Road trips have become a favorite activity within my family. Taking long drives makes us all, parents and kids, feel relaxed and happy. There is something about traveling that we enjoy immensely. Although we have made long interstate road trips, this summer we are exploring shorter road trips from Miami. Our first outing this season was a Miami-Captiva Island escapade that left us all relaxed and wanting more! Only 178 miles away from Miami, Captiva is a paradise island on the Gulf of Mexico. The perfect place to unplug from the routine and connect with nature.
Ready to relax, but first coffee
My experience is that the success of a road trip relies on each family member getting to do something they enjoy. That is why we start every road trip with a stop at our local coffee shop. This stop is essential to ensure the energy we all need for the hour-long “I Spy” games my daughter plays. Finally, we are ready to hit the road!
After a two hour drive, we decided to make a quick stop in Naples, FL. I like to visit and eat around downtown Naples, and dream of owning a vacation property in this Mediterranean inspired town. We stopped for a delicious brunch and to enjoy the crisp weather on the patio. Nothing like a delicious meal cooked by hands other than mine to feel like I’m on vacation.
The stop isn’t long. The kids were anxious to get to the beach already. However, before we arrive at Captiva, we made a last stop on our road trip. On the neighboring island of Sanibel is the J.N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge. Without leaving the car, we got to drive through the refuge and watch birds hidden in the mangroves and fishes jumping out of the water. We even walked through a marked trail where we learned about the Calusa Indians and their relationship with the area. This stops teach us about the history of the place and the respect we should give to its nature.
Finally the beach
After the last stop, we drove only 20 more minutes to arrive at Captiva. We were ready to enjoy days of silence, sea, and sun! We stayed at a resort with an array of activities to choose from. To be honest, as parents, we were so tired that we stuck to the simple beach-pool plan. However, we had a great time just relaxing and living without a schedule.
After three days of disconnection, we had to get back, but we made two stops on the way home. First, we had breakfast at Sanibel. For us, it is like a goodbye ritual and a good end of our road trip. My kids take advantage of the last minutes on the island and play while waiting for their pancakes.
Second and last, we made a quick detour on I-75 and stopped at an unusual place, the smallest post office building in the U.S.! Located in Ochopee, FL this tiny building is a fully functional office and a fun place where to send postcards and take pictures with Don, its only employee. Now we are ready to get back home!
This was a quick road trip from Miami but one that we genuinely needed. Even though we have spent more time than ever together at home, I’m sure these family time memories will last longer.