SHELLING ON THE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA COAST
You've probably never asked yourself what a "shell casing" is, nor, if you are like most others, have you wondered exactly how shells or shellfish are "born."
It might not be the most pressing question on your mind, but the actual facts are fascinating, especially to kids.
U.S. Coast Guard Captain Jim
of Marco Island Marriott explains a shell
casing which holds the baby shellfish.
Lee and Collier Counties on the southern Gulf Coast of Florida provide some of the richest experiences for families in the continental United States. Mom can indulge in spa services, dad can golf (or vice versa), while the kids are cared for in any number of resort "kid's camps." The shelling trips, though, are best experienced as a family.
Sanibel and Captiva Islands in Lee County, and Marco Island in Collier County offer incredible resorts, golf, weather, spas, and shelling.
Almost all resorts provide a children's program but there are also private companies that provide shelling excursions. The cost is usually $45-$55 per adult and $35 - $45 for a child under 12. The Marco Island Marriott Resort and Golf Club offers a shelling tour at a family price of $125, which includes a catamaran sail to a barrier island and an explanation of shell casings and the origins of shellfish. The trip lasts approximately two and a half hours.
While summer is low season for the area resorts, it's perfect for shelling... stay at a reduced seasonal rate and take advantage of Shell Season.
Accommodation in southwest Florida ranges from large full-service resorts to small beachfront cottages, motels, and time-share/condos rented by the week. Because the summer season means lower rates, this is the perfect time to take advantage of some of the more luxurious accommodation in the area.
The Ritz-Carlton Naples, located on 26 beachfront acres, has 463 oceanview guestrooms and suites. The five-diamond, five-star resort offers no less than eight dining and lounge facilities, a large pool area, three miles of beach, a fitness center, and Kid's Club. Golf privileges are available at Tibúron Golf Course, a Greg Norman-designed 27-hole course just a few miles away.
Lee Island Coast VCB
South Seas Resort on Captiva Island is a fairly typical resort for the area, with a variety of lodging options from condos to inn rooms. The children's club is called The Fun Factory® and is available to kids from 3-11 years of age.
The Marco Island Marriott Resort and Golf Club is located on a long, deep stretch of beach. With three pools, a miniature golf course, spa, casually elegant atmosphere and a dedicated staff of child care experts and naturists, your family is assured a fantastic time. The 800 guestrooms include large standard rooms with king or two doubles, two-room tower suites, and beachfront cabana suites.
Several quiet and more bucolic "cottage communities" exist in the area, with beachfront one-bedroom units complete with air-conditioning, cable TV and full kitchen going for as low as $85 a night during the summer months. These are easy to find using the Lee Island Coast website.
So... whether you want to stay in an active highrise with recreation galore, a luxurious upscale resort, a condo or cottage, the choices are many in southwest Florida. Whichever you choose, do go shelling. It's an eye-opening and rewarding experience.