Captiva Island - a quintessence of charm
One of the places saved (luckily) from the "Death by Condominium", Captiva Island is a really magical place. According to legend, the island got its name when the pirate Gasparilla used it as a hideaway for women prisoners being held for ransom. A more probable story is that it got its name after the Calusa Indians held Spanish sailors captive there*.
Anyway, Captiva is a small, quiet and reclusive and pretty place to stroll around and enjoy its offbeat flavor made by colors, lush vegetation and especially - its charming old-style architecture which I love. It tells me more about what Florida was/is beyond the noise of South Beach, huge condominiums and fashionable nightclubs.
Of course, there are beaches for those who love sunbath (but if you're looking for shells you better go to the close Sanibel Island) or you can go to one of many cruises from the little harbor and explore near islands that, very often, are accessible only by a boat. When you're in the harbor, stop for a while and look carefully in the water - if you're lucky you might see a manatee. I was.
* Informations from P.M Franklin, N.Mikula, Backroads of Florida, Voyageur Press, 2009