Get The Most Out Of BC Coastal Living Within 30 Minutes Of Vancouver, BC

Imagine leaving work at 5:00 on Friday night and arriving at your summer cabin in time for a summer cocktail and barbeque before sunset. The reality of many island commuters is that they end up paying $100 or more to spend their Friday night drinking diet coke and eating a burger aboard BC Ferries on a three hour commute to their cabin. Meanwhile they have overlooked the convenience and charm of the islands in their own back yard. The islands in the Howe Sounds- Keats Island, Gambier Island and Bowen Island have all the advantages of the southern Gulf Islands and are a mere 30 minutes or less from Horseshoe Bay by ferry or water taxi. Whether your ideal BC Coastal retreat is a cabin in the woods or a cottage in the village these islands offer something for everyone at a price that is comparable or better then the Southern Gulf Islands.

Keats Island is the outermost island in the Howe Sound. Gibsons and the Sunshine Coast lie to the north and Bowen Island and Vancouver lie to the east and south. Keats Island comes alive in the summer time as the seasonal residents return to their island retreats. Along with the 400+ summer residents, there are two summer camps and a provincially owned marine park with overnight camping. Most of the island residents access the island via the Government docks at Eastbourne and Plumper Cove, via water taxi from Horseshoe Bay or Gibsons or BC Ferries passenger ferry from Langdale. Vehicle traffic is minimal as cars need to be barged over and gas is located on the mainland. Residents take a short boat ride to Gibsons to stock up on groceries and supplies. Real Estate on Keats Island ranges from $200k for a small cabin on an interior lot to $1.2 million for waterfront acreage.

Gambier Island is the largest of the three main islands in the Howe Sound. Its mountainous peaks frame the view as you drive the Sea to Sky highway, and are a source of numerous scenic hiking trails. The 125 year round residents and over 600 seasonal residents live primarily in Gambier Harbor and West Bay, however recent development has seen a number of new communities along the shores of Gambier Island. The Gambier Island General Store and Gambier Island Community Centre “the Hall” are the hub of summer activity. The General Store is well stocked with island living necessities and even supplies fresh bakes goods. Everything from classes in Tai Chi, to annual summer barbeques are put on at “the Hall”. Once again vehicle traffic is limited as the access to the island is via a passenger ferry from Langdale or water taxi form Horseshoe Bay or Gibsons. Real Estate prices range from 250K for a small cabin on an interior lot to well over 1 million for a large waterfront acreage. Recent new subdivisions have seen prices range from $150K-$450K for lots on and off the water.

Bowen Island is the most populated island in the Howe Sound. 1500 year round residents and 4000 seasonal residents make Bowen Island a bustling and active community. With a long history of being a destination playground Bowen Island offers the infrastructure of a small town, the pace of island living and the recreational opportunities to keep you busy all summer long. Hike year round on the trails, enjoy a hot chocolate at the world famous Cocoa West, park your boat at the Union Steamship Marina or go for a swim on one of the many public beaches. Bowen Island offers year round or seasonal coastal living at its best. Just 20 minutes from Horseshoe Bay with BC Ferries, you can be in downtown Vancouver in just 45 minutes. No wonder generations of islanders have called Bowen Island the Happy Isle. Prices for Bowen Island real estate range from $195K for land and $395K for a cabin, and to $2.25 million for a waterfront home on an acre of land.

The search for your coastal home or recreational property should start with a trip to the Howe Sound. As demand for recreational waterfront properties within close proximity of urban centers increase these islands will be in hot demand. Where else can you find the beauty of BC coastal living, boating and recreational opportunities, and the serenity of island living so close to home?

Luxury Hotels on Islands

An island location for luxury hotels always adds an extra special element to a vacation, wherever you are in the world. The Irish, British and Greeks may take island living for granted, but smaller islands, particularly those which can only be accessed by boat, have a sense exclusivity and privacy.

Writers and artists seek out their own inspirational island paradise and millionaires often have their own private island home. The island state of Hawaii, although thousands of miles from anywhere, has turned that inconvenience into an asset and is now a pricey but desirable year-round island destination on everyone’s wish list.

Here are a few suggestions for unique hotels which enjoy their own exclusive island location without foregoing any modern day conveniences.

Luxury Hotels in Singapore
The island city-state of Singapore is definitely not a tropical beach island, but rather a high-tech city with a vibrant harbour, known for its shopping, dining, nightlife and five-star hotels. It was claimed by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1819 as a strategic British trading post and his name lives on in the famous Raffles Hotel, itself a throw-back to the colonial days of the Raj. This luxury hotel in Singapore’s City Hall District is home to the Singapore Sling and elegant afternoon tea, which have been enjoyed by royals, celebrities and discerning guests for decades. Luxury hotels on tropical islands don’t get much better than this.

