The last 2.5 months have been a total whirlwind of change. With a pending cross-country move, a house to sell (it's SOLD, thank goodness!), and an entire life to pack up and restart in a new state 3,000 miles away, it was safe to say D and I needed some time away from all the chaos. Even amidst the the busyness that is this military life, we wanted to take a moment to relax, recharge, and celebrate our baby girl in a way that we both love...on vacation! Since writing about our Florida Bucket List the end of last year (and thinking we'd have 2 more years to try and check things off that list), I knew our babymoon destination would have to come from that short list. It wasn't long before reservations were booked and off we went to Sanibel Island for 4 sweet days of sand, sea, and celebrating our little Heidi.
Sanibel is just about as dreamy as islands come. Palm trees and lush tropical greenery line all 33 miles of this gulf coast town and the water...oh, that GORGEOUS turquoise water...was so blue & clear that it sparkled in the sunlight. Everything about Sanibel was quaint, from the colorful beach shops and non-chain restaurants to the charming B&B's and 25 miles of scenic bike trails, the island felt like our own secluded slice of paradise those 4 bliss-filled days. Instead of staying at a large resort, we opted for a small inn on the Eastern part of the island called Song of the Sea. It was perfectly beachy, came with a continental breakfast each morning (hello, fresh Florida fruit!), complimentary bike rentals, and swoon-worthy views of the coast that kept me starry-eyed each day. There's nothing like waking up to salty sea air in the morning. Heaven must be a beach...MUST be.
Our Sanibel days were spent waking up early for sunrise walks on the beach, lounging by the pool, searching for shells on the beach, exploring the island by bike, and chowing down on local seafood by night. We talked about our days in Florida and how we felt we didn't fully appreciate our time in the state until it was being cut short. We reminisced about the last 5 years of our lives together...from Germany to now...and how crazy our journey has been. We tried to picture what our lives in California might be like with a baby and a whole new set of responsibilities on the horizon. And we prayed for our sweet girl, our move, and our marriage. There were some tears (mostly mine), but a whole lot of clarity and time to make peace with the big changes we both were still trying to wrap our heads around. Those moments, just the two of us, remain in the forefront of my mind as we continue to navigate our way through this move. I fondly look back and take solace in the words we said and plans we made every time I feel overwhelmed with all the tasks still before us. Thank goodness for the inception of the "babymoon"...trendy as it may be, it was too good for our souls. Two babymoon believers right here.
If you're interested in making Sanibel your babymoon destination (or just a super fun vacation, for those not expecting), here's a few places you should try hard to not miss:
- Sanibel Lighthouse
- Pinocchio's Italian Ice Cream Shop -- love their signature animal cracker topping & the Dirty Sand Dollar flavor is delish
- Over Easy Cafe -- order the cinnamon roll to split!
- The Island Cow Restaurant -- go early as the wait times can be outrageous in peak summer months.
- Matzaluna Craft Beer and Pasta -- ate the best meatballs OF MY LIFE here. If you get sick of seafood easily, Matzaluna is a wonderful reprieve.
- Periwinkle Way Shops
- The Bubble Room -- located on Captiva side of island
- If your hotel doesn't offer bike rentals, you can rent some at Finnimore's Cycle Shop
- Sunrise along the Eastern coast of the island or at Lighthouse Beach
- Sunset at Blind Pass or Turner Beach
If you need help planning or booking your Sanibel getaway, I know a good travel agent! A little shameless plug, I had to. Email me at Casey@destinationstoexplore.com ;)
A few tips for planning the perfect babymoon:
- Travel before you're 30 weeks! We only had a free long weekend around the time I was 22 weeks and it turned out to be just perfect. I wasn't too big to enjoy lots of activities, but still pregnant enough to be offered free ice cream and prime sunning spots. ;)
- Minimize your travel time. Drive no more than 6 hours and stop every two hours to stretch your legs.
- If you're a maternity body pillow lover (I'm obsessed with my Leachco Snoogle Body Pillow), bring it along with you! And grab a king-size bedroom reservation to add extra comfort.
- Don't forget to pack pregnancy-friendly sunscreen (I LOVE this kind from Kiss My Face) and all your vitamins, belly creams (big fan of Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter), bug spray (I use Cutter All Family 7% DEET Bug Spray), comfy breathable clothes/shoes, healthy snacks, and a water bottle to keep hydrated.
- Is your destination safe from Zika Virus? Sanibel is! Avoid any babymoon destinations with Zika Virus travel restrictions. For more info on the virus and it's affected locations, click here.
- Check with your OB before you travel! Typical recommendations are to not fly after 36 weeks and most cruise lines won't allow you to cruise after the 24th week of pregnancy.
- Make time for naps or ample down-time between activities. Be active, but know your body's limits while pregnant. Don't overdo it!
- Document it all! We brought along our FujiFilm Instax Mini and took loads of fun Polaroid photos to put in Heidi's baby book. We also Snapchatted (find me at Caseadilla1016) much of the trip, so now we have little videos to share with her when she's older.
"Sometimes you will never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory"