Sanibel And Captiva are Great for Family Reunions - My Family Travels

Beach house rentals at America’s top coastal resorts, such as Sanibel and Captiva Islands off Florida’s Gulf Coast, make planning and enjoying a small family reunion easy and fun.

Are your family members scattered between Paris, Texas and Paris, France as well as points in between? Plan a get-together at one convenient location to commemorate that special birthday or anniversary. 

Variety of vacation homes and condos on Sanibel and Captiva Islands.
Variety of vacation homes and condos on Sanibel and Captiva Islands offered by Florida Sanibel-Captiva Iland Vacation Rentals company.

There are many good reasons to consider a large house rental for your reunion. A house that accommodates several generations under one roof is economical. Another good reason is that a house provides space for your extended family to spend time together. The cousins will all want to bunk together on the couch, we know. However, having a large house with multiple bedrooms also gives everyone more privacy. (Most rental vacation homes have one or more sofabeds and roll-aways for extra kids.) 

Here are my six top beach destinations in the United States, chosen because they are easily reachable, have enough varied activities to please most kids, parents and grandparents, and offer fair weather almost year-round. We’ll focus on the Sanibel and Captiva areas here.

Cape Cod, Massachusetts
Newport Beach, California
San Diego, California
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Galveston, Texas

Above are some reviews of house rental agencies and what each destination has to offer families.

Tips for Planning A Big Family Beach House Rental

Girl and boy explore seashells on the beach with a photo guide.
Girl and boy explore seashells on the beach with a photo guide. Photo c. Sundial Beach Resort, Sanibel Island, Florida

Once you’ve reviewed the “virtues” of each of my favorite destinations, discuss them with other family members. Determine how convenient they will be for all parties, and decide whether you’re heading East or West.  Then you can determine with other family members how many bedrooms and bathrooms everyone will need. Allow as much flexibility in your rental dates as possible.

I interviewed several real estate agents for this story. They mentioned that since large rental homes with five or six bedrooms are rare, they are often booked far in advance. An insider tip they shared: Many families only list their homes for rental with agencies after the January 1 cutoff date. Booking last minute might turn up a deal but more likely, the best choice of rental homes is available when you contact recommended rental agents early in the year.

What’s Special About Sanibel and Captiva Islands, Florida

Aerial view of Sundial Beach Resort, Sanibel Island, Florida
Aerial view of Sundial Beach Resort, Sanibel Island, Florida

Don’t forget to bring your pails and magnifying glasses to the “Shelling Capital” of the Western Hemisphere. 

Sanibel is one of the world’s few barrier islands which run perpendicular to the coast, and its east-west orientation in the Gulf of Mexico allows more than 275 different kinds of shells to wash up on the island’s beaches. 

Also of  interest to all ages in the family are the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum and the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, a 5,000-acre home to more than 200 species of birds, as well as alligators, turtles, otters and manatees.  Both Sanibel, lined with low-rise condos facing the tropical Gulf Coast, and Captiva, dotted with wealthy private homes, don’t offer night life or thrills. However, take the opprotunity to relax, stroll or rent a bike and enjoy cycling along the numerous bike paths through mangrove forests.

You may also want to avail yourselves of the wonderful children’s program (for kids ages 4-12) at The Sundial Beach Resort. In the past, they have accepted non-guests on a first-come, first-served basis. Call them at 866/565-5093 to check availability.

For vacation rental options, try the Sanibel/Captiva Chamber of Commerce at (239/472-1080) or review their website for lodging specials. Two recommended rental agents are Vacasa and Re/MAX Real Estate on the Islands.

Be sure to start your search early if you’re looking for one of the larger, multi-bedroom homes or condos.

Dear Reader: This page may contain affiliate links which may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Our independent journalism is not influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative unless it is clearly marked as sponsored content. As travel products change, please be sure to reconfirm all details and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.

Comment on this article

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.