Luxury Hotels in Venice
Few people think of luxury hotels in Venice as quiet and restful, but those staying on the island of Giudecca have all the advantages of fabulous views across the bay to St Mark’s Basilica from their own peaceful beach chair. After a day of sightseeing in this historic but packed city, the Cipriani is the perfect place to escape to and enjoy the sunset. Once guests step on the luxury hotel’s private launch, they are just four minutes away from this island paradise, the perfect way to enjoy Venice from a distance.

Luxury Hotels in the Maldives
For those who want a true Robinson Crusoe island, the white sandy beaches of the Maldives are hard to beat. Although most of the 1199 coral islands are uninhabited, this Indian Ocean destination is popular for relaxing beach and diving holidays. If you want a five star beach hut, there is a choice of luxury hotels in the Maldives, including the Four Seasons at Kuda Huraa on North Male atoll. Thatched beach bungalows and stilted water villas overlook the clear aquamarine waters. Popular with honeymooners and couples, this is a true tropical island experience with a “no shoes, no shirt, no problems” atmosphere.

Northeast Florida’s Top Three Seaside Charms

Florida is a place where bountiful of beautiful scenery can be found. Along the northeastern part of Florida, there are three places which you can see heaven meets the earth in the horizon with a beautiful sunshine and ever glowing sunset. Whether you are swimming, building sand castles or sailing, you will find these places conducive to romantic dating, family vacation or business-related transactions. The three seaside charms you will be able to experience in Northeast Florida are the following;

Amelia Island. Between the Intracoastal Waterway’s tidal marshes and Atlantic’s sugary beaches is an island secluded not far enough and offers first class restaurants, well-maintained golf courses, beautiful beaches and good places to stay. Amelia Island has been a perfect getaway for every tourist who is looking for a place to retrospect, for lovers who want some privacy while enjoying love everyday, for family who want to live a life of peace for days and for people who simply want to experience the beauty of nature and witness the every passing moment in serenity.

o Climate – Amelia Island is cooler when summer since it is the north. That is why vacationers want to visit the place during dry and hot season. Cooler breeze and humid air from the ocean is what you can get from Florida because it is tropical.
o Transportation – as airport makes Amelia reachable by plane. You may also want to sail in and sail out by yacht or any boat as you can find lots of good marina and ports in the island or you can rent a car and drive your way around the island.
o Accommodations – Ritz Carlton, a 4-star luxury hotel, may cater your needs for first class accommodations. However, if you are tight on your budget, you can check out cheaper hotels which also offer first class amenities and accommodations so that you will enjoy your stay. Apartments and rent houses can also be found in the island should you feel the need to have a private place to stay with the family.

Jacksonville. It is the place where St. Johns River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Although Jacksonville has grown considerably over the decades, it still has some of its past preserved. The modern appearance of the place is being equaled by its natural beauty and clean environment. Jacksonville’s center lies alongside the St. Johns River giving the people easy access to the city through the waters. The 21-mile wide beach offers every tourist an opportunity to experience the best of the place from food to natural scenic beauties.

o Climate – the place has a tropical climate making it humid most of the times. January is Jacksonville’s coldest month which can reach down to 41.9 degrees Fahrenheit while July is the hottest at 90.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
o Transportation – Jacksonville can be reached by plane; it has an International Airport to cater your flying needs. It can also be reached by car as it has beautiful and well-maintained roads in and out of the city.
o Accommodation – you will never find any problem looking for a place to stay in Jacksonville as there are first class and cheaper hotels around plus the holiday inns and apartments which can always be found anywhere inside the city.

St. Augustine. It is the country’s oldest city ever preserved. It has been founded five centuries ago and is still one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the U.S. Depending on your budget, you can choose whatever you want to do in St. Augustine; you can roam around the city and enjoy some major attractions, you can do shopping or you can enjoy taking a bite in one of the most renowned restaurants. Native wildlife abounds the and you can watch and observe them closely.

o Climate – if there is one thing that St. Augustine can boast, for sure it would be the climate; it has a mild and humid temperature all year round with occasional rain falls. The place is just a perfect Florida getaway anytime of the year.
o Transportation – you can be in St. Augustine by water, land and air. You can either choose to travel through the water and enjoy marine views or by land and watch the panoramic views along the way.
o Accommodation – since it is one of the historical and famous places in the world, you can expect to find 5-star hotels in the heart of the city. For travelers and tourists who are low on budget, low-priced hotels can also be found in the place to offer good accommodation and first class amenities. When it comes to accommodation, you do not have to worry about it that much especially when you are in the place.

