One of the best ways to get to know some of the islands off the coast of Ft. Myers, Florida, is to board one of Captiva Cruises, north of Sanibel Island.
Captiva Cruises has been operating their tours since 1986. They have several great excursions to choose from. Their cruises include the following: dolphin watch and wildlife adventure, a sunset serenade, beach and shelling, sailing cruises and half day cruises to several of the out-islands including Useppa Island, Boca Grande, Cayo Costa, and the one we took to Cabbage Key.
We boarded our boat for the one hour ride out to Cabbage Key. Captain Yogi Schmidt was our tour guide. He filled us in on a lot of history about the area including a detailed story of the damage Sanibel Island suffered during Hurricane Charlie in 2004.
Cabbage Key is an isolated island in Pine Island Sound. It’s considered a true “old Florida island hideaway.” There’s a main house on the island which is an inn and restaurant. It was built in 1938 by playwright and novelist Mary Roberts Rinehart. There are also several small cottages on the property available to rent.
It is rumored that Jimmy Buffet was inspired to write his song “Cheeseburger in Paradise” while on Cabbage Key. Although Captain Yogi said he’s heard that same rumor on various islands, even as far east as the Bahamas. Jimmy Buffet is not confirming or denying where he got the idea for the song.
But one thing is for certain, the restaurant at Cabbage Key is one that’s decorated like no other. The walls are covered with thousands and thousands of one dollar bills. The tradition of taping an autographed dollar to the ceiling or walls of the restaurant started with the fisherman who used to come into the area after their trips to sea. If they had a good catch that year, they’d sign their name on their money and tape it up inside the restaurant so that they could use it when they had a bad year.
Other than having lunch at the restaurant, there’s not much else to do on Cabbage Key. There is a short nature trail that meanders through the island. And you can climb the water tower to get a great view of the area.
If you’re looking for a truly relaxing day on the water and a chance to explore the out-islands off Florida’s southern west coast, take a tour with Captiva Cruises.
Dates of Visit: October 2012
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