Posted by: westwindinntruesanibel | October 1, 2014

Guide to the Island Hopper Songwriter’s Festival

Island Hopper Songwriter’s Festival, a two-week event throughout Sanibel, Captiva and Fort Myers beaches, is kicking off this upcoming weekend! We invite you to enjoy exclusive performances from more than 40 nationally-acclaimed songwriters at venues across our islands—with West Wind Inn as the perfect spot to relax and retreat between the non-stop entertainment.With FREE performances from some of the greatest nationally-acclaimed and Billboard chart songwriters, you sure won’t want to miss this event!

In celebration for the upcoming festival, we’ve compiled the ultimate “411” guide to your weekend at the Island Hopper Songwriters Fest including a list of venues with distance from West Wind Inn, schedule of events, transportation information, and other useful tips to make your first Island Hopper experience something to remember!

West Wind Inn is less than 20 minutes away from each venue (which is only about a 50-minute bike ride), but far enough away so you can still find that peaceful beach setting when you need it when you stay with us. For a printable version of the full schedule of events, Click here!

Old Captiva House and Crow’s Nest
15951 Captiva Dr. Captiva, 16 min car ride

Doc Fords
5400 Plantation Road, Captiva, 20 min car ride

Captiva Island Inn
11508 Andy Rosse Ln., Captiva, 20 min car ride

Cantina Captiva
14970 Captiva Drive, Captiva, 19 min car ride

Key Lime Bistro
11509 Andy Rosse Ln., Captiva, 20 min car ride

Mucky Duck
11546 Andy Rosse Ln., Captiva, 20 min car ride

RC Otters
11509 Andy Rosse Ln., Captiva, 19 min car ride

South Seas Island Resort
5400 Plantation Rd., Captiva, 21 min car ride


Toll Info

If you’re planning on going off and on the island, don’t forget to have some cash on you for the Sanibel Causeway Toll. There are no performances off Island for the first weekend, but just in case you feel like exploring the area, make sure to have the $6 on you.



Bicycling is a very popular activity on the island. While you may not be able to walk to and from these destinations, we have plenty of recommendations on how to get you where you need to go!

  • Park and Ride from Chadwicks Square, stopping at Andy Rosse Lane, which will get you to Keylime Bistro, Mucky Duck and RC Otters. (5400 Plantation Rd, Captiva, FL)
  • Eat at RC Otters, Cantina Captiva, Captiva Pizza or Keylime Bistro and get a free ride on the S Car Go back to your hotel, or the beach!
  • Bicycle or Segway Rentals

o   Billy’s Bikes & Rentals located at 1509 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel (Closed Sunday)

o   Finnimore’s Cycle Shop located at 2353 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel (Open 7 days a week


Need a taxi?

o   Sanibel Taxi Toll Free: (888) 527-7806

o   Sanibel Cab Company Phone: (239) 472-0151

o   Tip: the cost of a taxi from Southwest Florida International Airport (RSW) to Fort Myers would be approximately $35 for 1 to 3 passengers


Biking Info

If you are going to be biking to and from your destinations, click here to view more information on biking paths and road rules.

Click here for a map of Sanibel and Captiva, provided by The Sanibel Chamber of Commerce.



If you’re heading to the beach, public parking lots have park-and-pay machines. The cost is $2 per hour, and each machine produces a receipt for you to put on your dash.  The machines do not make change, but they accept $1, $5 and $10 bills, as well as Visa and MasterCard credit cards. Handicapped parking is free on Sanibel.

Roadside parking is not allowed, and some areas are restricted to those with permits.  Permits are available to non-residents at a cost of $80 to $160.  They are available at the Sanibel Recreation Center located at 3880 Sanibel-Captiva Road, Sanibel Island, FL.

Shopping, restaurants, and local attractions have their own free parking available, but it may be limited if a performance is popular. It’s best to carpool, take a taxi, or carve out some extra time for a bike ride if the event is packed.


