Feeling the urge to hit the beach and craving the aquamarine Caribbean-type ocean waters, pristine sandy beaches complete with cabanas, umbrella drinks and service with style? Think you need to fly, boat or dream for a vacation like? Not so with South Seas Island Resort just three hours up I-75 on the historic Captiva Island. And, very much like an all-inclusive, once you are on-site on the 350-acre resort, everything is at your fingertips, or resort keycard which gives you access to all on-site recreation, food, ice cream, drinks, video games, spa treatments, fitness facilities, on-site Starbuck’s and more.

With families looking to ‘staycation’ more than ever, South Seas Island Resort is an excellent choice in a family destination, just a short drive away. Recently, the resort was honored to be named number three among the 10 Best Family Beach Resorts by Parents Magazine. South Seas Island Resort Managing Director Richard Hayduk, came to South Seas Island Resort, from a five-star Boca Raton destination and moved his family to take the position because he wanted to feel the historic ownership and pride in a property that he indeed found at South Seas Island Resort.

On a golf cart tour of the resort, (golf carts are available for guests to rent during their stay) Hayduk described the unique “resort village.” “The resort literally started as a key lime plantation producing the world’s largest crop of key limes. It was purchased in the 1800s and was a fishing camp.” Hayduk says that parts of the original bunkhouse still exist including fireplace mantel and brick flooring in King’s Crown where many wedding receptions and special events are held. “We have 330 acres and 990 units developed by Mariner Development and now owned by Blackstone Group,” says Hayduk. Blackstone Group is primary owner of Hilton Hotels.

The property offers accommodations for all needs. With hotel rooms, timeshare villas in one-three bedroom units with full kitchens and private million dollar condos and beach front single family homes available to rent through the resort. “We are eighty percent family oriented,” said Hayduk while giving a tour of the dual water-slide new H2Whoa! attraction in the Resort Pool Complex with sandy beach play area, two additional pools, cabanas, and hot tub with an ocean view overlook complete with sunset, dolphins and manatees. The resort is also offering new activities and programs designed especially for children and families including the Go! South Seas programs which include the Go! Fish program. A very successful addition to “things to do” at the resort that teaches kids of all ages to fish and learn about the importance of “catch and release.” “Once you come through the gates, you feel like family,” said Hayduk while nodding and introducing staff who have been with the property for 30 years.

Valrico residents Carol and Josh Cole have been to South Seas Island Resort twice and call their visits, “one of the most wonderful times of my life.” In May, the couple stayed in a beach front villa with a breathtaking sunset view to celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary. “I really can’t choose what the very best part of this resort is. Whether it was sunning on the beach, hunting for seashells, dining in the Harbourside Bar & Grill, walking among the beautiful yachts and boats docked there, or simply staying in our room and ordering in delivery, this was truly a time that I will always treasure.” In June, the couple and their three children returned to the resort. “One new thing we discovered this trip was the poolside cabanas; a much appreciated respite from the hot sun. We enjoyed lunch there and each cabana comes complete with refrigerator, lots of comfy seating and a TV.”

The entire property is family accessible from beach front to poolside by a trolley and trail system throughout. While cars are welcome, guests really just need a keycard and a towel to get around the resort with eight restaurants, multiple boat marinas with all size boats available for rent. With sunset cruises leaving for nightly tours of the bay, and pools, playgrounds, hot tubs, beach, boardwalk, golf course,  and even a sailing school on-site, South Seas Island Resort has something for everyone.

In addition to being a family destination, it offers the largest convention space available in the area. With 31,000 sq. ft. available, conventions, meetings, events and courses can be scheduled. And, with the many on-site eateries ranging from an upscale deli, Southern style BBQ to high end seafood, all catering requirements can be met. The resort is located at 5400 Plantation Rd. on Captiva Island.

For reservations and tempting photo galleries, visit or call 866-565-5089.

Chadwick’s Square Retail Open To Public

Whether on Captiva Island to stay at the South Seas Island Resort or just for a day trip, Chadwick’s Square in the South Village located at the front of the resort property offers island shopping and dining opportunities with a resort feel.

Starting with H2o Outfitters providing all beach and summer wear boutique, followed by Fresh Squeezed – a Lilly Pulitzer Shop, Starbuck’s, Captiva Provision Company – an on-site deli, Holy Smokes Heavenly Barbecue and Better Burgers, 2 Islands Gallery and the Salon & Spa and fitness center there is something for everyone. Chadwick’s Square surrounds the conference meeting facilities and is very accessible to the front of the resort. This entire area is open to the public.

2 Islands Gallery is definitely a jewel of Chadwick’s Square offering a showcase of 24 local artists including a basket maker, jewelry designers, multiple photographers including nature photographer Clyde Butcher, weavers, painters and sculptors. Artists include such talents as Butcher, JoAnne Bedient; Ed Brown; Katie Gardenia; Susan Sadler; Kassie Sparks; Anisa Stewart and Christina Wyatt. Ft. Myers artist and talented musician Carolyn Hudson, showcases her one-of-a-kind jewelry line Cleo VII and is thrilled to blend her sterling, beadwork and shell jewelry which complements the island feel of Captiva. The gallery also offers artist showcases and events.

2 Islands Gallery located at 5400 Plantation Road and is open 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily and gives guests an opportunity to take home a handmade piece of local art as a stunning reminder of their vacation. For more information, call Perry Thompson at 239-823-2208.

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Marie is the Managing Editor at the Osprey Observer. She covers news, transportation, education and likes to make a positive impact on the community and be 'in the know'!