Here in Southwest Florida, and specifically Captiva Island, Thanksgiving weekend marks a long-standing holiday tradition— one of great Thanksgiving dining Thursday, a Friday night celebration when beachfront sunset skies are lit up with twinkling lights, Christmas carols and a truly awesome fireworks display, plus a Saturday night presentation of Arias on the Beach — and it’s all done in the spirit of community, sponsored by the good folks at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa.

Thursday, ‘Tween Waters again hosts a spectacular Thanksgiving Buffet — all the traditional favorites, plus a whole dinner table full of Southwest Florida taste sensations! Dinner is served at Captiva House from noon to 8 PM, and Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille from 2 PM – 8 PM. Be sure to make your reservations now at

Come Friday night, ‘Tween Waters commemorates the start of the holiday season with its spectacular Tree Lighting Celebration. This year’s event promises a day-full of fun events and activities that have become a holiday tradition for many families. And best of all, it’s all free.

It begins at the resort’s Play Pool, where the holiday begins as a crowd-pleasing DJ spins favorites and requests from 12 PM to 3 PM, then relocates to Captiva House for another two hours of holiday music. Around 6 PM as darkness descends, the live sounds of the popular Gatlin will fill the air — as one holiday display after another throughout the resort’s 13 beaches-to-bay acres are illuminated by more than 100,000 lights. Then, comes the double grand finale: the lighting of the 30-foot Christmas tree that fronts Captiva’s beach, followed by a 10-minute fireworks show choreographed to holiday music. More DJ music follows until 8 PM, with Gatlin live in the Crow’s Nest starting at 8 PM.

“There are few holiday celebrations in Southwest Florida that are more of a tradition than our annual Tree Lighting Celebration,” says Tony Lapi, Chief Executive Officer of Sanibel Captiva Beach Resorts. “In some cases, we’re seeing third generations of families attending the event. It’s a way we can say thank you and give back to the many visitors and residents who’ve supported us each year.”

Seeking more holiday fun and magic? Prepare to be inspired by sunset operatic arias live on the beach at ‘Tween Waters Island Resort & Spa on Saturday, November 25. Beginning at 5 PM opera singers Alicia Branch and William Strattford will fill the beach with beautiful music, only matched by our gorgeous nightly sunsets. Cash bar available.

While the ‘Tween Waters Tree Lighting Celebration and Arias on the Beach are presented to the community at no charge, overnight accommodations are available, as well as dinner at the resort’s two top-rated TripAdvisor restaurants: Crow’s Nest Bar & Grille, and Captiva House. Spoiler alert: make your overnight or dinner reservations in advance if you can, and be advised that parking, while free, is limited (so come early and stay late).