Local Tips

  • Be sure to apply sunscreen frequently avoid getting a sunburn while outdoors. Even if it seems overcast for a while, it’s still important to protect your skin from harmful rays. In addition to sunscreen, wearing a hat would also be a good idea.
  • Hydrate often. Don’t go on a long bike ride without a bottle of water or sports drink.
  • Turns out, it’s pretty sunny in the sunshine state. Especially on Sanibel Island! Don’t forget to protect your eyes with shades.
  • Attire is pretty casual and laid back on Sanibel Island.
  • Up until October 31st, it’s turtle nesting season. Please do not pick up or move any of the turtles you may find on the beach.


If you need downtime from all of the festivities, enjoy relaxing by our pool, take a walk down the beach, or click here to find out more about the different adventures that await you in the Southwest Florida area.

If you still haven’t booked your room for the festival, there is still time! Take advantage of our specials and receive a free night’s stay—click here for details.


…And most importantly, Enjoy!

Contact our front desk at (800) 824-0476 or (239) 472-1541 check on room availability, so you can TRULY enjoy this great event while experiencing TRUE Sanibel at West Wind Inn.



Posted by: westwindinntruesanibel | August 21, 2014

Par your car. Lock your bike. ‘Ding’ Days offers special free tram tours

Experience “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge in comfort – for free – during this year’s annual Ding Darling Days, October 19-25. Refuge vendor Tarpon Bay Explorers (TBE) will offer free tram tours of Wildlife Drive and beyond.

WWI DIng Tram

On Sunday Family Fun Day, Oct. 19, six one-hour narrated tours, a value of $13 for adults and $8 for children, along Wildlife Drive will be conducted, starting at 11 a.m. and every hour on the hour on a first-come basis. To take the tour, check in at the tram booth in the main parking lot of the Refuge. Due to limited seating, an early check-in is encouraged and may even be mandatory

If you miss Sunday’s free tram tours, discounted tram tours will run daily during the week of ”Ding” Darling Days, including Friday, Oct. 24, when Wildlife Drive is closed to all other vehicular traffic. Tour times are 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. daily. The tour price is $9.75 for adults and $6 for children, a discount of 25%. Call 239-472-8900 for reservations ahead of time.

West Wind Inn is always happy to announce new opportunities to see and save at “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge, especially because its Sanibel Island location makes West Wind Inn the closest and most convenient Sanibel beach inn and resort for visiting “Ding” Darling NWR any time of year.

Due to their past popularity, free “Ding” Darling Days Bunche Beach Birding Tram tours and Estuary Exploration Tours are again on the agenda this year. Reservations and a refundable deposit are required; call 239-472-8900 as soon as possible, because space fills up quickly.

If you miss Sunday’s free tram tours, discounted tram tours will run daily during the week of”Ding” Darling Days, including Friday, Oct. 24, when Wildlife Drive is closed to all other vehicular traffic. Tour times are 10:00 a.m. And 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. daily. The tour price is $9.75 for adults and $6 for children, a discount of 25%. Call 239-472-8900 for reservations ahead of time.


Posted by: westwindinntruesanibel | August 4, 2014

Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum opens new exhibit.

You don’t have to be a mathematician to appreciate the mathematical nature of Nautilus shell formation. But you might want to become one after you’re exposed to the fascinating formula of the Fibonacci spiral.

There’s more to learn about the Fibonacci spiral and the nautilus at Sanibel Island’s Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum’s new exhibit, “The Nimble Nautilus!”

It has been installed in the lobby hall of the Museum’s main floor.

Recently-appointed Science Director & Curator of the Bailey-Mathews National Shell Museum and previous Education Director & Curator, Dr. Jose’ H. Leal, tells us, “The exhibit displays a collection of nautilus shells, comprising five species. Included in the exhibit is an ‘albino’ chambered nautilus (Nautilus pompilius) shell recently donated by member, Roger Harned, who also donated the white-patch nautilus (Nautilus stenomphalus) in the exhibit. The exhibit also expounds on the mathematical properties of nautilus shells”.

Those properties conform to the Fibonacci spiral, as described in this infographic.Nautilus math


Sanibel Island is privileged to have the museum here. As the Sanibel Island beach resort closest in proximity to the museum, The West Wind Inn always gets excited when there are new exhibits, and news about other museum contributions to enriching our understanding of shells.

