Tropical Sands Resort in Fort Myers Beach, FL.
Day One travel and arrival at Tropical Sands Resort
I was moving from my resort in Panama City Beach to Fort Myers Beach, so it was a full 8-hour day drive. I woke to catch the sunrise again in Panama City Beach and then hit the road first thing. I knew if I could get going early, I would be able to avoid some traffic on the way.
I took Interstate 10 to Interstate 75 near Lake City, FL. Then just followed 75 down for an almost straight shot. The drive was not bad at all and traffic was light for the summer.
I made good time and check-in here was 1 hour earlier than most at 3 PM so I checked into my room first and then headed out for something to eat after getting settled. I had skipped breakfast to make better time down, so I was about ready to eat my shoes.
I went to Fish-Tale for an early dinner. It was a sound side restaurant with direct water views and good food. I enjoyed my Coconut Shrimp followed by the entrée which I chose Lobster Mac & Cheese. When combined with a few drinks that said “I just drove 8 hours and am glad I have stopped” to my brain I was a happy guy.
Next, it was back to the resort to find the pool. My room had a pool view, so it was very easy to find. I went into the room, dropped my stuff, and took a B-Line towards the pool for a swim. I figured I would head to the beach tomorrow. I still had that moving feeling from being in the car all day.
The resort was nice, and the rooms were all 2-bedroom and large here. You could see a hint of the ocean from in between the resorts one row over and directly on the beach. This was not a beach view kind of resort. It has a nice pool view, and a comfortable location, however. Very close to the beach with just one street to cross and not much distance at all to the ocean.
The rooms here or villas were nice and large and felt more like staying at someone’s condo near the beach than anything else.
The villas were full of amenities, having everything I look for in a resort. The villas were a giant 1,300 square foot which as beach villas go is about 400 square feet larger than most. This gave the villa a warm, comfortable, easy feeling.
- Cable TV
- Coffee Maker
- DVD Player
- Ice Maker
- Iron/Ironing Board
Then the resort itself offers all of these options.
- BBQ Grills
- Business Center/Fax
- Fitness Room
- Hot Tub
- Internet Access
- Kid’s Activities
- Laundry Facilities
- Outdoor Heated Pool
The kitchen was like a large U shape and had a nice sized electric oven and stove. I could see cooking lasagna for a large family or getting away for a beach stay in the sun for Thanksgiving or Christmas to escape the cold else ware.
The resort had all the resort trappings you hope for. The movie rental and the mention of the fax do date the place some, but the fitness room, hot tub, and pool were all great. The staff was kind and had locals that really knew the area, and were chatty enough to give you tips and hints at great spots. This included the concierge, who was just on top of their game. They should have been at a 5-star resort somewhere based on personality and skill.
You can read a free guide to the area here in this online brochure and guide. I like checking things out before I go online and also enjoy some of the guides you can find online like this one. It offered me some reading material to drift off to an early sleep with. Again, tomorrow I wanted to wake with the sun and catch the sunrise. Even being on the SW coast of Florida it should be nice, just not the view of the sun rising on the water, and I looked forward to sunset here tomorrow as well. Today I missed the sunset because I fell asleep in the villa since it was a perfect temperature and I was tired from the pool. I did not even make it to the shower until a few hours later.
Day Two at Tropical Sands Resort
I had planned to just sneak over to the beach across the street to see the sunrise. Instead, I found that the resort offers a trolly to a larger public beach area just up the road and I hopped on that before sunrise. I figured I would trust them one day or two here for location.
The trolly takes you to a nice beachfront spot, and it was worth the short trip. While on the beaches here, do not forget to look down. If you like seashells this is one of the best locations on the east coast. Because of its spot on the Gulf, the beaches here are loaded with shells. Well, shells and starfish too. I found a starfish and a conch shell within my first hour at the beach. I send the starfish back into the water and grabbed the conch shell. I knew I could bleach that to sanitize it and it could be a nice memento for years to come.
Video by Island Hopper TV
The beach back towards the bridge to the island is huge. It has more open sand areas than almost any beach you might visit. This also means at low tide a great shot at getting those shells you might want, or the kids might get a kick out of grabbing.
After finding my shell on the way back to the resort, I headed to Mel’s Dinner in Fort Myers for breakfast. I was hungry, so I grabbed both an omelet which was wonderful, and Mel’s platter which was a biscuit with sausage gravy, eggs, and a side as well as eggs. By the time I finished breakfast that meant I had 5 eggs down, and the sausage gravy and hash browns. I was not going to eat again for a while. It was good though and worth stuffing myself like a Thanksgiving Turkey.
Next, I went to the Sanibel Island Beaches there I met a local who explained why so many shells end up on these barrier island beaches. It is because the islands are aligned East-West where most beaches and islands run North-South. So here the waves bring in more shells than on almost any other beach on the East Coast of the USA. Sure, this is on the gulf and the West Coast of Florida, but hey it is still the East Coast of the USA folks.
