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Sanibel makes Expedia’s top-rated vacation destination list for first time

By Staff | May 15, 2018

REPORTER-ISLANDER FILE PHOTO The beach at the foot of the Island Inn on Sanibel.

Sanibel Island has been named one of the top-rated vacation destinations in North America by reviewers on the travel website Expedia – a first for the island.

On May 10, Expedia published “Top-rated Vacation Destinations in North America.” According to the site, it is the company’s second annual list of the 50 top-ranking locations, which were chosen by verified reviewers throughout 2017. From the more than 4,600 cities reviewed, Sanibel rose to No. 15.

“Sanibel has made the top-rated vacation destinations list for North America for the first time,” Jodie Booras, PACIFIC communication specialist who works with Expedia, said via an email. “Each of these cities (the top-rated spots) received at least 600 reviews and are listed in order of highest-reviewed out of 5.”

The only other Florida location to make the top 15 list is Key West at No. 14.

According to the site:

“Not to be too outdone by its southerly state-mate, Sanibel clinches the No. 15 spot in its first appearance. Visitors fall in love with the place for many reasons. Go shelling on the beach, fill up on fresh seafood at joints like the super-fun Bubble Room, and spend peaceful time at J.N. ‘Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge.”

Sanibel Mayor Kevin Ruane called the listing an accomplishment.

“We’re obviously honored and thrilled about the ranking,” he said. “It obviously continues to show what a special place Sanibel is.”

He expressed pride for the island community.

“I’m really proud to not only be the mayor of Sanibel, but someone who lives here full-time,” Ruane said. “We continue to be a world-class destination.”

The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce also commented on the ranking.

“To be one of only two Florida destinations chosen in the top 15 of Expedia’s Top Rated Vacation Destinations In North America is quite an honor, but as anyone who is fortunate to have vacationed on Sanibel would attest, it is well deserved,” President John Lai said.

“We have consistently offered world-class beaches, shelling, shopping, biking, fishing and dining, but our sustainable initiatives and undisturbed natural environment is truly what sets us apart,” he added. “Sanibel offers the complete package for families of all seasons of life.”

Lee County, which oversees the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau, also reacted.

“We are always excited when we get these kind of accolades,” spokesman Tim Engstrom said. “We work hard to showcase Sanibel and other Lee County areas as the best vacation destination in the world. People just can’t find the kind of world-class shelling, wildlife and customer service that we offer our guests.”

For more information or to view Expedia’s list for North America, visit online at viewfinder.expedia.com/features/top-rated-vacation-destinations-in-north-america/.