And don’t tell anybody, but I like these two suits even better than the fancy SPANX top and bottom that I wore above!

woman wearing blue and white maxi dress standing inside a tree trunk

BANANA REPUBLIC FACTORY Tube Top Knit Maxi Dress | TORY BURCH White Miller Sandals | NORDSTROM Faux Pearl Stud Earrings | APPLE Pink Watch

 

I haven’t shopped much at Banana Republic’s Factory store, but when I tried on this dress, I couldn’t believe how expensive it looked! The pattern of the stripes gives it such flattering lines, and it is incredibly comfortable. It has an empire waist and the skirt is a faux wrap skirt, which lets you show a little leg when you walk if you’re so inclined! ???? It fits TTS.

I hope I covered everything you wanted to know about our Sanibel beach trip! If not, leave me a comment below, and I’ll get back to you, okay? Are you headed to the beach this summer?

Blessings,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Suzy Mighell

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Suzy!
    I really enjoyed this post! It is a special time when we can travel and have uninterrupted time with our adult children. You look great! I even took a chance and ordered the $16.99 bathing suit from Amazon! We have a pool, so I break out my 2 piece options when it’s just me and my hubby. 🙂 Not bold enough to show off my belly to more folks than him!!
    I see that you worship at a PCA church when in FL. Is your TX church a PCA as well?
    Sanibel is still on my list to get to from here in GA…so close, and yet so far!
    Hope you have a great weekend!
    Betsie

    1. Betsie,
      Thank you for your comment! Yes! Our churches here AND in Texas are PCA churches! Our church in Dallas is large, so we really enjoy the smaller one when we come here, and we adore the pastor and his family! I hope you like the swimsuit! As I said in the post, I grew up coming to Florida, so I am probably more comfortable in a 2–piece than a 1-piece! (I hate the way a 1-piece feels when it gets wet and sticks to me – hahaha!) I drove down from Valdosta, GA recently and it was right at 5 hours, so you’re right – close and yet so far! Now I know why you’re so precious – you Georgia people are just the sweetest!!! Happy weekend, Betsie! xoxo
      Suzy

  2. Hi Suzy!

    What’s the bra situation on the bow swing and Santorini shift dresses?

    Thanks!

    1. Kellie,
      Such a good question! Strapless (or strapless with copious padding if you’re built like me????)! Thanks for asking! xoxo Suzy

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