Make plans now to head to the beach next Christmas! Captiva Island, Florida, usually bustling with vacationers and fishermen, offers a quieter version of flavorful fun during the holidays. On this island just off the coast of Fort Myers, you’ll encounter only small intimate crowds and virtually no waiting for the same activities you can enjoy during their busier summers.From Thanksgiving until mid December, Captiva hosts an array of special events. Enjoy an old-fashioned carol sing at the historic Captiva Chapel by the Sea. See Captiva’s version of a Junkanoo Parade—a Christmas street procession of dancing characters in Bahamian costumes. The Marching Mullet Band Parade—made up of anyone with some semblance of an instrument—also marches down the main Andy Rosse Lane and kicks off the Seafood Festival at Jensen’s Marina.The northern half of the island is home to the South Seas Island Resort, where you’ll find everything you need for a fabulous vacation including 18 pools, accommodations to suit any preference, tennis courts, restaurants, Sea School for the kids, a recreation center, and more. For the holidays, trees are twinkling with lights, snow machines and Santa entertain the kids, and trolleys are decked out in garland and elf-capped drivers.A highlight of the season is the Captiva Island Boat Parade. It starts at the South Seas Island Resort and ends at the Tween Waters Inn Marina on the other end of the island. All along the parade route, folks find piers, porches, beach chairs and boats to sit and watch as boats coast by, all adorned with creative arrangements of Christmas lights.If it’s your first time to Captiva, you’ll make friends fast. Stop by to meet the Jensen brothers at Jensen’s Marina. They can rent you a boat or an old-Florida-style cottage. Paul McCarthy owns Captiva Cruises, which offers daily dolphin, shelling and island trips including several destinations where he has exclusive cruising rights.Captiva offers all types of accommodation options including the house featured in the (2013) Coastal Living Great Coastal Giveaway. Let help you plan your trip for next December.Plus, Captiva Island is a finalist in Coastal Living's 2014 Happiest Seaside Towns poll! Click here to vote for your favorite. 

Coastal Living

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