Florida’s northeast part is not just blessed with first class beaches, spectacular views but also with a clear air and water and hospitable people. Either you want to spend your holiday in Jacksonville, Amelia Island or St. Augustine, you can ensure to have pleasurable stay and enjoyable experience. Any time of the year, these places are open for tourists and vacationers. So, the next time you want to have quality time, Northeast Florida can be your best choice.

Lido Key Condos – Carefree Island Living

With a European flair, Lido Key is known for its beautiful beaches, close proximity to St. Armands Circle and gorgeous water front estate homes and condos. Consisting of a myriad of boutiques, restaurants, gift shops and many more, St. Armands Circle attracts tourists and residents alike. Enjoy a scenic stroll around the circle or indulge in casual or fine dining in a number of popular restaurants.

Unknown to many, Lido Key consists of North Lido Beach which offers very private fishing on a pristine 1/2 mile stretch of sand and South Lido Park, which encompasses 100 acres of Australian pines. This secluded park includes amenities such as, rest rooms, picnic tables, grills, playground equipment, volleyball court, nature canoe and kayaking trails. Peacefully shaded, this park is a great alternative to sun-worshiping activities.

Lido Key is extremely popular with tourists and residents alike because of the endless varieties of activities that surround the island. Bordered by four bodies of water, the Gulf of Mexico, Big Pass, Sarasota Bay, and Brushy Bayou, Lido Key Condominiums are highly sought after for their dramatic views and waterfront locations, not to mention being conveniently located to a myriad of fine and casual dining, boutiques, cafes, galleries and much more.

Enjoy care-free resort style living while just being moments or blocks away from a variety of amenities such as St. Armands Circle, Downtown Main Street, Selby Gardens, the Arts and Culture district and plenty more. Luxurious Lido Key Condos range from mid-rises to high-rises, and feature memorable waterfront views from almost any angle of each building. Accommodating, charming, alluring, luxurious, and elegant, Lido Key Condos have it all with everything at your fingertips. From the Ritz Carlton Beach Residences to the Lido Beach Club, L’Elegance or Orchid Beach Club, residences, full and part time are ensured an indulgent and intimate seaside retreat.

Many snow birds purchase condominiums on Lido Key for an investment or second home. One of the most appealing benefits to condo living is the ability to pick up and leave on a moments notice by just locking the front door. Typically all maintenance of common areas is included in the monthly fees. Another benefit is the ability to rent out unit when not in use. There is a strong demand for beach front vacation rental, especially in our season which runs January to April. Rental properties command top dollar during these months.

Island Restaurants in Southern Florida

Sanibel Island, Florida is a fantastic place to go on vacation to soak up all the sun and surf you can handle. However, all that fun in the sun can make a person very hungry! Where can a vacationer find a meal on this island?

The Island Cow Restaurant has “Udderly Great Food” at prices that won’t have you selling the farm. The menu is gigantic. With so many options, no matter who is in your group, be it your picky mother-in-law, the kids, or even your vegetarian niece, everyone is sure to find a dish that satisfies. Options on the menu that will keep with the theme of beach-filled island living include shrimp and grouper tacos, crab cakes and blackened grouper, catfish rueben sandwich served with Caribbean slaw and hush puppies, and even a seafood omelet for breakfast! This favorite local is open seven days a week, and serves breakfast, lunch, dinner and anything you could want in between.

Have you been playing hard all day and now need a little pick me up? Head over to the Sanibel Bean for some fantastic island coffee and hospitality. For hot summer days, get your pick-me-up coffee iced for a cool treat, or even try a refreshing hand dipped ice cream cone. This is also a favorite local lunch spot as they serve up some excellent grilled panini sandwiches.

Still hungry? The Over Easy CafĂ© has you covered. This is a great spot if your appetite is big, as the portions are large and delicious. Not to miss lunch items on the menu include Key West chicken wraps, beer battered haddock, and eggplant and spinach lasagna. Of course, the breakfasts are the real attraction here, and they are served all day long. Things such as the Sanibel shrimp Benedict, Big Bertha’s breakfast, and the Nova smoked salmon Benedict are enough to make this your go-to-spot for the whole vacation. Remember not to miss out on the restaurant’s handmade desserts!

Other excellent Sanibel Island Restaurants include the Waterfront Restaurant and Marina, a “Cheeburger” restaurant, and the Matzaluna Italian Kitchen, just to name a few. Even the Sanibel Island Hotels have some fabulous dining options such, as the not-to-miss Thistle Lodge Beachfront restaurant.

You now know that there is no end to the great dining experiences Sanibel Island has to offer. This island is not only a great vacation spot but also serves up some memory-making dishes! Don’t miss out on the best vacation of your life, come to the Island and see for yourself.