Make it a point to check into the West Wind Inn this fall and winter to take advantage of all Bailey-Matthews offers. Rooms are available for as brief a stay as one night, although longer stays can qualify for discounted rates.

When you visit the museum, be sure to congratulate Dr. Leal on his latest appointment.


The Islander newspaper’s 2015 poll is underway. The West Wind Inn, already one of Sanibel’s most popular beach resorts would appreciate your vote. In order for your vote to count, you must use the official ballot in the Sanibel-Captiva Islander. Complete the ballot and send it to the Islander. Only an original ballot will be counted. No photocopies or reproductions are allowed. (Yes, the Islander wants to sell papers. It’s also a way to reduce the possibility of a manipulated election. And a way for you to show the locals who you think is the “Best ” )

In order for the ballot to be counted it must also have votes in at least 25 categories. (Again, a way to assure the vote is not being “gamed”.) Newspapers with ballots are widely available on the island. From random newspaper dispensers to the newspaper office, in the rear rank of the Village Shopping and Office Plaza at 2340 Periwinkle.

Here’s photo of the West Wind Inn pool and beach as a reminder of the “True Sanibel” relaxation and refreshment your Sanibel Island inn provides.West Wind Inn Sanibel Beach Resort


You can vote for at least 25 categories of services that you believe are the best on Sanibel Island. Please include a vote for West Wind Inn in the categories “Best Full Service Resort”. And “Best Hotel/Inn” The submission deadline is August 6, 2014. So there is no time to waste. The West Wind Inn thanks you for your support and loyalty.

Posted by: westwindinntruesanibel | July 28, 2014

Sanibel scores another beach win.

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, Bowman’s Beach on Sanibel Island is one of three in Florida that did not exceed the Environmental Protection Agency’s bacteria standard from 2009 through 2013.

Bowman’s Beach is a Lee County-owned park which accounts for it’s inclusion in water tests, while other Gulf beaches on Sanibel Island were not tested.

James Evans, Sanibel’s director of natural resources, commented that, “a few years prior Bowman’s Beach had high bacteria counts.”

Prior to 2008, bacteria from a nearby sewage treatment plant may have migrated to Bowman’s Beach. After the city of Sanibel bought the plant that year, it was shut down. Bowman’s Beach has been bacteria-free ever since.

The mitigation of high bacteria counts isSanibel beach at West wind INN good news for Sanibel residents and visitors alike, especially at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn beach resort. Situated as it is immediately on the beach, with just steps from the resort rooms and suites to the sand and water, West Wind Inn is always interested in guests having a refreshing, relaxing, safe beach experience.

West Wind Inn’s beachfront is far enough up-current from Bowman’s Beach that the previously offending bacteria releases into the Gulf were unlikely to have reached the resort’s shores. Nevertheless, it is reassuring to know that you could walk the full length of the generous Sanibel Island Gulf beach in either direction from West Wind Inn and would never have encountered excessive bacteria counts.

As Evans points out, the report “…is an important tool for beachgoers to consider. It provides a big picture for a year at all beaches that the state reports and gives a sense which beaches are more or less likely to have contaminated water.”

Posted by: westwindinntruesanibel | July 18, 2014

What will eat your bones?

A gruesome concept to be sure, but interesting nonetheless.

Dr. José H. Leal, Ph.D., Curator & Director of Education at the Bailey-Mathews National Shell Museum, our neighbor on Sanibel’s San-Cap Road wrote,

“Another of the deep-sea mollusks discussed in my recent presentation at Mollusca 2014 in Mexico City was the bone-eating deep-sea snail Rubyspira osteovora Johnson et al., 2010.

“One of two species in the genus Rubyspira, the bone-eating deep-sea snail that derives its nutrition from decomposing whale bones. The species is found exclusively in whale falls, which are deep-sea ecosystems sustained by the energy released by decaying whale carcasses.

“The genus name Rubyspira pays a tribute to the dead whale, nicknamed Ruby, on which the snails were first found by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Marine Research Institute research team.