Here there are Causeway Beaches 19931 Sanibel Causeway Sanibel, FL 33957 where you can park your car or truck right on the beach with no special permit, tag, or fee. That is a unique thing to be able to do. I love the Outer Banks of North Carolina in part because you can drive on the beach but here it is easier to access, and free and in the outer banks you must have a true 4-wheel drive, and get an annual sticker for your vehicle even if you are just going on the beach for the day. That made these beaches a great deal.
Most of the city beaches in the area have restrooms except for Sanibel Island Beach. So, plan accordingly.
I had thought about going to a play tonight but the season did not seem to run during the summer so that was out. But if you are in the area in the fall or spring, it seems like it would be a great thing to do on your trip. This location is a historic site and the 300-plus-seat theater is a thing to enjoy. I was able to look around by exaggerating my writing task here a little. It is an amazing location and has been open since the early 1900s. This meant my short 1-1 tour from the staff member gave me a neat behind the scenes look. It never hurts to ask. My writing and blog work has granted me access too many neat locations like this over the years. Everyone likes a little positive coverage. This location deserves it. It is something special to keep a historic playhouse like this open.
The website shares this about the location.
The Historic Arcade Theatre is a beautifully restored 393-seat proscenium theatre and home to Florida Repertory Theatre, Southwest Florida’s premier professional theatre company. Originally a Vaudeville house and a movie theatre, the Arcade Theatre was built by brothers, Harvie and Gilmer Heitman in 1915. According to local historian and writer, T.M. Jacobs, “the Arcade originally hosted vaudeville, including magic acts, local talent nights, and plays. Florida Rep took over the building in 1998 after years of the building being dark.
After my little backstage tour, I drove around the area more to check out local attractions. If you are in town with your family, you will love the beaches, but if you want a little more for the kids, you can try the Sun Splash Family Waterpark for size and fun. From their website, you find out you can enjoy 14 acres of water slides, pools, and fun at Southwest Florida’s largest water park. Relax on our gently drifting Main Stream River Tube Ride. Thrill at the high-speed excitement of such scream-worthy slides as the Cape Fear, Fun-L-Tunnel, Zoom Flume, and 457-foot Electric Slide & Power Surge. Free fall 5 1/2 stories down three distinctly different speed slides–the Thunder Bump, Terror Tube, and X-celerator. Let the little ones frolic at our Pirate’s Cove, grab a summer snack at the Calypso Café, or simply soak up the sun in a lounge chair poolside—there’s fun for everyone! No matter what kind of water activities you enjoy, Sun Splash Family Waterpark is the perfect place to splash all summer long.
The cost here is less than $20 for kids and only about $20 for adults. You can stay for the day or save even more money with a late-day pass that starts at 5 PM. That is what I did just to get in and try out a waterslide or two. The free fall felt fast, well, very fast, and was a blast. All of them were, but I went on the free fall 3 times in an hour, I think. Running back up like a 12-year-old. Never fear I did not run around any kids; it was more about not being lapped by them.
Day Three: another beach day in Fort Myers
I started my day with more of a drive around the area. I decided to skip breakfast since I got up late and just go check out more of the local spots. If I was here in the springtime, I would make sure to do MLB spring training as both the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins train and parts in Fort Myers, and tickets for spring training are a bargain. Spring training is neat to visit because the players are working but they are under less pressure so many take time to visit with fans, sign autographs, and generally make themselves available more than game time allows.
Jetblue Park or Fenway of the South is the one I drove by and checked out from a distance while I was in town. You can visit the website during training season to see about tickets.
Today since that was not an option I choose to go parasailing. There are several providers in the area but one offers a 900-foot parasail. That is extreme. Most are 300 feet or less so this was as much as 3X higher based on weather and safety. There was another provider that offered something over 1000ft up and that just seemed more like a flight than a parasail so I opted for the 900 ft version.
All providers seem to price themselves by the height of the parasail and their equipment. Likely connected with the labor and the cost of maintaining that much parasail line. Not to mention the more powerful boat you need to get someone up to 900 ft. With me, that was no small feat. They are used to taking two people up in tandem, so that was like taking me up solo, I guess.
After the parasail which at one point scared the mess out of me because some weird wind thing happened and I dropped like 100 ft in a second before the boat captain caught the wind again, whew. But it was still very exhilarating. If I was a normal-sized guy, I could sure see going up with a girlfriend or spouse and getting excited together as a great thing to do on the vacation.
Next, it was back to the beaches. While you have access to water and white sand beaches like these, you do not want to spend time doing much else.
all in all Tropical Sands Resort was a great base location. While I did not have beachfront access like the last resort, I did enjoy my stay the villa was huge, and the amenities were maintained well.
Follow me to the next resort here. My next resort was 2 hours away on the East Coast of Florida and I was excited to see what it had to offer.
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