“The Deep-sea Mollusks exhibit in the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum includes a specimen of bone-eating deep-sea snail (see below) donated especially for the exhibit by Drs. Robert Vrijenhoek and Shannon Johnson of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.”
The Museum is a major attraction on Sanibel Island and one of West Wind Inn guests’ favorite non-beach excursions.
Posted by: westwindinntruesanibel | July 8, 2014

West Wind Inn joins in praise for Sanibel’s Shell Museum

It seems our “little” shell museum is not so little after all.
Shell Museum
According to an article by Craig Garrett in the Breeze newspapers, the Bailey- Matthews National Shell Museum, located on Sanibel Island, has a current inventory that exceeds 58,000 shell lots.That’s the result of a count in progress by museum volunteers and staff. The lots amount to 275,000 individual shells that have been collected by the museum or have been donated to the museum by collectors over the past two decades. Some of them date back to the 1800s.

Actually, the museum estimates that the current count represents less than half of the shells that have been donated to it. The figure includes wet specimens preserved in alcohol for future DNA testing and the fabulous Redfern Collection of shells from the Bahamas.

The Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum is located off of San-Cap Road. The museum started as a repository for research purposes. It has grown to become a major attraction on Sanibel Island, which is known as one the foremost shelling destinations in the world.

Pam Rambo, who writes the “ILoveShelling” blog, considers it a privilege for Sanibel and its visitors to have this attraction. “Shellers around the world know Sanibel and Captiva and the Bailey-Matthews,” Rambo said. “It is a premier museum, and a very cool place.”

As the closest Sanibel beach resort to the Bailey-Matthews National Shell Museum, the West Wind Inn shares Rambo’s estimation of its value. For guests who stay at the West Wind Inn, the museum is an easy venue to visit.

Posted by: westwindinntruesanibel | July 6, 2014

Give Yourself a lift at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn

Give Yourself a lift at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn.

Posted by: westwindinntruesanibel | July 6, 2014

Give Yourself a lift at Sanibel’s West Wind Inn

“Lift” is the word the travel trade uses to describe airlines and flights coming to an airport.

At Southwest Florida’s RSW airport, lift is a serious consideration. If airlines discontinue or reduce schedules to Fort Myers, it has a pronounced negative effect on the tourism business. Folks who can’t get here, can’t stay here. That can result in diminished economic activity for the region.

On the other hand, when new airlines come into the market or new flights are added, one can count on more visitors arriving. That’s more people and business to fuel the area’s dominant tourism industry.

So, not only is it “lift”, it is “a lift” for people who make their livings satisfying visitors.

In the case of Sanibel and The West Wind Inn, it’s also a lift for visitors like you. You come here to escape the pressures and pace of home. West Wind Inn Sanibel Beach Resort

That’s what Sanibel’s West Wind Inn beach resort provides: a quiet, gentle, nature-loving respite, with friendly accommodations, good food and a great beach to “comb”.

So… when the airport authority issues reports like this, it’s a lift for everyone.






American Airlines
• Chicago-O’Hare (ORD)
• Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW)
Delta Air Lines/Shuttle America/Chautauqua
• Atlanta (ATL)
• Cincinnati (CVG)
• Columbus (CMH) – seasonal
• Detroit-Metro (DTW)
• Indianapolis (IND) – seasonal
• Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP)
• New York-LaGuardia (LGA)
Frontier Airlines 
• Cleveland (CLE)
• Denver (DEN)
• Trenton, NJ (TTN)
• Washington D.C,-Dulles (IAD), starts September 9
• Wilmington/Philadelphia New Castle (ILG)
JetBlue Airways
• Boston (BOS)
• Hartford (BDL) – seasonal
• New York-Kennedy (JFK)
• New York-LaGuardia (LGA)
• Newark-Liberty (EWR)
• Washington, D.C., Reagan National (DCA)-seasonal, starts December 18
• White Plains (HPN)
Silver Airways 
• Key West (EYW)
• Orlando (MCO)
Southwest (WN)/AirTran Airways 
• Akron-Canton (CAK) – operated by FL, seasonal

• Albany (ALB)-operated by WN, seasonal
• Atlanta (ATL) – operated by WN & FL
• Baltimore-Washington (BWI) – operated by both WN & FL
• Boston (BOS) – operated by WN, seasonal
• Buffalo (BUF) – operated by WN, seasonal
• Chicago-Midway (MDW) – operated by both WN & FL
• Cleveland (CLE) – operated by WN, seasonal
• Columbus (CMH) – operated by WN
• Denver (DEN)-operated by WN, seasonal
• Detroit (DTW)-operated by FL, seasonal
• Flint (FNT) – operated by WN, seasonal
• Grand Rapids (GRR) – operated by WN, seasonal
• Hartford-Bradley (BDL) – operated by WN, seasonal
• Indianapolis (IND) – operated by WN
• Kansas City (MCI)-operated by WN
• Long Island-Islip (ISP) – operated by WN, seasonal
• Milwaukee (MKE) – operated by WN
• Minneapolis Saint-Paul (MSP) – operated by WN, seasonal
• Nashville (BNA) – operated by WN, seasonal
• Philadelphia (PHL) – operated by WN
• Pittsburgh (PIT) – operated by WN
• Providence (PVD) – operated by WN, seasonal
• Washington, D.C., Reagan National (DCA) – operated by FL
• Saint Louis (STL) – operated by WN
Spirit Airlines 
• Atlantic City (ACY)
• Boston (BOS) – seasonal
• Chicago-O’Hare (ORD)
• Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) – seasonal
• Detroit-Metro (DTW)
• Latrobe/Pittsburg (LBE) – starts December 18
• Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP) – seasonal
Sun Country Airlines 
• Minneapolis-Saint Paul (MSP)
United Airlines/United Express
• Chicago-O’Hare (ORD)
• Cleveland (CLE)
• Denver (DEN)-seasonal
• Houston-Intercontinental (IAH)
• Newark (EWR)
US Airways
• Charlotte (CLT)
• Philadelphia (PHL)
• Washington, D.C., Reagan National (DCA)-seasonal

Air Berlin
• Düsseldorf, Germany (DUS)
Air Canada
• Montreal, Canada (YUL) – seasonal

• Toronto, Canada (YYZ)
• Ottawa, Canada (YOW) – seasonal
• Toronto, Canada (YYZ)

We are uplifted to have so
many friends in so many places.

Posted by: westwindinntruesanibel | June 27, 2014

A Season For Sanibel’s West Wind Inn Music Lovers

We know that guests at the West Wind Inn on Sanibel Island’s beach appreciate the finer things in life, So, we offer this exciting news: With a new Music Director in place, the Southwest Florida Symphony is set for a great 2014-2015 season, including four concerts at BIG Arts Schein Hall.

First up, starting December 17, 2014, will be a Holiday Pops-Christmas in Paradise Concert. The concert starts at 8:00 PM under the baton of Conductor Leif Bjaland. Selections will include “Feliz Navidad” and “Mele Kalikimaka: The Hawaiian Christmas Song.”

On January 14, 2015, at 8:00 PM, the classics take over as new Music Director Nir Kabaretti conducts his first official concert as music director for the Southwest Florida Symphony. -maestrokbaretti.jpg20140521The title is Simply Classics and will include Mozart’s “Piano Concerto in A” and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 4.”

On February 11, 2015, suitably for Valentine’s time, love is in the air as Conductor Bjaland salutes romance with Salut D’Amour, with selections to include Bizet’s “Carmen Suite No. 1” and Verdi’s “String Symphony in E minor.” Starting time is 8:00 PM again.

The fourth concert at Schein hall will feature Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Bjaland will conduct.

For more information about the concerts, including ticket options and any changes in the schedule, visit Or call 239-418-1500.

By the way, each of these concerts will also be performed at nearby Shell Point, if you can’t get to the BIG Arts concerts. In addition, the season includes classical and pop concerts at Fort Myers’ Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall on the campus of Edison State College.

(Photo of Maestro Kabaretti by Andrew West/The News-Press)

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